Born poor in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic, erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville circuit, success ... See full summary »


Brian Gibson


Ron Hutchinson (story), Michael Zagor (story) | 1 more credit »
Won 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Lynn Whitfield ... Josephine Baker
Rubén Blades ... Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino
David Dukes ... Jo Bouillon
Louis Gossett Jr. ... Sidney Williams
Craig T. Nelson ... Walter Winchell
Kene Holiday ... Sidney Bechet (as Kene Holliday)
Vivian Bonnell ... Josephine's Mother
Mayah McCoy Mayah McCoy ... Josephine -Age 8
Ainslie Currie Ainslie Currie ... Josephine - Age 13
Pierre Magny Pierre Magny ... Poul Colin
Franco Britt Franco Britt ... Victor (as Franco Iiriti)
George Faison George Faison ... Emcee in Harlem Club
Robert Lesser ... Copa City Manager
Luis Reyes Luis Reyes ... Josephine's Father
Vivienne Eytle Vivienne Eytle ... Josephine's Sister


Born poor in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic, erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville circuit, success takes Josephine to Paris where her semi-nude dancing causes an international sensation. Through her marriages to an Italian pseudo-count and an orchestra leader, to her bond with army officer Sydney Williams, Josephine's life is a rollercoaster ride of love and rejection from both her lovers and her country. But semi-nude, or head-to-toes in sequins; in battle fatigues or rags - her beauty and ambition ensured that Josephine Baker will always be remembered as the first, and possibly most loved, truly international star. Written by HBO Home Video

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Before Madonna. Before Marilyn. There was Josephine.


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Robert De Niro was considered for the role of G. Abatino. See more »


The scene starting at about 1 hour the film which has Josephine Baker appearing at a US military show, during World War II, has many 46 Star US flags as stage dressing. The 46 star flag was used from 1908 to 1912, it was replaced with the 48 star flag in 1913 after New Mexico and Arizona entered the Union in 1912. The 46 star flags are over 30 years out of date in this scene. See more »


Josephine Baker: Hollywood wants me to play maids - I have maids of my own.
See more »


Referenced in Live with Kelly and Ryan: Episode dated 6 March 1991 (1991) See more »


J'ai Deux Amours
Music by Vincent Scotto
Lyrics by Georges Koger and Henri Varna
See more »

User Reviews

Way too long
6 February 2006 | by longislandlloydSee all my reviews

Some outstanding performances here by Whitfield, Blades, Gossett, and others in this overly long biography of an important, outspoken, and controversial African American woman, who was years ahead of her time. It was quite a revelation to see how African Americans were treated in St. Louis and in New York in the decades before the civil rights advances of the 50's and 60's. We all know about the history of the South, but in many places up North, things were nearly as difficult for minorities in the 1930's and 40's.

The story of Josephine Baker had to be told since so many of us are not familiar with her achievements. And HBO and the cast did an outstanding job doing so. The movie was entertaining and sexual, eye-opening and thought provoking. It covered American society as well as French and even gave us some insights into Josephine's heroics and patriotism during WWII and her push for equality of the races in the U.S. military. I would have preferred to see the movie end while Josephine was at the top and still young, rather than drag on with her numerous adoptions and comeback attempts. That's why it was not a major motion picture.....too long and drawn out for theater audiences.

A good movie to watch at home while putting away the laundry or brushing the dog.

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Release Date:

16 March 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Josephine Baker Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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