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The Jacksons: An American Dream 

The Jacksons are your average working-class family in Gary, Indiana; but when their father discovers the kids have an extraordinary musical talent they form a band. Winning talent show ... See full summary »




Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete series cast summary:
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs ...  Joseph Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Angela Bassett ...  Katherine Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Holly Robinson Peete ...  Diana Ross 2 episodes, 1992
Margaret Avery ...  Martha Scruse 2 episodes, 1992
Alex Burrall Alex Burrall ...  Michael Jackson (aged 6-8) 2 episodes, 1992
Jermaine Jackson II Jermaine Jackson II ...  Jermaine Jackson (aged 13-17) 2 episodes, 1992
Bumper Robinson ...  Jackie Jackson - age 12-16 2 episodes, 1992
Kelli Martin Kelli Martin ...  La Toya Jackson - Age 8-10 2 episodes, 1992
Floyd Roger Myers Jr. ...  Marlon Jackson - age 7-9 2 episodes, 1992
Monica Calhoun ...  Rebbie Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Jason Weaver ...  Michael Jackson (aged 9-14) 2 episodes, 1992
Ángel Vargas Ángel Vargas ...  Tito Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Terrence Howard ...  Jackie Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Lanei Chapman 2 episodes, 1992
Elizabeth Narvaez ...  Dee Dee 2 episodes, 1992
Billy Dee Williams ...  Berry Gordy 2 episodes, 1992
Vanessa Williams ...  Suzanne de Passe 2 episodes, 1992
Monica Allison ...  Hazel Gordy 2 episodes, 1992
Danielle Nicolet ...  Verla 2 episodes, 1992
Finis Henderson III Finis Henderson III ...  Apollo Theatre MC 2 episodes, 1992
Grady Harrell Grady Harrell ...  Jackie Wilson 2 episodes, 1992
Jimmy Castor Jimmy Castor ...  Royal 2 episodes, 1992
Eugene Lee ...  Bill Bray 2 episodes, 1992
Bobby Mardis Bobby Mardis ...  Chicago Theatre MC 2 episodes, 1992
Narcissa Marte Narcissa Marte ...  High School Girl 2 episodes, 1992
Charles E. Timbers Jr. Charles E. Timbers Jr. ...  Dr. Hayes 2 episodes, 1992
Shakiem Evans Shakiem Evans ...  Tito Jackson - Age 10-14 2 episodes, 1992
Ebonie Smith ...  La Toya Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Maya Nicole Johnson Maya Nicole Johnson ...  Janet 2 episodes, 1992
Jacen Wilkerson Jacen Wilkerson ...  Marlon Jackson - Age 10-12 2 episodes, 1992
Nicholas Phillips ...  Randy Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Wylie Draper Wylie Draper ...  Michael Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Colin Steele Colin Steele ...  Jermaine Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Marcus Maurice Marcus Maurice ...  Marlon Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Robert Redcross Robert Redcross ...  Randy Jackson 2 episodes, 1992
Randy Kirby Randy Kirby ...  Reporter 2 episodes, 1992
Terry Coleman Terry Coleman ...  Tito's Friend 2 episodes, 1992
Erin Wiley Sands ...  Groupie 1 2 episodes, 1992
Rana Kirkland ...  Groupie 2 2 episodes, 1992
Melanie Taylor ...  Airport Fan 1 2 episodes, 1992
Emily Williams Emily Williams ...  Airport Fan 2 2 episodes, 1992


The Jacksons are your average working-class family in Gary, Indiana; but when their father discovers the kids have an extraordinary musical talent they form a band. Winning talent show after talent show they soon hit it big when Motown calls. From there they become the now famous Jackson 5. But along the way their success brings trouble and turmoil Written by Tony Meier <discokid@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There's fame...there's fortune...and then there's family. Sometimes it's hard to choose.


Biography | Drama | Music


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

15 November 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Jackson Five See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (4 episodes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jermaine Jackson's real life son plays him from ages 13-17. See more »


The movie is set in the 1960s and 1970s, but yet, young Jermaine is playing a bass guitar that was made in the 1980s. See more »


[repeated line]
Joseph Jackson: Get a switch!
See more »


Referenced in Plump Fiction (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Way long, but not bad.
21 April 2005 | by Victory_Over_TrollsSee all my reviews

This two-part miniseries (long enough to be a week-long miniseries if each episode was an hour), was at times overly dramatic, somewhat lacking in humor and even kind-of depressing. Still, it's one of the best music bios ever.

The absolute best thing about this piece is Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Hilton-Jacobs captures the menace of the notorious Joseph Jackson. He is a father you would NOT want to disobey. On the other hand, he brings a level of humanity and respectability, sometimes even likability to the role that makes it a three-dimensional character. In many music bios, it's hard to believe they're talking about real people (exhibit A: The Doors), but not here. Hilton-Jacobs expresses Jackson's deep, cutting flaws, but also the good things about him.

As for the bigger stars in the two-parter, Vanessa Williams is likable as Susan de Passe: a Motown employee who believes so much in the boys that she convinces Berry Gordy to hear them. Billy Dee Williams is likable as Gordy, but he comes off as a saintly carefree sort. Angela Basset also excelled as the boys' mother: willing to sacrifice her goals and dreams for the sake of the family.

All three actors who played Michael were also fantastic. It's so sad that Wylie Draper died so soon after this movie came out. He really captured Michael as well as anybody could. He reminds the viewer of what people saw in Michael in the early 80s. Alex Burral and Jason Weaver also performed great as Michael, especially during the music scenes. The actors who played Michael's brothers fared also. While it clearly centers around Michael, it goes to great lengths not to make the other boys second-bananas (the only one who isn't explored much is Janet, ironically, because her fame rivals that of Michael in real life).

Speaking of the music scenes, they are almost all very well done. The scenes where they appear to be lipsynching songs (such as when they record "I'll Be There" are done pretty well, but when the actors (presumably) get to handle it on their own, it really comes alive, whether it's the kids singing old r&b classics toward the beginning, or the final concert scene at the end with a lively version of "The Love You Save."

All in all, great music and great acting make this movie one of the best rock bios of all.

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