19 user 2 critic

Little Richard (2000)

The story of Little Richard Penniman, from his poor Southern upbringing to dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a black singer in the 1950s, to his born-again phase and brief "retirement" from rock and roll.


Robert Townsend
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Leon ... Little Richard
Jenifer Lewis ... Muh Penniman
Carl Lumbly ... Bud Penniman
Tamala Jones ... Lucille
Mel Jackson ... Bump Blackwell
Garrett Morris ... Carl Rainey
Anthony Lee
Lahmard J. Tate ... (as Lahmard Tate)
Alimi Ballard
Anthony Griffith
JoNell Kennedy ... Peggie Penniman (as Jonell Kennedy)
Michael Mantell ... Art Rupe
Reynaldo Rey ... Sugarfoot Sam
William James Jones William James Jones ... Billy Wright
Warren G ... Studio Musician


A revealing movie about the tumultuous life of Little Richard Penniman, whose ground-breaking music revolutionized rock and roll. Growing up a social misfit in poverty, Little Richard's passion, talent and flamboyance catapulted him into the limelight of rock music. His career was rocked by his homosexuality, his fundamental beliefs and the pervasive discrimination within the music industry. We go through his chart-topping years when he lived the quintessential Rock and Roll life, indulging in all-night orgies and the spiritual callings that pulled him in and out of the music industry. But as alcohol and drug addition plagued his career in the late 1960s, Little Richard makes the life-saving decision to return to his family. Through their love and strength, and Little Richard's resolve, he moves on in history to become one of the most memorable performers in rock and roll. Written by Artisan Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The struggle that nearly destroyed him. The miracle that saved him. The music that made him a legend. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music



Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Little Richard suggested Prince for the lead role, but the deal was never made. See more »


Little Richard: [improvising on the piano] A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-good-hot-damn! Tutti frutti! Good booty! Tutti frutti! Good booty! Tutti frutti! Good booty! Tutti frutti! Good booty! If it don't fit, don't force it! If you grease it, make it easy!
Bump Blackwell: We have *got* to record that!
Little Richard: What?
Bump Blackwell: Yeah that! *That* is a hit!
Little Richard: You're kidding me.
Bump Blackwell: No, no, no, no, I mean, we gotta clean up the lyrics though. That's a... that's a definite. Dorothy, get in here!
Little Richard: But wait a second. Bump...
Bump Blackwell: This is gonna be...! Dorothy!
[Dorothy runs in]
Bump Blackwell: ...
See more »

User Reviews

Very enjoyable show - Leon is the greatest!
20 February 2000 | by Sabine-2See all my reviews

Leon was fantastic as always, this time playing Little Richard in his early years. The movie showed a fully fleshed out Little Richard without neglecting to fill the show with lots of great music. My only complaint is that the ending was a little abrupt - I was hoping for a 2-parter!

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Release Date:

20 February 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Little Richard Story See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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