Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.

Director:

Paul Justman

Writers:

Walter Dallas (Narration), Ntozake Shange (Narration) | 1 more credit »
8 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard 'Pistol' Allen Richard 'Pistol' Allen ... Self
Jack Ashford ... Self
Bob Babbitt ... Self
Benny 'Papa Zita' Benjamin Benny 'Papa Zita' Benjamin ... Self (archive footage)
Eddie 'Bongo' Brown Eddie 'Bongo' Brown ... Self (archive footage)
Bootsy Collins ... Self
Johnny Griffith Johnny Griffith ... Self
Ben Harper ... Self
Joe Hunter ... Self - 'Funk Brothers' Keyboardist
James Jamerson James Jamerson ... Self (archive footage)
Uriel Jones Uriel Jones ... Self
Montell Jordan ... Self
Chaka Khan ... Self
Gerald Levert Gerald Levert ... Self
Joe Messina ... Self
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Storyline

In 1959, Berry Gordy Jr. gathered the best musicians from Detroit's thriving jazz and blues scene to begin cutting songs for his new record company. Over a fourteen year period they were the heartbeat on every hit from Motown's Detroit era. By the end of their phenomenal run, this unheralded group of musicians had played on more number ones hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined - which makes them the greatest hit machine in the history of popular music. They called themselves the Funk Brothers. Forty-one years after they played their first note on a Motown record and three decades since they were all together, the Funk Brothers reunited back in Detroit to play their music and tell their unforgettable story, with the help of archival footage, still photos, narration, interviews, re-creation scenes, 20 Motown master tracks, and twelve new live performances of Motown classics with the Brothers backing up contemporary performers. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They played on more #1 records than the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley combined... This is their story. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra got the last credit in the film. The orchestra provided strings and other instrumentation for Motown recording sessions. According to Funk Brothers member Dennis Coffey in his book, "Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars", this included sessions recorded with a Stradivarius violin played by the orchestra's violin concertmaster, Gordon Staples. See more »

Quotes

Uriel Jones: People would always say everything but the musicians. They would say it was the artists, the producers, the way the building was constructed, the wood in the floor, or maybe even food. But I'd like to see them take some barbecue ribs or hamburgers, anything, and throw down in that studio, shut the door and count off '1,2,3,4' and get a hit out of there. The formula was the musicians!
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Crazy Credits

After all of the credits roll, we see a few of the Funk Brothers leaving the Snake Pit and turning off the lights. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Where Did Our Love Go
by Eddie Holland (as Edward Holland Jr.), Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland
Performed by The Supremes
Used by permission of Jobete Music Co., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P.
under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

I enjoyed it
31 August 2003 | by joeregularmanSee all my reviews

One thing that I always noticed in the traditional "Motown" music from the 60's is either the sound of the Tamborine or the Vibes. Little did I know it was the same guy on every album.

Unlike many "true story" documentaries this was a good story with a happy ending. Most times when we watch documentaries about celebrities we tend to see much of the bad and ugly moments from their past. Certianly nobody is perfect with a squeeky clean background, however, I appriciate the fact that the producer of this movie put more emphasis on the good things and the funny stories and less on the conflicts and the shortcommings.

All of the extra features give you a sense of who these people are with the extra unedited footage of the band interacting with one and other. The part about the guys that died before, during, and after production was especially touching because it brought closure to a situation with many loose ends. I feel that this story has a happy ending because those who are still living and those who passed on are satisfied that they were recognized for their contributions.

Personally I would have liked to see the concert in its entirety instead of a few clips in between the candid interviews but overall it was a very well balanced and well written story about a band that most people didnt even know existed. Even though most people didnt know about the band, we can all relate because we know the songs. As each musican shares his involvement with Motown I know and "feel" where they are comming from because I probably have listened to their music a hundered times over.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 November 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Story of the Funk Brothers See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$114,442, 17 November 2002

Gross USA:

$1,722,119

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,344,256
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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