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Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

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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 »

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Cast

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

The soul behind the sound. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,600,547, 23 February 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Title Card: In 1959, Berry Gordy gathered the best musicians from Detroit's thriving jazz and blues scene to cut songs for his new record company.
Title Card: Over a fourteen year period they were the heartbeat on "My Girl," "Bernadette," "I Was Made to Love Her" and every other hit from Motown's Detroit era.
Title Card: By the end of their phenomenal run, this unheralded group of musicians had played on more number one hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis, and the Beatles combined...
Title Card: Which makes them the greatest ...
See more »

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

Scorpio
by Dennis Coffey
Performed by Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band
Used by permission of Interior Music Co.
All Rights Reserved
Courtesy of Avant Garde Enterprises, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Standing in the Shadows of Motown
3 May 2003 | by thor12See all my reviews

I have reviewed this movie and I am appalled @ Berry Gordy and the Music Industry for keeping this a secret all these years. It is apparent these musicians, "who were worth their weight in Gold" has been overlooked for the artists they were all these years. I was born in 1958, and one of my first songs when coming to the "city" was "Jimmy Mack" and "ShotGun". During my childhood years while I was listening to the "Motown Sound" and thinking that "Jimmy Walker and the AllStars" - the Allstars being the ones to produce such a lovely set of musical instrumental sounds, but now to my surprise I learn it is a group of experienced talented men kept in the dark by Berry Gordy who led the Motown Industry into fame by these "Musician's" unprecedented experience and abilities. I feel a lot of sympathy for those musicians who were obviously overlooked by society - because noone thought enough to "hip" us to what was really going on @ Motown (Berry Gordy). I feel that the Musicians should have gotten the credit and monetary awards which was due, which I now feel was obviously focused on by the industry to be the singer versus the real talent (musicians) which was the underlying key element in the success of the singers that came to Motown. It became obvious to me during the movie that these Musicians did not enjoy the monetary rewards nor the fame that they deserved in life for the services they provided to Motown. There is no doubt that the singers - for instance my idols - Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson were great no matter what band they had behind them. But it was the chemistry of the band and singers at Motown that made the same hit after hit situation that repeatedly occurred over the course of time. They complimented one another, and in a situation in which this thrives there can be nothing but a win - win situation. However, it appears that the real winners in this situation was Berry Gordy and the Artists - moreover Berry, who seemed to screw you all ! Nevertheless, my hats off to the Musicians - you are the foundation and the ultimate "Sound of Motown"! Thank you for supplying my child and adulthood with so much beautiful music!!! I love you guys!

Thanks!

J.E.B.


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