16 user 5 critic

Bolden (2019)

R | | Drama | 3 May 2019 (USA)
1:02 | Trailer
A mythical account of the life of Buddy Bolden, the first Cornet King of New Orleans.


Dan Pritzker


Dan Pritzker (screenplay), Dan Pritzker (story) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Carr ... Buddy Bolden
Erik LaRay Harvey ... Bartley
Ian McShane ... Judge Perry
Michael Rooker ... Pat McMurphy
Yaya DaCosta ... Nora Bolden
Reno Wilson ... Louis Armstrong
Robert Ri'chard ... George Baquet
Karimah Westbrook ... Alice Bolden
JoNell Kennedy ... Ida Bass
Kearia Schroeder ... Grace
Serena Reeder ... Mavis
Krystal Farris ... Belladonna
Christina Marie Karis ... Bernadette
Terri Abney ... Judith
Breon Pugh ... Willie Warner


A mythical account of the life of Buddy Bolden, the first Cornet King of New Orleans.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Where the Music Began



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and graphic nudity, brutal violence, language and drug use

Did You Know?


Bolden's cornet solos were performed by multiple Grammy winner, Wynton Marsalis. See more »


Bartley: You got to put your music in the man's machine, motherfucker.
See more »

User Reviews

Come for the Music. Stay for the Legend.
2 November 2019 | by regalosdelsolSee all my reviews

Wow critics. A 5.5 rating? Really? From the moment this movie started I was swept away by the music. Did somebody really complain about the lack of dialogue? Because if so then you have completely missed the point. This movie is about music. And more specifically, the beginnings of Jazz and the music of Buddy Bolden.

So you didn't know anything about Buddy Bolden before you saw the movie and now you know even less? Well, welcome to the club. Nobody knew anything about Buddy Bolden. He was a mystery. An enigma. And a musical genius. It was refreshing to see a movie that did not throw in false "facts" about the life of the man so that the audience could feel comfortable knowing who Bolden was and why he ended up in an asylum. This movie won't make you feel comfortable. Sorry. Watching the mental demise of this man filled with so much talent and promise was heartbreaking. The world that Bolden grew up in was weighted down with severe oppression, racism and brutal violence. Bolden took his music to a place where his soul could be free from what was happening around him. Until the real world came crashing down on him.

I liked the way the movie paralleled the demise of Bolden's mind simultaneously with the demise of his world. It was clever and well done and I never once found myself confused between past and present and reality and fantasy. I cannot imagine a movie about Buddy Bolden to be anything less than dreamlike because the whole of his life was like a dream. His legacy is mythical because there is no real proof since there are no recordings of Bolden's music. All we have is what we've heard. And even so, it's just a whisper.

Don't watch this movie and expect to know anything more about Bolden's life than you knew before you watched it. Expect to be entertained because that's what Buddy was. An entertainer who was gifted with a talent that none of us will ever hear.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

3 May 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bolden! See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

King Bolden See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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