Chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists.

Director:

Darnell Martin

Writer:

Darnell Martin
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Alscher ... Mick Jagger (as Joshua Alscher)
Tim Bellow Tim Bellow ... Man in the Caddy (as Timothy Bellow)
Tony Bentley ... Lomax
Tammy Blanchard ... Isabelle Allen
Eric Bogosian ... Alan Freed
Marc Bonan ... Keith Richards
Adrien Brody ... Leonard Chess
Cedric the Entertainer ... Willie Dixon
Emmanuelle Chriqui ... Revetta Chess
Douglas Crosby Douglas Crosby ... Policeman (Little Walter beating)
Dexter Darden ... Geneva's Teenage Son
Veronika Dash ... Blonde Girl
Sean Shyboy Davis Sean Shyboy Davis ... Toothless Hillbilly Little Walter (as Sean Davis)
Eshaya Draper ... Charles Waters
Shiloh Fernandez ... Phil Chess
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Storyline

In this tale of sex, violence, race, and rock and roll in 1950s Chicago, "Cadillac Records" follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America's musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry. Written by Sony Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If you take the ride, you must pay the price. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Matt Dillon was originally meant to play Leonard Chess, but ultimately could not do this movie. Adrien Brody replaced him. See more »

Goofs

Etta James is portrayed as never having recorded before she signed with Chess, but an earlier insert shot showing a Chess record moving up the charts includes her hit "Wallflower," recorded for Modern Records in 1955, five years before she started recording for Chess. See more »

Quotes

Muddy Waters: Now, let me talk this peckerwood out of calling the cops.
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Connections

Referenced in Geeks Who Drink: Felicia Day vs. Dexter Darden (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Once In a Lifetime
Performed by Beyoncé
Written by Beyoncé, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, Jody Street
Published by B-Day Publishing / EMI April Music, Inc., Amanda Ghost Bucks Music Group Limited / EMI Blackwood Music,
Inc., Red Ink Music Limited, Ian Dench Music / Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing, Chrysalis Music
Courtesy of Columbia Records
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User Reviews

 
GREAT Music, Flashy Nostalgia, Fascinating Cultural History
21 December 2008 | by Danusha_GoskaSee all my reviews

"Cadillac Records" is a fun, fast, flashy introduction to the world of Chess Records. In the 1950s, Leonard Chess, a Polish-born Jew in Chicago, along with his brother Phil (not seen in this film) produced "race" records by African American blues and rock and roll legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Etta James.

These artists' work had huge impact on popular music; the Rolling Stones are shown on a pilgrimage to Chess Studio. Their music is great and is played all but non-stop on the soundtrack, which is a very good thing. Flashy glimpses into the glamorous styles of the 1950s and 60s include loving looks at the many Cadillacs Chess gives as gifts to his star performers.

Jeffrey Wright is quietly compelling as Muddy Waters. Mos Def is a charming Chuck Berry; he really communicates the charisma that Berry exuded to his adoring female fans. Eamonn Walker is terrific, and appropriately intimidating, as Howlin' Wolf. Walker electrifies the screen with his every morsel of screen time; I wish that after they'd finished "Cadillac Records," they had just kept the sets up and kept the cameras running and began a biography of Howlin' Wolf with Walker in the lead. Beyonce Knowles is very beautiful and pays worthy tribute to Etta James, the singer she plays.

"Cadillac Records" feels a bit rushed, and not as deep and probing as it could have been. Perhaps much backstory was cut out? A shame, because Adrien Brody, a brilliant and compelling actor, is not given enough to do.

So much more could and should have been said about Chess the man and his motivations, and the complex relationship he had with his singers. There is the story that Chess put Muddy Waters to work painting his ceiling. Some accused him of paternalism; curious viewers are advised to pick up Nadine Cohodas' book "Spinning Blues into Gold: The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records." Also, "Cadillac Records" can't avoid the clichés inherent in music biopics: the innocent character is introduced to drugs for the first time, and is ruined by them; the self destructiveness of brilliant people, the exhilarating, brutal, rags-to-riches-to-obscurity trajectory of show biz careers. For all that, "Cadillac Records" is fun and it makes you want to learn more about an important cultural moment in American history.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures [Japan]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cadillac Records See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,445,559, 7 December 2008

Gross USA:

$8,195,551

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,883,644
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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