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B.B. King: The Life of Riley (2012)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Music | May 2014 (USA)
The untold true American story of an orphan boy from the heart of the Mississippi Delta who rose to music stardom around the world and inspired a generation of fans against all odds.


Jon Brewer




Cast overview, first billed only:
Morgan Freeman ... Narrator
B.B. King ... Self
Bill Cosby ... Self
Albert King Albert King ... Self - B. B. King's father (voice) (archive footage)
Lessie Mae Fair Lessie Mae Fair ... Self
David Matthews David Matthews ... Self
Sara Betty Lou Henson Sara Betty Lou Henson ... Self
Bobby Bland ... Self
John Cadillac Holden John Cadillac Holden ... Self (as 'Cadillac' John Nolden)
Walter Trout Walter Trout ... Self
Wayne Cartledge Wayne Cartledge ... Self
Charles Evers ... Self
Jo Cartledge Jo Cartledge ... Self
Delcia Davis Delcia Davis ... Self
Carver Randle Carver Randle ... Self


The untold true American story of an orphan boy from the heart of the Mississippi Delta who rose to music stardom around the world and inspired a generation of fans against all odds.

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


John Mayall: I would say that Eric
John Mayall: was most influenced by Freddie King's playing, Mick Taylor was most influenced by Albert King, and Peter Green was most definitely a B B King devotee
See more »


On My Word of Honor
Written by Katherine Harrison and Jean Miles
Performed by B.B. King
Courtesy of Universal Music Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

Detailed Doc Chronicles the Life & Career of the Blues Legend
19 November 2014 | by larrys3See all my reviews

This detailed documentary, directed by Jon Brewer, chronicles the life and career of B.B. King, 89-years-old at the time of the filming, the legendary guitarist and blues singer. The film traces his life from his birth (as Riley B. King) to impoverished sharecropper parents, in Mississippi, to his very early love of the guitar and music, through his hard labor on Mississippi farms, to his eventually leaving the state to try and begin his musical career in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

King would slowly establish himself in the record business and eventually begin to tour across America on what was known then as the "chitlin' circuit", which during strict segregation at the time provided black entertainers venues in theaters and clubs. He would gain more and more notoriety, as his talents were noticed, and with his million seller hit record "3 O'clock Blues", he would cross over and be able to perform in any venue and on national television.

What struck me the most, while viewing this movie, was the strength of character and genuineness of King, as well his sense of fairness despite all of the hardships he had endured. This often would be expressed with his quiet sense of humor, as well, of course through his soulful and legendary music.

Just to note, I thought the documentary could have been a little better edited, running near two hours with some areas being repetitive. Also, at first, it was hard to understand some of what the interviewees had to say. with their deep Southern accents and drawls.

However, overall I found this film to be very informative and interesting, and it also was filled with historic film clips and photos as well as good music.

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Official Sites:

Cardinal Releasing | Official site





Release Date:

May 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

B.B. King: The Life of Riley See more »

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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