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Get on Up (2014)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 1 August 2014 (USA)
2:39 | Trailer

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A chronicle of James Brown's rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.


Tate Taylor


Jez Butterworth (screenplay), John-Henry Butterworth (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
6 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Chadwick Boseman ... James Brown
Nelsan Ellis ... Bobby Byrd
Dan Aykroyd ... Ben Bart
Viola Davis ... Susie Brown
Lennie James ... Joe Brown
Fred Melamed ... Syd Nathan
Craig Robinson ... Maceo Parker
Jill Scott ... DeeDee Brown
Octavia Spencer ... Aunt Honey
Josh Hopkins ... Ralph Bass
Brandon Mychal Smith ... Little Richard (as Brandon Smith)
Tika Sumpter ... Yvonne Fair
Aunjanue Ellis ... Vicki Anderson
Tariq Trotter ... Pee Wee Ellis
Aloe Blacc ... Nafloyd Scott


On route to the stage, singer James Brown recalls a life with a turbulent childhood where music was his only constructive release for his passions. A chance demonstration of that in prison led to a new friend who helped get him out and into a musical career. With his fire and creative daring, Brown became a star who defiantly created new possibilities in show business both on and behind the stage in face of racism and conventional thinking. Along the way, James would also become a peacemaker who redefined and raised the African-American community's feeling of self-worth when it was needed most. However, those same domineering passions would lead James Brown alienating everyone around him as his appetites became ever more self-destructive. Only after he hit rock bottom with a serious mistake does Brown realize what he needs to do make his life as the Godfather of Soul truly worthwhile. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Funk don't Quit


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »





Release Date:

1 August 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Get on Up: Príbeh Jamese Browna See more »

Filming Locations:

Natchez, Mississippi, USA See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,585,915, 3 August 2014, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$30,513,940, 12 September 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When James and The Flames go onstage to perform their rendition of Caldonia, the music used was an actual recording of the real James Brown's rendition. The original includes a horn section, which was removed because the Flames didn't yet have a horn section in the film. See more »


When James Brown recorded "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)" in 1968, he recruited neighborhood children to sing backup. Ironically the children were mostly, if not all, white and Asian with little or no black kids. See more »


James Brown: Mr. President, I want to go to Vietnam. We've got to bring the super heavy funk to the cats over there... Are they shooting at us? They trying to kill James Brown today. You want to go down in history as the man who killed the funk?
See more »


Referenced in On Cinema: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Get on Up' (2014) See more »


Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
Written and Performed by by James Brown
Courtesy of Republic Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Chix Chat on Film review: The story of the Godfather of Soul
3 August 2014 | by EmmaDinkinsSee all my reviews

This film is long overdue, although it seemed to me that there was so much more content excluded from the storyline. If a film maker chooses to focus on the artistry and creativity that came forth from an individual then it is best not to delve too deeply into the demons, which for James Brown (Chadwick Boseman) were much bigger than portrayed in this film. I wasn't a fan of the style of filmmaking applied to this tale, I would have preferred a more linear approach to the historical events that shaped Mr. Brown's personality. Starting a story with some event that takes place at the end is not that unusual, but there was so much jumping back and forth from childhood to young adult to the 'Godfather of Soul' that it was hard to connect to the story initially. Then there were the soliloquies, I didn't quite fathom why they were needed since they really did not add much to the storytelling other than try to place the audience inside of James' head. This story of the lifelong friendship of James and Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis) was interesting and engaging, but nothing about this film was more entertaining than the music. I tried to be a good moviegoer so I didn't song along aloud, but it was almost impossible to just sit without moving to Caldonia and Get on Up. I couldn't help but reminisce as Please, Please, Please and This is a Man's World permeated the crowded theater. And yes, I fought back the tears during Try Me. The story did include a pivotal encounter with Little Richard (Brandon Smith) and the events that led to Bootsy Collins becoming a band member, but there were other musical icons that touched his life that were not mentioned. I guess the movie would have been too long to cover everyone. Mr. Boseman did a fine job of mimicking the enigmatic dance moves of Mr. Brown and his lip-syncing was palpable, but I just wasn't fully convinced with the vocal recreation. James Brown had a distinctive style of speech that few have been able to capture. Eddie Murphy did it with his comic genius on SNL with Hot tub, but he too may have fallen short if he was expected to maintain the sometimes indistinguishable speak throughout a feature film. I enjoyed this film, I saw it with my mother who is 74 and she loved it. The first concert that I ever attended was a James Brown concert. You don't know at the time that when you're just out for some entertainment, you're actually in the presence of greatness and that you are a part of historic events.

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