133 user 172 critic

Get on Up (2014)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 1 August 2014 (USA)
2:39 | Trailer
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 »
5 wins & 18 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 »

Did You Know?


This is Aunjanue Ellis' third film based on a real-life musician. See more »


When James walks to the private jet after talking to Velma at the airport, modern cars can be seen parked behind the control tower. Later, when the police are chasing James in his truck through an industrial area, modern cars can again be seen parked in the background. See more »


Bobby Byrd: He's a show-stopper. It's a miracle!
Sarah Byrd: Really? Maybe me and you could work on a little harmony together.
Mrs. Byrd: Sarah, get down here!
Bobby Byrd: She coming, mama. She coming.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie's title is shown as neon lit text, hanging in a window during the opening scene. See more »


Referenced in Film 2018: Episode dated 19 November 2014 (2014) See more »


I Got You
Written & Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of Island Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

User Reviews

A good movie as entertaining as the legendary man it's based on.
2 August 2014 | by bbickley13-921-58664See all my reviews

I remember when I first herd rumors about this movie, and Spike Lee's Involvement with it. He wanted Wesley Snipes to be The hardest working man in showbiz and I thought, perfect. Chadwick Boseman had some big shoes to fill, not only in my perception of Snipes but being James Brown himself. Lucky for Chadwick, Tate Taylor was backing him up.

The director made a well crafted biopic about James Brown. Choosing to format the story in a more nonlinear fashion, which was brilliant. Sometimes movies based on real people tend to get dull when they hit a point in their lives when nothing is really going on. Taylor fixed it by not telling the story of James Brown from beginning to end.

The movie goes over all the highlights of James Brown's career. From playing Boston after Martian Luther king was shot to his infamous car chase with the state troopers. In-between it tells the story of James Brown's youth before he even got into music.

The musical part I found interesting, as it showcases what made Mr. Brown's sound so unique and what was going through his head when he was making music.

It's strange that Chadwick Boseman is making a career out of playing famous trail blazers, doing James Brown so soon after playing Jackie Robinson in 42. He does do a better job in this film than he did in 42. Watching him perform as James Brown was entertaining.

So despite falling into some clichés you see with biopic about musicians (like that scene in the beginning of the movie when an old icon reflects on his past) the movie did have it's own unique style too it similar to Mr. Brown himself, and though Chadwick's performance was bold genuine, I'm still thinking what Wesley Snipes could have done with the film.

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Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »





Release Date:

1 August 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Get on Up See more »

Filming Locations:

Natchez, Mississippi, USA See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,585,915, 3 August 2014

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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