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 »
4,224 ( 1,576)
4 wins & 19 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?


In the scene preceding the 1964 T.A.M.I. show, when James is discussing The Rolling Stones with Pop, The Beach Boys are in the background, rehearsing vocals. See more »


At the T.A.M.I. show, James walks by the Beach Boys dressing room. They are wearing "Pendleton" long sleeve shirts, which they wore earlier in their career. At the T.A.M.I. show they wore their trademark short-sleeved striped shirts, which they had been wearing in concert since at least March 1964. See more »


Little Richard: I play a show in Lafayette last week twenty thirty girls pass clean out. Need oxygen. I'm killing 'em James. They should lock me away. I cut loose it's like a spaceship land. Did I say I got a record out? They drop it five times a day on WIBB. Five times a day. And I'm flippin' burgers. You know why? Cause WIBB antenna reach 60 mile. 60 mile. This country is 5000 miles top to toe and 7000 coast to coast. You catch the wind, get a hit, a real hit, every inch of that is yours.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Time Is on My Side
Written by Jerry Ragovoy
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Courtesy of ABKCO Music & Records
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User Reviews

Electrifying, spot-on rendition but missing cohesiveness
3 August 2014 | by whitelakisha75See all my reviews

I loved the sheer energy and dedicated portrayal that Chadwick Boseworth was able to channel from the late Great Godfather of Soul. From the groovy tunes, to the steps but, most importantly for me the voice. Hands down he captured Mr. BROWNS vocals eerily similar to the point of feeling as if the man's spirit was in the theater with you. Yes, we see a small snippet of him as a flawed man and father. We look at his poverty stricken past and what it was like to grow up with extreme segregation and racism. I was able to pity him, love him, want him,hate him,worship him and be awed by him in the small allotted time that I was given. Sometimes the story skips between decades and you never get a full scope of this personal life but you do get a revelation of the genius that he was during a time where being black and about your business, taking no prisoners was not highly thought of or widely accepted.

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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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