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Amazing Grace (2018)

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A documentary presenting Aretha Franklin with choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.
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1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Aretha Franklin ... Herself (archive footage)
Reverand James Cleveland Reverand James Cleveland ... Himself (archive footage) (as James Cleveland)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Southern California Community Choir Southern California Community Choir ... Themselves
C.L. Franklin C.L. Franklin ... Himself (archive footage)
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton ... Himself (archive footage)
Bernard Pretty Purdie Bernard Pretty Purdie ... Himself (archive footage) (as Bernard Purdie)
Chuck Rainey Chuck Rainey ... Himself (archive footage)
Clara Ward ... Herself (archive footage)


A documentary presenting Aretha Franklin with choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music


G | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

10 May 2019 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Amazing Grace See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,728,229, 19 May 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


20 hours of footage were shot by five 16mm-cameras on two days. See more »

Crazy Credits

The film concludes with a 1972-era Warner Bros. ending card, even though WB technically no longer has any ties to the film, to suggest how it would have played out had the project been completed and released when initially intended. See more »


Amazing Grace
Sung by Aretha Franklin
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User Reviews

Amazing Grace
19 May 2019 | by cultfilmfanSee all my reviews

Right from the first few seconds of the new film, Amazing Grace, we are given some astounding and fascinating tidbits of news about how the whole concert came to be and why up until now it has never been seen by viewers except for those who were actually in attendance at the church where it was filmed. Award winning director, Sidney Pollack was hired by Warner Brothers to film a live concert recording of then well known and very popular soul singer, Aretha Franklin as she performs at a California Baptist Church and sings the songs that she grew up with and learned herself having gone to church and having sung these gospel songs since she was a child. Whilst filming, the performance went on for two nights in a row with Aretha on vocals accompanied by the reverend on piano and a host of backup singers doing backup vocals and harmony. We are told several times that during the taping and filming of this concert which was originally meant to be aired on television, that there were so many technical difficulties amongst other problems that the filming crew ran into (some of which we witness whilst watching the film) and the film we see today before us has only been moderately restored and some of the technical glitches such as with editing and pacing remain intact, but this does not hamper, or detract from the film in any way, but instead makes the whole thing more of a historic relic from almost 50 years ago now and what an absolute treat it is for us viewers to see it for the first time after all these years and even with not the best editing, or camera work, the real reason we are all here is to hear Aretha sing these songs and this is fully and completely accomplished with this film and it is a film that truly moved me personally as not all, but enough of these very songs are songs and hymns that I also learned in the church as a child and some that we still sing regularly during morning and evening services on a Sunday. While the opening credits were rolling, I saw the logo for Spike Lee's production company, 40 Acres and a Mule which I later found out helped fund this rerelease and also that Spike himself was one of the producers on the film. Being a Christian, I found the music to be very moving as well as inspiring throughout the course of the film. Whether this would have the same type of effect on viewers who maybe have never been to church, or perhaps don't consider themselves to be Christians, I do not know. The audience in which I saw the film was completely packed and with those of whom I talked with after the film, all seemed to have really enjoyed it. Some of the attention to detail even with the technical difficulties still shines through as often we see the sweat and perspiration on Aretha and the other singers and players throughout the recording. It was currently January in California, but it must have been a stifling heat and perhaps the church back in 1972 didn't have the same type of air conditioning luxuries that we have today. Nevertheless this just goes on to show that Aretha and company are truly singing from the bottom of their hearts and all their hard work definitely does pay off. This particular recording we are told when on to become the best selling gospel album of all time and it most likely still carries that honour with it today. This is the type of film that is refreshing to see in a day and age of wars, political tension, scandals and violence all around us. This is a film the encourages us by the very persuasive style of music and ultimately lets us know that someone who can do something with all the trials and tribulations we face today can see what we as a people are going through and they also have the ability to help us and they will. This is a film that shows how music as a medium is so powerful as is the message it is getting across as well. With the recent passing of both Sidney Pollack and Aretha Franklin, this is a wonderful send off for both icons and a film that will continue to leave it's powerful influence on generations to come. What a wonder that this was finally released and at just the right time too.

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