7.5/10
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32 user 88 critic

Amazing Grace (2018)

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2:10 | Trailer
A documentary presenting Aretha Franklin with choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.

Directors:

Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack (uncredited)
2 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Aretha Franklin ... Herself (archive footage)
James Cleveland James Cleveland ... Himself (archive footage)
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton ... Himself - Choir Director (archive footage)
Cornell Dupree Cornell Dupree ... Himself - Guitar (archive footage)
Kenny Luper Kenny Luper ... Himself - Organ (archive footage)
Poncho Morales Poncho Morales ... Himself - Percussion (archive footage)
Bernard Pretty Purdie Bernard Pretty Purdie ... Himself - Drums (archive footage) (as Bernard Purdie)
Chuck Rainey Chuck Rainey ... Himself - Bass (archive footage)
Christine Adams Christine Adams ... Herself - The Southern California Community Choir (archive footage)
Alonzo Atkins Alonzo Atkins ... Himself - The Southern California Community Choir (archive footage)
Lucy Ayers Lucy Ayers ... Herself - The Southern California Community Choir (archive footage)
James A. Broomfield James A. Broomfield ... Himself - The Southern California Community Choir (archive footage)
Eugene Bryant Eugene Bryant ... Himself - The Southern California Community Choir (archive footage)
Syndrul Drahe Syndrul Drahe ... Themselves - The Southern California Community Choir (archive footage)
Mary Ann Hall Mary Ann Hall ... Herself - The Southern California Community Choir (archive footage)
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 2019 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Amazing Grace See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$57,353, 9 December 2018

Gross USA:

$4,450,456

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,783,606
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Sydney Pollack was totally inexperienced in shooting music documentary and shot without clapper boards snapping shut at the beginning of each take to help synchronize sound and picture in post-production. As a result of this mistake, even after months of work by experts, the 20 hours of footage couldn't be synchronized with the audio tracks. The choir director from the Watts recordings was brought in to try to lip-read the reels, but after months of work, only about 150 minutes of footage had been matched with sound, none of it adding up to a complete, useable song. Deadlines passed as the "Amazing Grace" album came out in June 1972, selling millions with no synergy. In August, Warner Bros. officially wrote off and shelved the movie. Pollack never gave up on the project, but constantly had other commitments. In 2007, dying of cancer, Pollack finally handed the documentary project over to producer and music enthusiast Alan Elliott. See more »

Quotes

Rev. Franklin: I went in the cleaners one day in Detroit to pick up some clothes, and Aretha had appeared on a recent television show. And she told me, "I saw your daughter Aretha last night." I said, "Yes? How did you like it?" She said, "It was all right. But I'll be glad when she comes back to the church." I said, "Listen baby, let me tell you something. If you want to know the truth, she has never left the church."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Recorded sound continues over the end credits and ends with technicians shouting at people to be quiet. See more »

Soundtracks

What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Performed by Aretha Franklin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
She's Still Our Queen
11 July 2019 | by cupofsoulshowSee all my reviews

This reviewer may be one of the biggest Aretha Franklin fans ever. It is unquestionable also that Franklin was the most important Female Artist of the 60's going into the 70''s. So naturally when it was announced that they would finally be releasing the concert film of " Amazing Grace" I was beyond excited. "Amazing Grace" documents the recording of her multi platinum album of the same name. It's not a secret that Aretha Franklin came from Gospel. It was the basis for everything she did. "Amazing Grace" to this day stands as the bestselling gospel album of all time and her bestselling album.

Director Sidney Pollack was hired to document this recording. This film at times seems unfinished or one big revival but that's not why you should buy a a ticket. You're watching sheer talent at hand - raw, unadulterated talent given by God. Aretha in her element joined by the California Community Choir and The Reverend James Cleveland provide the audience a spiritual elevation. This movie isn't about cinematic perfection; it's about touching your soul. Some of my favorite moments are her rendition of "Mary Won't You Weep" and her mash-up of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand, and You've Got Friend" made famous by James Taylor. Only Aretha could turn a secular song and incorporate it into a gospel hymn.

Aretha like most artists of her caliber was a perfectionist and didn't want the movie to be released while she was alive, but I'm glad that her family differed in her view. There is a whole generation that never got to experience this Aretha and now they can.

You will get a chance to see her Father the Reverend C.L Franklin and the tight bond they shared. There are also other celebrities in the building such as Clara Ward, and if you pay close attention, an enthusiastic Mick Jagger is sitting in the back.

This movie is a reverence to a time when black America was no longer defining itself by white standards but firmly standing in its blackness. Aretha was our queen and the church our foundation. She was our refuge our joy our Amazing Grace. All hail the Queen.

Diversity: This movie gets a ten. It doesn't get any blacker than Aretha and gospel music.

Scale: I highly recommend this movie not because Aretha was my favorite singer but because we could use a little spiritual revival during these dark times. A rousing 8 and Amen.


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