The Five Heartbeats (1991)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Drama, Family Drama, Musical Drama, Film a Clef  |   Release Date - Mar 29, 1991 (USA)  |   Run Time - 122 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Loosely based on the life and times of several R&B artists (The Dells, The Temptations, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke and others) The Five Heartbeats traces the rise and fall of a popular African-American 1950s singing aggregation. The story is told from the point of view of one of the "Heartbeats," played by Robert Townsend (who also co-produced, directed and co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Waynans). The film is an amalgam of anecdotes drawn from real-life experiences: the long struggle upward, the first rush of success, the dishonest record-company executives, the hard-nosed but nurturing managers, the sex, the drugs, the isolation and the precipitous downward slide. The film begins and ends in the 1990s, as the middle-aged "Duck" (Townsend) ruminates on the past and makes the best of the present.

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Keywords

music-business, behind-the-scenes, blues-music, choir, church, corruption, cross-cultural-relations, drugs, extramarital-affair, friendship, racism, rival, songwriter, stars [celebrities], talent-show