A mythical account of the life of Buddy Bolden, the first Cornet King of New Orleans.


Dan Pritzker


Dan Pritzker (screenplay), Dan Pritzker (story) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Carr ... Buddy Bolden
Erik LaRay Harvey ... Bartley
Ian McShane ... Judge Perry
Michael Rooker ... Pat McMurphy
Yaya DaCosta ... Nora Bolden
Reno Wilson ... Louis Armstrong
Robert Ri'chard ... George Baquet
Karimah Westbrook ... Alice Bolden
JoNell Kennedy ... Ida Bass
Kearia Schroeder ... Grace
Serena Reeder ... Mavis
Krystal Farris ... Belladonna
Christina Marie Karis ... Bernadette
Terri Abney ... Judith
Breon Pugh ... Willie Warner


A mythical account of the life of Buddy Bolden, the first Cornet King of New Orleans.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Where the Music Began



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and graphic nudity, brutal violence, language and drug use

Did You Know?


This was originally filmed in 2007 with Anthony Mackie starring as Bolden. Director Dan Pritzker thought that what he had shot "just didn't work", so he shelved it. Extensive rewrites and reshoots took place from 2009 to 2010, but Pritzker shelved the film again.

Three months of even more reshoots were scheduled from 2014 to 2015, with a mostly new cast and crew. Mackie, whose career had taken off in the interim, was no longer available, so he was replaced by Gary Carr. (Mackie still appears as Bolden in Louis (2010), which was filmed at at the same time as this film and completed first.)

Several more days of reshoots took place in 2016, and the film was finally completed in 2018 and released in 2019. According to Pritzker, a little over 10% from the original 2007 shoot remains in the finished film. See more »


Buddy Bolden: I play the church music better.
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User Reviews

"Bolden" is a different approach to the drama biopic.
13 May 2019 | by SnobReviewsSee all my reviews

"Bolden" will transcend you into a hallucinogenic state and is an interesting approach to the conventional biopic.

In this drama based on a true story, although much of his life remains a mystery, Buddy Bolden becomes the first cornet king of New Orleans.

Overall, "Bolden" isn't for everyone. The film features solid performances from its cast, an excellent score by Wynton Marsalis, but the story can become confusing to viewers. I understand that much of Bolden's life is almost of myth, which is why writer/director Dan Pritzker took the approach he did. A vision of a life that will be underrated, but if you enjoy jazz music and a fresh take on the biopic drama, check out "Bolden".

Go see it or wait to see it at home.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

3 May 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bolden! See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

King Bolden See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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