A chronicle of James Brown's rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

Director:

Tate Taylor

Writers:

Jez Butterworth (screenplay), John-Henry Butterworth (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
3,009 ( 994)
4 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The Funk don't Quit

Genres:

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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When James and The Flames go onstage to perform their rendition of Caldonia, the music used was an actual recording of the real James Brown's rendition. The original includes a horn section, which was removed because the Flames didn't yet have a horn section in the film. See more »

Goofs

When the madam pays James, she peels off a roll of $1 bills.They're federal reserve notes with a green seal, introduced in the early 1960s. The bills should've been silver certificates or US notes with blue or red seals. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Honey: You special. You mama's a no account fool, your daddy too, but you ain't going to be. You gonna be okay. One day, everybody going to know your name.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Sky News at 10: Episode dated 29 August 2020 (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Please, Please, Please (Live in Paris)
Written by James Brown, Johnny Terry
Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of Republic Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
Amazing Performance
2 August 2014 | by sales-70-819099See all my reviews

An eye opener for me. James Brown was one of the great innovators and leaders in American music and yet for many people he is a total unknown. Watching the movie one finds that his influence was immense on many of the musicians that followed him in all the many forms American music has evolved over the time, from rhythm and blues to rock and roll. It is fascinating look at the times from the post World War 2 period through the turmoil of the Civil Rights era. It is also a revelation about the music and the man. Amazing performance by Chadwick Boseman. The contrast between his portrayal of Jackie Robinson in 42 and this shows a great strength in acting ability. It is a truly Oscar worthy performance in and of itself. Hats off to Mick Jagger for producing this movie.


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Get on Up See more »

Filming Locations:

Natchez, Mississippi, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,585,915, 3 August 2014

Gross USA:

$30,703,100

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$33,448,971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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