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Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

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Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.

Director:

Paul Justman

Writers:

Walter Dallas (Narration), Ntozake Shange (Narration) | 1 more credit »
8 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard 'Pistol' Allen Richard 'Pistol' Allen ... Himself
Jack Ashford ... Himself
Bob Babbitt ... Himself
Benny 'Papa Zita' Benjamin Benny 'Papa Zita' Benjamin ... Himself (archive footage)
Eddie 'Bongo' Brown Eddie 'Bongo' Brown ... Himself (archive footage)
Bootsy Collins ... Himself
Johnny Griffith Johnny Griffith ... Himself
Ben Harper ... Himself
Joe Hunter ... Himself
James Jamerson James Jamerson ... Himself (archive footage)
Uriel Jones Uriel Jones ... Himself
Montell Jordan ... Himself
Chaka Khan ... Herself
Gerald Levert Gerald Levert ... Himself
Joe Messina ... Himself
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Storyline

In 1959, Berry Gordy Jr. gathered the best musicians from Detroit's thriving jazz and blues scene to begin cutting songs for his new record company. Over a fourteen year period they were the heartbeat on every hit from Motown's Detroit era. By the end of their phenomenal run, this unheralded group of musicians had played on more number ones hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined - which makes them the greatest hit machine in the history of popular music. They called themselves the Funk Brothers. Forty-one years after they played their first note on a Motown record and three decades since they were all together, the Funk Brothers reunited back in Detroit to play their music and tell their unforgettable story, with the help of archival footage, still photos, narration, interviews, re-creation scenes, 20 Motown master tracks, and twelve new live performances of Motown classics with the Brothers backing up contemporary performers. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They played on more #1 records than the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley combined... This is their story. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 November 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Story of the Funk Brothers See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$114,442, 17 November 2002

Gross USA:

$1,722,119

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,344,256
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Uriel Jones: People would always say everything but the musicians. They would say it was the artists, the producers, the way the building was constructed, the wood in the floor, or maybe even food. But I'd like to see them take some barbecue ribs or hamburgers, anything, and throw down in that studio, shut the door and count off '1,2,3,4' and get a hit out of there. The formula was the musicians!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After all of the credits roll, we see a few of the Funk Brothers leaving the Snake Pit and turning off the lights. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Cloud Nine
by Norman Whitfield (as Norman J. Whitfield) and Barrett Strong
Performed by Meshell Ndegeocello and The Funk Brothers
Me'Shell NdegéOcello appears courtesy of Maverick Recording Company
Used by permission of Jobete Music Co., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Behind the music
25 October 2003 | by gravity3See all my reviews

Forget VH1, forget MTV, this is the real deal. Even if you loathe documentaries, this film is different - it's about the music and the musicians that made it, and there's not a boring moment on film. If you ever liked the Motown sound, if you ever liked music for that matter, you owe it to yourself to learn how so many great recordings really came about. If you like what's on the radio right now, here's a rare chance to find out where it all really came from. A lot of the artists playing and singing today were heavily influenced by the Funk Brothers, whether they realise it entirely or not. So if you want to learn who created those sounds in the first place, you must see STANDING. I can't say enough about this film.

Now I don't want to belittle the talent that stood in front of the Funk Bros., because they deserve a lot of credit. But honestly, after seeing it the first time, I thought about how tragic it is that no one had really done it before. Maybe that's it's only flaw - this is a story we should have heard 30 years ago. I probably knew more than most being a musician myself, but there were many aspects that were revelations. To hear these guys play in a live setting again, is above and beyond what you could expect in this kind of work. But it's here - rent, buy, go see this movie!


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