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Director: Robert Townsend     Starring: Michael Wright
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Five Heartbeats DVD 1 of 1

Learn more about Five Heartbeats:

Format: DVD
Sku: 40162103
UPC: 024543018766
UPC 14: 00024543018766
Rating: Game Rating Code
See more in Family & Kids
It's 1965, the early days of rock and roll, and five buddies who share the dream of "making music" journey together through three decades. Acting both as a family and sometimes as bitter rivals, they experience success and tragedy in this excellent film. The ground breaking Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle) performs dual roles as director and star. With compelling performances by a cast which includes Leon and Diahann Carroll, The Five Heartbeats is an irresistible combination of music and drama which captures a unique period in musical and American history. Townsend did research for his fictional R&B group by hanging out and travelling with The Dells, an R&B group that has been together for 38 years. The Dells acted as technical advisors on the film.

"...a giddy mixture of comedy, music and drama.  Desson Howe, Washington Post
"A stunning and exhuberant motion picture. Terrific acting and unforgettable music.  Jim Whaley, PBS
"Townsend shows a real go for the human truth in his characters.  Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Editor's Note
Actor-director Robert Townsend came to fame depicting the pitfalls of the Hollywood experience for black actors with his 1987 film HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE. Four years later, he took on the mid-'60s music scene with THE FIVE HEARTBEATS. After doing extensive research with long-lived pop/R&B group the Dells, he painted a cinematic scene of five young friends in the 60s who share the dream of making music. They journey together through three decades, experiencing all the ups and downs show business had to offer, intensified by the difficulties faces by black acts in the era of civil-rights protest. Interacting as everything from a close-knit musical family to occasional bitter rivals, the fictional Five Heartbeats experience both success and tragedy in this excellent film. The multi-talented Townshend functions as both director and star, alongside compelling performances by a cast that includes Leon and Diahann Caroll. Featuring a mix of original songs and classic Motown material, THE FIVE HEARTBEATS is an irresistible combination of music and drama that captures a unique period in American cultural history.


Video Features DVD

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Foxvideo
Video Release Date Release Date: 1/22/2002
Video Play Time Running Time: 120 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 1991
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 2001876
Video UPC UPC: 00024543018766
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Diahann Carroll
Video Cast Info Harold Nicholas
Video Cast Info Harry J. Lennix
Video Cast Info Leon
Video Cast Info Michael Wright
Video Cast Info Robert Townsend
Video Cast Info Tico Wells
Video Cast Info Robert Townsend - Director
Video Cast Info Bill Dill - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info John Carter - Film Editor
Video Cast Info Stanley Clarke - Musical Score
Video Cast Info Loretha C. Jones - Producer
Video Cast Info Wynn Thomas - Production Designer
Video Cast Info Robert Townsend - Writer
Video Cast Info Keenen Ivory Wayans - Writer

Professional Reviews

New York Times
"...Fundamental sweetness and sincerity....[In cameo, Harold Nicholas's] very presence expands the range of this film..." 03/29/1991 p.C14

Los Angeles Times
"...Musically, THE FIVE HEARTBEATS is on target all the way. It's hard to remember a recent film that had so many warm-hearted, rousing, big-souled song numbers..." 03/29/1991 p.F1

The Village Voice 8 of 10
A propulsive score, spirited choreography by Michael Peters and evocative sets and costumes help Townsend re-create musical history.

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