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      Standing in the Shadows of Motown

      PG Released Nov 15, 2002 1 hr. 48 min. Documentary List
      91% 92 Reviews Tomatometer 89% 2,500+ Ratings Audience Score This documentary mixes performances, interviews and reenactments to celebrate the Funk Brothers, the 1960s soul hitmakers. As the musicians behind the Temptations, the Four Tops and others, the "brothers" were hugely successful, yet relatively anonymous compared to the famous singers they backed. They get their due here, as Richard "Pistol" Allen, Benny "Papa Zita" Benjamin and bandmates discuss their Detroit youth, studio sessions alongside Marvin Gaye and nonstop touring. Read More Read Less
      Standing in the Shadows of Motown

      What to Know

      Critics Consensus

      A toe-tapping tribute to the band that gave Motown its sound.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member I've always wanted to know what Motown meant. Now I know that and more. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review Audience Member very insightful into the beginnings of Motown and the Legends like the Funk Brothers where it all started. Sad to see the roots of good music is being lost today as the Funk Brothers pass Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member A great documentary filled with info on all the in house band members who playing for all the great Motown artists. A lot of history covered in this film!!!! Great presentation!!!! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review ken k What a wonderful film highlighted by live performances by some of the original Funk Brothers. Their story runs an eerie parallel to that of the Wrecking crew. A wonderful magic carpet ride that ended abruptly and too soon. Good to see these wonderful people that touched so many lives finally get some well deserved recognition. Please do yourself a favor ...see it and add it to your collection of classics. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 06/26/15 Full Review Audience Member Good doc on the Funk Brothers, who were the backing band on nearly all the Detroit-era Motown singles by the greats like Smokey, Marvin, Temptations, Supremes, etc. Nice to see they're still going as musicians (some of them) sad to hear about the lack of recognition. What stands out most is that this doesn't have the involvement of Berry Gordy or a lot of other Motown key people. Martha Reeves (of the Vandellas) is about the only interviewee from Motown....makes you wonder if there's bad blood, or if Gordy's ego just doesn't give room for the great musicianship of the band. (That being said, some of the band members were just a little cocky about how good they were and that they could have had anyone sing over it and it would have been a hit...which kind of negates a lot of the other genius at work in Motown). Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member Great documentary on the most unsung heroes of music. As is mentioned in the movie, and anywhere you see them mentioned, The Funk Brothers played on more Number 1 singles than the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and Elvis Presley combined. Yet hardly anyone has heard of them. I certainly hadn't, and my musical knowledge is pretty good. (Though, admittedly, I do lean more towards rock than soul). This documentary examines the history of the Funk Brothers, and also has some made-for-the-movie performances by them, complete with vocals by luminaries such as Ben Harper, Bootsy Collins, Joan Collins, Chaka Khan. The documentary part is well done, covering all the important aspects of their history, as well as interviewing the surviving members. Musical performances are great. A must-see for a Motown fan, or anyone interested in the history of music. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

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      Empire Magazine Rated: 5/5 Aug 1, 2003 Full Review Jamie Russell BBC.com Rated: 4/5 Jul 25, 2003 Full Review Newsday Rated: 3/4 May 28, 2003 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy Terrific entertainment. Rated: 3.5/4 Aug 29, 2021 Full Review Benjamin H. Smith Decider One of the most influential music documentaries of recent years and one of the best. Apr 1, 2020 Full Review Kathy Fennessy The Stranger (Seattle, WA) I'd rather see them play music with the original artists, with each other, or in archival clips (of which there are plenty). Aug 22, 2017 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis This documentary mixes performances, interviews and reenactments to celebrate the Funk Brothers, the 1960s soul hitmakers. As the musicians behind the Temptations, the Four Tops and others, the "brothers" were hugely successful, yet relatively anonymous compared to the famous singers they backed. They get their due here, as Richard "Pistol" Allen, Benny "Papa Zita" Benjamin and bandmates discuss their Detroit youth, studio sessions alongside Marvin Gaye and nonstop touring.
      Director
      Paul Justman
      Executive Producer
      Paul Elliot
      Screenwriter
      Walter Dallas, Ntozake Shange, Alan Slutsky
      Distributor
      Artisan Entertainment
      Production Co
      Rimshot LLC
      Rating
      PG (Thematic Elements|Language)
      Genre
      Documentary
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Nov 15, 2002, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Feb 4, 2014
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $1.6M
      Sound Mix
      Dolby SR, DTS, Dolby Stereo, Surround, SDDS, Dolby A, Dolby Digital
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.85:1)