Arctic Voice Earl | 02/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine movie about the rise, and fall, of some of the super black rock groups in the 60s and 70s. It also shows, but kind of over-simplifies (I hope) how the white,squeaky clean groups covered a lot of the material and made out with big bucks. I will always remember one of the early scenes where Michael Wright's character Eddie, the lead singer of the Heartbeats, barely escapes a violent card game and comes running and sliding on stage to join the Heartbeats in an on-stage competition. But there could have been a lot more music and a little less sub-plot ---sex, racist Southern cops, etc. And the final scene----why on earth couldn't the movie show the members actually singing once again when they got together? But it is a great effort and you will enjoy it. I love the music so, that I wanted this movie to tell it all. But it told a lot."
Probably one of the best movies I've ever seen
stevey wundar | Houston | 03/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Some people run at the first sight of stormy weather ... But SOME people hold on and work it out together." -- Breakout lyric from the movie's soundtrack.
This movie has absolutely everything.
It's got comedy of all sorts, yet this movie really isn't a comedy.
And it's got compelling moments that'll make you think and make you feel some kinda way about given relatable characters and life circumstances, yet I wouldn't exactly fit this movie into a mold of your typical drama.
"The Five Heartbeats" is the loosely autobiographical tale of the rise, fall and ultimately triumph in life of a hit five-man R&B group from the 1960s (my father and uncles have an ongoing debate about whether this group's experiences were based upon The Temptations, The Four Tops or The Dells).
This movie seems like a real-enough, real life story about how money, fame and stardom can breed distrust, hate, disloyalty and an assortment of shady dealings that could undue any family relationship or close friendship.
The story follows five young men who start out as close friends who share a common passion and talent: singing.
Of course, they get "discovered" but as they start to and eventually make it big, they discover their moment at the top is filled with tragedy, anger, addictions and deceptions of all kinds -- realities totally different from the starry-eyed images they'd had of "making it big" once upon a time.
Overall, this movie is very much uplifting because, while it takes a life time, these five friends eventually overcome the past and learn some invaluable life lessons.
This is a movie for families -- the plot and various scenes will be interpreted differently by kids and adults, however, both demographics will be able to relate to this movie's overall theme and message.
Fame and fortune are fleeting. Friendships -- good friendships -- are priceless.
This is a movie that was out and out ignored by Hollwyood.
Easily Robert Townsend's best film and deserving of Academy Award consideration.
Awesome acting, brilliant writing and a blazingly inspiring soundtrack.
This movie is the complete package.
Perhaps the most recommended movie pitch I'll ever make on Amazon for one film!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guaranteed crowd-pleasing movie and one you can watch over and over and over, and not get tired of."
The rise and fall of a '60s group
The Fancy One | Westchester County, NY | 07/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Five Heartbeats", one of my favorite films by Robert Townsend, is a wonderful movie about a fictional singing quintet's rise to fame in the 1960s. It somewhat echoes the story of the Temptations, but in actuality, it could have been a profile of just about any black male singing group of that era (it was supposedly based on the story of The Dells).
Reportedly, back in 1991, Robert Townsend said that the script, co-written by himself and Keenen Ivory Wayans, wasn't about any one group in particular, but the trials and tribulations of various black vocal groups of the 1960s. Watching this movie made me think of actual situations that happened to different soul music acts in those days, and even as recent as New Edition, Jodeci and Boyz II Men, so Townsend accomplished his goal successfully. The struggles to get to the top, what happens when you get there, the bonds of friendship, egos, trying to keep up with musical trends and of course, the racism, backstabbing, drug abuse and shady characters -- it's all included here as a very real look into just how ruthless and unforgiving the recording industry can be. "The Five Heartbeats" even touches upon how black music was ripped off by greedy industry executives and given to white acts to cover, therefore, "whitewashing" it for acceptance by white radio listeners and record buyers. This is a movie that weaves comedy, drama, romance, and music together into a singular treat for the eyes and ears.
I have a couple of beefs, though: Why are we hearing Delfonics hits from 1969 and 1970 in scenes that are supposed to be taking place in 1965?! Plus the use of synthesizers weren't really in vogue outside of the studio in 1972, yet you see Robert Townsend's character using one on stage in a scene that is supposed to be happening in that year. Someone should have done more musical research! Also, Robert does a wonderful job directing this film, but he leaves much to be desired as an actor. But those things can be overlooked in light of everything else about this movie.
With strong performances from Michael Wright (who is truly exceptional as the troubled lead singer Eddie King, Jr. and the REAL star of this movie), Leon, and Hawthorne James as the villainous Big Red, this film deserves your attention and that of anyone who is a fan of classic soul, the Motown sound, and music PERIOD! Also included in the cast are a couple of Hollywood legends - the beautiful and classy Diahann Carroll and tap dancer extraordinaire Harold Nicholas. I highly recommend this...great acting and great musical scenes add up to a GREAT FILM. Get it today!"
Nothing short of a Classic
Anthony Hanes | winston-salem, north carolina | 01/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Five Heartbeats is one of my favorite movies. The story is real and the acting was great. Who can forget Eddie Kang Jr. This movie will make you laugh..remember when Flash accepeted his award and said he was leaving the group..he said "this is a sad day becuase these guys treated me like a brother but I'm leaving the group..look for my new solo album in stores in two weeks titled..."Flash, it's lonely at the top"..that was funny..the movie can also make you cry ..remember Eddie Kang singing..."Nights like this i wish..that rain drops would fall"......the movie is classic"