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20 Feet From Stardom (2013)


Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 109
Fresh: 108
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking, 20 Feet From Stardom is an energetic tribute to the passion, talent, and hard work of backup singers.

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 30
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: Rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking, 20 Feet From Stardom is an energetic tribute to the passion, talent, and hard work of backup singers.


Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 12,248


Movie Info

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent … More

PG-13 (for some strong language and sexual material)
Musical & Performing Arts , Documentary
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jan 14, 2014
Box Office:
Radius-TWC - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for 20 Feet From Stardom

All Critics (109) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (108) | Rotten (1)

It's that versatility that defines these singers, the ability to make following seem as important as leading.

Full Review… | December 31, 2013
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The documentary tells similarly poignant stories in a fast-paced 91 minutes through interviews, contemporary concert footage and great archival stuff.

Full Review… | December 31, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

As long as you're hearing the singing and stories of Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton, and the great Darlene Love, you can bliss out on their passion.

Full Review… | October 4, 2013
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The movie takes its cues from Standing in the Shadows of Motown, another act of pop-culture revisionism that tried to give musical credit where it was due.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Just about everything in this movie is right. And anybody who gives a rip about unsung heroines of popular music and giving credit when credit's overdue had better come up with a good excuse not to see it.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

You may never hear the Rolling Stones's Gimme Shelter the same way again after hearing Jagger's and Clayton's separate accounts of the recording of the song.

Full Review… | July 5, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Smart, thoughtful docu shines light on background singers.

Full Review… | May 5, 2014
Common Sense Media

When you stop to realise what these girls have done to enrich your life, only for one to become a cleaner and another to start teaching Spanish, your tears will be real.

Full Review… | April 4, 2014
Birmingham Post

Joyous and uplifting ...

Full Review… | March 30, 2014
Observer [UK]

20 Feet from Stardom, this year's Oscar-winner for Best Documentary, is both rousing, upbeat fare... and a film steeped in a strange sense of yearning and regret.

Full Review… | March 28, 2014

Morgan Neville's hugely enjoyable, Oscar-winning documentary celebrates the unsung heroes who helped make some of popular music's most celebrated songs and albums special.

Full Review… | March 28, 2014
Irish Independent

Consciously avoiding a Dreamgirls vibe that suggests their failure was a showbiz tragedy, Neville lets his subjects unabashedly strut their stuff.

Full Review… | March 28, 2014
Sight and Sound

Twenty Feet From Stardom is an illuminating and hugely entertaining documentary with important, far-reaching messages to boot.

Full Review… | March 28, 2014

This hugely enjoyable film puts Love and others up front and centre, where we feel they belong.

Full Review… | March 28, 2014
Irish Times

Entertaining and uplifting, this Oscar-winning documentary tells the unknown story of the back-up singers who made classic records so memorable.

Full Review… | March 28, 2014

An enjoyable arts feature with its heart in the right place ...

Full Review… | March 28, 2014
This is London

Such a great idea for a documentary, and such a surprise to realise that it has never been done before.

Full Review… | March 27, 2014

As directed by Morgan Neville, who obviously adores these women, it's their hopes and disappointments, triumphs and heartbreaks and fabulous, passionate personalities that takes this film to another level, and will take you with it.

Full Review… | March 27, 2014
The Spectator

This is a musical field of dreams high in corn, but also, sometimes, in the epiphanic empowerment and wonder of stardom conferred.

Full Review… | March 27, 2014
Financial Times

A warm and fitting tribute to talented singers.

Full Review… | March 27, 2014
Little White Lies

A highly entertaining musical history lesson that could (and should) just boost a few careers into the bargain.

Full Review… | March 24, 2014
Total Film

Nostalgia is an integral part of the formula here, with familiar tracks (and voices) chiming to reams of archive material that are cut together with infectious rhythm and zip by director Morgan Neville.

Full Review… | March 24, 2014
Digital Spy

A crowdpleaser that also tells an important story about showbiz, it's fab. You'll come out singing.

Full Review… | March 24, 2014
Empire Magazine

, Morgan Neville's soul-stirring celebration of backing vocalists is a bona fide crowd-pleaser with substance to match.

Full Review… | March 13, 2014
The List

You rush to Spotify to hear more of their songs post-credits.

Full Review… | February 27, 2014
The Skinny

This must-see documentary for any fan of modern pop music introduces us to the extraordinary women you didn't know were behind some of the songs you know by heart.

Full Review… | February 27, 2014
Flick Filosopher

Audience Reviews for 20 Feet From Stardom

Entertaining look at the world of backup singers, "20 Feet From Stardom" is a treat. The best moments are when the performers' faces are in full frame as they listen to their old recording - the memories flying in their minds.

The documentary touches on the highs and the lows of the music business for these performers and never fails to entertain. The only issue with "Stardom" is how it jumps from interview to interview leaving very little time for facts to sink in and to settle - you get to know the major players but the minor players that are extensively interviews aren't given much chance to connect.

Yet "20 Feet From Stardom" proves to be an in-tune documentary that proudly wears its heart on its sleeve.

The Gandiman
Tony Gandía

Super Reviewer


An interesting and occasionally poignant insight into the work of these talented artists unjustly neglected in the background of fame, even if the rather clumsy editing also makes it a bit hard for us to keep our interest for too long, as it scatters their stories together.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Following the lives of background singers of famous artists from the past, "20 Feet From Stardom" is a very inspirational documentary that tells you that whatever your dreams may be, nothing is impossible and you always have to start somewhere, even if that somewhere seems to be getting you nowhere. Sure, the film does not have much of a linear story to follow, but it is more of a feel-good series of stories that drives this pictures to be loved by all. I did not love watching this film as some probably will, but I really really enjoyed it. This film gives me motivation to continue pursuing my passion and not to accept just any job forever. This is a very well-made documentary. A great contender for the Oscars.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

20 Feet From Stardom is a terrific documentary on backup singers that have sung with some of music's greatest artists. This film features terrific interviews from famous backup singers that tell their story. These women are very talented, every one of them are far better than today's "artists". Yet, despite the fact they've been on multiple legendary recordings, they've always shied away from real fame. This is a must see for music lovers of all genres, and it is an in depth look at what they have accomplished. I really loved the film, and I think it's an important film as it showcases really talented singers that deserve to be recognized. In terms of documentary filmmaking, this film manages to get into its subject very well and be very engaging. I wish however, they would have made the film much longer. I think that they managed to cover a lot of ground with what the filmmakers were able to get on film, but, backup singers are a topic that needs a much longer film in order to really make it something memorable. The film is a very well executed documentary, but it does have its flaws. The most important part of the film is exposing the talent that these singers have, and bringing to light their legacy in the genre. For that, 20 Feet From Stardom delivers, but there are things that could have been improved upon as well. Still for any music lover, this is a must watch, and it showcases the talents of these women perfectly. 20 Feet From Stardom is a very good picture that should have been great. The only problem here is that it's short, and therefore it does a bit to be desired.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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