The Five Heartbeats (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Five Heartbeats (1991)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Five Heartbeats Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Loosely based on the life and times of several R&B artists (The Dells, The Temptations, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke and others) The Five Heartbeats traces the rise and fall of a popular African-American 1950s singing aggregation. The story is told from the point of view of one of the "Heartbeats," played by Robert Townsend (who also co-produced, directed and co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Waynans). The film is an amalgam of anecdotes drawn from real-life experiences: the long struggle upward, the first rush of success, the dishonest record-company executives, the hard-nosed but nurturing managers, the sex, the drugs, the isolation and the precipitous downward slide. The film begins and ends in the 1990s, as the middle-aged "Duck" (Townsend) ruminates on the past and makes the best of the present.more
Rating: R
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Robert Townsend
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 22, 2002
20th Century Fox Film Corporation


Tico Wells
as Choirboy
as J.T.
Harry Lennix
as Dresser
Diahann Carroll
as Eleanor Potter
The Nicholas Brother...
as Ernest 'Sarge' Johns...
Tressa Thomas
as Duck's Baby Sister
John Canada Terrell
as Michael `Flash' Turn...
Chuck Patterson
as Jimmy Potter
Troy Beyer
as Baby Doll
Carla Brothers
as Tanya Sawyer
Anne-Marie Johnson
as Sydney Todd
Lisa Mende
as Marcia Sayles
Don Barnes
as Lester
O.L. Duke
as Monroe
Lamont Johnson
as Bobby Cassanova
Arnold Johnson
as Mr. Matthews
Veronica Redd
as Mrs. Matthews
Tommy Townsend
as Matthew's Kid
David McKnight
as Pastor Stone
Paul Benjamin
as Mr. King
Marilyn Coleman
as Mrs. King
Norma Donaldson
as Mrs. Sawyer
Harris Peet
as Phil Shumway
Monique Mannen
as Sandra Tillman
Suzanne Suter
as Member of The Crysta...
Gigi Bolden
as Member of The Crysta...
Kathleen Mitchell
as Member of The Crysta...
Ron Jaxson
as Member of The Ebony ...
Recoe Walker
as Member of The Ebony ...
Gregory "Popeye" Ale...
as Midnight Falcon
Bob Mardis
as Member of The Midnig...
Jimmy Woodard
as Member of The Midnig...
Brian Bradley
as Member of The Five H...
Mike Conn
as Member of The Five H...
Barry Diamond
as Member of The Five H...
Carl Edwards
as Member of The Five H...
Joey Gaynor
as Member of The Five H...
Roger Rose
as Member of The Five H...
James Anderson
as Member of Big Red's ...
Freddie Asparagus
as Member of Big Red's ...
Randy 'Roughhouse' H...
as Member of Big Red's ...
Al Simon
as Member of Big Red's ...
Tammy Townsend
as Member of Matthew's ...
Shannon Chambers
as Member of Matthew's ...
Devin C. Huff
as Member of Matthew's ...
Lakisha Luke
as Member of Matthew's ...
Jeannel Phillips Whi...
as Member of Matthew's ...
Fred Asparagus
as Big Red's Guy
Kamar Phillips White
as Member of Matthew's ...
Brandon Wright
as Member of Matthew's ...
Christopher Bradley
as Theatre Security Man
Aaron J. Galang
as Theatre Security Man
Harry Stanback
as Speakeasy Guy
Tiffanique Webb
as Speakeasy Girl
Timmie Rogers
as Buddy Lewis
Craig Eisner
as Jimmy's Doorman
Tommy Redmond Hicks
as Pastor Blake
David Drummond
as Policeman
Griff Ruggles
as Policeman
Joel Weiss
as St. George Hotel Doo...
Shanel Cason
as J.T.'s Little Girl
Jimmy Jackson
as Little Duck
Alexis Johnson
as Little Girl
Ron Smith
as Poker Player
Frank Fontaine
as Poker Player
Randy Harris
as Big Red's Guy
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Five Heartbeats

Critic Reviews for The Five Heartbeats

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (9)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 29, 1991
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Five Heartbeats


SOULFULLY delightful...see this the go to "Dreamgirls"... as a follow will...float on a soulful cloud. See it!

Fascade Fiveoneeight

Super Reviewer

After warching this film all the way through i can say this much i love the five heartbeats just as much as the temptations for their story and sound Robert Townsend gave us a classic Overall this is a wonderful Motown inspired film and quite the period piece as well kudos to the cast and special thanks to Actor/Writer/Director Robert Townsend

Well made, but it?s a little to predictable to be a great film. Great music, the period detail is fair. The performances are fine, perhaps a bit melodramatic, but overall everyone does well. Very entertaining and it always held my interest.

James Higgins

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