Lady Sings the Blues (1972)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this film, Diana Ross plays the magnificent, tragic song stylist Billie Holiday, who while writhing in a strait jacket in a prison cell, reflects on her turbulent life. The film takes several liberties with the facts, but Diana Ross makes even the most illogical of plot contrivances credible.

Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Chris Clark, Terence McCloy, Suzanne de Passe
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 8, 2005
Paramount Pictures



as Billie Holiday

as Louis McKay

as Piano Man

as Reg Hanley

as Jerry

as Mama Holiday

as The Doctor

as The Agent

as Mrs. Edson

as First Madame

as Detective

as The Detective #2

as The Butler

as The Policeman

as The Maitre d'

as The Singer

as The Announcer

as Radio Actress

as Angela DeMarco

as Debbie McGee

as The M.C.

as The Policewoman

as Rapist

as The Jail Guard

as Hood #1

as Reporter #2

as Reporter #3

as Aunt Ida
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Lady Sings the Blues

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Critic Reviews for Lady Sings the Blues

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

Ross conveys the vulnerability and determination of her character across a very believable arc of maturation.

January 24, 2006
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

How is it possible for a movie that is otherwise so dreadful to contain such a singularly attractive performance in the title role?

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

The movie is filled with many of the great Billie Holiday songs, and Ross handles them in an interesting way. She doesn't sing in her own style, and she never tries to imitate Holiday, but she sings somehow in the manner of Holiday.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Clearly, it's an affront to Holiday's art, but just as clearly, it's a good piece of low entertainment.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Though she doesn't look or sing as Billie Holiday, Diana Rosss gives a commendable performance in this fictionalized biopic, for which she received an Oscar noimination.

Full Review… | June 30, 2011

Audience Reviews for Lady Sings the Blues


Diana Ross should have won the Oscar for her brilliant portrayal of jazz legend Billie Holliday in a riveting performance produced by Motown legend Berry Gordy along with Suzanne DePasse and directed by Sidney J. Furie.
The screen chemistry between Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams is a moment of cinematic bliss. Nominated for an impressive ten Oscars including Best Picture,Best Director and Best Actress for Diana Ross who for the first time became the second African-American actress since Dorothy Dandridge to be nominated for the Oscar. In short,an impressive array for great filmmaking with some electrifying performances for Diana Ross herself. Along with Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, Sid Melton, Adolph Caesar and Scatman Crothers,and Virginia Capers. "Lady Sings The Blues" is celebrating it's 40th Anniversary.

Originally Released: October 12, 1972

Running Time: 145 minutes. MPAA Rating: R

Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

i'm a big fan of billie and she deserves a better film. this is dated, cliched, too long and hardly better than a tv movie. diana's not horrible but she's all wrong for the part :( 3 stars for richard pryor :)

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Diana Ross was an ideal candidate to breathe life into the train wreck that Billie Holiday became. The fall into the drug use is particularly horrific.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Lady Sings the Blues Quotes

– Submitted by Billy T (3 years ago)

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