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Only the Strong Survive - A Celebration of Soul

Only the Strong Survive - A Celebration of Soul (2002)

tomatometer

61

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 17

Though this documentary could be more informative, the performances themselves are wonderful.

65

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 8

Though this documentary could be more informative, the performances themselves are wonderful.

audience

59

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 560

My Rating

Movie Info

Roger Friedman is an entertainment journalist and music fan with a particular love for R&B and soul music from the mid-'50s to the pre-disco era of the early '70s. Owing in part to segregated booking policies and simple lack of proper archiving, Friedman discovered there is little or no surviving film footage or videotape of many of the greatest artists of the era performing on-stage. However, a large number of the performers in question were still active and performing on a regular basis, and

Feb 3, 2004

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All Critics (50) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (17) | DVD (2)

There's no problem with a little bias, but Friedman's fan-boy perspective puts the subjects of Only the Strong Survive on too high a pedestal.

June 26, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Content to merely serve as a cluttered, heart-shaped scrapbook, missing many more stories than it bothers to include.

May 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
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... the music is great, but as a film thumbs down.

May 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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Fortunately, the performances themselves are beautifully filmed and recorded.

May 9, 2003
Washington Post
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A film that even with its flaws should be cheered for preserving the later years of these towering musical talents.

May 9, 2003
Washington Post
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Worth the time and money some of the summer's effects-driven spectacles probably won't be.

May 9, 2003 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...fails to give audiences as much frame of reference for the unifying economic, political and atmospheric elements that made the Stax brand of R&B soul music so powerful.

June 13, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

you get the feeling that Hegedus and Pennebaker couldn't care less about soul music.

February 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

I would have prefered deeper insights... [but] as a concert film, this one's a blast.

January 31, 2004 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

A disorganized sprawl.

July 22, 2003 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Lacks context, depth and a sense of purpose.

July 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Invaluable as a record of its subjects (including the late, great Rufus Thomas), but it doesn't cohere as a feature...

May 15, 2003
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

A loving look at soul's golden era that leaves you wanting more; a disappointment in some respects because it doesn't craft a more comprehensive, cohesive background.

May 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today
Entertainment Today

The scrappy country cousin to the high-gloss Standing in the Shadows of Motown.

May 11, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

These survivors share a timelessness and a universality that remain untouched by the fickle shifts of popular culture.

May 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Journal News (Westchester, NY)
Journal News (Westchester, NY)

Most of the music is as fine and fierce as you could want.

May 9, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

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