20 Feet From Stardom


20 Feet From Stardom

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.



Reviews Counted: 121

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,464


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 4/5

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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 harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film. (c) TWC-Radius

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Critic Reviews for 20 Feet From Stardom

All Critics (121) | Top Critics (32)

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

    Mar 27, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's that versatility that defines these singers, the ability to make following seem as important as leading.

    Dec 31, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The documentary tells similarly poignant stories in a fast-paced 91 minutes through interviews, contemporary concert footage and great archival stuff.

    Dec 31, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 4, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 11, 2013 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 11, 2013 | Rating: 4/4

Audience Reviews for 20 Feet From Stardom


An interesting and occasionally poignant insight into the work of these talented artists unfairly 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
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Tony Gandía
Tony Gandía

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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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