A Great Day in Harlem (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This Oscar nominated documentary chronicles a single event amongst jazz musicians: the day in 1958 when many of the greatest gathered together for a photo shoot for Esquire magazine. A fair portion of the film is devoted to that which lead up to the photograph. The session itself is also detailed as jazz greats Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Milt Hinton, and more rose at the ungodly hour of 10 am to take the picture in a Harlem brownstone apartment.
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for A Great Day in Harlem

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (9)

No excerpt available.

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

If you wanted to introduce someone to what jazz is all about, this would be an ideal place to start.

Full Review… | October 17, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

For non-buffs, pic fails the acid test of exciting interest where there was little or none before; it could easily have covered the same ground in half its length.

Full Review… | October 17, 2007
Top Critic

A wonderful, warm little movie.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic


December 28, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Anyone with the misconception that the spirit of a particular music is not a direct reflection of the souls of the musicians who created it must see A Great Day in Harlem, Jean Bach's small and very moving documentary about the jazz life.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Great Day in Harlem

Nice introduction to jazz, great story, great photo, but unfortunately is a little too arm's-length to inspire much in my opinion.

Jenna Ipcar
Jenna Ipcar

I?ve had this in my Netflix queue (I know, Netflix, sooooo 2007. But anyway?) forever and it was paired with some Spitball movie documentary and was always pushed back by something b-movie-ish or quasi-scary. And I have a friend who always had this dvd stacked in front of the TV, but never asked to borrow it (I don?t see them that often). Well, the standalone documentary is not on instant view and I didn?t know since it was different. This is a historic, legendary, iconic, every superlative descriptive term photo. This documentary interviews a lot of them and those involved in taking the photo, but even more so has all the other photos and video that someone was taking during that time. Everyone?s personality was great and there are back stories to many of the others that were not as popular. Great, great, great. Go see it. Great.

Lee B
Lee B

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