Mo' Better Blues

1990, Drama, 2h 7m

34 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Mo' Better Blues is rich with vibrant hues and Denzel Washington's impassioned performance, although its straightforward telling lacks the political punch fans expect from a Spike Lee joint. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Financially irresponsible Giant (Spike Lee) manages a jazz group, but his sax player, Shadow (Wesley Snipes), wants to replace him with a better businessman. Bleak (Denzel Washington), the band's trumpeter, then tries to defend his close pal Giant, leading to a power struggle between the two musicians. Meanwhile, as Bleak tries to straighten things out with his band mates and manager, he also must choose to be with either sweet teacher Indigo (Joie Lee) or sultry singer Clarke (Cynda Williams).

Cast & Crew

Wesley Snipes
Shadow Henderson (Sax)
Joie Lee
Indigo Downes
Cynda Williams
Clarke Bentancourt
Giancarlo Esposito
Left Hand Lacey (Piano)
Robin Harris
Butterbean Jones
Bill Nunn
Bottom Hammer (Bass)
Dick Anthony Williams
Big Stop Williams
John Turturro
Moe Flatbush
Jeff "Tain" Watts
Rhythm Jones (Drums)
Abbey Lincoln
Lillian Gilliam
Zakee L. Howze
Young Bleek , Miles
Bill Lee
Father of the Bride
Spike Lee
Director
Jon Kilik
Line Producer
Spike Lee
Producer
Monty Ross
Co-Producer
Ernest R. Dickerson
Cinematographer
Wynn Thomas
Production Design
Ted Glass
Set Decoration
Ruth E. Carter
Costume Designer
Matiki Anoff
Makeup Artist
Preston L. Holmes
Production Supervisor
Brent Owens
Unit Manager
H.H. Cooper
Second Assistant Director
Randy Fletcher
First Assistant Director
Dale Pierce-Johnson
Second Assistant Director
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News & Interviews for Mo' Better Blues

Critic Reviews for Mo' Better Blues

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (10)

  • Quote not available.

    September 7, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • It's tight, suspenseful, funny and packed with great music.

    September 22, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Personal rather than social issues come to the fore in Mo' Better Blues, a Spike Lee personality piece dressed in jazz trappings that puffs itself up like Bird but doesn't really fly.

    September 22, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Though it's full of striking visual ideas and actorly turns, it never fully convinces.

    September 22, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Despite stylish camerawork and sturdy acting, this lengthy indulgence succeeds neither as jazz movie nor as cautionary tale.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Mo' Better Blues is not a great film, but it's an interesting one, which is almost as rare.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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