Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me

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3/4Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary to examine Davis' vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.Sammy Davis, Jr. had the kind of career that was indisputably legendary, so vast and multi-faceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale. And yet, his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.


Critic Reviews for Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (5)

  • This look at Davis' personal journey through a tumultuous period in US history makes this an especially rich "American Masters" documentary.

    Feb 19, 2019 | Full Review…

    Brian Lowry
    Top Critic
  • A fascinating tribute to the consummate performer, this doc also sets the record straight on his politics and civil rights record.

    Feb 18, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Verne Gay

    Top Critic
  • "I've Gotta Be Me" showcases Davis's vast talents, but it also shines a light on his need for acceptance, his inability to curb indulgences, the groundbreaking aspects of his career and his hunger for applause.

    Feb 2, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • [Sam] Pollard tell Davis' tale with sympathy and performance clips that convey the breadth of his talent.

    Oct 26, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Consistently describes an ambitious talent always reaching for the top, but also a man plagued by insecurity, who remained sadly unsure of his own value.

    Sep 10, 2017 | Full Review…
  • A complete look at [Sammy Davis, Jr's] many sides, from the pint-sized tap whiz to adult crooner and foundry-breaker.

    Feb 19, 2019 | Full Review…

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