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Cadillac Records (2008)

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Chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists.

Director:

Darnell Martin

Writer:

Darnell Martin
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Alscher ... Mick Jagger (as Joshua Alscher)
Tim Bellow Tim Bellow ... Man in the Caddy (as Timothy Bellow)
Tony Bentley ... Lomax
Tammy Blanchard ... Isabelle Allen
Eric Bogosian ... Alan Freed
Marc Bonan ... Keith Richards
Adrien Brody ... Leonard Chess
Cedric the Entertainer ... Willie Dixon
Emmanuelle Chriqui ... Revetta Chess
Douglas Crosby Douglas Crosby ... Policeman (Little Walter beating)
Dexter Darden ... Geneva's Teenage Son
Veronika Dash ... Blonde Girl
Sean Shyboy Davis Sean Shyboy Davis ... Toothless Hillbilly Little Walter (as Sean Davis)
Eshaya Draper ... Charles Waters
Shiloh Fernandez ... Phil Chess
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Storyline

In this tale of sex, violence, race, and rock and roll in 1950s Chicago, "Cadillac Records" follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America's musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry. Written by Sony Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Follow the beat to its source. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures [Japan]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cadillac Records - Csillogó fekete lemezek See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,445,559, 7 December 2008

Gross USA:

$8,195,551

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,883,019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on March 10, 2009. See more »

Goofs

Cigarettes didn't have filters in the 1940s and 1950s. See more »

Quotes

Muddy Waters: You and me not gonna wake up every morning and get everything we want. Mostly we got to take what come. And half the time, that's gonna be a bunch of bullshit.
See more »


Soundtracks

Juke
Performed by Soul 7 (featuring Kim Wilson)
Written by Little Walter (as Walter Jacobs)
Published by Arc Music Corp.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Condensed Cream of Crop (Not Crap!) in Well-Cast Musical Biopic
3 February 2009 | by dtbSee all my reviews

Anyone remember those old K-Tel compilation albums with the hits slightly sped up so the K-Tel folks could pack in more songs? CADILLAC RECORDS (CR) gives a similar treatment to the story of Chess Records, nicknamed "Cadillac Records" because the Polish-American Chess brothers, Leonard and Phil (Adrien Brody and Norman Reedus, reunited from the film SIX WAYS TO Sunday), would give the artists Caddies as rewards -- out of the artists' own royalties! Chess Records got the music of Muddy Waters, Etta James, Chuck Berry, and other seminal R&B performers out to the general public, climbing the charts as what were then called "race records." Perhaps because of time and/or money constraints, writer/director Darnell Martin seems to rush through the Chess stars' highs (sometimes literally, with scenes of drug and/or alcohol abuse) and lows, forcing her to condense her subjects' dramatic life stories to the point where they don't even seem to age (other than a few perfunctory silver streaks visible in Brody's hair late in the film) despite the indication that years have passed. Even the Chess brothers' own story is only half-told, with the focus being on Leonard as Phil is rendered all but invisible. Heck, for half the film, I thought Phil was just another sound engineer, since we in the audience only ever see him during recording sessions! That said, I still found a lot to like about CR. I was riveted and moved by the events and the performances, and the musical numbers kick butt; I want the soundtrack (maybe even the original versions of the songs :-))! Jeffrey Wright commands the screen as Muddy Waters, who becomes Chess Records' first star, complete with groupies. He comes home one night to find wife Geneva (sympathetically played by Gabrielle Union) with a baby in her arms -- left there by a fan who says Muddy's the father. Mos Def adds sly humor as Chuck Berry. Eamonn Walker is downright scary as Muddy's rival, Howlin' Wolf. Columbus Short breaks your heart and drives you crazy all at once as Little Walter, whose lack of a mother or self-discipline proves to be his tragic flaw. Beyoncé Knowles shows she has range as both an actress and a singer in her fiery, heartrending portrayal of the talented but troubled Etta James. Leonard tries to help Etta to learn to "sing the blues, not live it," but with Etta's emotional baggage, that's easier said than done. Things only get more complicated when she and Leonard become attracted to each other despite his having a sweet, pretty wife, Revetta (Emmanuelle Chriqui). I'm not surprised that in real life, Etta herself gave her blessing to Beyoncé's soulful rendition of "At Last," the ultimate make-out song and Presidential inauguration anthem! :-) Although Leonard Chess is almost more like a host here than a well-drawn character, Brody nevertheless works well with the cast and has great chemistry with Beyoncé. In fact, he gets a good amount of on screen love action, including a nude scene with the fetching Chriqui! :-)


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