6.6/10
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Bessie (2015)

TV-MA | | Biography, Drama, Music | TV Movie 16 May 2015
Trailer
1:31 | Trailer
The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.

Director:

Dee Rees

Writers:

Dee Rees (screenplay), Christopher Cleveland (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 23 wins & 45 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Queen Latifah ... Bessie
Kamryn Johnson ... Young Bessie
Rikki McKinney Rikki McKinney ... Chorus Guy
Alan T. Coleman Alan T. Coleman ... Stagehand
Tory Kittles ... Clarence
Clay Chappell ... '81' Theatre Owner
Tika Sumpter ... Lucille
Sharan C. Mansfield Sharan C. Mansfield ... Miss Taylor (as Sharan Mansfield)
Neko Parham ... Rehearsal Director
Onira Tares Onira Tares ... Chorus Girl (as Onira Tarés)
Jhoni Davis ... Chorus Girl
Jim R. Coleman ... Host
Melissa Youngblood ... Theatergoer
Mo'Nique ... Ma Rainey
Jennifer Sears ... Ma's Main Girl
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Storyline

The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Queen brings Bessie back to life.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 May 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bessie See more »

Filming Locations:

Olde Town Conyers, Georgia, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles S. Dutton, who plays Pa Rainey, made his Broadway debut in 1984 in August Wlson's play "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." See more »

Quotes

Bessie Smith: No yellow bitch in my show!
See more »


Soundtracks

Balling the Jack
Written by Jim Burris, Chris Smith
Performed by Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band
Courtesy of Good Time Jazz, under license from Concord Music Group, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Basket Full of Emmys
18 May 2015 | by rossini-1868See all my reviews

The camera has a love affair with Queen Latifah from beginning to end in this tour de force, a performance that may have been worthy of an Oscar, let alone the Emmy she is destined to receive. The movie was co-executive produced by the late Richard Zanuck, based on a story by the late Oscar winning screenwriter Horton Foote, and their posthumous talent is impressively displayed at every level.

The screenplay was smart enough not to try and convert the audience to liking the blues, which is always an acquired taste, instead focusing on the intense drama that was this woman's personal life, from childhood traumas (i.e. being chased by her older sister with a knife), to lesbian love affairs as a grown woman. Thanks mainly to Queen Latifah's amazing performance, a basketful of Emmys should be in the future for this bold and seriously worthy TV drama.


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