You'll dance just thinking about these five Motown movies that will get your rump a shakin'. In its heyday, Detroit was producing the best music in the world. Artists like Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross created classic pop songs-this was soul music, but it was also unthreatening to the general populace. In other words, everybody loved it. Everybody still loves it. All five of these movies feature Motown music. Some have classic songs, while others have latter period Motown music. All, however, have that classic Motown stamp.
"Standing In The Shadows". This documentary tells about the musicians behind all the great Motown hits. Back in the early days of R&B, the instrumentalists weren't always listed on album credits. That's a shame. These guys created what we now know as the "Motown sound". It's so good to see these musician's stories in this film, and of course, the soundtrack rocks!
"Dreamgirls". Technically, "Dreamgirls" is not a Motown movie, however, it's loosely based on the Motown story. Specifically, it alludes to Diana Ross & The Supremes. Starring Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Hudson, this film was adapted from a 1981 Broadway musical, and the songs will have you dancing like it's 1965 again.
"The Big Chill". This 1983 comedy-drama starred such folks as Glenn Close and William Hurt. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, this film is about baby boomers reuniting after fifteen years due to a friend's death. The music the group loved as young people was Motown music. You'll hear The Temptations' "My Girl" and Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," among other hits on this soundtrack.
"Thank God It’s Friday". This 1978 film was a Motown Production, although the music was mostly disco. There were some Motown acts, however, like The Commodores performing "Too Hot to Trot", and Donna Summer's "Last Dance" won the Academy Award for Best Song. There's definitely some booty-shaking music on this soundtrack.
"Lady Sings the Blues". This 1972 Motown film starred Diana Ross playing jazz great Billie Holiday. The cast is a who's who of black performers, including Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor. The music is mostly jazz, which may not make you dance all that much, but it is still fantastic music. This film is a significant to fans of Motown because it was produced by Motown Productions for Paramount Pictures. It also introduced Diana Ross, one of Motown's most famous singers, as an actress.
"The Jacksons: An American Dream". This film includes the movie star power of Angela Bassett in a work that tells the Jackson story. Oh, and what a story it is, filled with all kinds of drama. This is a musical family like few others. However, there is also plenty of great music, including songs by The Jackson 5. Yes, the Jackson family was/is dysfunctional, but even broken families can produce great art. There's just no other family like this one, which is why this work is so important to watch. It tells part of the Motown story and beyond.