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The Five Heartbeats Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Loosely based on the life and times of several R&B artists (The Dells, The Temptations, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke and others) The Five Heartbeats traces the rise and fall of a popular African-American 1950s singing aggregation. The story is told from the point of view of one of the "Heartbeats," played by Robert Townsend (who also co-produced, directed and co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Waynans). The film is an amalgam of anecdotes drawn from real-life experiences: the long struggle upward, the first rush of success, the dishonest record-company executives, the hard-nosed but nurturing managers, the sex, the drugs, the isolation and the precipitous downward slide. The film begins and ends in the 1990s, as the middle-aged "Duck" (Townsend) ruminates on the past and makes the best of the present. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:March 29, 1991

Cast

Robert Townsend
as Duck
Michael Wright
as Eddie
Leon
as J.T.
Harry J. Lennix
as Dresser
Tico Wells
as Choirboy
Diahann Carroll
as Eleanor Potter
Chuck Patterson
as Jimmy Potter
The Nicholas Brothers
as Ernest 'Sarge' Johnson
Hawthorne James
as Big Red
Harold Nicholas
as Sarge
Gregory "Popeye" Alexander
as Midnight Falcon
Troy Beyer
as Baby Doll
Brian Bradley
as Five Horseman
Jaki Brown-Karman
Barry Diamond
as Five Horseman
Joey Gaynor
as Five Horseman
Randy Harris
as Big Red's Guy
Lakisha Luke
as Matthew's Kid
Bob Mardis
as Midnight Falcon
Veronica Redd
as Mrs. Matthews
John Canada Terrell
as Michael "Flash" Turner
Tommy Townsend
as Matthew's Kid
Recoe Walker
as Ebony Sparks
Virginia Watson
Jimmy Woodard
as Midnight Falcon
Tressa Thomas
as Duck's Baby Sister
Roy Fegan
as Bird
Carla Brothers
as Tanya Sawyer
Deborah Lacey
as Rose
Theresa Randle
as Brenda
John Witherspoon
as Wild Rudy
Anne-Marie Johnson
as Sydney Todd
Lisa Mende
as Marcia Sayles
Bobby McGee
as Leon
O.L. Duke
as Monroe
Lamont Johnson
as Bobby Cassanova
Arnold Johnson
as Mr. Matthews
David McKnight
as Pastor Stone
Phyllis Applegate
as Myra Stone
Paul Benjamin
as Mr. King
Marilyn Coleman
as Mrs. King
Norma Donaldson
as Mrs. Sawyer
Harris Peet
as Phil Shumway
Kasi Lemmons
as Cookie
Monique Mannen
as Sandra Tillman
Suzanne Suter
as Crystal
Gigi Bolden
as Crystal
Kathleen Mitchell
as Crystal
Ron Jaxson
as Ebony Sparks
Wayne "Crescendo" Ward
as Ebony Sparks
Roger Rose
as The Midnight Falcon
Fred Asparagus
as Big Red's Guy
Shannon Chambers
as Matthew's Kid
Christopher Bradley
as Theatre Security Man
Harry Stanback
as Speakeasy Guy
Tiffanique Webb
as Speakeasy Girl
Timmie Rogers
as Buddy Lewis
Tommy Redmond Hicks
as Pastor Blake
David Drummond
as Policeman
Griff Ruggles
as Policeman
Joel Weiss
as St. George Hotel Doorman
Shanel Cason
as J.T.'s Little Girl
Alexis Johnson
as Little Girl
Vincent J. Isaac
as Hitman
Ron Smith
as Poker Player
Frank Fontaine
as Poker Player
Donnie Simpson
as Himself
Eugene Robert Glazer
as David Green
David McKnight
as Pastor Stone
Kasi Lemmons
as Cookie
John Canada Terrell
as Michael "Flash" Turner
Paul Benjamin
as Mr. King
Donnie Simpson
as Himself
John Witherspoon
as Wild Rudy
Tressa Thomas
as Duck's Baby Sister
Suzanne Suter
as Crystal
Ron Smith
as Poker Player
Gigi Bolden
as Crystal
Phyllis Applegate
as Myra Stone
Christopher Bradley
as Theatre Security Man
Joey Gaynor
as Five Horseman
Deborah Lacey
as Rose
Troy Beyer
as Baby Doll
Gregory "Popeye" Alexander
as Midnight Falcon
Recoe Walker
as Ebony Sparks
Carla Brothers
as Tanya Sawyer
Roger Rose
as The Midnight Falcon
Wayne "Crescendo" Ward
as Ebony Sparks
Kathleen Mitchell
as Crystal
Bobby McGee
as Leon
Frank Fontaine
as Poker Player
Anne-Marie Johnson
as Sydney Todd
Lisa Mende
as Marcia Sayles
Joel Weiss
as St. George Hotel Doorman
Tiffanique Webb
as Speakeasy Girl
Vincent J. Isaac
as Hitman
Monique Mannen
as Sandra Tillman
Tommy Townsend
as Matthew's Kid
Alexis Johnson
as Little Girl
Tommy Redmond Hicks
as Pastor Blake
Timmie Rogers
as Buddy Lewis
Theresa Randle
as Brenda
Brian Bradley
as Five Horseman
Barry Diamond
as Five Horseman
Harris Peet
as Phil Shumway
Jimmy Woodard
as Midnight Falcon
Marilyn Coleman
as Mrs. King
Shannon Chambers
as Matthew's Kid
Bob Mardis
as Midnight Falcon
Shanel Cason
as J.T.'s Little Girl
Griff Ruggles
as Policeman
David Drummond
as Policeman
O.L. Duke
as Monroe
Harry Stanback
as Speakeasy Guy
Lamont Johnson
as Bobby Cassanova
Fred Asparagus
as Big Red's Guy
Arnold Johnson
as Mr. Matthews
Randy Harris
as Big Red's Guy
Roy Fegan
as Bird
Veronica Redd
as Mrs. Matthews
Norma Donaldson
as Mrs. Sawyer
Ron Jaxson
as Ebony Sparks
Lakisha Luke
as Matthew's Kid

Crew

Robert Townsend
Director
Robert Townsend
Producer
Christina Schmidlin
Producer
Kokayi Ampah
Producer
Keenen Ivory Wayans
Screenwriter
Robert Townsend
Screenwriter
William Dill
Cinematographer
Christopher Young
Composer (Music Score)
Stanley Clarke
Composer (Music Score)
Wynn P. Thomas
Production Designer
Don Diers
Art Director
Nancy Israel
Co-producer
Samara Schaffer
Set Designer
Ruth E. Carter
Costume Designer
David Brownlow
Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Peters
Choreography
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