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Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (2014)

A look at the music career of musician James Brown beginning with his first hit song, "Please, Please, Please," in 1956.


Alex Gibney


Alex Gibney
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Brown ... Himself (archive footage)
Christian McBride ... Himself
Bobby Byrd Bobby Byrd ... Himself
Greg Tate Greg Tate ... Himself
Louis Jordan ... Himself (archive footage)
Duke Ellington ... Himself (archive footage)
Mick Jagger ... Himself
John Starks ... Himself (as John 'Jabo' Starks)
Eugene 'Bull' Connor ... Himself (archive footage) (as Bull Connor)
Al Sharpton ... Himself
Martha High Martha High ... Herself
Little Richard ... Himself (archive footage)
Melvin Parker Melvin Parker ... Himself
Alan Leeds Alan Leeds ... Himself
Clyde Stubblefield ... Himself


A look at the music career of musician James Brown beginning with his first hit song, "Please, Please, Please," in 1956.

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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]





Release Date:

18 June 2016 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Dynamite See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Mooch
Written by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills
Performed by Duke Ellington
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User Reviews

Hot Hot Hot
12 March 2015 | by LejinkSee all my reviews

Probably produced in parallel with the bio-pic "Get On Up" (a big clue is in Mick Jagger sharing production duties on both), this for me was indeed a dynamite documentary on the life and times of the great soul and funk artist James Brown.

Brown's peak years of success were from around 1962 to 1972 after which he seemed to finally get caught up and overtaken by younger hipsters like Stevie Wonder, George Clinton and others with James starting to look and sound anachronistic and out of time. He still made some great records after '72, but this history stops with him at his peak somewhere in the mid-70's, which while lopping around 30 years off his life, does so to concentrate on his glory years as the hardest working man in show business.

Eschewing star tributes (Mick Jagger apart), which are so often the staple in films like this, instead we get revealing interviews with the members of his band and entourage to deliver a superb inside-view of a musical genius but sometimes difficult man. The musical clips are fantastic, including his see-it-to-believe-it performance on the "T.A.M.I. Show", various knockout appearances on the "Ed Sullivan Show" and best of all, his historic televised performance in Boston in the immediate wake of the Martin Luther King assassination where you see him calmly but convincingly cooling down his over-heating audience.

Brown's complexities and complications aren't completely ignored, but they do seem somewhat sidelined. These include his sometimes tyrannical and miserly treatment of his fantastic band, his attitude to women and especially his controversial political stance in the 70's where he unwisely hitched up with Nixon and in so doing alienated his own black audience, coincidentally about the time his musical star was just starting to fade.

The performance clips are sensational, his singing and dancing both out of this world, with so many great records that he made in that golden decade. Little is told of his family background, where he certainly had his problems, but this obviously partisan movie concentrates on his musical and cultural status of the time to pay a great tribute to an artist as important, in my opinion, as almost any other you care to mention in the 20th century.

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