Watch Standing in the Shadows of Motown

"The soul behind the sound."

Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a documentary film that was released in 2002. It is based on a book of the same name that was written in 1989. The documentary uses old footage, dramatized re-enactments, and new interviews. It was directed by Paul Justman and narrated by actor Andre Braugher. Additionally, it features interviews with Richard "Pistol" Allen, Jack Ashford, Bob Babbitt, Benny "Papa Zita" Benjamin, Eddie "Bongo" Brown, Montell Jordan and Chaka Khan, among others.

The documentary focuses on the Funk Brothers, who were musicians in Detroit that played backup to many famous Motown artists. This group of musicians played on more #1 hits than most of the most famous bands and musicians combined. Essentially, these artists were the studio house band chosen by Berry Gordy in 1959. They played backup on studio recordings until 1972 when Motown moved to Los Angeles. The goal of the documentary is to shed light on the artists and musicians who helped make Motown a success. Before this documentary, not much was known about the Funk Brothers, and this film helps give them the credit and recognition they deserve.

Over the course of their 13 years at Motown, the Funk Brothers notably played backup to The Temptations, The Supremes, The Miracles, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonders. For over 40 years this group of musicians story was hardly known. Their identities were unknown to the rest of the world, but now you can see the vital role they played in the success of many of Motown's most successful artists.

The documentary is just under 2 hours, with a 116-minute running time. It was distributed by Artisan Entertainment, and was written by Walter Dallas, Ntozake Shange, and Alan Slutsky.

| 2002 | 1 hr 56 min | 7.8/10 | 76/100
Richard 'Pistol' Allen, Jack Ashford, Bob Babbitt, Benny 'Papa Zita' Benjamin
Artisan Entertainment
Paul Justman

Also directed by Paul Justman

Watch Standing in the Shadows of Motown Trailer

Standing in the Shadows of Motown trailer|3:40

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