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B.B. King: The Life of Riley [Blu-ray]


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Product Details

  • Actors: B.B. King, Morgan Freeman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MVD VISUAL
  • DVD Release Date: June 17, 2014
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00IYLWSP2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,555 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

BB KING: The LIFE OF RILEY narrated by Morgan Freeman and joined by Bono, Bill Cosby, Eric Clapton, Bill Cosby, Dr. John, Bruce Willis and 20+ other heavyweight contributors including appearances by Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and President Obama. BB King opens his heart and tells the story of how an oppressed and orphaned young man came to influence and earn the unmitigated praise of the music industry and its following, to carry the title: 'KING OF THE BLUES'. Filmed on location all over America as well as in the United Kingdom, this picture brings to life the heat and gin-soaked plantations where it all began. With the full cooperation of the BB King Museum, owners of vaults and archives so precious and immense, that several trips had to be made to America to revisit the collection and partake of its many gems. Prejudice and segregation has stained the lives of countless black person and BB 'Riley' King made sure that through his music, he never allowed it to mar his spirit. This is the essence of the story that makes an astoundingly beautiful film; extremely informative and visually captivating.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 29 customer reviews
Very well and elegantly done!!!
Barbara D.
Lots of things to learn, both about the King of the Blues and about the troubled times of segregation.
wondermagott
More insight into the life of B.B. King.
L.J. O'Neal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
It's hard to belief that blues Legend B.B. King will turn 90 years-old next year and still tours the world, "three weeks on; three weeks off". Until recently he would play over 300 nights each year.

Surprisingly, no one had made a filmed bio of his life and career - until now, that is. This new film (2014) has been making rounds of the film festivals and now comes to home video on Bluray and DVD (and there is a companion CD as well - from universal Music Group. (I was provided an advance screener of the BD). (UPDATE 6/17- There will not be a physical CD release of the soundtrack; it will only be available as download with no notes or booklet.)

This is a must see for anyone interested in the blues, whether pioneers like Robert Johnson, Bukka White (B.B. King's cousin) or the other famous blues "King"s - Albert and Freddie, or even "the next generation" like Clapton, Jonny Lang or Derek Trucks. Director Jon Brewer weaves some archival interviews with lots of contemporary ones along with historic photos (most, it seems from the B.B. King Museum in Mississippi). Brewer got nearly every one you can think of (and some who don't often give interviews) to sit down and tell their stories. Let me start with just a FEW folks who he got on camera: Ringo Starr, LeonRRussell, Dr. John, Joe Walsh, Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Green, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Winter, Slash, Carlos Santana, Bono, Aaron Nevelle, Susan Teseschi, Derek Trucks and Micj Taylor. Impressed? You should be. Most has a chance to play with, or record with King.

But there are not just celebrities here. B.B.'s 2nd wife discusses the effect of his touring on their marriage and relatives and original band members are here too.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wondermagott on July 10, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Really Awesome movie. Lots of things to learn, both about the King of the Blues and about the troubled times of segregation. Also lots of things to learn about old blues artists that influenced BB King. Movie to be watched over and over. Love the movie, love BB, love the blues!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Douglas TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 12, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
If you have any love or interest in the blues no matter who your favorite blues master is, BB King must be in contention for the title and this Blu Ray is must viewing and viewing again to gain any understand of the man, the guitarist, blues, and its history.

Using a great amount of archival footage as well as current and past interviews from the blues progeny of King such as Bonnie Raitt, several former and current members of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, John Mayall and even Ringo Starr pay him verbal homage. But to me, the best and most interesting part of this 2 hour film is the use of archival footage and interviews of close as well as distant members of the King family, to explain and explore both the origins of the blues as well as the development of BB King to grow to be the master that he is. BB King himself is frequently included in the discussions and explanations and lends thoughtful and sincere credence to both the success of the blues, how it crossed over to white audiences and his rise in fame.

The quality of the blu ray itself is good..nothing great, the archival footage appears as truly old as it is, and that's the way it should be. The lossy audio codec, although 5.1 is really more 2.0 but, for this biography of BB King, I do not think it makes any difference.

While BB King may be 89 years old now, this film was made when he was 85 and considerably past his prime as a guitarist and singer. One of the extras are a couple of songs recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in England and though Ron Wood, Slash and others sit in on 'The Thrill is Gone', it is clear that the guitar is now used more as a prop than an instrument that BB is playing. But his voice is still there if not as powerful as it once was.

As I initially said, this DVD is very, very worth having and watching multiple times.
I do hope that this review has been of some help to you in deciding upon your purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Raven on August 8, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I saw BB in concert in the early 80s and that show ranks among the very best concert experiences of my life. The man is truly great in every sense of the word and this documentary strives for greatness too. It's too bad it falls somewhat short. The key, and I mean KEY, missing ingredient is the music. There's almost no talk about who wrote the songs BB made famous and almost no talk about his particular playing style. There are tiny snippets of songs, but not much in terms of performances here. For a documentary about one of the greatest blues guitarists who ever lived, that simply isn't good enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tito on June 27, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I love BB King and have been too his museum in Mississippi
This is his story and is simply amazing/
There are only two bluesmen left alive and BB is one of them.
This is his story and it is amazing
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Grimes on June 19, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Any fan of B.B., any fan of the blues, any fan of early rock, and anyone who just likes a good story should see this. This is the first ever comprehensive bio of B.B., and destined to be the definitive bio for all time. 2 hours long with lots more bonus material as well.
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By JStewart82 on January 21, 2015
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
If you are just starting to follow Mr. King this is an excellent movie to start your collection. However, if you are an old B.B. King fan I do not believe there is much "new" material. True, there is reflection in the movie from Mr. King, but not really what I was hoping for. If you read the autobiography you really learned nothing new or gained no insight. I really wanted to see more clips of when B.B. King was "King of Blues Guitar" especially clips of when he was still slinging the ES-335 with f-holes! and hear more about his relationships with other players like Albert King, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker. Sound quality is excellent on the blu-ray; just too bad they put the wrong show on the DVD (Royal Albert Hall). Would have been much nicer if Live at the Regal, or something equivalent could have been added instead. It is not a bad DVD, however, I hope it is not the last on this Blues icon.
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