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James Brown - Soul Survivor

Afrika Bambaataa , Little Richard , Jeremy Marre  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Afrika Bambaataa, Little Richard, Al Sharpton, Dan Aykroyd, Nelson George
  • Directors: Jeremy Marre
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Polydor / Umgd
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DJF4C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,529 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In this 90 minute DVD, originally aired on PBS, James Brown delivers, for the first time, the in-depth story of his life and music, from his early years of poverty and imprisonment to his extraordinary live shows. Brown became a musical icon whose extrov

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, informative, insightful April 3, 2004
The documentary on "Biography" was the best JB docu. to date but this 2003 offer has alot more interviews, clips, and information. For the deep fan, there is not alot here that's new, but ofcourse any such package has to appeal to deep, casual, and novice followers.
The DVD quality is excellent throughout, especially on the most recent footage. There are countless rare stills and live clips and here is where I chose to *4* stars rather than *5*: a great plate of hors-d'ourves does not constitute a meal - I recall that the only full performance is of "I Feel Good" from the Ed Sullivan Show. There's a circa 1966 "Papa's Bag.." [possibly from an English TV show (?)] which causes the viewer to rise up from the couch and, finally! But, alas, after a few bars we're back to dialogue. There's a circa 1971 "Hot Pants" which is absolutely the best version I've ever heard by far - similarly truncated. We see clips from the historical Boston Gardens Show - mostly overdubbed with other live recordings!
A nice bit shows JB and group rehearsing "Georgia On My Mind" - it's the familiar JB arrangement but it's always good to hear (this one should have yielded high numbers way back when, but it was used on a B-side and album spot).
I was floored to see two of James' former lead singers, Lynn Collins and Marva Whitney on camera. I last recall both ladies on the Mike Douglas Show in the 1969 to 1974 period. Both make poignant statements about life on the road with a complicated genius.
Bobby Byrd, the man who signed up JB as a Flame, and is heard on dozens of the hits, speaks, as well as Leon Austin, another oldtime buddy and King artist.
Overall, this is a must-have. I hope that all of the rare bits and pieces can be assembled in a collection featuring complete performances.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I did enjoy watching James Brown rehearsing his band more than anything. I love to see how things are down behind the scenes. I got a big kick out of seeing little James Brown Jr. and appreciate Mr. and Mrs. Brown sharing that moment with them riding in the limo.

The only thing that I wish that was show me is complete performances from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Everything was presented pretty much as a sound bite.

I could tell that a lot of the past James Brown employees that were interview where holding back a lot of things.

Thanks you,

For more biographical, discography and a rare filmography listing information, I recommend this website:

The James Brown Experience Page

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prime time JB March 21, 2004
watching this takes you back to a time period when you saw a Performer&you were in a trance for Hours,days,etc... JB was Sharp&His Music was funky&the Band was Blistering all the way saw a Brother here who would not be denied.JB in His Prime on stage was somebody you didn't want to have to go after.60's&early 70's JB was on a Mission.a Must have ASAP.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Soul Survivor October 7, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD was a very pleasant surprise. I thought it would be a lot of previously seen film footage of JB performances, but the real focus was getting to know James Brown, the man. Learning his beginning and seeing all he had to overcome made his music more personal. I bought a copy for my father who grew up in Augusta at that time and he loved seeing the pool hall they all played in and he recognized other popular hang out spots. A great gift for anyone who is a true JB fan. If you love his music, you will love this DVD. It was money well spent.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ONE AND ONLY JAAAAAAAAMMMMESSSS BROWN March 2, 2004
By A Customer
superb docu about the ups and downs of the hardest working man in showbusiness, the godfather of soul, mr. superbad, the man with the golden soul, mr. dynamite, soulbrother no.1, the original disco man, mr. please please please himself JJJJJJAAAAAMMMMEEESSS BROWN.
see j.b. in action in many rare clips from the 60's and 70's (more then i have seen in any other docu about him). in between interviews with the man himself and fred wesley, al sharpton, bobby byrd, martha high and more. also footage from the house of blues early 2003 and footage j.b. with pavarotti in modena 2002.
ron roelofsen j.b. collector no. 1 from the netherlands ([...]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the One - Get it February 16, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD is a "must have" for the true James Brown fan. It is autobiographical with great footage from the early years when JB could really dance and do his splits and microphone tricks. You get to see his beginnings, concerts, practices -- everything. The footage covers his successes and challenges and comes all the way forward to the recent past. After I saw my copy, I ordered copies for my parents and several friends who are all huge James Brown fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good; but what's missing from this film? August 4, 2007
This PBS doc is very good for what it gives of the great James Brown talking about where he came from.
All the reviewers here who say it's missing fuller performances from his great years are absolutely right. The producers had the chance to give us that; there's plenty of space to combine more of that with the talk they got. Instead, it's weighed down with too much footage from a late show of his; an older James Brown who'd lost a lot of youthful or even middle-aged fire and energy (can't blame him for that after 40 to 50 years!), surrounding himself on stage at the end with white girls in bikini tops and American flag costumes.
The show is also good at giving us the social context: how JB kept bringing his music back to the community he came from, and the impact of his music on Black Power and its aftermath. But aside from valuable comments throughout by Nelson George ("James Brown was creating a new way to make black popular music," "stripping down" soul and R and B, etc.), the producers missed a chance to focus more on how the music was made. More emphasis on James Brown's musical innovations and the reach of his minimalist funk would have made this a more satisfying film to watch. (ie. He created the foundations of funk and hip hop, but also Miles Davis electric music and a lot of avant garde). Still recommendable. It's probably the best J.B. biopic there is.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Basically "The Authorized" Biography - 3.5 stars.
James Brown is a complicated man. He's a fighter, a black icon, a sometimes drug addict, a radical businessman, and the Godfather of Soul. Read more
Published on May 31, 2011 by jasoneducator
2.0 out of 5 stars Please, Please, Please...
Release a James Brown DVD of complete performances from the 1960's thru the 2000's instead of brief clips that are nothing more than a frustrating tease to watch. Read more
Published on February 7, 2008 by Avalon Don
5.0 out of 5 stars James Brown - Soul Survivor
This video is great. It provides a biography of James Brown as well as an overview of the social and political significance of soul music. Read more
Published on November 21, 2007 by Mus Tech
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent JB overview
With the sad - and surprising - passing of James Brown in 2006, I hope there are some archival releases in the works that will allow us to see prime concert material of one of the... Read more
Published on October 17, 2007 by TheBandit
4.0 out of 5 stars JB - R.I.P.
This DVD is a documentary on James Brown, the man. Although some concert footage with poor picture quality is included, it only supports the documentary narrative about JB and his... Read more
Published on May 19, 2007 by W. Michael Hamrick
1.0 out of 5 stars BAD PURCHASE
Published on May 14, 2007 by Jack D. Scott
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much old footage
Ok DVD, but not much of the younger, better James Brown.
Published on July 5, 2004
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