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Mo' Better Blues (1990)

Denzel Washington , Spike Lee , Spike Lee  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes, Giancarlo Esposito, Robin Harris
  • Directors: Spike Lee
  • Writers: Spike Lee
  • Producers: Spike Lee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Unknown), Spanish (Unknown)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 28, 2004
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000549B2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,981 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mo' Better Blues" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Recommendations

  • Editorial Reviews

    Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington gives a riveting performance in Spike Lee's breathtaking film on music and love. Talented trumpeter Bleek Gilliam (Washington) is obsessed by his music and indecisiveness about his girlfriends Indigo (Joie Lee) and Clarke (Cynda Williams). But when he is forced to come to the aid of his manager and childhood friend (Spike Lee), Bleek finds his world more fragile that he ever imagined. Stunning cinematography, a rousing score and superlative performances come together in this unforgettable feast for the senses.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars So much to feel, so much to enjoy August 11, 2000
    Format:VHS Tape
    You don't have to be a musician who has found himself grappling with the same fundamental spiritual issues as the main character (and similiar romantic dilemma) to enjoy this movie. MO BETER BLUES is one of my favorite feel good/life lesson movies because of the sheer nobility that underlies and underscores every nuance of character, plot, situation, and every note of the music. Denzel Washington as a self-absorbed, brilliant trumpeter and band leader, discovering the fragility of his life and the unrealized strength of his heart; Wesley Snipes as his ambitious, equally brilliant- and equally alpha male- saxophonist who, though on the surface a seemingly ungrateful rival ready to break and emerge with his own band, loves him more than he loves himself; Turturro as the fundamentally disinetersted producer, an archtype of the music business; two women- one who loves the music more than him, the other him more than the music; a score by Spike's father, musician and composer Bill Lee; performances by terrance Blanchard and Branford Marsalis... deft screenwriting by Spike- in one of the few movies he's made where his presence as a character doesn't take away from the ensemble product... what's not to like in this beautiful film? If you are not a jazz fan, trust me, you will become one after seeing this. A feel good movie that does not let you down; MO BETTER is, "Mo' better".
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    17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A genius musician battles his inner demons. March 4, 1999
    By Brian
    Format:VHS Tape
    This is a masterpeice. Bleek Gilliam is a talented musician and the leader of the Bleek Gilliam quartet, a famed jazz band in New York. Bleek has a problem. He has three loves in his life. He is forced to choose between his two worshipful lovers - Indigo and Clarke, and his true baby - his music. Further complicating his life are his lifelong freind and mooch - Giant, and his bandmate, Shadow. Giant is in and out of trouble, and Shadow longs to move out of Bleeks shadow to form his own band.
    This is a visually stimulating film. Spike Lee's uses of colors and lighting creates a mood that is essentially Jazz. The ambiente atmosphere of the film is highlighted by outstanding music composed by Branford Marsalis.
    Mo-Better blues is an urban tale that will strike at the heart of all. Those who are new to Spike Lee's brand of photography are in for a treat. Also be sure to check out other Lee classics Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Crooklyn, and He Got Game.
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    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars My absolute favorite Spike Lee Movie July 11, 2000
    Format:VHS Tape
    Like that means anything to you, but it is. Mo' better blues is about a brilliant musician battling his inner and outer demons. It's also a love story of sorts. Denzel Washington once again gives and effortless performance as Bleek Gilliam the talented and tourchred musician. Fine support work comes from Wesley Snipes, Newcomer Cynda Williams and Joi Lee. Once again veteren Cinematographey Ernest Dickerson shines his brillian photography.The score by Terence Blanchard is also excellent. Like I said this is my favorite Spike Lee movie. This may not be spikes best work (do the right thing) but this is the first film where spike seeems most comfortable behind the camera. MO better has a real 'im a porfessional'look to it. This movie really has the feel of a jazz movie, with it's bright colors and even better soundtrack makes this movie a pleasure to watch.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful August 1, 2003
    By A Customer
    Format:DVD
    This is one of the most visually beautiful film with African-American actors I've ever seen (another that comes to mind is Devil in a Blue Dress, also starring Denzel Washington). The opening credits are a masterful combination of music and shadows.
    Overall, an enjoyable contemporary story of young, single African-Americans filmed in Brooklyn and Manhattan, a rarity for its time. They're making more of this type of film today . . . but the actors are getting younger and younger!
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Nice... July 11, 2003
    By A Customer
    Format:DVD
    I saw this film when it was released (summer of 1990). I didn't appreciate it because I was 21 (a kid who wouldn't get the major theme). I recently purchased the DVD, and I watched it for the first time in 13 years.
    I really enjoyed this film. Everyone has (or has had) a Bleek in his life: someone who is so self-centered on his/her desires that he/she doesn't show respect or regard for anything else. However, we always lose the love of our life for various reasons. Then, what do you do when the love of your life is suddenly taken from you? That is this film's theme. Bleek's true love was music - jazz music. Bleek's love of music was the most important thing to him. Music overrode everything: an incompetent manager (who just happened to be his best friend), his lovers, and the contentment of his bandmates (the money issue which is related to having an incompetent manager).
    I enjoyed the score and the jazz pieces included in this film (after all, Bleek played the trumpet). I really liked the cinematography in this film because the film showed the beauty of New York City - the brownstones, the Manhattan skyline (a brief glimpse), the Brooklyn Bridge, etc.
    All in all, a good film. Rated 4 stars (not 5 stars because I thought the ending of the film was too rushed).
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Spike Lee makes it Mo'Betta May 14, 1999
    By A Customer
    Format:VHS Tape
    "Spike you've done it again".I absolutely love this movie.Not just because of the excellent job that Denzel Washington did, but the entire cast was magnificent. I love the vast array of colors and who doesn't like the "special" way Spike uses the camera.I found this to be a very accurate look into the life of a self-centered Jazz musician.This has got to be the best love story that I have ever seen. Not only was it a love story of a man to a woman, but it was also a love story from one"brother" to another.(Bleek and Giant) He had to have had some kind of love in his heart for Giant or he would not have been bothered with him after they were beaten up together for his gambling debt. I now own every movie Spike Lee has ever made. I can truly say that I am a fan for life.Keep keepin'it real.Ya dig Sho' nuff Myskal
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    really good
    Published 14 days ago by Darnay Curry
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    One of Spike Lee's best work.
    Published 1 month ago by Travis Brimm
    3.0 out of 5 stars OLD School
    I haven't wach this movie yet. It's an old movie which I saw when I was much younger. I hope I enjoy it.
    Published 2 months ago by Et
    4.0 out of 5 stars In The Meantime, I'll Settle For Some Of That Mo' Better
    Spike Lee may not make perfect films, but there is no way they can be accused of being boring. With specific regards to Lee's pre-Malcom X canon, his movies are filled with rich... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Collin O'Donnell
    5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE
    This is an excellent and real human drama. The issues addressed and the acting is superb. The music score is dynamite. I watch it every 2-3 years.
    Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Mo' Better Blues
    It's the best and every adult should see this one. Mo' Better Blues deserves a five stars rating each and every time I watch this movie.
    Published 2 months ago by Angela
    4.0 out of 5 stars A nostalgic trip to the past
    I would give this movie 5 stars for the music alone and seeing Jeff Tain Watts play the drums and actually act in the movie was amazing. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Blue Note
    5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting movie.
    It has a great story plot line. The acting is superb and I was treated to a great believable story. I plan to see this one again when I get time. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by victoria gooch
    5.0 out of 5 stars denzel makes any movie worth watching!
    movie stars light up the cast of characters - funny, romantic, tragic, this movie has it all. highly recommend! .
    Published 4 months ago by tracye
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story
    This is a very human, very good film. Funny at moments. Touching at times. Denzel and Wesley go head to head. A love triangle, a career and choices are on display. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Caglevision
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