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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 (63 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: 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 (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000549B2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,883 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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    16 of 19 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 2, 2003
    By A Customer
    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
    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
    4.0 out of 5 stars Under rated gem. December 17, 2002
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    Ok Denzel is in it playing a bit of a cad. But the real news here is that this is one of Spike's better movies, unlike the forgetable Girl 6 or Bamboozled, both nice efforts but far off the mark. Wesley Snipes, who to me is always better when he plays an evil character, is wonderful in this. Denzel is a little on the flat side in this one, this isn't a Malcolm X or Training Day performance for him. Wesley is wonderful. No action hero [stuff], just a great acting job. Spike is in it as expected and does his usual in his role. Joi Lee is credable and the soundtrack is good if not spectacular. If you are a Spike or a Wesley fan, add it to your collection. If not rent it and give it a look, its worth the price of a rental for sure.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    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 days ago by Caglevision
    4.0 out of 5 stars Great classic movie
    Love the cast, great story and perfect ending. Great Densel movie, and Spike shows off some acting skills as well.
    Published 1 month ago by Crystal Jordan
    4.0 out of 5 stars Spike Lee classic !
    This is a spike lee classic. Sexy,sexy,sexy ! Great music, actors , story line . It's the kind of movie that makes you pull out your jazz collection !
    Published 1 month ago by tanya hinton
    5.0 out of 5 stars Purchased as a gift
    Any movie with Denzel Washington as an actor is a good movie this one has him as a musician and it was purchased for a musician.
    Published 2 months ago by t c bolton
    4.0 out of 5 stars Mo' Better Blues
    I am a big fan of Denzel Washington movies. This is a good classic old school Denzel / Spike Lee movie.
    Published 3 months ago by brian beavers
    5.0 out of 5 stars gr8 shopping
    Would recommend to anyone amazon is a great source of shopping wit gr8 prices!!! will definitely shop again in the near future!!!!
    Published 3 months ago by Lynn Thompson
    5.0 out of 5 stars Simply my best Spike Lee Movie
    I love Spike's filmo, but I have my heart atttached to this great movie which deals with childhood's friendship, love, dedication to music, and choices for life, in a brilliant... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by MR PMD
    5.0 out of 5 stars I don't go to the theater to see movies. like for this one, I waited...
    I had to add this movie to my Denzel collection! I enjoyed the club scene with Wesley Snipes playing solo. I never forgot the song she sang.
    Published 4 months ago by Janice Drake
    2.0 out of 5 stars Spike Lee's worst movie
    Wasn't worth the money. Spike Lee could've done better than this. Denzel was okay, but Wesley Snipes' performance was better. Also, Spike should have stayed out of this movie. Read more
    Published 7 months ago by Kevin P. Ellens
    3.0 out of 5 stars Faulty Disc
    unable to view completely as tape is faulty. Please advise as way to return for exchange. thank you Ernest Hand
    Published 7 months ago by Ernest Hand
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