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The Night James Brown Saved Boston (2009)

James Brown , David Leaf  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

The Night James Brown Saved Boston + James Brown: Live at the Boston Garden - April 5, 1968 + The T.A.M.I. Show Collector's Edition
Price for all three: $35.94

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Brown
  • Directors: David Leaf
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, 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: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001L2ZSJY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,491 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

On April 4, 1968, the leader of the nonviolent resistance movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. On April 5, 1968, James Brown sang, and the city of Boston didnt burn down. The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the story of the pivotal role that James Brown, and that particular concert, played in the political, social and cultural history of the country, focusing on 1968, a defining year for America. Using actual performance footage and the personal recollections of James Browns band members, friends like activist Reverend Al Sharpton, personal manager Charles Bobbitt, Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West, Boston citizens, those who attended the concert, politicians (such as former Boston Mayor Kevin White) and Newsweeks David Gates, The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the compelling story of an artist at the absolute peak of his powers using his artistry for the greater good.

Bonus Features:

* Extensive additional interviews footage.

* Panel discussion at Boston premiere of the film.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful companion to the concert... October 2, 2009
Though footage of the legendary concert (mostly copies of copies of copies) have been floating around for ages, it is only recently that its been commercially released.

The back drop: 1968, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King...
Countless American Cities are burning...
The question: How can the powers that be get as many people as possible to stay home and possibly pass up on the big riot?

The answer: James Brown, the hottest performer in show business to cool down one of the most explosive situations in the city's history... So public TV station WGBH decides to televise a special concert at the Boston Garden asking everyone to stay home...

This documentary features talking heads such as Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Cornel West, Rep. Alan Young, legendary Boston DJ James "Early" Byrd, the Mayor of Boston (at the time) and plenty of footage of JB from the era when he was busting out dance moves that literally seemed to defy the laws of gravity (I'm not joking...) Also includes intersting JB footage... and interesting commentary (especially by Rev. Al Sharpton and JB manager Charles Bobbitt on how JB didn't necessarily agree with all of MLK's ideas about pacifism and the Viet Naam war, but how he respected him greatly... It also includes some incredible behind the scenes commentary...

Though I've seen a lot of the footage together, the documentary still is incredibly insightful and a great companion to the actual performance - - really though, it should have been issued as a companion to the documentary, not a separate purchase...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Interesting documentary about the true story of the nights following Martin Luther King's assassination, where many of the cities in America were in turmoil with riots and looting. But in Boston, things were quiet, in large part due to Mayor Kevin White's decision to broadcast James Brown's show at the Garden live on PBS that night. Some cynics say it was just to keep the black residents away from the white area of North Station, and that might be partly true, but I think for the most part the intentions were good (and it worked). Good documentary pointing out everything from how James insisted on reimbursement ($50k) to the fact that PBS had never done a live rock band before, and wasn't even sure how to mic and mix it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ladies and Gentlemen...James Brown!! May 16, 2009
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
April 5, 1968. Martin Luther King assasinated the day before. Riots in over 100 American cities. Scheduled for a concert in Boston Garden that night: James Brown. Should the concert be held? Would anyone show up? What if we televise it? Can we? Would Mr. Brown allow it? Will any station broadcast it?
This film documents the times leading up to the events of April 5th, and the things that happened afterwards. Throughout this remarkable film is the music and the presence of James Brown, Soul Brother #1.
If you want music, there's a lot here. If you want history, there's a lot here. This is an amazing film that Everyone should see at least once in their lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth seeing December 8, 2013
By bruce
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
learned a lot about james brown and the city of boston, and what it was like in 1968. also some good concert footage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
i was visiting texas when i saw this advertised,and when i saw it at home for the very first time ,i remember seeing it on tv that very spring day
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history yeeowww April 25, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
James Brown played an important role in cooling the race riots after MLK was assassinated. This documentary told the story of the power of music to bring people together. Brown did not agree with the pacifist philosophy but he loved and respected the man who so passionately promoted peaceful integration. This was a history lesson with a good beat and you can dance to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars James Brown Awesome! March 20, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Historical in nature. James Brown stepped into a powder keg and delivered the goods. Plus the concert was really great
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Night that James Brown Saved Boston April 25, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
This video was very informative from an historical perspective! I learned a lot about Dr. Martin Luther King Murder, and the surrounding facts that caused James Brown to be involved! The music was very outstanding! This video reflected how really talented and skilled James Brown was! He really impacted the Black Community that most articles never mentioned! What an wonderful role model!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Watch...
This movie shows the influence James Brown had on a people...and how one man squash a potential riot. And a must see performance!
Published 15 months ago by The Word of One
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Hype
I'm sure James Brown's performance helped the tense situation but too much time was spent on glorifying his role. My interest was in his performance. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Stanley R. Batt
5.0 out of 5 stars Much More Than Black History
I was pleasantly surprised about all the positive aspects of this production. It goes far beyond documentary style reporting to tell an eloquent story about leadership and will... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome Video
My husband and I liked the history part of the show. It was very well done. Thanks for sharing this we loved it.
Published 17 months ago by Peggy
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone ever notice...
Anyone ever notice that it is always the voices that preach peace, love, progress, and equality that are cut down by an assassin's bullet? Read more
Published 19 months ago by posimosh
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful
I was very impressed with this documentary. I highly recommend. Very insightful. I was inspired by it and I hope that everyone can see this. Read more
Published on February 12, 2012 by S. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See for All James Brown and Urban History Buffs
This is a thorough documentary film about James Brown's influence and personal position on the civil rights movement in the fragile moments after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Read more
Published on October 8, 2011 by Curtis D. Smith
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