Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!

Cadillac Records

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language and some sexuality.
not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Musical, History, Drama
1 hr. 48 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 5, 2008
Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, TriStar Pictures

Music in the Bible


How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer


Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeffrey Wright, Beyoncé Knowles, Adrien Brody, Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short, Cedric the Entertainer, Norman Reedus, Mos Def, Eamonn Walker, Eric Bogosian, Tammy Blanchard, Shiloh Fernandez, Jay O. Sanders, Natasha Ononogbo, Chyna Layne, Osas Ighodaro, Gano Grills, Veronika Dash, Marc Bonan, Suzette Gunn, Kevin Jackson, Jill Flint, Malikha Mallette, Derrick Simmons, Valence Thomas, Eshaya Draper, Anthony Del Negro, Jake Robards, Evan Hart, Tim Bellow, Albert Jones, John Farrer, Rayan Lawrence, Nate Jones, Kevin Mambo, Ryan Curtis, Stephen Seidel, Tony Bentley, Ginnie Randall, Doug W. Goldman, Lawrence P. Beron, Dwan Dink Young, Wayne Cobham
Director: Darnell Martin
“Their Eyes Were Watching God,” “I Like It Like That”
Producer: Parkwood Pictures, Sony Music Film, Petra Hoebel, Beyoncé Knowles, Andrew Lack, Sofia Sondervan
Distributor: TriStar Pictures

“Follow the beat to the source.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “‘Cadillac Records’ chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists. In this tale of sex, violence, race and rock and roll in Chicago of the 1950s and 60s, the film follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America’s greatest musical legends.

The story of how the blues became popular and gave birth to rock and roll begins at a dingy bar on the rough South Side of Chicago in 1947, where an ambitious young Polish émigré, bar owner Leonard Chess (Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody), hires a talented but undisciplined blues combo that includes quiet and thoughtful guitar prodigy Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright) and impulsive and colorful harmonica player Little Walter (Columbus Short). Fascinated by the sound of the music—and eager to cash in on the record burgeoning record business—Chess arranges a recording session for Waters. Waters’ early recordings start moving up the R+B charts and receiving heavy play.

Chess treats his musicians like family—he buys them a Cadillac when they record their first hit record—although the line between business and personal sometimes causes conflict with his increasingly talented and successful stable of artists. After backing up Muddy on his early recordings, Little Walter becomes a star in his own right, but his quick temper and loud manner often run him afoul of friends and the law. He also finds that the only woman he can talk to is Muddy’s girl, Geneva (Gabrielle Union), who struggles to remain loyal despite Muddy’s poorly concealed affairs. Big Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer), a songwriter and bandleader, also is a key member of the Chess Records family, as is Howlin’ Wolf (Eamonn Walker), an intense and proud blues singer who develops a musical rivalry with Muddy.

But it’s not until 1955 when a Chess artist finally ‘crosses over’ into the realm of mainstream (‘white’) America—a skinny guy from St. Louis named Chuck Berry (Mos Def), whose dynamic ‘duck walk’ and catchy, country-tinged tunes mark the birth of rock-and-roll. When Berry is arrested and jailed at the height of his career, Chess finds another talented performer to cross over—singer Etta James (Beyoncé Knowles), an emotionally scarred young woman whose vulnerability tempts Chess’ loyalty and concern in unexpected ways.

As rock-and-roll grows more popular, the Chess artists find themselves revered by a new generation of musicians, but they have also each earned and lost a small fortune on booze, women and the high life, and their addictions begin to take their toll. Even as tragedy befalls, their music and their spirit remain strong: as the sixties wind down and Leonard Chess gets out of the record business, the blues live on.”

Volunteer reviewer needed for this movie

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—If you want to learn something from this film, it is that you must be true to yourself in every situation you find yourself. Don’t get caught up in all the hype of entertainment world. It is not real—love what u love and always remember that love is through Christ.

THE movie: The movie was overall great def a 5 stars!!! The movie is biographical into one of the greatest stories ever told in music. ms etta… the other people… Beyoncé was def great from the way she walked to the the way she sang… The movie does move rather fast and def is able to stay up to beat… I mean it does get it back into the day when that crazi music got its first hit! The Beatles get in the movie as well. …the movie was def a laugh/drama/action/RIGHT on script!!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Brooklynn, age 21


Movie Critics
[3 stars]…‘Cadillac Records’ is an account of the Chess story that depends more on music than history, which is perhaps as it should be. The film is a fascinating record of the evolution of a black musical style, and the tangled motives of the white men who had an instinct for it. …
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…‘Cadillac Records’ could use more music and less mugging—Knowles’ take on James in particular is convincing only when she’s singing, which is fitting for a woman whose acting skills come in a distant second to her voice. But after every misstep, the film seems to find its feet again. …
Tasha Robinson, Los Angeles Times
…a mess dramatically, but it’s a wonderful mess, and not just because of the great music. The people who made it must have harbored the notion, almost subversive in a season of so many depressing films, that going out to the movies should be fun. …
The Wall Street Journal
…a toe-tapping experience where the music rather than the actors dominate. …As drama, Cadillac is adequate. As a jukebox musical, it soars.
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
…Writer-director Darnell Martin clearly respects the fact that the history of Chess Records is a worthy subject. But therein lies a problem: Overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before her, she’s forced to rush from scene to scene, taking a snapshot of each and then hurriedly moving on. …
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
…the music’s electrifying but the details are murky… No Phil Chess. That’s like saying Orville Wright was single-handedly responsible for the invention of the airplane. Fifty years on, we’re still living with the aftershocks of what Muddy and Wolf invented and the Chess brothers midwived, but it’s in the air and not yet on the screen.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe
…loaded with offensive and profane language, including at least 69 uses of the f-word. …several depictions of adultery and fornication
Phil Boatwright, Preview Family Movie and TV Review