DVD - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Bessie Smith's transformation from a struggling young singer into 'The Empress of the Blues', who became one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s and is an enduring icon today.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : [Publisher not identified], [2015]
Branch Call Number: DVD BESSIE
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (135 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
video file,DVD video,region 1


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 08, 2018

I love a good biopic and I love Queen Latifah as a screen presence. Excellent casting and music. Not for those who might be offended by the reality of Bessie Smith's life, which included romances with people of both sexes and lots of drinking, but superb portrayals and music.

Jul 18, 2018

Startling, unconventional portrayal of Woman as she is and not just a figment of a society's expectations! Took courage to make this film, and it was done superbly!

Sep 20, 2016

Pretty disgusting film with very unattractive stars portraying the downside of society in a blues setting. Not worth your time.

May 20, 2016

Great performances of Queen Latifah and Mo'nique.
Extraordinary recreation of an époque long gone.
Enjoyable music!

d2013 Mar 17, 2016

The story is a bit scattered but it gives you a glimpse in the life of this famous blues singer. Queen Latifah's is great as Bessie.

Jan 05, 2016

Although I admire Queen Latifah's acting ability, I did not like this movie At All! I am sure there was more to this woman than drinking, violence and sex. Talk about dishonoring Bessie Smith's life...what a shame. Kudo's to Monique, she did an excellent job of the character she portrayed as well. Sorry, but I REALLY was disappointed and saddened by the direction this movie took about this famous jazz singer. :-(

Dec 20, 2015

I could not even stomach the first 30-40 minutes of the movie and turned it off. I really wanted to learn more abut Bessie Smith's life and her contribution to music, but not about all the lesbian affairs. I guess I will be looking for other ways of finding out about her. This movie is NOT for the faint at heart, that's for sure.

Nov 23, 2015

Bessie Smith's story and her music needed to be highlighted in the 21st century, and I'm glad that it was. The HBO film falls into some bio-pic clichés and doesn't match the caliber of films like "Get On Up" or La Vie en Rose." Having said that, the acting is terrific and features some of the finest actors from HBO series including The Wire and Treme. Rather controversially, the film doesn't end with Smith's death which left me feeling a little incomplete, especially since she died soon after the ending of the film's narrative. Certainly worth watching.

Nov 23, 2015

Is an OK movie. Due to the 2 hr length, only provides small glimpses into her life (but i know more than i did).

Sep 02, 2015

On balance, this is a good film, and Queen Latifah gives a great performance. However, the film seems to leave out a lot of scenes and connecting material that would have fleshed out Bessie Smith's story better.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at Arapahoe Libraries

To Top