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Loosely based on the life and times of several R&B artists (The Dells, The Temptations, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke and others) The Five Heartbeats traces the rise and fall of a popular African-American 1950s singing aggregation. The story is told from the point of view of one of the "Heartbeats," played by Robert Townsend (who also co-produced, directed and co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Waynans). The film is an amalgam of anecdotes drawn from real-life experiences: the long struggle upward, the first rush of success, the dishonest record-company executives, the hard-nosed but nurturing managers, the sex, the drugs, the isolation and the precipitous downward slide. The film begins and ends in the 1990s, as the middle-aged "Duck" (Townsend) ruminates on the past and makes the best of the present.

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Special Features * cc Bonus footage viewing option - see the filming of exclusive deleted scenes as you watch the movie * Robert Townsend profile * Original "making-of" featurette * 5 all-new featurettes: "Meet the Five Heartbeats," "The Director's Process," "In the Studio," "The Look," & "The Nomination" * Theatrical trailer

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FX 2231911 Five Heartbeats DVD (1991/Robert Townsend) $6.98