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Making the Five Heartbeats

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Making the Five Heartbeats is a 2018 documentary film written, directed and produced by Robert Townsend (actor).[1][2]. The film stars original characters from the musical drama, The Five Heartbeats, Robert Townsend (actor), Leon Robinson, Tico Wells, Michael Wright (actor), Harry Lennix and Hawthorne James. The film released in the United States on August 27, 2018[3].

Making the Five Heartbeats
Directed byRobert Townsend
Produced byRobert Townsend, Lydia Nicole
Based onThe Five Heartbeats
StarringRobert Townsend, Leon Robinson, Harry Lennix, Tico Wells
Narrated byRobert Townsend
Music byStephen James Taylor
CinematographyDianne Farrington
Edited byRobert Pergament, Bethany Cuevas
Green Lighthouse Inc.
Release date
27 August 2018 (USA)
Running time
1hr 25 min

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Filmmaker Robert Townsend (actor) details the steps in creating and producing his 1991 film The Five Heartbeats. The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder writes "the documentary takes the viewer through the highs and lows of each step of the filmmaking process"[4]. Characters from the original film The Five Heartbeats share memories, struggles and other experiences from their time working on the film in the early 90's[5]. An article from Black Enterprise calls the film "a master class on the business of entertainment"[6].


  • Robert Townsend (actor)
  • Keenen Ivory Wayans
  • Michael Wright (actor)
  • Tico Wells
  • Harry Lennix
  • Leon Robinson
  • Hawthorne James


Making the Five Heartbeats was released on August 27, 2018 with an initial screening at the Laemmle Theatres Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills, CA followed by short-term releases in Laemmle's Noho 7 theater in North Hollywood, CA and New York City's Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem[7][8][9]. A screening on November 27, 2018 was followed by a Q&A session with Robert Townsend (actor) and Diahann Carroll[10]. The film also screened on February 8th, 2019 at Chance the Rapper's SocialWorks 2nd Annual Black History Month Film festival[11].

The film is also expected to become a broadway production in the future[12].


The documentary was nominated in 2019 for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary[13]

See Also[edit]

  • Robert Townsend (actor)
  • The Five Heartbeats
  • Townsend Entertainment
  • Hollywood Shuffle
  • Documentary film


  1. Making the Five Heartbeats (2018) - IMDb, retrieved 2019-03-18
  2. "Robert Townsend (actor)", Wikipedia, 2019-03-18, retrieved 2019-03-18
  3. Making the Five Heartbeats, retrieved 2019-03-18
  4. Gustavo, Solomon (2019-03-12). "Townsend boosts local Black filmmaking". MN Spokesman-Recorder. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  5. "'Making the Five Heartbeats': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  6. "See Robert Townsend's 'Making The Five Heartbeats' For a Master Class On the Business of Entertainment". Black Enterprise. 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  7. "Making The Five Heartbeats". mayslesdocumentary center. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  8. "Making the Five Heartbeats - Laemmle.com". www.laemmle.com. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  9. "Ahrya Fine Arts Movie Theater - Laemmle.com". www.laemmle.com. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  10. TheMovieReport.com (2018-11-28), MAKING THE FIVE HEARTBEATS premiere Q&A with Robert Townsend & Diahann Carroll - November 27, 2018, retrieved 2019-03-18
  11. "SocialWorks Presents The 2nd Annual Black History Month Film Festival". Social Works. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  12. Busch, Anita; Busch, Anita (2018-12-10). "Robert Townsend's 'The Five Heartbeats' Is Now Broadway Bound". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  13. "Nominees | NAACP Image Awards". Retrieved 2019-03-18.

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