The life and times of Richard Pryor.
David Banks (Himself), Rona Barrett (Herself (archive footage)), David Brinkley (Himself (archive footage)), Skip Brittenham (Himself), Mel Brooks (Himself), Cecil Brown (Himself), Johnny Carson (Himself (archive footage)), Marie Carter (Herself (archive footage)), Dave Chappelle (Himself), Chevy Chase (Himself (archive footage)), Don Cornelius (Himself (archive footage)), Ron De Biasio (Himself (as Ron DeBlasio)), Mike Douglas (Himself (archive footage)), Mike Epps (Himself), Budd Friedman (Himself), Sandy Gallin (Himself), Whoopi Goldberg (Herself), Pam Grier (Herself (archive footage)), Merv Griffin (Himself (archive footage)), Bomber Hurley-Smith (Himself), Jesse Jackson (Himself), Quincy Jones (Himself), Alex Karras (Mongo (archive footage)), Rashon Khan (Himself), George Lopez (Himself), Kathy McKee (Herself), Lonette McKee (Herself), John Moffitt (Himself), Paul Mooney (Himself), Walter Mosley (Himself), Thom Mount (Himself), Bob Newhart (Himself), Jane Pauley (Herself (archive footage)), Richard Pryor Jr. (Himself), Jennifer Lee Pryor (Herself), Richard Pryor (Himself (archive footage)), Ishmael Reed (Himself), Diana Ross (Billie Holliday (archive footage)), Paul Schrader (Himself), Michael Schultz (Himself)...
Roy Ackerman (executive producer), Mark Cope (assistant producer), Sara Hutchison (producer), Stephanie Johnson (associate producer), P.G. Morgan (consulting producer), Jennifer Lee Pryor (executive producer), Grace Willen (associate producer)
This documentary, I thought, was a well-paced and interesting look at the iconic comedian, writer, and actor Richard Pryor.
His epiphany early on in his career to be himself, thus to use raw language and the N-word, although giving him rough times at first, would eventually pave the way for his stardom and be a catalyst for many other performers to follow. It would also actually serve as a bridge for better relations between the black and white communities.
The movie delves somewhat into Pryor's personal life, looking as his difficult upbringing in a bordello, where his father and uncle were pimps and his mother a prostitute. Pryor was very close to his grandmother who actually raised him and set disciplinary boundaries for him. He had various personalities, per those that knew him well, and ended up marrying seven times to five different women.
The documentary also goes into some detail about Pryor's cocaine addiction, and how his physical and mental health especially deteriorated when he switched from snorting to freebasing the drug. This would lead eventually to the infamous traumatic event where he lit himself on fire, while high, and ran down his neighborhood street. He would miraculously survive extremely serious burns.
There's the usual array of interviewees in the film, from former colleagues, collaborators, and those that knew him well, including his widow Jennifer Lee Pryor, who obviously held great affection for him. There's also clips of Pryor's concert, film, and TV appearances which I thought were well edited.
Overall, as mentioned, I found this movie, directed by Marina Zenovich, to be quite engaging and informative, and I certainly learned more about the great comedian than I knew before.
Untitled Richard Pryor Documentary ((working title)) • Richard Pryor: Hagyjuk a logikát! (Hungary)
Rated R for language and sexual references throughout, drug content, a disturbing image and brief nudity
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