Been Rich All My Life
Been Rich All My Life (2006)

This documentary follows the most unlikely troupe of tap dancers you're likely to meet, the Silver Belles, five former showgirls who danced at the Apollo and other legendary Harlem venues in the 1930s-40s. It is little remembered that… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: November 21, 2006
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Critic Score
79%
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Critic Score: 79% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: The remarkable resilience, energy, strength, and charisma of these women captivate, and their experiences are a historical treasure.

Sam Adams
Los Angeles Times

MacDonald seems less interested in the Silver Belles' past than their inspirational present. Eventually, the inevitable broken hips and dizzy spells take their toll, but those who remain seem determined to shuffle-step their way into the sunset.

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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times

Reminds us that every life contains many acts worth hearing about, not just a select few.

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Amber Wilkinson
Eye for Film

The rhythm of life is a powerful beat - and this affectionate and revealing documentary is sure to get even the most world-weary feet tapping.

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Ernest Hardy
L.A. Weekly

[MacDonald's] subjects -- former black chorus girls from Harlem's golden age, when the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater ruled New York nightlife -- are utterly captivating.

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Janice Page
Boston Globe

If you only watched the first half of Been Rich All My Life, you might walk away thinking it's a so-so documentary about another fascinating, underreported piece of Harlem history. And you'd be at least half right in that assessment.

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Maria Garcia
Film Journal International

It's a credit to MacDonald that she provides a little-known view of Harlem's halcyon days, but what's missing is the pith and marrow: We feel that the women still elude us.

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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune

It's a modest but highly enjoyable tribute.

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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor

The film could be more adept and probing, but the ladies -- Cleo Hayes, Marion Coles, Elaine Ellis, Fay Ray, and Geri Kennedy -- are delightful.

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Kam Williams
Upstage Magazine

An enchanting, if bittersweet, memoir which seamlessly interweaves wistful, tenderhearted reflections with archival film footage and the readily-observable harsh realities associated with advanced age to yield a splendid slice of African-American history.

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