Only the Strong Survive - A Celebration of Soul
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Only the Strong Survive - A Celebration of Soul
Roger Friedman is an entertainment journalist and music fan with a particular love for R&B and soul music from the mid-'50s to the pre-disco era of the early '70s. Owing in part to segregated booking policies and simple lack of proper archiving, Friedman discovered there is little or no surviving film footage or videotape of many of the greatest artists of the era performing on-stage. However, a large number of the performers in question were still active and performing on a regular basis, and with the help of documentary filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, Friedman set out… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"There's no problem with a little bias, but Friedman's fan-boy perspective puts the subjects of Only the Strong Survive on too high a pedestal."
‑ Randy Cordova, Arizona Republic
"Fortunately, the performances themselves are beautifully filmed and recorded."
‑ Richard Harrington, Washington Post
"...fails to give audiences as much frame of reference for the unifying economic, political and atmospheric elements that made the Stax brand of R&B soul music so powerful."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"A disorganized sprawl."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"A loving look at soul's golden era that leaves you wanting more; a disappointment in some respects because it doesn't craft a more comprehensive, cohesive background."
‑ Brent Simon, Entertainment Today
"Content to merely serve as a cluttered, heart-shaped scrapbook, missing many more stories than it bothers to include."
‑ Gene Seymour, Newsday
"A film that even with its flaws should be cheered for preserving the later years of these towering musical talents."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"you get the feeling that Hegedus and Pennebaker couldn't care less about soul music."
‑ Christopher Null,
"Lacks context, depth and a sense of purpose."
‑ Shawn Levy, Oregonian
"The scrappy country cousin to the high-gloss Standing in the Shadows of Motown."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner
"... the music is great, but as a film thumbs down."
‑ Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper
"Worth the time and money some of the summer's effects-driven spectacles probably won't be."
‑ Mike Clark, USA Today
"I would have prefered deeper insights... [but] as a concert film, this one's a blast."
‑ David Cornelius,
"Invaluable as a record of its subjects (including the late, great Rufus Thomas), but it doesn't cohere as a feature..."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"These survivors share a timelessness and a universality that remain untouched by the fickle shifts of popular culture."
‑ Marshall Fine, Journal News (Westchester, NY)
More reviews for Only the Strong Survive - A Celebration of Soul on Rotten Tomatoes