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Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)

Director: George C. Wolfe


Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), her ambitious horn player (Chadwick Boseman) and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable "Mother of the Blues". Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson's play.

Male Deaths[]

Female Deaths[]



  1. Although Levee is traditionally depicted as a trumpeter, Boseman plays a cornet throughout the film.
  2. Despite playing the title character, Viola Davis's performance clocks at only 26 minutes and 41 seconds.
  3. This is Viola Davis' second appearance in a film adaptation of a play by August Wilson. She previously appeared in Fences (2016), which garnered her an Academy Award.
  4. This is Chadwick Boseman's last film. He died on August 28, 2020, after a 4-year battle with colon cancer. Unbeknownst to his fellow cast members, Boseman was receiving cancer treatment while filming this movie.
  5. Ann Roth became the oldest woman to win a competitive Academy Award for her work as costume designer.
  6. In 2015, Denzel Washington announced that he would be bringing all ten of August Wilson's "Century Cycle" plays to the big or small screen. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is the second filmed Wilson adaptation Washington has produced in this cycle, after Fences (2016). In September 2020, Washington told the New York Times that the third film in the series would be The Piano Lesson, and that he hoped to cast his own son John David Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, with Barry Jenkins directing.