Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever DVD Review

     Performers: Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Richard Pryor, Diana Ross, Berry Gordy
  • Director: Don Mischer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Time Life Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2014
  • Run Time: 450 minutes


            On May 16th, 1983 “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” debuted on NBC, reuniting groups such as The Miracles, The Supremes and The Jackson 5 in celebration of twenty-five years of Motown music. Perhaps best known for Michael Jackson’s performance of “Billie Jean,” during which he introduced the world to the moonwalk, this television special went on to win an Emmy Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. For such a remarkable piece of music history, it is hard to believe that this special show was unavailable to consumers until now.


            Hosted by Richard Pryor from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, essentially every living name in Motown at the time appeared to have a hand in the celebration. After glowing introductions by Pryor and other admirable guests such as Dick Clark, the famed musicians took to the stage to perform a medley of their best-known melodies. For instance, Stevie Wonder sang a mash-up of “Uptight,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” “My Cherie Amour,” “Sir Duke,” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.” Other artists would play an entire song, such as Diana Ross’s rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” or Marvin Gaye doing “What’s Going On.”


            The DVD release of the show comes with three discs, even though the entire broadcast can be fit onto one. This is because of the extras included, from the performers roundtable and making-of featurette included on the first disc to the hours of bonus features on the remaining two discs. The second disc has more exclusive interviews with producers and the director, along with a featurette and rehearsal footage of Marvin Gaye performing “What’s Going On.” The third disc includes additional interviews, as well as several reunion roundtables, shot on location at the Pasadena Civic Center years later. There are a few additional featurettes also added, including one about The Temptations and Four Tops.   


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10

    Historical Significance:  9/10

    Special Features: 8.5/10

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