Dolemite Is My Name

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Dolemite Is My Name
Official release poster
Directed byCraig Brewer
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyEric Steelberg
Edited byBilly Fox
Music byScott Bomar
Distributed byNetflix
Release dates
  • September 7, 2019 (2019-09-07) (TIFF)
  • October 4, 2019 (2019-10-04) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States

Dolemite Is My Name is a 2019 American biographical comedy film directed by Craig Brewer and written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. The film stars Eddie Murphy as filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore, who is best known for having portrayed the character of Dolemite in both his stand-up routine and a series of blaxploitation films, which started with Dolemite in 1975.

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019. It was released in a limited release on October 4, and streaming on Netflix three weeks later. Dolemite Is My Name received positive reception from both audiences and film critics, with praise for Murphy's performance and the humor. It was chosen by both the National Board of Review and Time magazine as one of the ten best films of the year.[2][3] At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, the film was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Murphy was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.[4]


Struggling artist Rudy Ray Moore works in historic record store Dolphin's of Hollywood in 1970s LA, trying to get on the air in the in-store radio station. He moonlights as an MC for his friend Ben Taylor and band at a club. Asking the club owner for a comedy time slot, he is turned down.

One day, homeless man Ricco wanders into the record store, making loud, rhyming proclamations; one of which includes the name "Dolemite". (The real Moore recorded a number of prominent street poets, including Big Brown.)

Moore creates a stage persona telling stories at the club. Dressing as a pimp and brandishing a cane, he is Dolemite, launching into a crudely humorous and foul-mouthed routine "The Signifying Monkey". Taylor's group join him on-stage as back up. The crowd applauds.

Moore asks his aunt for money to record the comedy album "Eat Out More Often". His friend Jimmy Lynch records him at his home in front of an audience. Making several copies of the record, Moore sells them out of his car trunk. The record gains popularity, so a record company markets it to record stores. Moore offers to go on tour through the Deep South promoting it. While in Mississippi, he befriends single mother Lady Reed, convincing her to join them.

Celebrating the tour's success at a movie, The Front Page, the theater's majority-white audience finds the film hilarious but Moore and his friends don't. He is inspired to make a film starring as Dolemite. Turned down by a film executive who said he was a bit "doughier" than the other stars, Moore asks his record company for an advance on royalties to fund it himself. They agree, warning that if he fails, he will be in debt to them for the rest of his life.

Moore contacts playwright Jerry Jones who, despite initial reluctance, agrees to write the screenplay. Moore and Taylor go to a strip club and find character actor D'Urville Martin, offering him a role in the film. Initially offended, Moore gives him the opportunity to direct the film himself. They convert the old, abandoned Dunbar Hotel into a makeshift soundstage. Jones invites a group of white UCLA film students to be the film crew, including Nicholas Josef von Sternberg as cinematographer.

Moore, Martin, Jones and crew begin filming Dolemite, a kung-fu-themed blaxploitation film, but Moore's unfamiliarity with karate and predilection towards camp disgusts Martin. Despite much of the cast and crew enjoying making the film, he quits soon after filming is completed, but first belittling them, proclaiming the film will never be seen by anyone.

Martin's words seem to come true as no film distributor will purchase the film. Moore returns to touring unenthusiastically. In Indiana, asked about the film's release by a local DJ, he remains noncommittal about whether the film will ever be seen. The DJ offers to premiere it in town with enough promotion. Taking him up on it, Moore single-handedly promotes it all around town. Though he spends a lot on four wall distribution, Moore is pleased to see a massive crowd waiting outside the theater, and the audience greatly enjoys the film.

Hollywood film executive Lawrence Woolner, whose studio Dimension Pictures had previously rejected Dolemite, hears about the Indiana premiere. He contacts Moore, promising to distribute the film. Moore arrives at Dimension Pictures dressed as Dolemite with Lady Reed and the crew dressed up as well. The executive says that, although Moore could continue promoting the film himself, he would not see profits right away. However, Dimension Pictures could put the film in theaters and everyone would profit. Moore agrees, beginning to promote it.

En route to the Hollywood premiere, Moore and the cast read negative reviews of the film, lowering their spirits. Upon arrival, however, the group is astonished to see an even bigger crowd of people cheering for them outside the theater. While the cast and crew go inside to see the film, Moore stays outside to entertain the crowd who must wait for the next show.

Rudy Ray Moore continued to tour and star in sequels to Dolemite until his death in 2008. Today he's considered to be the "Godfather of Rap".



Murphy has stated that a biopic of Rudy Ray Moore had long been a dream project for him. Murphy initially met screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski in 2003 and they began developing the project. Murphy arranged a meeting between the two writers with Moore, who told him many of his life stories before his death in 2008.[7] However, the early attempts to make the film never came to fruition.

On June 7, 2018, it was announced that Craig Brewer would direct Dolemite Is My Name from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski with Netflix producing and distributing. Eddie Murphy was set to star as Moore.[8][9] Later that month, the rest of the principal cast was announced.[10][11][12][13] In July 2018, Chris Rock and Ron Cephas Jones joined the cast.[14] Principal photography began on June 12, 2018.[15] Nicholas Josef von Sternberg, the director of photography of the original Dolemite, visited the set during filming, and according to Brewer, contributed additional stories that didn't make it into the film.[16]


Theatrical and streaming[edit]

Dolemite Is My Name had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019.[17] It was released in a limited release on October 4, 2019 and digital streaming on October 25, 2019.[18]


Eddie Murphy's performance as Rudy Ray Moore garnered critical acclaim and was called a successful comeback.

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 97% based on 233 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "In dramatizing Rudy Ray Moore's stranger-than-fiction story, Eddie Murphy makes Dolemite Is My Name just as bold, brash, and ultimately hard to resist as its subject."[19] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20]

In Variety, Owen Gleiberman described Murphy's performance as some kind of a comeback, writing: "As the brash hustler who made Dolemite, Eddie Murphy has his best role in years in a film that's like a blaxploitation answer to The Disaster Artist... He plays Rudy as a cheap but priceless carny barker of his own ego."[21]


Award Category Subject Result
AAFCA Awards Top 10 Films Won
Best Actor Eddie Murphy Won
Best Supporting Actress Da'Vine Joy Randolph Won
ACE Eddie Awards Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical Billy Fox Nominated
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Film Eddie Murphy, John Fox and John Davis Won
Outstanding Actor Eddie Murphy Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor Wesley Snipes Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress Da'Vine Joy Randolph Won
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance Won
Tituss Burgess Nominated
Outstanding Ensemble Lindsay Graham Won
Mary Vernieu Won
Outstanding Original Score Scott Bomar Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Ruth E. Carter Won
Casting Society of America Feature Big Budget – Comedy Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham Ahanonu Nominated
Costume Designers Guild Award Excellence in Period Film Ruth E. Carter Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Actor Eddie Murphy Nominated
Best Costume Design Ruth E. Carter Won
Best Hair & Makeup Nominated
Best Comedy Won
DFCS Awards Best Supporting Actor Wesley Snipes Nominated
Best Ensemble Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Eddie Murphy Nominated
Golden Raspberry Awards Razzie Redeemer Award Won
LAOFCS Awards Best Actor Nominated
Best Costume Design Ruth E. Carter Nominated
Best Comedy/Musical Film Nominated
Location Managers Guild Awards Outstanding Locations in a Period Film David B Lyons, Russel Hadaya Nominated
National Board of Review Top Ten Films Won
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Motion Picture Dolemite Is My Name Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Eddie Murphy Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Tituss Burgess Nominated
Wesley Snipes Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Da'Vine Joy Randolph Nominated
Outstanding Independent Motion Picture Dolemite Is My Name Won
Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
SDFCS Awards Best Actor Eddie Murphy Nominated
Best Comedic Performance Nominated
Wesley Snipes Won
Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Best Costume Design Ruth E. Carter Won
Best Production Design Clay A. Griffith Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Eddie Murphy Nominated
Best Costume Design Ruth E. Carter Won
SLFCA Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Comedy Film Nominated
Best Actor Eddie Murphy Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Wesley Snipes Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dolemite Is My Name (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  2. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (November 25, 2019). "The 10 Best Movies of 2019". Time. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "National Board of Review 2019: 'The Irishman' Wins Best Film, Adam Sandler Named Best Actor". National Board of Review. December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - Golden Globes: Full List of Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. 9 December 2019. Retrieved 2019-12-09.
  5. ^ Perry, Spencer (June 7, 2018). "Eddie Murphy to Star in Netflix Film on Rudy Ray Moore".
  6. ^ Hermanns, Grant (14 June 2018). "Wesley Snipes Joins Ensemble Cast For Netflix's Dolemite Is My Name".
  7. ^ Welk, Brian (September 26, 2019). "'Dolemite Is My Name' Writers Broke Their 'Cardinal Rule' for Eddie Murphy: 'This Script Is Only for Eddie'". The Wrap. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  8. ^ Galuppo, Mia (June 7, 2018). "Eddie Murphy to Star as Rudy Ray Moore for Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (June 8, 2018). "Film News Roundup: Eddie Murphy to Star in Biopic 'Dolemite Is My Name' for Netflix". Variety.
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (June 14, 2018). "Wesley Snipes Joins Eddie Murphy in Netflix's 'Dolemite Is My Name!' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (June 25, 2018). "T.I. in Talks to Join Eddie Murphy in Netflix's 'Dolemite Is My Name!' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. ^ Kit, Borys (June 28, 2018). "Keegan-Michael Key Joins Eddie Murphy in 'Dolemite Is My Name!' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  13. ^ Stuparusic, Jelena (August 21, 2018). "ZVEZDA "UBICA MOG OCA" U HOLIVUDU: Filimonović u filmu s Marfijem i Snajpsom!" [STAR OF "MY FATHER'S KILLERS" IN HOLLYWOOD: Filimonovic in a movie with Murphy and Snipes!]. Kurir (in Serbian). Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  14. ^ Galuppo, Mia (July 25, 2018). "'This Is Us' Star Ron Cephas Jones Joins Eddie Murphy in 'Dolemite' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 7, 2018). "Eddie Murphy to Star as Rudy Ray Moore for Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  16. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (October 27, 2019). "Netflix's 'Dolemite Is My Name' director shares 2 wacky stories from the making of the original movie that he couldn't fit in". Business Insider. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  17. ^ Lang, Brent (July 23, 2019). "Toronto Film Festival: 'Joker,' 'Ford v Ferrari,' 'Hustlers' Among Big Premieres". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  18. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 27, 2019). "Netflix Dates 'Marriage Story,' 'Laundromat' and Other Fall Award Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  19. ^ "Dolemite Is My Name". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  20. ^ "Dolemite Is My Name Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  21. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (September 8, 2019). "Toronto Film Review: 'Dolemite Is My Name'". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2019.

External links[edit]