3 Movies Every Ray Charles Fan Should Watch

The incomparable Ray Charles is as dynamic as they come. From the swelling “Georgia on My Mind” to the swinging “I’ve Got a Woman,” Charles is fabulous on the keys, singing, getting a room going, and on wax, too.

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But Charles is also terrific on screen, whether it’s him or a world-famous actor portraying him. To illustrate, we’ve collected three movies that display the brilliance of Charles the songwriter and performer.

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1. Ray (2004)

Starring Jamie Foxx in an uncanny performance as Ray Charles, this 2004 biopic was a smash hit and a critically acclaimed one, too. Foxx was so good that he took home the Academy Award for his channeling of Charles. The movie also stars the incandescent Kerry Washington. It tracks Ray’s life from childhood through adulthood as he deals with going blind, racist people, musical successes, and drug use. And, of course, it features many of his most popular songs.

2. Ballad in Blue (1965)

This black and white 1965 film includes several of Charles’ famous songs, sung both by him and a chorus of school children. But the plot of the movie has the singer working to help a family and their blind son. Charles even goes so far as to volunteer to help pay for therapy to help his eyesight come back. But the family is unsure. Check out one of the performances from the movie here below.

3. Blues Brothers (1980)

This Chicago-based 1980 film stars Saturday Night Live actors turned movie stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. The two drive around in their Bluesmobile running into characters and artists of all kinds, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, and, yes, Ray Charles. In the movie, Charles performs as the Blues Brothers dance, wiggle, and do the twist. It’s a hilarious bit that’s since become a staple of musical movie montages.

Photo by David Redfern/Redferns

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