The world of cinema is still reeling from the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman in August, and the Black Panther star's final screen performance is now available to watch on Netflix.


Boseman is thought to be in the running for a posthumous Oscar for his exceptional turn in the film, which is adapted from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play of the same name, and also stars past Oscar-winner Viola Davis as the eponymous Blues singer.

It tells of a recording session in 1927 Chicago, at which tensions build following disagreements between her backing band, as well as a fight for control of Rainey's music between the singer and her white producer and manager.

Read on for all the details about the film, including when it's released and what it's about.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom release date

The film arrived on Netflix on Friday 18th December 2020.

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It's now available to stream on the platform.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom cast

The film stars late Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman in his final film performance as ambitious trumpeter Levee, while Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis (Fences, Widows) plays the lead role of Ma Rainey.

Glynn Turman (The Wire), Colman Domingo (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Michael Potts (The Wire) all have supporting roles, and the cast is rounded out by Taylour Paige, Dusan Brown, Jonny Coyne and Jeremy Shamos.

The film is helmed by acclaimed stage director George C. Wolfe.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom plot

The film is based on the 1982 play of the same name by August Wilson, and centres on a fateful recording session of the hugely influential real-life early blues singer Ma Rainey in 1927 Chicago.

According to the official synopsis: "Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary 'Mother of the Blues,' Ma Rainey.

"Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music.

"As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives."

You can find out more about the Ma Rainey's Black Bottom true story here. While the story isn't based on 100 per cent fact, themes explored in the film are historically accurate.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom trailer

Fans can get their first glimpse of the action in the below trailer, which includes a first look at Davis and Boseman in character.


Ma Rainey's Black Bottom debuts on Netflix on Friday 18th December 2020. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide