The 8 Best Documentaries About Aretha Franklin

Oct 25, 2023 | Best Of, Celebrities, Music

Aretha Franklin is considered one of the most influential artists of all time, and some of the best documentaries available celebrate her life and work. From raw concert footage to telling interviews with peers, family members, and collaborators, these documentaries tell a complete story about Aretha Franklin’s rise to fame, her phenomenally successful career, as well as her personal struggles. Whether you’re a long-time fan, or just getting to know the Queen of Soul, you’ll find something to appreciate in these powerful films. Here are some of the best documentaries about Aretha Franklin that provide an intimate look at her life and career.

1. Genius Aretha Franklin – National Geographic Biopic full movie mini series

This is an exploration of the life and music of Aretha Franklin, one of the most influential singers in history. From her childhood days singing gospel in Detroit to singing with icons such as The Rolling Stones and Elton John, discover how she became a beloved cultural icon. Cynthia Erivo portrays Franklin’s triumphs and struggles as we follow her incredible journey to the top. Explore how she overcame her toughest challenges and why people still listen to her today. This is a story of courage, passion, and triumph that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the Queen Of Soul.

2. Aretha Franklin – Was Aretha Franklin’s Daddy Also Her Baby Daddy?!?

Aretha Franklin is one of the most celebrated figures in music history. In this episode, we explore a fascinating aspect of her life by uncovering the identity of the father of her first child. This baby was born when Aretha was only 12! For years, it has been speculated that Aretha’s father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, is also her baby’s father. To uncover the truth, we explore this mysterious story in our longest video yet. Watch to find out if the rumors are true! We take you on a journey to uncover the facts and hear from both sides of this story.

3. Aretha Franklin – Close Up (1968)

Aretha Franklin is widely respected and loved as one of the greatest Soul singers in history — her stunning voice, musicality, and range have established her as an icon. This 1968 TV news special chronicles her extraordinary rise to fame with candid footage from Atlantic Records recording studios, a presentation from Martin Luther King Jr., backup vocal and dance rehearsals with her sisters, an appearance at a teen dance show, and an interview with her father. From her gospel roots to mainstream success, this documentary captures the true story of Aretha Franklin’s long-lasting legacy in the music industry. The full-color version of this documentary can be found on YouTube; however, the black and white version has been rendered in HD 720p resolution.

4. Aretha Franklin’s Voice

Milik Kashad’s award-winning music education series, The Voice: EXPLAINED, is a must-see for any aspiring vocalist out there! Through captivating visuals and straightforward explanations of the science and history behind singing, viewers will learn about the art of making music in an enjoyable way. From Aretha Franklin to Sam Cooke to Whitney Houston – this series will help you understand why these legendary vocalists are praised for their incredible talents! Get ready to become an expert on vocals and music with Milik Kashad’s The Voice: EXPLAINED!

5. Border Crossings: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin is a legendary musical icon and her legacy lives on in the memories of everyone who was blessed to have heard her music. To honor this incredible artist, watch Larry London’s 2008 interview with Aretha on the Border Crossings show. Re-live special moments when she speaks openly about her life, career and all that shaped her into an unforgettable entertainer. Go beyond the music and dive into an insightful look at the history of a true American icon. Experience her powerful voice, captivating stories and heartfelt passion that made her such a beloved performer. Take a journey into the extraordinary life of Aretha Franklin – only on Border Crossings!

6. Aretha Franklin Rare 1990 Interview with Joan Rivers

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was recently interviewed on The Joan Rivers Show. It’s a rare 1990 clip that I luckily stumbled upon in an old VHS videotape from my mother. Understandably, the quality wasn’t perfect due to its age; however, it still reflects enough of Aretha’s charisma and energy for us to enjoy. Plus, there are also parts of the interview featuring Mark McEwen and Muralidhar. Though some important moments may have been lost in the time gap, it’s still an enjoyable watch for everyone interested in Aretha Franklin’s artistry and life. Even after all these years, her charm continues to live on through this vintage clip.

7. ARETHA FRANKLIN – WikiVidi Documentary

Aretha Louise Franklin was a renowned American singer, songwriter, actress and pianist. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Aretha began her career as a child singing gospel at the New Bethel Baptist Church. At age 18 she embarked on a secular career with Columbia Records but only found modest success until Atlantic Records signed her in 1966. Through hits such as “Respect”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think” and others, Aretha transcended her peers to become known as the Queen of Soul.

8. Wendy Williams’ 2011 Interview with Aretha Franklin: Part 1 & 2

Aretha Franklin was an icon and a leader of the musical world for six full decades. Her unique sound, passionate delivery, and timeless compositions spoke to generations around the globe with unrivaled power. On August 16th 2018, her hometown of Detroit mourned as they laid her to rest. As we look back on Aretha’s long career in music, it’s only natural that we want to remember and honor her legacy with stories from those who knew her best.

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David B