The Five Heartbeats pays tribute to the African-American musical artists of the early 1960s, who withstood racial barriers, unscrupulous record companies and personal demons to find their way to stardom. Director Robert Townsend ("Hollywood Shuffle") wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Wayans ("Scary Movie') and based the plot on real-life experiences of groups like The Dells and The Temptations. As the five young men make their way from their low-income, urban existence to the hit-making heights of Hollywood, the story doesn't shy away from showing the ugly realities of brutal criminals, drug abuse and infighting between the singers as part of the music scene. The soundtrack, overseen by the renowned Rhythm & Blues musician Stanley Clarke, perfectly captures the pop sound of the era, as does the authentic costumes and production. The cast, including Townsend, Michael Wright ("Oz") and Diahann Carroll ("Claudine"), shines in both the musical and dramatic parts of story of ambition against the odds.