Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Poster for Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me A star-studded roster of interviewees (including Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal) pay tribute to the legendary, multi-talented song-and-dance man.

100 minutes
Samuel D. Pollard

Shown at

  1. 15th Annual JCC Rockland International Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  2. 17th Annual Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  3. 20th Annual Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival (Detroit) - 2018
  4. 22nd Annual Hartford Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  5. 22nd Annual Jewish Film Festival of Dallas - 2018
  6. 22nd Denver Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  7. 26th Portland Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  8. 26th Toronto Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  9. 28th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  10. 29th Annual Orange County International Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  11. Atlanta Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  12. Atlantic Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  13. Austin Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  14. Baltimore Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  15. Barshop JCC Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  16. Berkshire Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  17. Boston Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  18. Boulder Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  19. Central Florida Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  20. Central Massachusetts Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  21. Central Massachusetts Jewish Film Festival - 2020
  22. Charlotte Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  23. Cherry Hill Volvo Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  24. Cleveland Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  25. Columbus Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  26. Dayton Jewish International Film Festival - 2018
  27. Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  28. East Bay International Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  29. Falmouth Jewish Congregation Summer Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  30. Falmouth Jewish Congregation Summer Jewish Film Series - 2018
  31. Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  32. Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  33. Honolulu Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  34. Houston Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  35. JCMI Film Festival - 2019
  36. Jewish Film Festival (Chautauqua) - 2018
  37. Jewish Film Festival of Southwest Florida - 2018
  38. JFilm Festival (Pittsburgh) - 2018
  39. Kansas City Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  40. Karen Schneider Jewish Film Festival of Flint - 2018
  41. Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  42. Louisville Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  43. Maine Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  44. Miami Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  45. Mobile Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  46. Morris and Mollye Fogelman International Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  47. New York Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  48. Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  49. Randi & Bruce Pergament Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  50. Sacramento Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  51. San Francisco Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  52. Schenectady Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  53. Seattle Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  54. Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  55. Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  56. St. Louis Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  57. Stowe Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  58. Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  59. Treasure Coast Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  60. UK Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  61. Vancouver Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  62. Ventura County Jewish Film Festival - 2019
  63. Washington Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  64. Westchester Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  65. Wilmington Jewish Film Festival - 2018
  66. Youngstown Area Jewish Film Festival - 2018

19 Responses

  1. jewishfilmfests says:

    Upcoming Tri-Valley film fest features Sammy Davis Jr.

    The newly released documentary film, “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me,” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. March 15 at the Vine Cinema & Alehouse in Livermore as part of the 23rd annual East Bay International Jewish Film Festival.

    “Many of this year’s films explore themes related to prejudice and societal marginalization,” said film festival director Riva Gambert.

  2. Roz Wolf says:

    The Los Angeles Jewish Film Fest begins April 25th with I GOTTA BE ME: SAMMY DAVIS JR. – till May 2nd. Details Special Mitzvah level sponsorships now open for the festival program with huge Los Angeles patronage noticing! Media Relations Contact: Roz Wolf PR

  3. jewishfilmfests says:

    I think what you’ll mainly take away is how much you’ll learn about a figure that seems so legendary, but often time seems so through the microscope of nostalgia.

  4. jewishfilmfests says:

    Our world today – especially today – is hardly racism-free, but if it is a little better than it once was, Davis played at least a small role in that transformation. Thanks to Pollard’s solid, engaging movie, the man’s many past contributions to our here and now are laid out for all to see, and see them you should.

  5. jewishfilmfests says:

    Gotta Be Me will inspire nostalgia for those who remember Davis for his Newly-Bricusse hits and campy appearances in films like the original Cannonball Run. It will also lead to greater appreciation of Davis as an activist and advocate (pro-Civil Rights, anti-war, pro-Nixon). He was complicated, as well as multi-talented.

  6. jewishfilmfests says:

    Pollard gives us chapters to tell us his story…instead of an uninterrupted journey…”Performer”, “Lover”, “Civil Rights”, etc. The effect is that you never feel you’ve heard a whole story…just bits of one.

  7. jewishfilmfests says:

    I’ve Gotta Be Me generally takes a greatest hits approach to Davis’s life, but Pollard isn’t afraid to let the tarnish show on Davis’s otherwise polished career. The range of material Pollard collects from the archive offers an extensive breadth of Davis’s skill and talents.

  8. jewishfilmfests says:

    The film doesn’t just focus on the entertainment aspect, such as Davis being in the Rat Pack with Sinatra and Dean Martin but also touches on other issues throughout his life.

  9. jewishfilmfests says:

    There is room for expansion and it is frustrating that I’ve Gotta Be Me doesn’t dive deeper into Davis’ personal life – his relationship with wife May Britt is mentioned.

  10. jewishfilmfests says:

    The doc does its own tap dance around its subject with a stream of interviews, mostly heard as audio voiceovers, from the likes of Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Kim Novak and many more folks who knew Davis and worked with him. Their collective portrait consistently describes an ambitious talent always reaching for the top, but also a man plagued by insecurity, who remained sadly unsure of his own value.

  11. jewishfilmfests says:

    “I’ve Gotta Be Me” showcases Davis’s vast talents, but it also shines a light on his need for acceptance, his inability to curb indulgences, the groundbreaking aspects of his career and his hunger for applause.

  12. jewishfilmfests says:

    The success of a film on the most famous one-eyed, African-American Jewish singer ever to have lived, surprises even its director, Sam Pollard

  13. jewishfilmfests says:

    More than anything, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me asks one question. With everything that we have struggled with as a community and continue to fight against including –the theft of our culture, rampant racism, violence and so forth, as a public figure, do you have a right to be who you are without considering the Black community?

  14. jewishfilmfests says:

    In the same way that fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra has claimed personal dibs on his classic song, “My Way,” as an ode to the way he lived his life, Sammy’s track “I’ve Gotta Be Me” encapsulates the spirit of this talented, complicated and often misunderstood trail-blazer. It’s the perfect title for his documentary, a film that honors a somewhat underrated and under-appreciated entertainment icon.–127791

  15. jewishfilmfests says:

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of this film is the amount of clips of Davis performing, which reveals how astonishing talent his talent was, and the personal charm that allowed him to win over audiences, even those pre-disposed against him.

  16. jewishfilmfests says:

    In the documentary Davis says that despite his mother being Catholic and his father Baptist, “After the accident I needed something desperately to hold onto. I found myself being more and more convinced that Judaism was it for me. I know there’s sort of a kinship between the plight of a Negro and the plight of a Jew: the oppression, the segregation, the constant trying to survive and trying to achieve dignity.”

  17. jewishfilmfests says:

    Particularly moving is a 1990 TV special that includes a Michael Jackson tribute and a duet danced with Gregory Hines, recorded the same year Davis died from throat cancer.

  18. jewishfilmfests says:

    “I’ve Gotta Be Me” is a vital look at a supremely gifted entertainer whose prodigious talents spanned vaudeville, Broadway, television, concerts and film, while at the center of tumultuous social change, from the Depression to the civil rights and anti-war movements. It’s Goldberg who calls Davis’s life a blazing comet, the likes of which we’ll never see again.

  19. jewishfilmfests says:

    Part of the unusual reality of his life is that he converted to Judaism following a car crash in which he lost his eye and found comfort studying the religion with a rabbi he met.

For information about this film, including how to get a copy of it, please click the DVD, Instant Video, IMDB or website link above.
(This site is not affiliated with the film.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *