SAY AMEN, SOMEBODY, one of the best documentaries of the 1980s, is an exuberant portrait of gospel music that starts at the 1982 gospel music convention in St. Louis and takes off from there. The film interviews many gospel singers, including The Barrett Sisters, Sallie Martin, and The O'Neal Twins, but the focus here is on two of the music's pioneers: Thomas Dorsey and Willie Mae Ford Smith. Dorsey, who has penned many gospel standards, including "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" and "Peace in the Valley," offers many fascinating insights, but the real star of the film is Ms. Smith. A riveting speaker as well as an amazingly talented singer, the film really takes off when she filters the history of gospel music through her eyes. The anecdotes and speeches from the performers, combined with the powerful and transcendent music they make forms a film and an experience that is both incredibly moving and entertaining.