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The Jazz Singer (1980)

The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of being a popular singer.

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(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jess Robin / Yussel Rabinovitch
...
...
Molly Bell
...
Rivka Rabinovitch
...
Bubba
...
Keith Lennox
Sully Boyar ...
Eddie Gibbs
...
Leo
James Booth ...
Paul Rossini
Luther Waters ...
Teddy
Oren Waters ...
Mel
Rod Gist ...
Timmy
Walter Janovitz ...
Rabbi Birnbaum (as Walter Janowitz)
Janet Brandt ...
Aunt Tillie
...
M.C. Cinderella Club
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Storyline

Neil Diamond stars in this motion picture as Yussel Rabinovitch, a young Jewish cantor who strives to make a career outside the synagogue in popular music as Jess Robin. Against the wishes of his rigid father and his loving wife, Yussel travels from New York City to Los Angeles to play his music. Swept up by the excitement, he meets a spunky manager who believes in his talent and shares his dream. He grows apart from his family, and becomes confused about what he should ultimately do with his life. Written by Ted Kula <tkula@cs.wvu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

His story will make you cry. His music will make you sing. His triumph will make you cheer. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Jazz-Sänger  »

Box Office

Gross:

$27,118,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (DVD version)| (DVD version)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of two early 1980s films about singing and Judaism. The second was Barbra Streisand's Yentl (1983). See more »

Goofs

Jess sings to an audience in California in the middle of the movie. At the end of the movie he is singing to an audience in New York (it is assumed from the progression of the film) and it is quite obviously the same audience and venue. A number of audience members are present in both scenes. There is a woman with glasses wearing a vest and white shirt, a man in the middle of the audience with a checked cap, and a large man having a great time down front clapping very excitedly. See more »

Quotes

Bubba: Boom boom boom! I want more boom boom boom! I want more boom boom boom!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Bad Movie Beatdown: The Jazz Singer (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Hey Louise
Words and Music by Neil Diamond and Gilbert Bécaud
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Alan E. Lindgren
© 1980 Stonebridge Music and EMA Suisse
See more »

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User Reviews

No Jazz
11 November 2008 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

I like to see remakes, because in many cases you experience two films at once: the film you are watching of course, and the one you recall. Usually that prior one is pretty good. In this case, it IS pretty good, and historically important too.

It was the first popular talkie, and not all talkie either. It was pretty amazing in depicting New York Jewry in a way gathered from the reality of the era, and on that score alone is fascinating. It was perhaps overly melodramatic, but suitably severe. And its "message" though simple wasn't quite dumb: that "jazz" music can be sacred work if delivered so. Along the way, we got (still!) entertaining songs.

Now this. I do not know what prompted the remake. It seems that they simply had Neil Diamond and saw a fit. He is Jewish. He has a fantastic portfolio of songs, some of which seem written for the project, and he is at least a credible actor. So they tromped through the old script, modernizing as they went. They shifted the focus to the music and the self- discovery of the musician. The rift with the father is recast as upset over sex rather than jazz, something I think is a big mistake.

And the script and production values (other than the songs) is horrible, Laurence Olivier embarrasses himself and us all every thing he speaks with some sort of faux stage accent. he is truly dreadful. Everyone is, save one, but he is the worst. The only good actor is on screen only a few times: he is the booker, played by Sully Boyar, and every time he shows up to speak, the sun shines. Doesn't kill the mold though.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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