5.8/10
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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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Writers:

(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
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Molly Bell
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Rivka Rabinovitch
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Bubba
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Keith Lennox
Sully Boyar ...
Eddie Gibbs
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Leo
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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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (DVD version)| (DVD version)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To date [May 2014], this is the only acting role for Neil Diamond (not counting the times he played himself in movies). See more »

Goofs

When Molly gets in Eddie's car and has him listen to Love on the Rocks on her tape, she has Eddie turn the radio on and the volume up. The radio clearly has some kind of talk or news station playing and when Molly puts the cassette in, it locks down into the player like just about any tape deck would. However, when Eddie takes the tape out later, his arm motion clearly shows him pulling the tape out like an 8-track (no gesture of him pushing the eject button then taking it out) and the radio station doesn't come back on either. See more »

Quotes

Molly Bell: [Eddie gets in his Rolls Royce, she pops up from the back] Pretend you don't know me.
Eddie Gibbs: Don't tell me Mr. Wonderful is back?
Molly Bell: And just in time for Zany's Autumn Special in New York.
Eddie Gibbs: Are you kidding? He walked out on Zany last year. The answer is no.
Molly Bell: One song, Eddie, that's all I'm asking.
Eddie Gibbs: No!
Molly Bell: You owe him!
Eddie Gibbs: He took a hike. Who remembers him?
Molly Bell: His album went gold.
Eddie Gibbs: A year ago.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Saving Silverman (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Summerlove
Words and Music by Neil Diamond and Gilbert Bécaud
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Tom Hensley
© 1980 Stonebridge Music and EMA Suisse
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User Reviews

 
A great score applied to a great story
26 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I try to go into a movie uncolored with opinions, and thankfully hadn't heard any negative reviews on this one prior to seeing it for the first time in 1980. That allowed me to view it with an open mind.

The score is superb. It's what makes the movie what it is. The songs fit the mood in every scene, and are all well-placed. The acting, while not the best I've ever seen, isn't nearly as bad as made out to be by critics. Let's face it. Neil Diamond is not an actor. He is a singer, a performer. In this movie he does that very well. And yet, he manages to pull off his character, Yussel Rabinovich, without a hitch. His scenes with Sir Lawrence Olivier are touching and believable. They are indeed a good match as father and son cantors. But for Yussel, his heritage isn't enough. His music roots drive him, and that's what he sets out to discover. Against the will of his father, and over the protest of his wife Rivka, he leaves his home in New York for L.A. and seeks his destiny.

Lucie Arnaz turns in a good performance as Molly Bell, a "retired" music promoter who sees potential in Yussel and takes him under her wing. What follows is a tug-of-war, a battle of values—old and new—as Neil's character, now Jess Robin, climbs the charts professionally, yet never really forgets where he came from.

Watching Neil perform in this movie is like seeing one of his concerts. He's all-show, and not a bit shy. When he picks up a guitar, you know you're in for a treat, and he does music as only he can. It's a great story, well-told and, on the whole, well-acted. Neil gives emotions where called for. But in this movie, the music's the star. That's where Neil really delivers.


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