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The Jazz Singer (1980)

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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.



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



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


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


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


Drama | Music | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Jazz-Sänger  »

Box Office


$27,118,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (DVD version)| (DVD version)|


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sound Mixer Tom Overton said of the film's sound recording and four 24-track music recording machines: "People are too sophisticated today to sit through a movie filmed to playback music. They want to hear what they see and that's the way we're doing it. Neil Diamond's songs and score sound just great. We're a hell of a way from those dear old Vitaphone days to which we all owe so much.". See more »


When Jess' father comes to visit him in California and they walk into the apartment, Jess never shuts the door completely. Later when Molly comes home, we hear the sound of the door opening. See more »


Jess Robin: Leo, why don't you go ask Tillie to dance?
Leo: I'm resting.
Jess Robin: Just go ask her to dance, please.
Leo: There's no music.
Jess Robin: Leo, please! Go ask Tillie to dance!
Leo: I'll dance.
See more »


Referenced in Halt and Catch Fire: NeXT (2016) See more »


Kol Nidre
Traditional Adaptation by Neil Diamond and Uri Frenkel
Adaptation © 1980 Stonebridge Music
See more »

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User Reviews

A microcosm of a man in turmoil, facing a difficult choice...
20 June 2003 | by (CSRA, Georgia) – See all my reviews

Between his duties and responsibilities, and his dreams and love. For those who want to pick the movie apart, without looking inside the story it tells, skip this comment.

Given the choice between one's responsibility to family, parents, religion, tradition, and duty, or choosing love, dreams, goals, and the pursuit of happiness through following our heart, which choice would we make?

The movie tells a story of strength through failure, of living versus wasting away in a life spent pleasing others, and of giving our heart and our dreams sway over the path we take in life.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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