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The Jazz Singer (1980)

PG  |   |  Drama, Music, Romance  |  19 December 1980 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 2,809 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 16 critic

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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Title: The Jazz Singer (1980)

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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 4 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
Mike Kellin ...
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:

Sometimes you have to risk it all... 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The picture was "plagued by shooting problems" according to a 1981 edition of "Movie News" (Australia). See more »

Goofs

When Jess first sits down to write Love on the Rocks in his bathrobe there is a menorah on the table near a beer can. The next shot of the table a minute later reveals the menorah is gone and the beer can is turned. See more »

Quotes

Molly Bell: Honey what happened? What was that all about?
Jess Robin: When a Jew mourns somebody dead, they tear a piece of their clothing.
Molly Bell: Who's dead?
Jess Robin: [bitterly] I am.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Jazz Singer (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Love on the Rocks
Words and Music by Neil Diamond and Gilbert Bécaud
© 1980 Stonebridge Music and EMA Suisse
See more »

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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.


19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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