Blow Out (1981)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  24 July 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 25,096 users  
Reviews: 143 user | 107 critic

A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Boyden ...
Curt May ...
John Aquino ...
Deborah Everton ...
Detective at Hospital
Missy Cleveland ...
Coed Lover (as Amanda Cleveland)
Roger Wilson ...
Lori-Nan Engler ...
Cindy Manion ...
Dancing Coed
Missy Crutchfield ...
Dancing Coed (as Missy O'Shea)


This stylish Brian De Palma thriller plays off the theme of the unsuspecting witness who discovers a crime and is thereby put in grave danger, but with a novel twist. Jack Terry is a master sound recordist who works on grade-B horror movies. Late one evening, he is recording sounds for use in his movies when he hears something unexpected through his sound equipment and records it. Curiosity gets the better of him when the media become involved, and he begins to unravel the pieces of a nefarious conspiracy. As he struggles to survive against his shadowy enemies and expose the truth, he does not know whom he can trust. Written by Tad Dibbern <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Blow Out took them to the edge of terror . . . his questions took them way beyond [Video Australia] See more »


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Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Personal Effects  »

Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the French version, John Travolta's voice was dubbed by Gérard Depardieu. See more »


Manny Karp's cigar jumps from his mouth to his hand as he sits Sally down during their conversation in his apartment. See more »


Sally: Are yuh leavin'?
Jack Terry: Yeah, I gotta go, but, um, whatta yuh say when you get outta here, we have a drink sometime... hmmm - in a glass?
See more »

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User Reviews

An enjoyable mix of `Blow-Up' and `The Conversation'
16 March 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Jack is a sound editor for small films. When he is out one evening recording background noises, he inadvertently records a car crash which kills a politician running for the US Presidency, although Jack saves a girl in the car. When pressured to say that the politician was alone, Jack finds that his recording may prove that it was murder and not an accident. However someone is cutting off the loose ends around the crime.

A clever rework of Blow-Up that is given a thriller twist and visual style by De Palma. The story is quite straight forward and doesn't contain too many twists and turns. However it does have a good premise at it's core and it builds to a suitably low-key ending.

De Palma works well with the material – at some points it's a little obtrusive, but he certainly can frame a shot. From his use of foreground and background focusing to the scene where Travolta realises what he has on tape – he has style to spare. He handles the ending well but perhaps feels he wants to be like Coppola a bit too much.

Pre-career dip Travolta gives his best performance before Pulp Fiction – he plays the everyman really well and is totally convincing. Allen is a little too squeaky and irritating, but get past this and she's OK. Franz is on-form as a sleazy opportunist, while Lithgow is chilling as a ruthless, clinical killer.

Overall it occasionally feels like there is more style than substance but everyone holds their end up and the result is a solid, enjoyable thriller that maybe pays a bit too much homage to other work.

60 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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