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Blow Out (1981)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  24 July 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 24,699 users  
Reviews: 142 user | 106 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 »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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
See  »

Did You Know?


When John Travolta was cast in the male lead, Nancy Allen was immediately considered for the female lead. 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: Ya know, the only trouble I ever got into was when I was TOO careful!
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Moment by Moment (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Great thriller
13 July 2006 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

Jack Terri is a soundman for a B-movie studio. One night as he is out recording sounds for a film he sees an accident - a car swerves through a guard rail and into a river. Jack jumps in in effort to help and sees that the driver is dead, but he manages to save the passenger. He soon finds out that the driver was the current favorite in the presidential election and after listening to the recording he suspects that what happened was no accident.

This is the type of movie many people call a rip-off as not only does it take an idea from a previous story and film ('Blow Up') it is one of DePalma's many Hitchcockian efforts. However, under his direction the film feels fresh and moves very well. It is 13 years before John Travolta made 'Pulp Fiction' but he was already a good lead actor. Dennis Franz also gives a good turn as a photographer who knows more than he is telling.

However, the scene stealer, would have to be John Lithgow who stoically walks his way through the film as a ruthless killer who wants to remove Jack Terri for the evidence he has. Rarely is such a emotionless and callous role played out so well to such great effect.

Then there is DePalma's direction which is the great thing that put all the good stuff together. He has a particular skill of blending shots/scenes without dissolves and that carries the movie is an interesting way. Using shadows, silhouettes, rotating camera shots he is truly a master in good form here. 9/10

Rated R: some grisly violence, and profanity

24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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John Lithgow's character faulknerfan123
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All you Blow Out fans out there. fitzjohnm
de plama is a copy-cat alok_ranjan3
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the beginning great, the ending terrible nickzee
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