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Blow Out (1981)

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

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

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 <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Personal Effects  »

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$13,747,234 (USA) (28 August 1981)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Brian De Palma was married to Nancy Allen during the making of this film in 1981. They divorced in 1984. See more »

Goofs

In the pre-credit "slasher movie" sequence, the shadowed reflections of both the "slasher" (intended or, at least, credible) and the camera operator and his Steadicam (unintended) can be seen in the tile wall to the right of the showering girl. Perhaps the reason the girl was hired, as explained to John T's character in the projection room by the film's producer, was thought to be a sufficient distraction so as to preclude a retake. See more »

Quotes

Jack Terry: Jesus, that's terrible.
Mixer: That's a terrible scream. Jack, what cat did you have to strangle to get that?
Jack Terry: The one you hired. That's her scream.
Mixer: You mean you didn't dub that?
See more »

Connections

References The Conversation (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brian De Palma's forgotten masterpiece.
19 September 2012 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

In 1981, Brian De Palma released what might be considered his "best" thriller to date. The "Slasher" genre was at full blossom, and the conspiracy driven, psychological thrillers of the 1970s were slowly declining in terms of popularity.

"Blow Out" stars John Travolta as Jack, a sound engineer for an independent movie picture, that discovers what first appears to be a tragic car-accident - is in fact a murder. Sally, who is rescued from the wreck by the protagonist (Travolta) himself stays as his counterpart though out the movie. Jack must set the story straight, and prove the police wrong.

De Palma is known for his themes of guilt, paranoia and obsession which work as essential parts for the character development in "Blow Out". It's a hell of ride from start to finish, and one can truly state that Brian De Palma is a master of suspense.

The acting of John Travolta is superb and convincing, and I dare to say that it's his best role to date. I was a bit skeptical to Nancy Allen at first, but her naive character grew on me over the course of the film, and might actually be one of the things that makes this film so great; that is believable character development without the often sudden change of identity.

Blow out is stylish, and both the directing of De Palma and cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond is highly impressive. From beautifully shot scenes in the vein of Francis Ford Coppola to the drastic suspense of Hitchcock, De Palma uses all the best tricks in the book.

"Blow Out" is non-stop suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The last 15 minutes finale is quite extraordinary. The atmosphere, mood and cinematography are all close perfect. It truly is Brian De Palma's forgotten masterpiece.


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