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Blow Out (1981)

 -  Mystery | Thriller  -  24 July 1981 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 21,841 users  
Reviews: 136 user | 102 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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Title: Blow Out (1981)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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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 DePalma 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 is a 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 doesn't 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

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Personal Effects  »

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The use of a split-focus diopter lens is evident in several scenes, in particular the sound recording scene and the hospital scene. The split-focus lens is attached to the main lens, and it affects only the left or right portion of the main lens' view. This changes the focal distance of part of the image, allowing objects at two distances (in the foreground and background) to be in sharp focus. See more »

Goofs

The sound mixer for the slasher movie mutes all of the sounds except the scream of the girl in the shower, in order to prove that it's really her voice. In fact, what he proves is that she's been dubbed: if it were really sound from the location he would not have been able to eliminate the shower or its curtain being pulled aside, as the microphone would have picked them up too. 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

Featured in The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another DePalma thriller that owes a lot to Hitchcock...
30 August 2006 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

BLOW OUT deserves more attention than a lot of other thrillers from the '80s, partly because it's taut with suspense most of the time and owes a lot of its chill to JOHN LITHGOW's performance as a cold-blooded psychotic killer.

It's also one of JOHN TRAVOLTA's best early roles as a soundman looking for "the perfect scream" for one of his horror movies who accidentally shoots some film of a car careening off a bridge. He dives into the water to try saving the victims but is only able to rescue the woman (NANCY ALLEN). It turns out that the driver was a senator who was a presidential candidate (shades of Chappaquiddick).

From then on, the mystery deepens as he comes to suspect there's some kind of conspiracy involved. DENNIS FRANZ is Allen's boss, a sleazy photographer, who offers to help Travolta. The whole story is filmed with all the DePalma camera tricks and touches that keep the suspense boiling until the climactic shoot-out at the climax.

But it's JOHN LITHGOW who steals the film as the merciless killer with undisclosed political reasons for his murderous mission.

A forgotten gem among the stylish DePalma films that deserves more recognition today. I'm not much of a Travolta fan, but this is one of his better roles.


23 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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John Lithgow's character faulknerfan123
All you Blow Out fans out there. fitzjohnm
Is DePalma a misogynist? lautanner
Worst cover art ever! Samme7
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the beginning great, the ending terrible nickzee
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