53 user 59 critic

Blue Collar (1978)

2:36 | Trailer
When three workers try to steal from the local union, they discover the corruption of the union instead and decide to blackmail them.


Paul Schrader
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Pryor ... Zeke
Harvey Keitel ... Jerry
Yaphet Kotto ... Smokey
Ed Begley Jr. ... Bobby Joe
Harry Bellaver ... Eddie Johnson
George Memmoli ... Jenkins
Lucy Saroyan Lucy Saroyan ... Arlene Bartowski
Lane Smith ... Clarence Hill
Cliff De Young ... John Burrows
Borah Silver Borah Silver ... Dogshit Miller
Chip Fields ... Caroline Brown
Harry Northup ... Hank
Leonard Gaines Leonard Gaines ... I.R.S. Man
Milton Selzer ... Sumabitch
Sammy Warren Sammy Warren ... Barney


Three workers, Zeke (Richard Pryor), Jerry (Harvey Keitel), and Smokey (Yaphet Kotto), are working at a car plant and drinking their beers together. One night, when they steal away from their wives to have some fun, they get the idea to rob the local union's bureau safe. First they think it is a flop, because they get only six hundred dollars out of it, but then Zeke realizes that they also have gotten some "hot" material. They decide to blackmail their union. The best reason for that is the union itself. All three are provoked by the fact that the union claims to have lost ten thousand dollars by their robbery. Written by Oliver Heidelbach

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Whatever became of the "American Dream"? See more »


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jerry's house features very visible religious iconography, and Paul Schrader feels it's overdone. He mentions that Martin Scorsese is making his script for Bringing Out the Dead (1999) and the two had already butted heads over the Catholic imagery and paraphernalia in the film. The novel it's based on is heavy with the stuff, but Schrader told the director they'd been reliant on the imagery for too long and for too many of their films. See more »


When Zeke is called into the office after mouthing off to the shop foreman, the three other characters take a seat at the table but Zeke is standing. Behind him, the office door is partially open. In the next shot, the door is now closed. See more »


[first lines]
Dogshit Miller: You're not double-checking the stripping. I want it tighter.
See more »


References King Kong (1933) See more »


Goodbye, So Long
Written by Ike Turner
Performed by Ike & Tina Turner
Courtesy of Cadet Records
See more »

User Reviews

Richard Pryor Proves That He Can Be A Fine Dramatic Actor
2 November 2002 | by sorannoSee all my reviews

This 1978 Universal release is one of raunchy comedian Richard Pryor's best films and it's a highly serious drama. Pryor successfully goes for a major change of pace in this tale of a trio of auto assembly workers (Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto) who are all having some major home, work and family problems and how they decide to solve them by developing a scheme to rob the union for which they work. When they put their plan to work, things eventually go from bad to worse. It may sound like a crime comedy caper with Pryor portraying his usual con man role but it's far more serious than that and Pryor proves that he doesn't have to get laughs in order to deliver a good film performance.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 53 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

10 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blue Collar See more »

Filming Locations:

Michigan, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Everything That's New on Netflix in December

No need to waste time endlessly browsing—here's the entire lineup of new movies and TV shows streaming on Netflix this month.

See the full list

Recently Viewed