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The Blues Brothers (1980)

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Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised.

Director:

John Landis
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938 ( 513)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Belushi ... 'Joliet' Jake Blues (as Jake)
Dan Aykroyd ... Elwood Blues (as Elwood)
James Brown ... Reverend Cleophus James
Cab Calloway ... Curtis
Ray Charles ... Ray
Aretha Franklin ... Mrs. Murphy
Steve Cropper ... Steve 'The Colonel' Cropper
Donald Dunn ... Donald 'Duck' Dunn (as Donald 'Duck' Dunn)
Murphy Dunne Murphy Dunne ... Murphy 'Murph' Dunne
Willie Hall Willie Hall ... Willie 'Too Big' Hall
Tom Malone Tom Malone ... Tom 'Bones' Malone
Lou Marini Lou Marini ... 'Blue Lou' Marini
Matt Murphy ... Matt 'Guitar' Murphy
Alan Rubin Alan Rubin ... Alan 'Mr. Fabulous' Rubin
Carrie Fisher ... Mystery Woman
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Storyline

After the release of Jake Blues from prison, he and brother Elwood go to visit "The Penguin", the last of the nuns who raised them in a boarding school. They learn the Archdiocese will stop supporting the school and will sell the place to the Education Authority. The only way to keep the place open is if the $5000 tax on the property is paid within 11 days. The Blues Brothers want to help, and decide to put their blues band back together and raise the money by staging a big gig. As they set off on their "mission from God" they seem to make more enemies along the way. Will they manage to come up with the money in time? Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The show that really hits the road. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 June 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Return of the Blues Brothers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,858,152, 22 June 1980, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$57,229,890

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$115,229,890, 31 December 1983
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints)| Mono (optical prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The pinball machines visible in Bob's Country Bunker are from left to right Gottlieb's 4 Square (1971), Bally's Odds & Evens (1973), and Williams' Blue Chip (1976) See more »

Goofs

At the Palace Hotel concert, a woman extra in the crowd wearing a white blouse and yellow pants is seen at the front of the audience and to the left of the catwalk. In one shot she is seen to the right of the catwalk. And then for all subsequent shots, she is back at the left of the catwalk. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prison Guard #1: Yeah, the Assistant Warden wants this one out of the block early. Wants to get it over with fast.
Prison Guard #2: Okay, let's do it.
[rattling the bars with his baton]
Prison Guard #1: Hey come on, it's time to wake up.
Prison Guard #2: Wake up. Let's go, it's time.
[striking the sleeping Jake with his baton]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Ending credits: Stunts by "Hollywood War Babies" - "The Champ" Donut, "Kidd" Gilbert, Jumbo, Whiz Kid, "Huff 'n' Stuff, Uncle Bud, featuring "Terrible Leon." See more »

Alternate Versions

The Collectors' Edition on DVD runs 18 minutes longer than the original release and includes the following expanded or newly added scenes:
  • The two Joilet guards come to get Jake in his cell and have trouble waking him up.
  • One additional line from Frank Oz as he rattles off Jake's material possessions.
  • An additional line for the Penguin regarding missions: "I'll be sent to the missions... Africa, Latin America... Korea."
  • Jake and Elwood discuss getting the money for the mission honestly outside of the Triple Rock Baptist Church.
  • The "The Old Landmark" number is considerably longer, incorporating more dance sequences and extra verses.
  • After the demolition derby in the shopping mall Elwood parks the Bluesmobile in a hiding place beside an electrical power box. (John Landis explains that Aykroyd thought this would show how the car gets its incredible endurance, but also goes on to explain that it never did make any sense, so the scene was cut.)
  • A few extra lines of dialog when Elwood and Jake rest in his apartment.
  • When the cops come to arrest Jake and Elwood in the motel, they first stop at the registration desk and intimidate the manager. They also greet Sam, who seems to be known by everyone.
  • An entire sequence with Elwood boosting chemicals from his day job, then quitting the job to become a priest, is restored.
  • After the above sequence, Jake and Elwood study a cigarette box with "the last known address of Bones Malone and Blue Lou Marini".
  • After getting the new address of Bones Malone, Elwoods thanks Ms Tarantino before leaving.
  • Jake has an extra line of dialog while pep-talking Murph and the Magictones at the Holiday Inn ("Now, who here at this table can honestly say that they played any finer or felt any better than they did when they played with the Blues Brothers?")
  • One line of dialog for Henry Gibson is restored for the Illinois Nazis scene at the bridge, with regards to the swastika ("The sacred and ancient symbol of your race since the beginning of time!")
  • The "Boom Boom" number is much longer, with extra shots of John Lee Hooker laughing and arguing with his band. Jake and Elwood watch for a moment then enter the Soul Food Cafe.
  • "Think" has extra verses and shots of dancing.
  • When the band arrives at Bob's Country Bunker, Bob hands the request list to Bones Malone, who looks at it blankly.
  • The "Theme from Rawhide" and "Stand By Your Man" numbers are slightly longer.
  • The original Picwood preview included another musical number, "Sink the Bismark", but that footage has been lost.
  • More lines of dialog for Maury Sline in the steam room scene, mostly regarding to the old gigs having been turned into (gay) discos.
  • When Jake fills up the tank for the Bluesmobile, he overfills it and gas spills over. When they peel out from the station, Elwood flicks a cigarette out of the window and causes the station to explode. (Landis now says he doesn't remember why this particular scene was cut.)
  • Before the sound-check Curtis (Cab Calloway) explains to the band that they need to do it for the kids, since the Blues Brothers will use the money raised from that concert to pay the taxes for a church. The look on the faces of the band after they hear it is priceless!
  • The "Minnie the Moocher" number is considerably extended.
  • As Jake and Elwood sneak into the show, Elwood takes the chemicals that he stole from the show and sneaks them into the tires of the cop cars.
  • Both the "Everybody Needs Someone to Love" and "Sweet Home Chicago" numbers are extended.
  • When Jake and Elwood sneak out, the gas in the cop cars tires reacts and causes the tires to explode on some to delay the police.
  • An alternate line of dialog for Carrie Fisher in the sewer when she confronts Jake, about how her father "used up her last favors" with the Mafia for her wedding. In the original release it was changed due to complaints of the Italian-American community.
  • The lengthy climactic chase to (and through) Chicago features many extra lines and shots of racing autos.
  • The "assault on Daley plaza" and the Assessor's Office scenes also feature extra lines and shots.
  • The "Jailhouse Rock" number is slightly longer.
  • As the prisoners riot at the end of the film, there is a brief shot of riot-geared police guards racing into the mess hall that has been added. It changes the end of the film subtly.
  • The "cast of characters" and end credits are extended to accommodate the new footage.
See more »


Soundtracks

Sweet Home Chicago
Written by Robert Johnson
Performed by the Blues Brothers and Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Genius Loves Company
14 August 2011 | by PutzbergerSee all my reviews

This movie merits classic status because it showcases five giants of American popular music -- Cab Calloway, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. But by 1980, America's musical taste had been so pasteurized by disco and country (Bee Gees vs. Kenny Rogers) that these blues and R&B legends might have been relegated to a PBS documentary if it weren't for the admirable efforts of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi to present their brilliance to a wider audience. To do that, however, they had to stitch together a knockabout comedy with a threadbare plot and loads of car chases which stops every 15 minutes or so for an awesome musical number. If that makes "The Blues Brothers" sound like an extended, excessive, extremely expensive episode of late-70s "Saturday Night Live," well, surprise, surprise, that's exactly what it is. But between the sketchy schtick and the fantastic musical guests, "The Blues Brothers" is as loaded with entertainment value as a stuffed Chicago pizza is with calories, and both are equally satisfying.

The plot, so to speak, centers on "Joliet" Jake (John Belushi) & Elwood Blues' (Dan Aykroyd) attempts to raise $5,000 for back taxes on the orphanage where they were raised. (Warning: the orphanage is run by the Catholic church. If you stop to wonder why a religious institution has to pay property taxes, you're really not going to get into the spirit of this thing.) They reassemble their old band, which fell apart after Jake went to prison, and embark on a lunatic journey across the greater Chicago area, destroying malls, alienating law enforcement and enraging Nazis along the way. You're distracted from the improbable storyline by director John Landis' gift for piling overkill on top of overkill, which in this movie even includes firebombs, machine gun fire and other pyrotechnics, most of it launched by a mysteriously enraged Carrie Fisher, who sleepwalks through this cameo like she's prescription-drugged into near catatonia (which she probably was). The comedy is broad but funny, and the Blues Brothers' numbers featuring Aykroyd and Belushi are surprisingly gritty considering the routine was always more about attitude that authenticity. But what elevates "The Blues Brothers" above the level of a well-made dumb comedy is its guest stars.

Big kudos to scriptwriters Aykroyd & Landis for naming Jake & Elwood's backing ensemble the "Blues Brothers Rhythm & Blues Band," a subtle acknowledgment that the Jake & Elwood characters always parodied more R&B (or, in the case of their "Gimme Some Lovin'" cover, phony R&B) than actual blues. They pay an even greater homage to bona fide electric Chicago blues with a scene featuring John Lee Hooker, performing his classic "Boom Boom," that has absolutely no connection to the rest of the movie (but is, nonetheless, excellent). As for the rest of the musical guests, none of them are famous for blues -- Cab Calloway was a jazz singer, and Ray Charles invented the kind of gritty soul which James Brown and Aretha Franklin perfected. But if you're the kind of purist who lets these kind of distinctions ruin your fun, you should probably skip this movie and go hang out at Buddy Guy's Legends. The rest of us can enjoy Calloway as the Blues Brothers' mentor, Brown as a charismatic preacher, Charles as a blind, gun-toting music store owner and Franklin as a soul food restaurateur. As actors, Cab and Aretha do pretty well, Ray is commendable and the filmmakers were wise enough not to give JB any dialogue (his control-freak tendencies might have prompted him to rewrite the entire movie). But that's all just a bonus, since their musical numbers are the great highlights of "The Blues Brothers," beautifully sung and enlivened by choreography that manages to look both polished and spontaneous. Aretha's version of "Think" is especially moving, since she's trying to convince her no-good husband, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, to stay on the straight and narrow and not take off with the Blues Brothers on their ridiculous adventure. She looks good, moves well and sounds just fine, even if she doesn't quite reach the high notes she hits in the recorded version. (But I'm going to assume that was her choice -- watch the credits and listen to what Aretha does with her throwaway line in the "Jailhouse Rock" number. Damn.) ReRe was in a career slump at the time and "The Blues Brothers" primed her for a return to superstardom. Nice work, Aykroyd & Belush.

By the way . . . skip "Blues Brothers 2000." It's pretty lame.


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