5.9/10
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The Jazz Singer (1980)

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The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of being a popular singer.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Samson Raphaelson (play), Herbert Baker (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Neil Diamond ... Jess Robin / Yussel Rabinovitch
Laurence Olivier ... Cantor Rabinovitch
Lucie Arnaz ... Molly Bell
Catlin Adams ... Rivka Rabinovitch
Franklyn Ajaye ... Bubba
Paul Nicholas ... Keith Lennox
Sully Boyar ... Eddie Gibbs
Mike Kellin ... Leo
James Booth James Booth ... Paul Rossini
Luther Waters Luther Waters ... Teddy
Oren Waters Oren Waters ... Mel
Rod Gist Rod Gist ... Timmy
Walter Janovitz ... Rabbi Birnbaum (as Walter Janowitz)
Janet Brandt Janet Brandt ... Aunt Tillie
John Witherspoon ... M.C. Cinderella Club
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Storyline

Neil Diamond stars in this motion picture as Yussel Rabinovitch, a young Jewish cantor who strives to make a career outside the synagogue in popular music as Jess Robin. Against the wishes of his rigid father and his loving wife, Yussel travels from New York City to Los Angeles to play his music. Swept up by the excitement, he meets a spunky manager who believes in his talent and shares his dream. He grows apart from his family, and becomes confused about what he should ultimately do with his life. Written by Ted Kula <tkula@cs.wvu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you have to risk it all... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cantaretul de jazz See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$27,118,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

EMI Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | DTS-ES (DVD version)| Dolby Digital EX (DVD version)| 70 mm 6-Track

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Neil Diamond once said of this movie while doing publicity for it: "It was a unique experience to come up with songs that would comment on the film's storyline, yet not intrude on it. People constantly ask me why, with all my success, I find moviemaking so special. I believe that film is perhaps the greatest form of mass communication, as well as an art form, fulfilling all the elements of people's fantasies, Besides, it's a natural progression for most in the music business. Bing Crosby did it, (Frank) Sinatra and Elvis (Presley) did it, John Denver, Helen Reddy, Bette Midler, (Barbra) Streisand and Kris Kristofferson have all done it. It's tricky, and you have to be lucky, but the success rate is high. By making a movie, we allow our music to reach countless millions around the world. It's a challenge combining all our performing elements. Without that challenge, we grow stale." See more »

Goofs

When Jess first sits down to write Love on the Rocks in his bathrobe there is a menorah on the table near a beer can. The next shot of the table a minute later reveals the menorah is gone and the beer can is turned. See more »

Quotes

Jess Robin: [Watching as Keith Lennox does a rock version of "Love on the Rocks"] He's just kidding around, right?
Molly Bell: No, they're doing it for real.
Jess Robin: This song's supposed to be a ballad.
Paul Rossini: That's his style, mister. Made him a millionaire.
Jess Robin: Yeah, but the thing is it's too fast. You can't hear the words.
Paul Rossini: Yeah, that's why we brought you down here. He changed the tempo. You got to change the lyrics.
Keith Lennox: [Yells] Hold it!
[Whistles, then screaming at the top of his lungs]
Keith Lennox: HOLD IT!
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Songs of Life
Words and Music by Neil Diamond and Gilbert Bécaud
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Alan E. Lindgren
© 1980 Stonebridge Music and EMA Suisse
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Jazz Singer-When Accommodations Were Made ***1/2
17 February 2008 | by edwagreenSee all my reviews

Wonderful version of a cantor's son in conflict over his orthodox Jewish beliefs and his desire to be a singing star.

The only major flaw that I had with this film is that by the orthodox Jewish people, there is no accommodation made whatsoever in the field of intermarriage. If it occurs, the person intermarrying is regarded as dead as depicted in the film.

Caitlin Adams, who portrayed Jesse's wife Rivka, is true to life since she chose to break with her husband due to her orthodox beliefs. Others might argue that their marriage was headed towards a downward spiral anyway.

Laurence Olivier is absolutely mesmerizing as Diamond's father. His authentic Jewish accent and tearing his clothes are memorable.

Diamond's voice is superb and is acting is on par for the role. "Love on the Rocks," as well as "Acapulco," and "Coming to America" are wonderfully staged.

In the world of today, we need understanding and accommodation and that's exactly what we get in this fine film.


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