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Blow Out (1981)

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1:17 | Trailer
A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.

Director:

Brian De Palma

Writer:

Brian De Palma
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Popularity
4,642 ( 131)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Jack
Nancy Allen ... Sally
John Lithgow ... Burke
Dennis Franz ... Manny Karp
Peter Boyden Peter Boyden ... Sam
Curt May Curt May ... Donahue
John Aquino John Aquino ... Detective Mackey
John McMartin ... Lawrence Henry
Deborah Everton ... Hooker
J. Patrick McNamara ... Detective at Hospital
Missy Cleveland Missy Cleveland ... Coed Lover (as Amanda Cleveland)
Roger Wilson ... Coed Lover
Lori-Nan Engler Lori-Nan Engler ... Sue
Cindy Manion Cindy Manion ... Dancing Coed
Missy Crutchfield 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 audio technician who makes his living by recording unique sounds for 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Personal Effects See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While on the way to the airport, the driver of the van containing two reels of footage of the Liberty Parade sequence stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts, leaving the van unattended. It was stolen while he was inside, and the footage was never seen again. The crew had to return to Philadelphia just to re-shoot the entire scene, at a cost of $750,000. Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond was no longer available, so he was replaced by László Kovács. 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

[last lines]
Jack Terry: It's a good scream. It's a good scream.
See more »

Connections

References Blood Beach (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The scream!
2 August 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Brian DePalma was at the height of his film career when he undertook the direction of "Blow Out". Some comments to this forum have compared it to other distinguished films like Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" and Michaelangelo Antonioni's "Blow Up", a comparison that seems to make sense, in a way, but Mr. DePalma, who wrote his own screen play, is an intelligent man who didn't need to copy anything from those masters of the cinema.

In fact, "Blow Out" has kept its impact as a thriller mystery with its political overtones as it mixes crime with the lives of influential people that might give viewers a point of reference between the movie and actual historical facts.

We are given an introduction to Jack's line of work as we watch scenes of the porno film that he is working on as a sound technician. The only thing that is needed is a real scream which the many actresses, either on the film itself, or being auditioned, can't produce. Whatever comes out of those women's throats are wimpy sounds, not a horror yell for help.

Jack, who is out one night recording sounds for future ventures, captures the shot that causes the "blow out" and makes a car plunge into a creek. Jack abandons everything and jumps to rescue whoever he can save. He is only successful in bringing Sally out of the water. This is the beginning of Jack's involvement into the mystery behind the actual fact.

Mr. DePalma's thriller is visually stylish. He photographed the movie in Philadelphia. The film has the excellent Vilmos Zsigmond behind the camera. The atmospheric music by Pino Donoggio serves the movie well.

John Travolta's career was in decline when he made this movie. He gives a terrific performance as the sound effect man who stumbles in a conspiracy to eliminate the witnesses to the accident. Nancy Allen is not as effective as Sally, the young prostitute at the center of the story. Being married to the director might have helped her land the part, which with some other actress might have paid off better. John Lighgow is perfectly creepy as Burke, the evil man. Dennis Franz has the pivotal part of Karp, the man who was able to photograph the whole incident.

"Blow Out" is a must see for all Brian DePalma's admirers.


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