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Blow Out (1981)

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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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3,972 ( 837)
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:

$13,747,234, 28 August 1981
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

The film received mostly positive reviews from movie critics, including rave reviews by Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert. But the ending supposedly made the movie suffer at the box office. See more »

Goofs

When Burke murders a girl who looks like Sally, to establish the fictitious serial killer's MO, and turns her over to look at her face, the dead girl blinks. See more »

Quotes

Sally: Ya know, the only trouble I ever got into was when I was TOO careful!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Reservoir Dogs (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brian De Palma's forgotten masterpiece.
19 September 2012 | by Westlake123See all my reviews

In 1981, Brian De Palma released what might be considered his "best" thriller to date. The "Slasher" genre was at full blossom, and the conspiracy driven, psychological thrillers of the 1970s were slowly declining in terms of popularity.

"Blow Out" stars John Travolta as Jack, a sound engineer for an independent movie picture, that discovers what first appears to be a tragic car-accident - is in fact a murder. Sally, who is rescued from the wreck by the protagonist (Travolta) himself stays as his counterpart though out the movie. Jack must set the story straight, and prove the police wrong.

De Palma is known for his themes of guilt, paranoia and obsession which work as essential parts for the character development in "Blow Out". It's a hell of ride from start to finish, and one can truly state that Brian De Palma is a master of suspense.

The acting of John Travolta is superb and convincing, and I dare to say that it's his best role to date. I was a bit skeptical to Nancy Allen at first, but her naive character grew on me over the course of the film, and might actually be one of the things that makes this film so great; that is believable character development without the often sudden change of identity.

Blow out is stylish, and both the directing of De Palma and cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond is highly impressive. From beautifully shot scenes in the vein of Francis Ford Coppola to the drastic suspense of Hitchcock, De Palma uses all the best tricks in the book.

"Blow Out" is non-stop suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The last 15 minutes finale is quite extraordinary. The atmosphere, mood and cinematography are all close perfect. It truly is Brian De Palma's forgotten masterpiece.


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