8.5/10
10,243
64 user 63 critic

Stop Making Sense (1984)

Trailer
1:51 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.

Director:

Jonathan Demme
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bernie Worrell ... Keyboards
Alex Weir Alex Weir ... Guitar and Vocals
Steven Scales Steven Scales ... Percussion (as Steve Scales)
Lynn Mabry Lynn Mabry ... Backing Vocals
Ednah Holt Ednah Holt ... Backing Vocals (as Edna Holt)
Tina Weymouth Tina Weymouth ... Bass, Percussion and Vocals
Jerry Harrison ... Guitar, Keyboards and Vocals
Chris Frantz Chris Frantz ... Drums and Vocals
David Byrne ... Vocals and Guitar
Edit

Storyline

David Byrne walks onto the stage and does a solo "Psycho Killer." Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz join him for two more songs. The crew is busy, still setting up. Then, three more musicians and two back-up singers join the band. Everybody sings, plays, harmonizes, dances, and runs. They change instruments and clothes. Bryne appears in the Big Suit. The backdrop is often black, but sometimes it displays words, images, or children's drawings. The band cooks for 18 songs, the lyrics are clear, the house rocks. In this concert film, the Talking Heads hardly talk, don't stop, and always make sense. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

song | band | suit | stage | musician | See All (21) »

Taglines:

Why stop making sense? Why a movie? Why a big suit? Where do the odd movements come from? What will the band do next?

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 November 1984 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Stop making sense See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,166, 21 October 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,020,659

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,027,479
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (VHS)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (1999 re-release)| Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The title comes from a line in the song "Girlfriend is Better," which is the song that is performed when David Byrne is wearing the big suit. See more »

Goofs

As stated above the concert was edited together from three shows, and it being a "live" show, things not planned happened. The first night, David Byrne puts on the baseball cap that's thrown up on stage from the audience, so the next night it can be seen next to the drums so that he can put it on again. See more »

Quotes

David Byrne: I've got a tape I want to play.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Video release is 12 minutes longer and features three additional songs not included in original theatrical version. See more »


Soundtracks

Slippery People
Written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison and Tina Weymouth
Performed by Talking Heads
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Life During Showtime
1 November 2004 | by slokesSee all my reviews

"Stop Making Sense" cemented the Talking Heads' place as the Beatles of college rock, capturing the band in all its art-funk glory. Part performance art, part low-key workout, "Stop Making Sense" benefits from a set of 16 quality songs, an ever-changing visual style that never loses its inventiveness, and a lead performance by David Byrne that has to be seen to be believed.

He jogs around the stage. He bends his body in weird contortions. He puts on a really big suit. From the beginning to end, he has his shirt collar buttoned to the top like a Catholic schoolboy, and I'm not sure how or why.

"How" and "why" are words that pop up a lot while watching this. Talking Heads were weird even for the punk/new wave crowd; they wore their hair like accountants, mined everything from disco to doo-wop to African exotica for their sound, and pulled off the trick of being both mocking and reverential. So whether it's Byrne dancing with a living-room lamp or words like "facelift" and "sandwich" appearing on screen, the viewer is well advised to follow the advice of the title and just let the goofy, heady mess roll over you. You'll probably find yourself having a bit of fun.

It helps if you like their music. You don't hear much of it these days it seems. People know "Life During Wartime" and "Once In A Lifetime," while "Take Me To The River" and "Burning Down The House" were Top 40 hits in the U.S. But the most familiar tune here is probably the one non-Talking Heads song, "Genius Of Love," which is performed by the band's Byrne-less incarnation, the Tom Tom Club. That's because Mariah Carey sampled it (read "sang over it") for one of her big hits, "Fantasy."

Frankly, the band as individuals aren't all that interesting. They don't play off each other or the audience in any way, leaving it to Byrne to sell each song. Jerry Harrison, one of the four Heads, seems AWOL even on the middle of the stage. Bringing up a few session players like Bernie Worrell, the P-Funk keyboardist, helps the film avoid this "boring white guys playing their music" trap at least somewhat, though if the mission of this film is to introduce us to the Talking Heads, it's certainly no "Hard Day's Night" or "Last Waltz."

But the songs are good, and Byrne works through his bemused detachment to become quite passionate on some selected numbers. His "Once In A Lifetime" is one of the great screen performances of 1984. Goofy lighting sets up "Swamp" and "What A Day That Was" and there's oddball tricks aplenty throughout. I like the lower-key "Heaven," a wistful number about "a place where nothing ever happens" which Byrne delivers with the right amount of grace while bassist Tina Weymouth delivers some solid accompaniment.

I see a lot of times where the notes being played or hit don't correspond with what's on screen. The film was shot over a period of days, and then edited together, but judging from the perfect quality of the performed pieces, I sense some post-game "sweetening" went on. But it's a nice piece to watch, very sublime, and the new DVD treatment is a decided gem worth having. You'll wish you were back in the 1980s when the Heads were the newest thing, though they never really got old. At least they will always be fresh and alive and together on "Stop Making Sense."


17 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 64 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed