The Blues Brothers

June 20th, 1980

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The Blues Brothers

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

Release Year: 1980

Rating: 7.9/10 (78,232 voted)

Director: John Landis

Stars: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway

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 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?

Writers: Dan Aykroyd, John Landis

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 'Murph' Dunne
Willie Hall - Willie 'Too Big' Hall
Tom Malone - Tom 'Bones' Malone
Lou Marini - 'Blue Lou' Marini
Matt Murphy - Matt 'Guitar' Murphy
Alan Rubin - Alan 'Mr. Fabulous' Rubin
Carrie Fisher - Mystery Woman

Taglines: The Most Dangerous Combination Since Nitro and Glycerine.

Release Date: 20 June 1980

Filming Locations: 22 W. Van Buren Street, The Loop, Downtown, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $4,858,152 (USA) (22 June 1980) (594 Screens)

Gross: $115,229,890 (Worldwide) (1983)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | USA: (extended version)

Did You Know?

In the scene where Carrie Fisher is in the hair salon doing her nails and reading the instruction manual for the flamethrower, you can see a trio of pictures on the table. They are all of Fisher's character and Jake Blues. In every picture, Jake is wearing his sunglasses and hat.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: During "Sweet Home Chicago", there is the sound of a baritone sax solo, but no one on stage is playing a baritone sax.(Tom Scott played bari for the BB band on SNL, but did not appear in this movie)

[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]

User Review

Nitro and Glycerin

Rating: 10/10

A musical comedy action fantasy should not work, especially when one considers that it is the first SNL skit-to-screen adventure (which, history has shown us, is a decidedly mixed bag). But this one does. Two of the best car chases in cinematic history bookend the film, and in between there are show-stopping musical numbers, raw humor, Illinois Nazis, and a seriously disgruntled ex-fiancee. And it all makes perfect sense in the context of the universe created by Aykroyd (who co-wrote), Landis (who directed), and Belushi (his barely contained zeal provides the battery pack for this film).

Jake (Belushi) and Elwood (Aykroyd) are the former front men of a broken down blues band (actually a stunning collection of blues talent) which disbanded after Jake was arrested several years before. Upon his release, he discovers that his boyhood orphanage home is about to be foreclosed upon for non-payment of property taxes. Beaten up by a nun, sung to by James Brown, and touched by God, Jake sees the light and seeks to put the band together for one last show -- a charity benefit to save the orphanage.

Their journey takes them from James Brown to Aretha Franklin to Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker to Cab Calloway. The movie showcases the overwhelming talent of singers, musicians, and genres long out of vogue with popular musical tastes. Indeed, this movie is a vehicle for giving these performers a chance to shine -- to bring their music back to the masses and ultimately into pop-culture immortality (to go along with their more prestigious musical immortality).

This film is guaranteed to make you tap your feet, laugh out loud, gasp as both a mall and and entire fleet of Chicago police cars are destroyed, and believe in the magical powers of an old cop car. Like I said, it's a musical comedy action fantasy.

And it works.

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