The Blues Brothers (1980)

R | 133 mins | Comedy | 20 June 1980

Director:

John Landis

Producer:

Robert K. Weiss

Cinematographer:

Stephen M. Katz

Production Designer:

John Lloyd

Production Company:

Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

The print viewed for this record contained extra footage not included in the 1980 release.
       The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “The Filmmakers wish to thank: The People of Chicago; The City of Chicago; The State of Illinois; Mayor Jane M. Byrne; Governor James R. Thompson; The Illinois State Film Office; The Chicago Police Department; The Chicago Fire Department; The Federal Aviation Authority District Office #3; The Chicago Transit Authority; The Chicago Park District; The Chicago Department of Public Works; The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation; The Cook County Offices and Administration; The Illinois Department of Corrections; The Staff and Residents of the Joliet Correctional Center; The Illinois Department of Transportation; The Illinois Secretary of State; The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority; Wrigley Field; The City of Milwaukee; The City of Harvey; The City of Park Ridge; The City of Wauconda; The City of Waukegan; The Illinois State Police Department; The Harvey Police Department; The Wauconda Police Department; The Tri-State Chapter of the Military Vehicle Collector’s Club.”
       The following statement appears at the end of the film: “When in Hollywood visit Universal Studios (Ask for Babs).” “Barbara Sue Jansen” was a character from National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978, see entry), who became a tour guide at Universal Studios, as noted in a postscript at the end of the film.
       According to a 5 Aug 1980 Us article, actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi said the genesis of The Blues Brothers grew out of seeing Wayne Cochran and his Miami R&B band perform at the El Mocambo Club in Toronto, Canada. Concert attire worn by Roy Orbison inspired ... More Less

The print viewed for this record contained extra footage not included in the 1980 release.
       The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “The Filmmakers wish to thank: The People of Chicago; The City of Chicago; The State of Illinois; Mayor Jane M. Byrne; Governor James R. Thompson; The Illinois State Film Office; The Chicago Police Department; The Chicago Fire Department; The Federal Aviation Authority District Office #3; The Chicago Transit Authority; The Chicago Park District; The Chicago Department of Public Works; The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation; The Cook County Offices and Administration; The Illinois Department of Corrections; The Staff and Residents of the Joliet Correctional Center; The Illinois Department of Transportation; The Illinois Secretary of State; The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority; Wrigley Field; The City of Milwaukee; The City of Harvey; The City of Park Ridge; The City of Wauconda; The City of Waukegan; The Illinois State Police Department; The Harvey Police Department; The Wauconda Police Department; The Tri-State Chapter of the Military Vehicle Collector’s Club.”
       The following statement appears at the end of the film: “When in Hollywood visit Universal Studios (Ask for Babs).” “Barbara Sue Jansen” was a character from National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978, see entry), who became a tour guide at Universal Studios, as noted in a postscript at the end of the film.
       According to a 5 Aug 1980 Us article, actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi said the genesis of The Blues Brothers grew out of seeing Wayne Cochran and his Miami R&B band perform at the El Mocambo Club in Toronto, Canada. Concert attire worn by Roy Orbison inspired the brothers’ outfits, and the actors worked with a choreographer to perfect their footwork on stage. Director John Landis, Belushi, and Aykroyd discovered that they had similar musical tastes on cross-country road trips together from NY to CA. As The Blues Brothers concept coalesced, Aykroyd and Belushi would use the act to warm up audiences on the television comedy series Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11 Oct 1975--). A 7 Aug 1980 Rolling Stone article stated the musical warm ups began in fall 1977, but by mid-1978, the band was rehearsed enough to open for comedian-actor-musician Steve Martin, during nine sold-out concerts in Los Angeles.
       While the band mixed its 1978 album Briefcase Full of Blues, a live recording of the aforementioned concerts, Belushi, Aykroyd, and manager Bernie Brillstein outlined the concept of the movie to Universal Studio executive Sean Daniel in a telephone call. Based on the popularity of National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978, see entry) and “Saturday Night Live,” Daniel offered the duo a movie deal. By Mar 1979, Aykroyd had written a 324-page screenplay titled The Return of the Blues Brothers, but when Landis came on board in spring 1979 after dropping out of Universal’s The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981, see entry), he helped streamline the script to a workable length.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the following six musicians formed the original band in 1977: Steve Cropper (lead guitar), Alan Rubin (trumpet), Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass guitar), “Blue” Lou Marini (saxophone), Willie “Too Big” Hall (drums), and Tom “Bones” Malone (trombone, tenor sax).
       A 4 Feb 1980 DV news brief stated that principal photography began Aug 1979.
       A 20 Apr 1980 LAT article reported that the film’s budget was in the range of $30 to $35 million, as opposed to the $5 million that Var had announced the previous year. However, 12 May 1980 DV and 23 Jun 1980 Box articles stated that Universal Pictures President Ned Tanen and director Landis denied that the budget had escalated to that extent. Tanen quoted the cost of production as approximately $27.5 million. MCA Chairman Lew Wasserman told stockholders that the film would have to earn $40 to $50 million to recoup its costs. Alternately, Landis stated that an additional $3 million was spent on the $24 million-budgeted film. He attributed the added cost to a “300 to 400 percent” increase in production costs, as well as additional stunt work. Also, 10,000 cast and crewmembers were reportedly on the film’s payroll.
       Us stated that an actual shopping mall in IL was used to film the shopping center sequence. Merchandise was purchased wholesale to stock shelves and whatever was not destroyed was returned. The sequence involved 300 collisions, involving 120 cars, of which sixty vehicles were destroyed. Additionally, the production used six Ford Pintos, of which four were wrecked, as well as twelve specially outfitted Blues Mobiles. Before the Pinto could be dropped 1,400 feet (120 stories) in downtown Chicago, IL, filmmakers had to test drop two Pintos, as required by Chicago officials and the FAA.
       The 4 Feb 1980 DV news brief announced that principal photography was completed 1 Feb 1980 after six months. Rolling Stone reported that the film earned $4.66 million its first weekend in release and $13 million on 590 screens after its first ten days.
       According to the 20 Apr 1980 LAT article, media events involving the launch of a soundtrack album, two paperback novelizations, and a nationwide Blues Brothers concert tour coincided with the release of the film. Jove Books published an expanded version of the movie’s plot, while Perigee Books came out with a farcical pictorial Blues Brothers’ “documentary history.” Judy Jacklin, John Belushi’s wife, teamed up with Tino Insana to design the faux documentary project. Atlantic Records planned to release a movie soundtrack album due in stores on 15 May 1980 with a single set to debut in early May. The Blues Brothers band expected to kick off their tour on 27 Jun 1980 in Chicago, IL, and play dates at the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, CA, in tandem with the film’s opening in Los Angeles, CA.
       A 20 Aug 1990 LAT news item reported that composers Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber had filed a lawsuit, alleging that Universal Studios had used their song “Jailhouse Rock” in The Blues Brothers without authorization. Although the “initial term of copyright ownership” belonged to Elvis Presley Music Inc., the rights reverted back to Leiber and Stoller in 1986. The suit sought to prevent Universal from further copyright infringement and asked for unspecified profits and damages. The outcome of the lawsuit is undetermined.
       Musicians Cropper, Rubin, “Duck” Dunn, Marini, Hall, and Matt “Guitar” Murphy (guitar) made their theatrical film debuts in The Blues Brothers. The film also marked the theatrical film debut of Judy Jacklin in a cameo role as a “cocktail waitress.”
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 Jun 1980.
---
Crawdaddy
Dec 1978.
---
Daily Variety
4 Feb 1980.
---
Daily Variety
12 May 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 1980
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
20 Apr 1980
Calendar section.
Los Angeles Times
20 Jun 1980
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
20 Aug 1990.
---
New York Times
20 Jun 1980
p. 16.
Rolling Stone
7 Aug 1980.
---
Us
5 Aug 1980.
---
Variety
18 Jun 1980
p. 22.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Nazis:
[and]
Maxwell Street Musicians:
Soul Food Chorus:
The Good Ole Boys:
[and]
Ophans:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Universal Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir, Chicago
2d asst dir, Chicago
2d asst dir, Los Angeles
2d asst dir, Los Angeles
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam, Chicago
2d cam op
2d cam 1st asst
2d cam 2d asst
1st cam, Chicago
2d cam op, Chicago
2d cam 1st asst, Chicago
2d cam 2d asst, Chicago
Playback, Chicago
Playback, Chicago
Playback, Los Angeles
Playback, Los Angeles
Video
Matte photog by
Gaffer
Gaffer
Key grip
2d key grip
Grip, Los Angeles
Grip, Los Angeles
Grip, Los Angeles
Grip, Los Angeles
Grip, Chicago
Grip, Chicago
Grip, Chicago
Grip, Chicago
Grip, Chicago
Grip, Chicago
Grip, Chicago
Grip, Chicago
Crane, Dolly grip
Best boy
Best boy
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Chicago
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Elec, Los Angeles
Cam
Generator op
Generator op
Generator op
Still photog
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc film ed
Assoc film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed, Chicago
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master, Chicago
Const coord
Const coord
COSTUMES
Men`s ward
Men`s ward
Woman's ward
MUSIC
Mus supv and cond
God music by
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
SOUND
Boom man
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Re-rec
The Blues Brothers rec prod and supv
Mus rec at
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
Spec eff by
Spec eff by
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Asst matte painter
Opticals by
Title des by
DANCE
Choreog
Asst to the choreog
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod supv
Spec operations, Chicago
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt, Chicago
Transportation co-capt, Chicago
Auditor
Auditor, Chicago
Asst auditor, Chicago
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Insert car driver
Chapman crane driver
Mechanic, Chicago
Mechanic, Los Angeles
Mechanic, Los Angeles
Mechanic, Los Angeles
Asst to exec prod
Assoc to prod
Secy to the prod
Asst to pub
Catering by
Caterer
Caterer
Road mgr for The Blues Brothers Band
Asst road mgr
Asst road mgr
Asst to Mr. Belushi
A. F. I. intern
DGA trainee
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
Prod secy
Locations, Chicago
Locations, Chicago
Locations, Chicago
Locations, Chicago
Concert promotion by
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt person
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timing
Col by
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Ride Of The Valkyries," written by Richard Wagner, performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, courtesy of Westminster Gold.
SONGS
“Shake Your Moneymaker,” performed by Elmore James, courtesy of Trip Records
“Soothe Me,” written and performed by Sam and Dave, courtesy of Atlantic Records
“Hold On I’m Comin’,” written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, performed by Sam and Dave, courtesy of Atlantic Records
+
SONGS
“Shake Your Moneymaker,” performed by Elmore James, courtesy of Trip Records
“Soothe Me,” written and performed by Sam and Dave, courtesy of Atlantic Records
“Hold On I’m Comin’,” written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, performed by Sam and Dave, courtesy of Atlantic Records
“Boogie Chillun,” written and performed by John Lee Hooker, courtesy of Fantasy Records
“Let The Good Times Roll,” written by Sam Theard and Fleecy Moore, performed by Louis Jordan
“Your Cheatin’ Heart,” written by Hank Williams, performed by Kitty Wells, courtesy of MCA Records
“Anema E Core,” written by Salve D’Esposito and Tito Manlio, performed by Ezio Pinza, courtesy of RCA Records
“I’m Walkin’,” written by Antoine Domino and Dave Bartholemew, performed by Fats Domino, courtesy of United Artists Records, Inc.
“Minnie The Moocher,” written by Cab Calloway and Irving Mills, performed by Cab Calloway, courtesy of Hologram Records.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Return of the Blues Brothers
Release Date:
20 June 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 20 June 1980
Production Date:
August 1979 --1 February 1980 Chicago, IL
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 July 1980
Copyright Number:
PA73796
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
133
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26015
SYNOPSIS

Elwood Blues greets his brother, Joliet Jake, after Jake is released from the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois. As they leave, Jake learns that Elwood traded the Cadillac, aka the “Blues Mobile,” to buy a microphone, and he is disgusted that his brother bought a Mount Prospect police car at auction to replace the other vehicle. To prove what a great car it is, Elwood floors the accelerator and clears an open drawbridge, crossing to a road on the other side. The brothers visit Sister Mary Stigmata at the Saint Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage, where they were raised. The sister informs them that the church plans to sell the building rather than pay the new $5,000 county tax assessment. When Jake offers to donate the money, Sister Mary stipulates that she will not take stolen money. She criticizes their filthy language and bad attitudes, and warns them not to return until they have redeemed themselves. Curtis, the orphanage custodian, informs the brothers that the institution has eleven days to pay the tax, and suggests that they might visit Triple Rock Baptist Church. There, the Reverend Cleophus James sings, the congregation dances in the aisles, and Jake claims to see the light. Later, Jake suggests they reunite the Blues Brothers Band and raise the tax money through legitimate concerts. Elwood says the only hitch is that the band members have taken jobs, and their whereabouts are unknown. Elwood drives through a yellow light and state troopers signal the car to pull over. When the officers discover that Elwood is driving with a suspended license, the brothers speed away with the police in close pursuit. ... +


Elwood Blues greets his brother, Joliet Jake, after Jake is released from the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois. As they leave, Jake learns that Elwood traded the Cadillac, aka the “Blues Mobile,” to buy a microphone, and he is disgusted that his brother bought a Mount Prospect police car at auction to replace the other vehicle. To prove what a great car it is, Elwood floors the accelerator and clears an open drawbridge, crossing to a road on the other side. The brothers visit Sister Mary Stigmata at the Saint Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage, where they were raised. The sister informs them that the church plans to sell the building rather than pay the new $5,000 county tax assessment. When Jake offers to donate the money, Sister Mary stipulates that she will not take stolen money. She criticizes their filthy language and bad attitudes, and warns them not to return until they have redeemed themselves. Curtis, the orphanage custodian, informs the brothers that the institution has eleven days to pay the tax, and suggests that they might visit Triple Rock Baptist Church. There, the Reverend Cleophus James sings, the congregation dances in the aisles, and Jake claims to see the light. Later, Jake suggests they reunite the Blues Brothers Band and raise the tax money through legitimate concerts. Elwood says the only hitch is that the band members have taken jobs, and their whereabouts are unknown. Elwood drives through a yellow light and state troopers signal the car to pull over. When the officers discover that Elwood is driving with a suspended license, the brothers speed away with the police in close pursuit. As the officers call for back up, the chase continues at a shopping mall. There, Elwood drives through several stores, creating various roadblocks that enable the brothers to evade the police. One trooper vows to arrest Elwood no matter what it takes. After the brothers escape, they hide the car, and take refuge in Jake’s room at a transient hotel. The next morning, Burton Mercer, a corrections officer, and state troopers visit the hotel, looking for the brothers. However, a mystery woman parked on the street blows up the building just as the troopers ambush Jake and Elwood, and the brothers walk away from the wreckage. Later, Jake and Elwood track down a few former bandmates at the Holiday Inn, performing as “Murph and the Magictones.” Murph, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Willie “Too Big” Hall, “Bones” Malone, and “Blue” Lou Marini are willing to restart the band, but they insist the group will not be complete without horn players such as “Mr. Fabulous,” who is the top Maître d’ at the Chez Paul restaurant, and Matt “Guitar” Murphy, who runs a successful soul food restaurant with his wife and employs “Blue” Lou Marini. When the brothers visit Mr. Fabulous at Chez Paul, he is not happy to see them. Jake and Elwood occupy a table in the restaurant dining room, ordering shrimp cocktail and a bottle of Dom Perignon. When surrounding diners complain about the brothers’ rude behavior, Jake warns Mr. Fabulous that he and Elwood will continue to disturb the clientele until Mr. Fabulous agrees to play with band, and he is persuaded. Traveling to the Soul Food Café, the brothers are stopped in traffic by a parade of Nazis. As the brothers proceed to crash their car into the gathering, the Nazis jump from a bridge to the water below to avoid being hit, and the head Nazi vows revenge. Meanwhile, Jake and Elwood arrive at the Soul Food Café to recruit Matt “Guitar” Murphy and “Blue” Lou, who are eager to play with the brothers despite threats from Matt’s wife. After the band buys instruments at Ray’s Music Exchange, they stop at a Howard Johnson restaurant. While Jake and Elwood use the pay phone to call booking agent, Maury Sline, the mystery woman shoots the propane tank next to the booth with her flamethrower. The explosion propels the booth into the air. However, it lands safely and the brothers collect the spare change lying on the ground. Elsewhere, a Nazi tracks down Elwood’s license plate, and the head Nazi instructs party members to monitor police scanners in their hunt for the brothers. On the road, Jake arbitrarily chooses a roadside inn called Bob’s Country Bunker to debut the Blues Brothers band, impersonating another band called the Good Ole Boys. They play blues but switch to country after being pelted with beer bottles from the audience. After they finish the set, owner Bob says their salary is $200, but they consumed $300 worth of beer. The musicians escape without paying, but Bob follows and shoots at them with his shotgun. Elwood floors the accelerator as state troopers recognize the speeding car, but before the pursuit begins, the troopers accidentally crash into Bob’s vehicle. Soon, Jake and Elwood convince Maury Sline to book them in a large hall called the Palace Hotel Ballroom, while Curtis recruits boys at the orphanage to publicize the fund-raiser concert. However, the brothers run out of gas and are late for their show. Before they arrive on stage, the brothers sabotage the patrol cars in the parking lot. Troopers station themselves around the hall, waiting to arrest Jake and Elwood. When the brothers perform, the crowd is enthusiastic. When Jake and Elwood exit the stage, the president of Clarion Records offers them a record contract, and gives them a $10,000 advance. Jake asks the president to deliver $1,400 to Ray’s Music Exchange and give the rest of the money to the band. Then, Jake instructs the band to play while the brothers escape. In the tunnels below the ballroom, the mystery woman confronts the brothers. She intends to kill them because Jake jilted her at their wedding. At first, Jake begs for mercy, then melts her anger with a kiss. During her momentary euphoria, the brothers escape. Hearing gunshots, the troopers return to their cars to find their car tires have exploded, while others give chase. Tucker McElroy, the leader of the Good Ole Boys, also joins the pursuit, but he finds his shoe is glued to the accelerator and crashes through a warehouse, and into the water. Meanwhile, Elwood abruptly exits the highway, causing a pile up of trooper cars. When the police scanner announces that the Blues brothers are being chased, the head Nazi is ready for revenge. Once the brothers enter the city limits, troopers, the city police force and officers in boats pursue them. Suddenly, the head Nazi, traveling in a Ford Pinto, joins the chase and follows the brothers down a stretch of closed highway. Elwood brakes to avoid falling off an unfinished road, then reverses the car and flies over the Nazi’s vehicle. In turn, the Pinto falls over the cliff, crashing into the pavement below. The brothers enter the Cook County Administration building on foot, and take the elevator to the eleventh floor, while law enforcement trails behind. At the tax assessor’s office, the clerk writes Jake and Elwood a receipt for their $5,000 for payment of the orphanage tax, as the brothers are surrounded by hundreds of officers. Later in prison, the Blues Brothers band performs before fellow convicts, singing “Jailhouse Rock.” +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.