AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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The Blues Brothers
Alternate Title: The Return of the Blues Brothers
Director: John Landis (Dir)
Release Date:   20 Jun 1980
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 20 Jun 1980
Production Date:   Aug 1979 --1 Feb 1980 Chicago, IL
Duration (in mins):   133
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Cast:   John Belushi (Joliet Jake [Blues])  
    Dan Aykroyd (Elwood [Blues])  
    James Brown (Reverend Cleophus James)  
    Cab Calloway (Curtis)  
    Ray Charles (Ray)  
    Aretha Franklin (Soul food cafe owner [Mrs. Matt Murphy])  
    Steve Cropper (Steve "The Colonel" Cropper)  
    Donald "Duck" Dunn (Donald "Duck" Dunn)  
    Murphy Dunne (Murph)  
    Willie Hall (Willie "Too Big" Hall)  
    Tom Malone ("Bones" Malone)  
    Lou Marini ("Blue" Lou Marini)  
    Matt Murphy (Matt "Guitar" Murphy)  
    Alan Rubin (Mr. Fabulous)  
    Carrie Fisher (Mystery Woman)  
    Henry Gibson (Head Nazi)  
    John Candy (Burton Mercer)  
    John Lee Hooker (Street Slim)  
    Kathleen Freeman (Sister Mary Stigmata)  
    Steve Lawrence (Maury Sline)  
    Twiggy (Chic lady)  
    Frank Oz (Corrections officer)  
    Jeff Morris (Bob)  
    Charles Napier (Tucker McElroy)  
    Steven Williams (Trooper Mount)  
    Armand Cerami (Trooper Daniel)  
    Tom Erhart (Prison guard)  
    Gerald Walling, S. J. (Prison guard)  
    Walter Levine (Prison guard)  
    Alonzo Atkins (Choirmaster)  
    Chaka Khan (Choir soloist)  
    James Cleveland's Southern California Community Choir (Choir)  
    Stephen Bishop (Charming trooper)  
    John Landis (Trooper La Fong)  
    Kristi Oleson (Sales girl)  
    Gary McLarty (Man in toy store)  
    Joe Cuttone (Lloyd)  
    Shotgun Britton (The Cheese Whiz)  
    Toni Fleming (Mrs. Tarantino)  
    Judy Jacklin (Cocktail waitress)  
    Rosie Schuster (Cocktail waitress)  
    Paul Reubens (Waiter)  
    Ben Piazza (Father)  
    Gwen Banta (Mother)  
    Lari Taylor (Daughter #1)  
    Cindy Fisher (Daughter #2)  
    Elizabeth Hoy (Daughter #3)  
    Tony M. Conde (Sommelier)  
    Eugene J. Anthony (Gruppenfeuhrer)  
  Nazis: Dean Hill    
    Gary Houston    
    Jack Orend    
  [and] Gene Schuldt    
    Charles Mountain (Cop)  
  Maxwell Street Musicians: Walter Horton (Tampa Pete)  
    "Pinetop" Perkins (Luther Jackson)  
    Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (Drums)  
    Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson (Guitar)  
  [and] Calvin "Fuzz" Jones (Bass)  
  Soul Food Chorus: Carolyn Franklin    
    Brenda Bryant Corbett    
  [and] Margaret Branch    
    DeVoreaux White (Young guitar thief)  
    Sheilah Wells (Claire)  
    Lou Perry (Man at bar)  
    Stan Mazin (Drunk dancer)  
  The Good Ole Boys: Russ Bruzek    
    Blair Burrows    
    Jack Callahan    
    Gene Janson    
  [and] Gil Pearson    
  Ophans: Aaron Jais    
    Lemetrius Daniels    
    Jeff Cahill    
    Curt Clendenin    
    Steve Cruz    
    Leonard Daniels    
    Sean Hayden    
    Babatunde Myers    
    Gary Patzik    
    J. Bernard Walton    
  [and] Butch Williams    
    Wally Engelhardt (Gas station owner)  
    Michael Klenfner (Clarion Records' president)  
    Ralph Foody (Police dispatcher)  
    Lenny Garner (Lobby guard #1)  
    Andrew Goodman (Lobby guard #2)  
    Edward Donno (Swat team commander)  
    Steven Spielberg (Cook County clerk)  
    Joe Walsh (Prisoner)  
    Shirley Levine (Woman on cutting room floor)  

Summary: 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.” 

Production Company: Universal Pictures (MCA, Inc.)
Production Text: A Universal Picture
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures (MCA, Inc.)
Director: John Landis (Dir)
  Robert Latham Brown (Unit prod mgr)
  Tom Joyner (Unit prod mgr)
  David Sosna (1st asst dir)
  Jerram Swartz (1st asst dir)
  Leonard R. Garner, Jr. (2d asst dir, Chicago)
  Randy Carter (2d asst dir, Chicago)
  Richard Espinoza (2d asst dir, Los Angeles)
  John Syrjamaki (2d asst dir, Los Angeles)
Producer: Robert K. Weiss (Prod)
  George Folsey, Jr. (Assoc prod)
  David Sosna (Assoc prod)
  Bernie Brillstein (Exec prod)
Writer: Dan Aykroyd (Wrt)
  John Landis (Wrt)
Photography: Stephen M. Katz (Dir of photog)
  Steve Yaconelli (Cam op)
  John Le Blanc (1st asst cam)
  Mako Koiwai (2d asst cam)
  George Mooradian (2d asst cam, Chicago)
  Michael Benson (2d cam op)
  Jim Le Blanc (2d cam 1st asst)
  Joe Cosko, Jr. (2d cam 2d asst)
  Bill Birch (1st cam, Chicago)
  John T. Dustin (2d cam op, Chicago)
  George Kohut (2d cam 1st asst, Chicago)
  Jim Mazzula (2d cam 2d asst, Chicago)
  Scott Smith (Playback, Chicago)
  Glenn Williams (Playback, Chicago)
  Greg Morton (Playback, Los Angeles)
  Craig Woods (Playback, Los Angeles)
  Dan Brewer (Video)
  Bill Taylor (Matte photog by)
  David Jarell (Gaffer)
  Bob Woodside (Gaffer)
  Raymond Kinzer (Key grip)
  Timothy Brennan (2d key grip)
  Mark Stanley (Grip, Los Angeles)
  Douglas Downworth (Grip, Los Angeles)
  Derek Garth (Grip, Los Angeles)
  Cary Vignal (Grip, Los Angeles)
  Roger G. Anderson (Grip, Chicago)
  Melvyn P. Mack (Grip, Chicago)
  David G. Brown (Grip, Chicago)
  Dennis De La Mata (Grip, Chicago)
  Edward C. Kras (Grip, Chicago)
  David Brauer (Grip, Chicago)
  John E. McCarthy (Grip, Chicago)
  John Miller (Grip, Chicago)
  Albert Ramos (Crane, Dolly grip)
  Tom Cox (Best boy)
  Bob Amerian (Best boy)
  Edward Auksel (Elec, Chicago)
  Douglas Dick (Elec, Chicago)
  Peter J. Donaghue (Elec, Chicago)
  Mark A. Hogan (Elec, Chicago)
  John Hudacek (Elec, Chicago)
  Alan H. Leder (Elec, Chicago)
  Bradley Matthys (Elec, Chicago)
  James C. Miller (Elec, Chicago)
  Doug Smith (Elec, Chicago)
  Marion Sykes (Elec, Chicago)
  Greg Cantrell (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Louis Cole (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Tony Constanini (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Dennis De Christiana (Elec, Los Angeles)
  James Etter (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Dustin Huber (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Vera Lynn (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Tim Morton (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Charles Nippell (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Keith Pallant (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Ted Varnadoe (Elec, Los Angeles)
  Avril Youngblood (Elec, Los Angeles)
  David Butler (Cam)
  Rick Holley (Cam)
  David Jones (Cam)
  Fred Ligman (Cam)
  David Nowell (Cam)
  Mark Pearson (Cam)
  Kent Ryan (Cam)
  Gary Small (Cam)
  Karl Wickman (Cam)
  David Wolf (Cam)
  Ju Kuk Chun (Generator op)
  Harry Jukes (Generator op)
  Russell McCarthy (Generator op)
  Peter Sorel (Still photog)
  Melinda Wickman (Still photog)
Art Direction: John Lloyd (Prod des)
  Henry Larrecq (Art dir)
Film Editor: George Folsey, Jr. (Ed)
  Malcolm Campbell (Assoc film ed)
  David Ramirez (Assoc film ed)
  Michael Cipriano (Asst ed)
  Glenn Kaplan (Asst ed)
  John Carbo (Asst ed, Chicago)
  Peck J. Prior (Apprentice ed)
  Ginger Chulack (Apprentice ed)
  Vaune Kirby (Apprentice ed)
  Donah Bassett (Negative cutting)
Set Decoration: Hal Gausman (Set dec)
  Leslie McCarthy-Frankenheimer (Set dec)
  Michael C. Milgrom (Prop master)
  Ken Adachi (Asst prop master)
  Clint Robinson (Asst prop master)
  Aaron C. Holden (Asst prop master, Chicago)
  Delane Lytle (Const coord)
  Bob Magee (Const coord)
Costumes: Deborah Nadoolman (Cost des)
  Erwin W. Rose (Men`s ward)
  Hugo Pena (Men`s ward)
  Sue Dugan (Woman's ward)
Music: Ira Newborn (Mus supv and cond)
  Elmer Bernstein (God music by)
  John Strauss (Mus ed)
  Lorinda Hollingshead (Asst mus ed)
Sound: Bill Kaplan (Prod sd)
  Earl Sampson (Boom man)
  Buzz Knudson (Re-rec mixer)
  Don MacDougall (Re-rec mixer)
  Bob Glass (Re-rec mixer)
  John Stacy (Sd eff ed)
  Todd AO (Re-rec)
  Bob Tischler (The Blues Brothers rec prod and supv)
  Universal Recording in Chicago (Mus rec at )
  Fantasound, Nashville (Mobile rec)
  Wally Heider Sound, Los Angeles (Mobile rec)
Special Effects: Albert Whitlock (Spec visual eff)
  Roger Hansen (Spec eff by)
  Art Brewer (Spec eff by)
  Karl Miller (Spec eff crew)
  Jim Rollins (Spec eff crew)
  Leo Solis (Spec eff crew)
  Bob Worthington (Spec eff crew)
  Syd Dutton (Asst matte painter)
  Creative Film Arts Supervised by Fred Griggs (Opticals by)
  Stinky Levitsky (Title des by)
Dance: Carlton Johnson (Choreog)
  Ercelle Johnson (Asst to the choreog)
Make Up: Shotgun Britton (Makeup)
  Julia Walker (Hairstylist)
  Ron Smith (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Michael Chinich (Casting)
  Katherine Wooten (Scr supv)
  Fran Roy (Prod supv)
  George Koopman (Spec operations, Chicago)
  Dan Anglin (Transportation capt)
  Bob Cornell (Transportation capt)
  Jim Riccio (Transportation co-capt, Chicago)
  Pat Nallon (Transportation co-capt, Chicago)
  Ron Filbert (Auditor)
  Sherrill Patten (Auditor, Chicago)
  John Kochian (Asst auditor, Chicago)
  David Butler (Helicopter pilot)
  Rick Holley (Helicopter pilot)
  David Jones (Helicopter pilot)
  Fred Ligman (Helicopter pilot)
  David Nowell (Helicopter pilot)
  Mark Pearson (Helicopter pilot)
  Kent Ryan (Helicopter pilot)
  Gary Small (Helicopter pilot)
  Karl Wickman (Helicopter pilot)
  David Wolf (Helicopter pilot)
  Byron Carter (Insert car driver)
  Danny Loveless (Chapman crane driver)
  John Alekna (Mechanic, Chicago)
  Gordon Jernberg (Mechanic, Los Angeles)
  Tim Meeks (Mechanic, Los Angeles)
  Edde Olmstead (Mechanic, Los Angeles)
  Joel Briskin (Asst to exec prod)
  Saul Kahan (Pub)
  Deborah Hwang (Assoc to prod)
  Catherine Cox (Secy to the prod)
  Chrisann Verges (Asst to pub)
  Michaelson's Catering (Catering by)
  Tony Kerum (Caterer)
  Antonio De Leon (Caterer)
  Mitchell El Mahdy (Medic)
  Morris Lyda (Road mgr for The Blues Brothers Band)
  Lou Volpano (Asst road mgr)
  Leroy Kerr (Asst road mgr)
  Karen Fraas (Asst to Mr. Belushi)
  Linda Feferman (A. F. I. intern)
  Brian Whitley (DGA trainee)
  Andrew Goodman (Prod asst)
  Susan Goldberg (Prod asst)
  Katterli Frauenfelder (Prod asst)
  Linda Veugler (Prod asst)
  Urban Ullman (Prod asst)
  Richard Kawecki (Prod asst)
  Marvin Townes (Prod asst)
  William Bannister (Prod asst)
  Suzan Reed-Sosna (Prod asst)
  Linda Horwitz (Prod asst)
  Nicole Hegarty (Prod asst)
  Jeff Leith (Prod asst)
  Sandy Dawes (Casting asst)
  Jo Doster (Casting asst)
  Lisa Gottlieb (Casting asst)
  Pemon Rami (Casting asst)
  Amy McElhenney (Prod secy)
  Marty Fraser (Locations, Chicago)
  Marla Cohen (Locations, Chicago)
  Danae Walczak (Locations, Chicago)
  Julie Chandler (Locations, Chicago)
  KMET-FM, Los Angeles (Concert promotion by)
Stand In: Stunts By Hollywood War Babies: "The Champ" Donut (Stunts)
  "Kidd" Gilbert (Stunts)
  Jumbo (Stunts)
  Whiz Kid (Stunts)
  Huff 'N' Stuff (Stunts)
  Uncle Bud (Stunts)
  [and] featuring "Terrible Leon" (Stunts)
  Gary McLarty (Stunt person)
  Freddie Hice (Stunt person)
  Eddy Donno (Stunt person)
  Johnny Hock (Stunt person)
  Tom Huff (Stunt person)
  Chuck Hollum (Stunt person)
  Mickey Gilbert (Stunt person)
  Dean Jeffries (Stunt person)
  Bud Ekins (Stunt person)
  Harold Jones (Stunt person)
  J. N. Roberts (Stunt person)
  Walt LaRue (Stunt person)
  Bennie E. Moore, Jr. (Stunt person)
  Terry Leonard (Stunt person)
  Kitty O`Neil (Stunt person)
  Stevie Myers (Stunt person)
  Dick Ziker (Stunt person)
  Alan Oliney (Stunt person)
  James E. Allard (Stunt person)
  Brad Orrison (Stunt person)
  John Ashby (Stunt person)
  Mark Orrison (Stunt person)
  Bobby Bass (Stunt person)
  Victor Paul (Stunt person)
  Pamela Bebermeyer (Stunt person)
  David Perna (Stunt person)
  Ray Bickel (Stunt person)
  Charlie Picerni (Stunt person)
  Clay Boss (Stunt person)
  Lee Pulford (Stunt person)
  Mary Boss (Stunt person)
  R. A. Rondell (Stunt person)
  Steve Boyum (Stunt person)
  Wally Rose (Stunt person)
  Janet Brady (Stunt person)
  Tanya Russell (Stunt person)
  Greg Brickman (Stunt person)
  Sharon Schaffer (Stunt person)
  Layne Britton (Stunt person)
  Bill Sherman (Stunt person)
  Jophrey Brown (Stunt person)
  Jan Michael Shultz (Stunt person)
  Blair Burrows (Stunt person)
  Johnny Sistrunk (Stunt person)
  Gilbert Combs (Stunt person)
  Peter Stader (Stunt person)
  William J. Couch (Stunt person)
  Tom Steele (Stunt person)
  Jean Coulter (Stunt person)
  Joe Stone (Stunt person)
  Carol Daniels (Stunt person)
  Bobby Terhune (Stunt person)
  Jadie David (Stunt person)
  Sammy Thurman (Stunt person)
  Donna Ekins (Stunt person)
  Casey Van Horn (Stunt person)
  Kenneth Endoso (Stunt person)
  Bud Walls (Stunt person)
  Gary Epper (Stunt person)
  John E. Wayne (Stunt person)
  Jeannie Epper (Stunt person)
  Karen Werner (Stunt person)
  Richard Epper (Stunt person)
  Brian Whitley (Stunt person)
  Stephanie Epper (Stunt person)
  Karl A. Wickman (Stunt person)
  Lenny Gear (Stunt person)
  Walter Wyatt (Stunt person)
  James M. Halty (Stunt person)
  Jonathan Yarbrough (Stunt person)
  Charles Hayward (Stunt person)
  Gary McLarty (Stunt coord)
Color Personnel: Virgil Tanner (Col timing)
  Technicolor® (Col by)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

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; “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.
Composer: Dave Bartholemew
  Cab Calloway
  Salve D`Esposito
  Antoine Domino
  Isaac Hayes
  John Lee Hooker
  Tito Manlio
  Irving Mills
  Fleecy Moore
  David Porter
  Sam and Dave
  Sam Theard
  Richard Wagner
  Hank Williams
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal City Studios, Inc. 15/7/1980 dd/mm/yyyy PA73796

PCA NO: 26015
Physical Properties: Sd:
  col:
  Lenses/Prints: Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®

 
Genre: Comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Blues music
  Catholic Church
  Concerts
  Good and evil
  Musicians
  Orphanages
  Taxation
 
Subjects (Minor): Arrests
  Automobile chases
  Baptists
  Chicago (IL)
  Dancing
  Drawbridges
  Drums and drummers
  Explosions
  Firearms
  Flamethrowers
  Guitars
  Imprisonment
  Joliet (IL)
  Juvenile delinquency
  Liquor
  Money
  Music stores
  Musical instruments
  Nazis
  Nuns
  Parades
  Police
  Restaurants
  Sabotage
  Saxophones
  Shopping malls
  Singers
  Telephone booths
  Trumpets
  Weddings

Note: 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.”
 

Bibliographic Sources:   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.

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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.
 
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