The Blues Brothers

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US poster.

The Blues Brothers is a musical comedy film about two washed up musicians trying to save an orphanage by playing gigs. The film was released in theaters on 1980-06-20, and the first movie in the Blue Brothers series. It was written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis, directed by Landis, produced by Robert K. Weiss, and stars John Belushi and Aykroyd as the titular Blues Brothers. The film was based on the earlier sketches from Saturday Night Live.


I don't remember when I first saw The Blues Brothers, but I remember liking it enough that, when I started buying my own movies in my late-teens and early 20s, it was among the first films that I bought.

I own the 1998 widescreen version on VHS and have seen it several times.


Actor Character
John Belushi Jake "Joliet Jake" Blues
Dan Aykroyd Elwood J. Blues
Cab Calloway Curtis
James Brown Reverend Cleophus James
Ray Charles Ray
Aretha Franklin Mrs. Murphy
Carrie Fisher Mystery Woman
John Candy Burton Mercer
Kathleen Freeman Sister Mary Stigmata
Steve "the Colonel" Cropper Lead guitar
Matt "Guitar" Murphy Lead guitar
"Mr. Fabulous" Alan Rubin Trumpet
Donald "Duck" Dunn Bass guitar
Murphy Dunne ("Murph") Keyboards
Willie "Too Big" Hall Drums
Tom "Bones" Malone Trombone
"Blue Lou" Marini Saxophone
Henry Gibson Gruppenführer
Steve Lawrence Maury Sline
Twiggy Chic Lady
Frank Oz Corrections officer
Jeff Morris Bob
Charles Napier Tucker McElroy
Steven Spielberg Cook County Assessor
Steven Williams Trooper Mount
Armand Cerami Trooper Daniel
Paul Reubens Waiter
Ralph Foody Police Dispatcher



  • All throughout the film, wonderful music is being played and performed, and a lot of great artists perform cameos.
  • The film has fantastic car chases, through malls, interstate highways, even downtown Chicago!
  • Most of the jokes are hilarious. This is very refreshing because musicals typically have terrible comedy.
  • A lot of films which include Nazis don't properly ridicule them and run the risk of making actual Nazis applaud the film (like American History X), but this film nicely depicts them as incompetent, pathetic, closet queens.
  • The various attempted murders by Carrie Fisher, and the Blues Brother's nonchalant dismissal of them, are hilarious.
  • The violence and supernatural nature of Sister Mary Stigmata is a hilarious jab at religion.


  • Most of the musicians in the Blues Brother's band are terrible actors and should have had their lines cut.
  • Like with many musicals, the musical numbers go off the rails injuring believability, but, the fact that it's a musical comedy makes it tolerable.


  • Nothing.








Strong female character?Pass
Bechdel test?Fail
Strong person of color character?Pass
Queer character?Fail


  • Corrections Officer: One unused prophylactic... One soiled.
  • Jake: You traded the Bluesmobile for this? Elwood: No, for a microphone. Jake: A microphone? ...Okay I can see that.
  • Elwood: It wasn't a lie, it was just bullshit.
  • Jake: How often does the train go by? Elwood: So often that you won't even notice it.
  • Jake: Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke. Mrs. Murphy: You want chicken wings or chicken legs? Jake: Four fried chickens and a Coke.
  • Jake: I hate Illinois Nazis.
  • Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here? Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.
  • Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses. Jake: Hit it.
  • Police Dispatcher: Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved.


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