The Blues Brothers [DVD] [1980]

  • SKU: 3457994
  • Release Date: 09/09/1998
  • Rating: R
Universal brings the off-the-wall comedy The Blues Brothers to DVD in a collector's edition with an expanded version of the film, a decent 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, Dolby Digital Surround Sound, and plenty of background material. Aside from the 15 minutes of extra footage, the highlight of the disc is The Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers, an hour- long documentary featuring every participant from the film, conveniently accessible through a menu of 14 chapters. Star and co-writer Dan Aykroyd explains how a joke that he and best friend John Belushi shared with friends evolved from a Saturday Night Live skit to a best-selling album and then to a film. Director John Landis covers the difficult production, from the outrageous stunts to Belushi's disappearances from the set. Along with interviews with the bandmates and a stellar group of cameo musicians (Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway), there is old footage of Belushi discussing the film. A generous set of production photos and the theatrical trailer round out a satisfying package of features for this comedy favorite.
$9.99
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews


Overall Customer Rating:
99% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (393 out of 397)

Special Features


  • Includes footage not seen since the original 1980 Picwood preview
  • "The Making of The Blues Brothers," featuring interviews with director John Landis, Dan Aykroyd, The Blues Brothers Band, producer Robert K. Weiss Never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Production photographs

Synopsis


The Blues Brothers
Expanding on their Saturday Night Live characters, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd star as Jake and Elwood Blues, two white boys with black soul. Sporting cool shades and look-alike suits, Jake and Elwood are dispatched on a "mission from God" by their former teacher, Sister Mary Stigmata (Kathleen Freeman). Said mission is to raise $5000 to save an orphanage. In the course of their zany adventures, the Blues Brothers run afoul of neo-Nazi Henry Gibson, perform the theme from Rawhide before the most unruly bar crowd in written history, and lay waste to hundreds of cars on the streets and freeways of Chicago. In case you aren't swept up in the infectuous nuttiness of the brothers Blue, you might have fun spotting film's legion of guest stars, including James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Candy, Carrie Fisher, Steve Lawrence, Twiggy, Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman), Frank Oz, and Steven Spielberg. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew


  • John Belushi
    John Belushi - "Joliet" Jake Blues
  • Dan Aykroyd
    Dan Aykroyd - Elwood Blues
  • James Brown
    James Brown - Rev. Cleophus James
  • John Candy
    John Candy - Burton Mercer
  • Ray Charles
    Ray Charles - Ray



Overall customer rating

4.8
99%
would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    "Do you see the light?!"

    Posted
    JakeInLivnColor
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    Back in the 1970s, SNL was a huge deal, launching a juggernaut of comedic talent and movie stars. Dan Aykroyd and his SNL co-star and friend, John Belushi, created The Blues Brothers, Elwood and Jake Blues, from their love of blues music (Rather Aykroyd's love for it, but got Belushi to come around) and created a classic act that spread over across multiple episodes of SNL, a best selling blues album and eventually, a movie. Armed with a screenplay literally the size of a phone book, a huge budget, two rising stars and a director fresh from Animal House, how does it turn out? On the outset of the film, "Joliet Jake" Blues (Belushi) is released from Joliet prison, and is picked up by his brother Elwood (Aykroyd) in the iconic Bluesmobile, which is an old 70s police car (Love the irony) and driven to their orphanage to talk to The Penguin (Kathleen Freeman, not portraying the Batman villain). They learn their childhood home is being sold to the Board of Education and must pay $5,000 in back taxes to keep the orphanage operational. They see a sign from above from God ("We're on a mission from God.") and decide to get the band back together. It is harder than it sounds, due to their band mates landing some solid gigs and earning some nice green. Oh, and the Illinois State Police, Illinois hate groups and a country-western band are on their tail, hoping to lynch the Blues, on top of raising $5,000. Will they raise the roof or have it crumble on top of them? Will the police capture the brothers? Well, you will just have to watch the film to find out. Let me just say, this film is truly one of the funniest films of all time, bar none. It isn't just a straight up comedy, as it is more akin to something more epic like The Great Race or It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. How do I suppose this is like the film? Jaw droppingly awesome and real stuntwork that varies from a car chase that destroys an entire mall to turning Chicago into a veritable warzone chasing the Blues brothers downtown, and destroying dozens of cop cars. I just love how epic the film is, but its much more than just action, it also has some great musical numbers throughout, from the likes of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway and more! The acting from the two leads is fantastic, and feel like they are real brothers and complement each other well. Supporting players from the likes of Kathleen Freeman, Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, Charles Napier and more add to a memorable film. Of course not all of the actors are great. As I stated, there are some real musicians in the film, some doing pretty decent (Franklin manages to be exquisitely sassy here, Ray Charles doing well) but for the Blues Brothers Band, well is another story. You can tell they are not actors (Alan Rubin, the maitre'd and sax player fares the best here) and their line readings can be downright awful, but those are few and far between, as the main focus is on the brothers, as it should be. John Landis directs his first big budget film, and he doesn't disappoint at all. I'm surprised he wasn't overwhelmed, mainly coming from low-budget films (Animal House, The Kentucky Fried Movie), and letting the film lose his grip, but he holds on tight and never lets go. He captures Chicago beautifully, respecting the culture within the Windy City, gives the film an epic touch and makes it hilariously rather effortlessly. The screenplay (Dan Aykroyd and John Landis, who came in to whittle the script to a shootable movie) is well-written from a comedy aspect, but the plot is really simple (Get the money, get it back, pay taxes) but that gives much more room to have more comedy and it delivers in spades. Witty dialogue here, a pileup of tax-payer funded cop cars there, all for the sake of comedy. As for the rest of the film, the cinematography is decent for a 1980 film, the sound design is well-mixed, the costumes are iconic, the editing is sharp and cut well and the music is also well-done. All in all, you can tell this was a blockbuster from 1980 and doesn't disappoint in the least! Moving on to the BluRay disc, I got a bit scared. See, Universal is infamously known for their catalog releases on BluRay. Edge enhancement, egregious use of DNR (digital noise removal) and changing the look of the entire movie. Luckily, Landis was brought in to supervise the transfer, and I can say its a wonderful looking BluRay. Shot on grainy film from 1980, I was expecting a noisy mess, but was glad to see an extremely detailed image, with neon lights popping off the screen well, sharp images, and no signs of EE anywhere. The AQ is a bit of a downer though. Remixed to 5.1 on the original DVD release from 1998, the 5.1 DTS track sounds amazing, but it is not lossless DTS-HD unfortunately. Luckily, this is a well done track, with it being one of the best lossy tracks on any BluRay I have ever heard. Moving onto the extras, there is plenty to dig into, but nothing substantial has been added since the 2005 25th anniversary DVD release. Starting off, we are treated to the original theatrical and extended cuts and both are equally good, but for a tighter film, stick with the theatrical cut. The main extra on the disc is recycled from the 1998 special edition, but boy is it worth to recycle. Stories Behind the Making of the Blues Brothers is an hour-long look at the making of the film, featuring vintage BTS footage and interviews along with modern (circa 1998) interviews with the cast and crew. Extremely well done and packed with interesting stories, its a must if you are a BB fan. Moving along the recycled path are two featurettes culled from the 2005 DVD. Transposing the Music (15 min.) features more interviews and does have a similar feel to the making-of documentary and more condensed but still worth a peek. Remembering John is a 10-minute look at the unfortunately short life and career of John Belushi. The films trailer finishes off the extras, and also includes the 25th anniversary DVD (Also includes all the extras as well, along with both cuts) and a digital copy. So all in all, a fantastic film with a BluRay with great picture and great sound (Though a lossless track would've opened up the music more) and decent extras make this a must own for anyone fans of the stars, The Blues Brothers or comedies in general. Remember, you're on a mission from God when you purchase the movie.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A stone cold classic

    Posted
    zeeheart
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    I love great comedy and great music and this has got both! You really can't go wrong with Belushi and Aykroyd, and this is simply their best imo. But add cameos and musical performances by the likes of Ray Charles, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin and more and this is one great film. The Blu-ray contains both the theatrical version and an extended version which is great, because the extended version has some bonus musical performances worth seeing, but unfortunately adds in a scene or 2 that only breaks up the pacing of the movie. So.... good to have the extended version just to check out the extra musical performances, but if you are truly going to sit down and "watch" this film, go with the theatrical version. And remember: they're not the police. They're musicians (on a mission from God!).

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Jake and Elwood save the day!

    Posted
    Suntoucher
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    A bit contrived, but the all-star, musical cameos are worth the price of admission. John Landis, who also directed "Animal House," manages to fill "The Blues Brothers" with extra shots, distracting editing, views of virtually everything from too many angles. This is part of the movie's exhausting overkill, and it also means that when the brothers drive a car into a shopping mall, they will crash into every last plate glass window. And it means that when the brothers perform before an audience, the crowd will rise to its feet in unison, or clap so enthusiastically that their behavior seems entirely pre-fab. There are parts of "The Blues Brothers" that would have played infinitely better with a knock-about feeling, a sloppiness like that of "Animal House." As it is, the movie is airless. The stakes needn't have been so high.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Classic movie with great music

    Posted
    bcookin
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    I have loved this movie for as long as I can remember with classic lines, great music and a great cast of characters. The bluray cleans up the picture about as much as it can be and the sound is great. There is an extended version on the disc that integrates the extra scenes with the theatrical release but it is a little obvious where the scenes are added because the color is not corrected to match the rest of the movie. The digital code said that it was expired but I was still able to redeem it so that's helpful This replaces the DVD version I already had and will be watched pretty regularly.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Jake and Elwood Ride Again

    Posted
    aerbeer
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    Upon being released from prison, brothers Jake and Elwood Blues visit "The Penguin", the last of the nuns who raised them, at their old parochial school. The brothers are told that the Archdiocese is going to sell the school property to the Education Authority and the only way to keep the place open is to pay the $5000 in property taxes within 11 days. The Blues Brothers want to help, and decide to put their blues band back together with the intention of staging a big gig to raise the money. As they set off on their mission from God, they encounter a number of unexpected detours, zany characters, the police, revenge-seeking militant groups, angry country singers, and Jake's psychotic former girlfriend.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Wild Chases, Humor, Music

    Posted
    TheWonderingWanderer
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    John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd = non-stop comedic talent! Story picks up as one of the Blues Brothers is released from Joliet Prison, and his brother picks him up in an auctioned off cop car. A crazy car pursuit by police that winds up demolishing the interior of a shopping mall, a surreal visit to a 'rocking church service' is all 'the norm' as the Brothers are on a mission from God to resurrect their bandin order to raise money for their old school and the nun who influenced their lives. Throw an ex trying to kill them and the adventure and comedy never ends!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    SNL alums, music, and adventure=Awesome

    Posted
    amfinsxf
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    Blues Brothers really fires on all cylinders. It's at once a redemption story, a hilarious comedy, and a heart-warming tale of the little guys going up against the Man and winning. Of course, it's more than that, too, including a time capsule of some of America's most famous blues musicians and a record of classic performances by Belushi and Aykroyd (saying nothing of those by Carrie Fischer and John Candy). It's endlessly watchable... and quotable.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    A Classic Comedy

    Posted
    BatBoy65
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    It was great to see this movie classic in HD. This is the best I have ever seen the movie, although it is not a spectacular visual experience as if it had been completely restored. Still, it is quite acceptable and way better than the DVD, as is the sound track which brings back lots of memories. Definitely worth having in your collection and at a very reasonable price.

    I would recommend this to a friend



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