Box art for The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers

action & adventure, comedy

After the release of Jake Blues (John Belushi) from prison, he and brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) go to visit the orphanage where they were released by nuns.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
3 out of 5

A cult classic for adults and older teens.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that main characters Elwood and Jake Blues steal, destroy property, attempt to run people over, cheat people out of money, lie, drink, and smoke. In other words, kids -- especially teenage boys -- will find them irresistibly cool. There's lots of profanity and violence played for laughs.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how Elwood and Jake's morals are -- or aren't --reflected in their behavior. For instance, they want to save the orphanage they grew up in, but they lie, cheat, and steal to raise the money. Is the damage they cause justified by their goal?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Absolute classic, no other words can say more, the music, performers, comedy, car chases, its almost historical because of the performers alone. The fact that Aykroyd and Belushi were able to perform as an actual band after this shows how good they were...and the movie.

- phubbs1, Thursday, May 21, 2009

5 stars

Ever since its initial broadcast "Saturday Night Live" has been the launching place for many comedians who use the chance of being in the show as a way to develop their talents and aim for a career on film. As members of the first generation of the show, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were among the first to make the jump from the show to the film industry. Although the pair had moderate success at first, Belushi became a modern icon of American comedy in 1978 with "Animal House". It was after that success when the two friends decided to make a movie about one of the most successful "Saturday Night Live" characters, the pair of R&B singers: "The Blues Brothers". Being his most beloved creation, Aykroyd began to write the full story of the characters, but ended up with over 300 pages of script. It was director John Landis' task to transform Aykroyd's script into a realizable movie. The movie begins with the release from prison of Jake Blues (John Belushi), co-founder and singer of the Blues Brothers band. After being picked up by his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd), he is informed that the band broke up after his incarceration and that the Blues Brothers are apparently over. However, after discovering that the old Catholic home where they were raised as kids is going to be sold because of its debts, the brothers decide that its their mission, a mission from God, to get the money to save the house, and the only way to achieve that goal will be to reform the legendary Blues Brothers band. With this idea the brothers set to find the band's former members, but in their way they'll find new enemies in the form of a Neo-Nazi group, a country band, and a mysterious woman who just wants the brothers dead. Written by Aykroyd and Landis, the script is essentially a musical tale that cleverly mixes action and comedy while paying homage to that good old rhythm and blues music that both were so fond of. While Aykroyd's extensive and detailed account of the characters' history has been transformed into a simpler, straight forward plot by Landis, the change is very effective as this way to unfold the story is more in tone with the frank and raw attitude of the brothers. The story is fast paced, as the brothers' tale of redemption is one of high octane energy with powerful musical performances and insane car chases that never make the story boring or tiresome. Making up for the simple plot are the very likable personalities of the two main characters, who carry the movie with their charm and a presence that proves that a memorable character is more than a collection of one liners. In this his fourth movie as a director, John Landis once again demonstrated why he was one of the most promising directors of the early 80s, showing a significant growth in his style of directing comedy that clearly set the basis for his 1981 masterpiece, "An American Werewolf in London". Already a master of the direction of big and complex set pieces, Landis takes this to a new level with the amazing car chases conceived for the film. With a bigger budget than in his three previous efforts, Landis creates an explosive musical that perfectly represents everything that Aykroyd and Belushi conceived as "The Blues Brothers". The duo's main trait is the music, and Landis knew this well, so the film is filled not only with the brothers' interpretations of R&B classics, but also the ones by real R&B legends such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway among others. As expected, the performances by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd are of an excellent quality. While less over the top than in "Animal House", Belushi's genius for comedy shines through the film in his energetic role of Jake Blues, who is the one who receives the "mission from God". As the laconic Elwood, Dan Aykroyd delivers the subtler comedy in the movie, and shows a complete domain of his character. Together the pair make an excellent team that not only deliver fun comedy but also make an outstanding musical duo. While the Blues brothers are certainly the focus of the story, the vast array of guest stars that appear through the film deliver terrific performances when singing (Ray Charles, James Brown), acting (John Candy, Carrie Fisher) or both (Cab Calloway). The musical performances are simply top notch and make the film really special. As written above, the movie is first and foremost a musical homage to Chicago, so those expecting a laugh riot comedy will definitely find a different kind of beast. This is not to say that there is no comedy, on the contrary, the movie is filled with a good amount of laughs, but the focus of the film remains on the music. Still, "The Blues Brothers" is not your typical musical, as its fast pace makes it a thrilling ride like no other movie, and probably the features that most perfectly represents this are the amazing car chases that the stunt team developed for the movie. As in a rocking dance of destruction, the cars crash and smash across the streets of Chicago in some of the most incredible stunts on film. Some have criticized the emphasis put on this scenes, but I think that they fit perfectly in the mood and tone of the brothers themselves. Without a doubt the Blues brothers are two of the best and most famous characters created by Belushi and Aykroyd, and this movie truly makes them justice. While not the deepest or most insightful movie ever, "The Blues Brothers" is definitely one of the most entertaining ones, and its magic lays in that frank simplicity that surrounds the movie's story. Raw and direct, "The Blues Brothers" is a movie that truly makes Chicago feel like home. Hands down one of my favorite films. If your one of the few who haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and check out this classic. You won't be disappointed.

- cancercapricorn2002, Tuesday, September 7, 2010

5 stars

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd star as the titular characters in this very first SNL spin-off...and they're "on a mission from God"? Okay, really. That line is uttered as early as fifteen minutes into the film, and with all the recklessness, drugs, profanity (quite infamously toward a nun!), and crime we have a chance to laugh at in just that amount of time; there's no way that statement is true in any way. That statement has to be one of the most snappy, most unbelievable quotes in movie history; and it's just part of what made THE BLUES BROTHERS a cult classic. Like SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE itself, this film has the tendency to create the most bizarre satire imaginable. From the scene in which the two are crashing a car through the mall, to when Aretha Franklin gets up and starts singing out of the blue, every moment defines the essence of ridiculousness. If you have not yet seen this film, it is an absolute must-see. Aykroyd and Belushi make the most implausible, most sarcastic screen couple of the entire 1980s--and this was just made at the very start of the decade. Rent this for a night or two. You will not regret it.

- spielberg00, Sunday, October 9, 2011