In 1973, when two young, rising, comic geniuses collide and collaborate off-screen, the results are explosive. Blues Brothers is one of the most outrageous, fun, and unique comedies of all time. Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi star in the 1980 film, which was also written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis.
In an article in Vanity Fair, "The idea," Aykroyd recalled, “is based on two classic recidivist American characters. It’s based on a love of the city of Chicago and the music that came out of there." In the movie, Jake and Elwood set out to redeem themselves by trying to raise $5,000 to save the orphanage they grew up in from closing. They try to do this by reuniting their band for a performance.
The high-jinks in the film were legendary. The first car chase of the film destroys the Dixie Square Mall. (This real Illinois mall was demolished in 2012.) Then, while driving, Elwood runs down a group of Nazis blocking the road. The Nazis seek revenge throughout the rest of the film. And of course, the movie contained hilarious one-liners. You'll recall this great quote from the movie, "There's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark out, and we're wearing sunglasses." Ready to laugh? Tune into this quiz right now!
The main characters in the film go by the names of Jake and Elwood Blues - aka, the Blues brothers.
John Belushi played the role of "Joliet" Jake Blues in the film and on TV. The Blues Brothers began as a "Saturday Night Live" sketch.
Dan Aykroyd played the role of Elwood Blues. He performed lead vocals as well as harmonica.
The first car chase of the film destroys the Dixie Square Mall. This real Illinois mall was demolished in 2012.
"The Blues Brothers" came out in theaters in 1980. It was released in the summer of that year.
Dank Aykroyd And John Belushi were the original Blues Brothers. Since Belushi's death in 1982, the band known by the same name still went on to tour and play at music festivals around the world.
What became an actual band started as a skit on "SNL." It debuted as the musical guest on "SNL" in 1978.
Famous soul singer James Brown plays the role of Reverend Cleophus James in the film. He performs an ovation-worthy musical number, of course.
Dan Aykroyd, who played the role of Elwood Blues, also co-wrote the screenplay. It was his first try at writing a full-length screenplay.
Carrie Fisher, famous for playing the role of Leia Organa in "Star Wars," had a role in this film too. She played the murderous estranged ex-fiancee of Jake Blues.
Jake and Elwood set out to redeem themselves by trying to raise $5,000 to save the orphanage they grew up in from closing. They try to do this by reuniting their band for a performance.
The brothers refer to their car as The Bluesmobile. At the start of the film it is an old Mount Prospect police car.
At the start of the film Jake Blues is released from prison after serving three years. He did time for armed robbery.
When Elwood is pulled over for running a red light, the police officer discovers that he is driving with a suspended license, due to dozens of parking tickets and moving violations. A high-speed chase ensues, which gets more and more ridiculous throughout the film.
Jake and Elwood Blues grew up in a Roman Catholic orphanage. This is the orphanage they are trying to save.
Jake Blues' ex-fiancee, played by the one and only Carrie Fisher, spends the entire movie hunting them with deadly weapons. It is revealed later in the film that it is because he abandoned her.
The Blues Brothers decide to assemble their old band for a concert. They plan to make $5,000 off of the show and use that money to save the orphanage.
"The Blues Brothers" is a classic comedy. It is one of the most expensive films in this genre ever made.
Elwood runs a group of Nazis blocking the road into a lagoon while driving. These angry Nazis follow them throughout the movie.
Sister Mary Stigmata tells the brothers that the church owes $5,000 in property taxes. If they cannot pay it, the orphanage will close.
The film was shot in and around Chicago, where it also takes place.
John Belushi often stayed out late partying and struggled with addiction. It cut into filming so extensively that someone was even hired to try and keep cocaine away from him.
Jake Blues is also known as Jake "Joliet" Blues. That's the name of the prison where he served time.
Ray Charles plays the owner of Ray's Music Exchange in the film. He performs a cover of "Shake a Tail Feather," which turns into a massive dance number performed by a crowd in the street.
In 1998 a sequel to the original film, "Blues Brothers 2000," was released in theaters. The film was a box office and critical flop.
The car chases were so extensive that they took up a chunk of the film's budget. Nearly 60 police cars were destroyed during filming.
The film held the record for the most cars wrecked in one film for 18 years. It was surpassed by the 1998 sequel, "Blues Brothers 2000."
John Landis directed the film. He also co-wrote it with Dan Aykroyd.
Some movie theater owners objected to the film because they didn't want to show "a black movie" in their theaters. Most high budget films of the time would have been booked into 1,400 theaters nationally. This film was only booked into about 600.
"The Blues Brothers" got Aretha Franklin some much-deserved buzz. Universal Pictures even drummed up a PR campaign to get her an Oscar for her role in the film.
The brothers go to a Baptist church. Jake realizes that they must save the orphanage during an uplifting sermon from Reverend Cleophus James, played by James Brown.
The Blues Brothers get in at a country-western bar by pretending to be the Good Old Boys, the band that actually was booked to play.
The pair, who were dating at the time, got engaged while filming. Their wedding never took place.
After a long chase, The Blues Brothers reach their destination just in time. As soon as they arrive at Daley Plaza, their car falls apart.
The brothers are finally caught by the authorities at the end of the film. They play their next concert while in jail.