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Blow Out (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1981)

John Travolta , Nancy Allen , Brian de Palma  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.95
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Blu-ray Full Screen Edition $26.96  
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden
  • Directors: Brian de Palma
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004JPJHL0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,079 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director Brian De Palma, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition

New hour-long interview with De Palma, conducted by filmmaker Noah Baumbach

New interview with star Nancy Allen

Cameraman Garrett Brown on the Steadicam shots featured in the film within the film

Select on-set photos from photographer Louis Goldman

Original theatrical trailer

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow and Pauline Kael’s original New Yorker review

Editorial Reviews

In the enthralling Blow Out, brilliantly crafted by Brian De Palma (Sisters, Carrie, Scarface), John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction) gives one of his greatest performances, as Jack, a movie sound-effects man who believes he has accidentally recorded a political assassination. He enlists the help of Sally (played by Carrie’s Nancy Allen), a possible eyewitness to the crime who may be in danger herself, to uncover the truth. With its jolting stylistic flourishes, intricate plot, profoundly felt characterizations, and gritty evocation of early-1980s Philadelphia, Blow Out is an American paranoia thriller unlike any other, as well as a devilish reflection on the act of moviemaking.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Edition Delves Deeper into Blow Out April 23, 2011
By Cubist
Fans of this film can finally get rid of the bare bones edition that was released years ago. In addition to the extras on the DVD, the accompanying booklet features Pauline Kael's original review and a reproduction of the magazine in the film that published the photographs of McRyan's car crash.

"Noah Baumbach Interviews Brian De Palma" features the New York filmmaker talking to De Palma for almost an hour. He talks about the genesis of Blow Out. He also touches upon using the Steadicam for the first time, the film's score, various key scenes, and recounts some fantastic filming anecdotes in this excellent conversation between two filmmakers.

"Nancy Allen Interview" features the veteran actress talking about meeting Travolta for the first time on Carrie (Special Edition) and her impressions of him. She recalls her initial reaction to the script for Blow Out and how she approached her character. Interestingly, Allen wasn't going to do the film but Travolta wanted her to do it.

"Garrett Brown Interview" features the inventor of the Steadicam system recalling how he shot the cheesy horror film at the beginning of Blow Out. He also talks about and demonstrates how one works. Brown comes across as an engaging and candid guy.

"Louis Goldman Photographs" is a collection of stills taken on the set and for publicity purposes.

In a real treat for De Palma fans, his 1967 experimental film Murder a la Mod is included in its entirety. Like Blow Out, the film is a thriller that takes place in the filmmaker world. It is fascinating to see the director's emerging style still in its infancy and how the film is very much of its time.

Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of DePalma's best films October 11, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Brian DePalma has been (sometimes correctly) accused of manufacturing little more than brilliant pastiche (which is another way of damning him with faint praise). I confess to be as guilty as anyone of this practice, finding films like Dressed to Kill slick, fun, but ultimately less works of art than of skillful post-modern artifice.
Blow Out is a haunting exception. Yes, it has clear antecedents in Antonioni's Blowup and Coppola's paranoid classic, The Conversation. But it is unfair to judge Blow Out by its similarities to these films. One need only pay minimal attention to realize DePalma has his own goals in mind. No mere retread of the standard paranoid political thriller, Blow Out is a bravura exercise in nuanced, multi-layered story telling.
Low budget movie soundman Jack Terry (John Travolta) is in the right place at the wrong time - while out recording some nature sounds for a B slasher flick (in which DePalma seems to poke fun at some of his own earlier work), he catches the sounds of an auto accident. In an incident reminiscent of Chappaquiddick, a car driven by a presidential candidate suffers a tire blowout and careens off a nearby bridge. The candidate dies, but Terry manages to rescue his "lady friend", a party girl named Sally (Nancy Allen). Key to the story is his recording, which seems to contain a double-bang - perhaps the blowout preceded by a gunshot? Naturally the story leads Terry into a web of intrigue featuring slimy political operatives, corrupt cops, and nefarious CIA henchmen.
Blow Out's visual style has drawn criticism from some quarters as being too flashy. Ridiculous! The camera movements are precise and deliberate; designed to communicate story points with great efficiency.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Brian DePalma--you either love him or hate him it seems with one group always attacking him for "borrowing" from other directors and still others praising him for vividly echoing others work while creating something memorable of his own. I come here not to "blow out" DePalma but to praise him. "Blow Out" was one of the first films to use the Steadicam extensively for long tracking shots and DePalma used the device wisely throughout the film.

With "Blow Out" DePalma managed to elicit one of John Travolta's finest performances of his career reaching beneath the surface performance that Travolta often presents to get a sense of genuine emotion. A skewed paranoid thriller that uses the classic film "Blow Up" as its touch point, "Blow Out" focuses on a sound engineer named Jack (Travolta) who believes he recorded evidence of murder. Jack is determined to find out the truth but puts himself and Sally (Nancy Allen)a woman passenger in the car who survived and directly in the path of an assassin (John Lithgow).

The Criterion Blu-ray personally supervised by director DePalma is a huge improvement over the previous regular DVD edition. Fine detail is a huge improvement while clarity and contrast look much improved throughout. The film also went an extensive restoration and clean up which is most notable in the lack of scratches that were evident in the previous DVD presentation. This is a film that will never look perfect (some of the shots are extremely grainy but that's due to the film stock and the lighting choices for the film--it's a typical early 80's film but it looks the best it has ever looked here).

Audio sounds quite strong but keep in mind that this is presented in its original 2.0 NOT in a remixed or repurposed 5.1 mix. We get optional English subtitles.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic DEPALMA and TRAVOLTA!
Blow Out is considered by many critics as the best film from director Brian Depalma. I am a great admirer of his best films. His best films are his murder mystery thrillers. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Isaac Gamez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 28 days ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie made fantastic by Criterion's attention to detail on...
One of those movies I missed upon its initial release( I was too young). Excellent movie made fantastic by Criterion's attention to detail on the re-mastering! Thanks!
Published 1 month ago by M. Pind
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 2 months ago by Jennifer Dougan
5.0 out of 5 stars This Movie is NOT About Hair...
Ran across this in amazon's vast DVD inventory. Remembered enough about it that I wanted to see it again. Really glad I did. Nancy Allen (what's she doing now? Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. David Kopp
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Depalma
Classic Depalma
Published 3 months ago by Anyong
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Movie now available.
I am so glad this classic movie has been made available. This has been a favorite for many years and I appreciate the interviews with the director and actors.
Published 3 months ago by David C. Woodcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product! Great Price! A+
Published 3 months ago by ktheel88
5.0 out of 5 stars Can watch it over and over.
I'm a big Travolta fan and Blow Out is one of my all time favorite movies. I was a young man back in 1981 when this movie was being filmed in Philly, and my red Firebird was... Read more
Published 6 months ago by FastEddie
3.0 out of 5 stars You can hear the clues in this mystery
Blow Out (1981). Rated R. Running time: One, 47 mins.
Directed and written by Brian De Palma.
This Criterion Collection DVD contains 2 discs and a 32-page booklet. Read more
Published 8 months ago by James McDonald
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Topic From this Discussion
brian de palma's view of home video
It seems he just doesn't like doing commentaries. This Criterion edition of Blow Out does include a 1 hour interview with De Palma by filmmaker Noah Baumbach.
Apr 29, 2011 by ShowsOn |  See all 2 posts
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Amazon's "Region 1" or "US and Canada only" Blu-ray discs have the regular Blu-ray region A (or A/1, as it's sometimes referred as) encoding. They will play fine with with any region A Blu-ray player, including Singapore.
May 3, 2011 by Ranavalone |  See all 4 posts
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