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. They learned that the church stopped its support and will sell the place unless the tax on the property is paid within 11 days. The brothers decide to raise the money by putting their blues band back together and staging a big gig. They may be on a "mission from God" but they're making enemies everywhere they go. Featuring performances by some of blues finest, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and co-starring John Candy, Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson and Steve Lawrence.
After building up the duo's popularity through recordings and several performances on Saturday Night Live,
John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd--as "legendary" Chicago blues brothers Jake and Elwood Blues--took their act to the big screen in this action-packed hit from 1980. As Jake and Elwood struggle to reunite their old band and save the Chicago orphanage where they were raised, they wreak enough good-natured havoc to attract the entire Cook County police force. The result is a big-budget stunt-fest on a scale rarely attempted before or since, including extended car chases that result in the wanton destruction of shopping malls and more police cars than you can count. Along the way there's plenty of music to punctuate the action, including performances by Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, and James Brown that are guaranteed to knock you out. As played with deadpan wit by Belushi and Aykroyd, the Blues Brothers are "on a mission from God," and that gives them a kind of reckless glee that keeps the movie from losing its comedic appeal. Otherwise this might have been just a bloated marathon of mayhem that quickly wears out its welcome (which is how some critics described this film and its 1998 sequel). Keep an eye out for Steven Spielberg as the city clerk who stamps some crucial paperwork near the end of the film.--Jeff Shannon