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Blue Collar 1978 R CC

(62) IMDb 7.6/10
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Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto star in this powerful, critically acclaimed drama about three auto assembly line workers who hatch a plan to rob a safe at union headquarters.

Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel
1 hour, 55 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Paul Schrader
Starring Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel
Supporting actors Yaphet Kotto, Ed Begley Jr., Harry Bellaver, George Memmoli, Lucy Saroyan, Lane Smith, Cliff De Young, Borah Silver, Chip Fields, Harry Northup, Leonard Gaines, Milton Selzer, Sammy Warren, Jimmy Martinez, Jerry Dahlmann, Denny Arnold, Rock Riddle, Stacey Baldwin
Studio Universal Pictures
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Professor Brizz on March 6, 2010
Format: DVD
This review is for the product - the film is an under-rated gem that deserves a full restoration and proper DVD release, but instead Universal has relegated it to this garbage "Vault Series" line. What you get when ordering any film in this series is a DVD-R, not a commercially made DVD - with a basic case/cover that anyone could make at home. It's despicable and following on the heals of Warner Bros. similar attempts, a rather frightening portent of what's to come. The only recourse we have is to send a message that this is NOT ACCEPTABLE. Don't pay $20 for a 25 cent PC pressed copy! Universal should be ashamed of themselves!

To be perfectly clear, what you get is essentially a home-pressed DVD COPY, not a commercial DVD. There are no menus - you put it in and the film starts, that's it. No extras, no subtitles, and non-anamorphic middling transfers. Lost is the excellent Paul Schrader commentary from the long out of print Anchor Bay disc. Putting excellent films like this, Tell Them Willie Boy is Here, A Bronx Tale, and others - many of which were previously already available on DVD! - is absolutely insulting! They aren't worth the cost of shipping them, but they have the audacity to charge $20 a pop? Absolutely appalling greed that depends on uninformed consumers ordering blindly. Boycott these and they will go away!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 3, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This 1978 underrated classic is about three autoworkers. There's an honest and gritty realism to this story and the four-letter words and curses have a ring of authenticity to them, especially those of Richard Pryor whose foul language has been compared to raw sewage mixed with social insight. He's cast in the role of Zeke Brown, who owes money to the IRS and struggles to support his wife and three children. Harvey Keitel plays Jerry Bawtowski, who also has trouble meeting his bills and can't even afford braces for his daughter. And Yaphet Kotto, a physically imposing black man who is actually the son of a Cameroonian crown prince, plays the role of Smoky James, an ex-con who throws wild parties with drugs and women which serve as escape for the growing frustration of the men. All three see the union as corrupt and decide to rob the union office. They hope to get a few thousand dollars apiece. Instead they get more than they bargained for and the series of events that follow lead to betrayal, and murder.

This is the directional debut for writer/director Paul Shrader, known for writing Taxi Driver, and he does a masterful job. He puts the viewer right there on the assembly line, with the harsh clanging of heavy machinery and the constant pressure of the foreman to work faster and faster. I could almost feel the heat and smell the machine oil and sweat of the workers. Along with the physical labor, there's constant stress and this goes on day after day after day. The subject is serious and the story real but the wisecracks provide comic relief and the story is fast paced and gripping. An excellent blues musical score enhancing the action underscores all this. And all the performances were so good that I forgot they were acting.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Continental Op on February 17, 2003
Format: DVD
"Blue Collar" is one of the great underrated American films of the 1970s. It tells the story of three desperate, powerless men who work in a Detroit auto plant. When they're not being suppressed by their soulless company, they're being duped by their arrogant, corrupt labor union. Their collective desperation leads them to conduct an almost laughably amateurish robbery of the union safe. Instead, what they find is evidence of widespread union corruption. When they decide to blackmail the union, they find that three working men are no match for a ruthless, powerful labor union (and--in a larger sense--the American capitalist system).
Director Paul Schrader (who co-wrote the film with his brother Leonard) presents this tale in a gritty, realistic fashion. Its bleak message is timeless, but the film is very much of the late 1970s, both in the sets (note the ugly orange sofas!) and in its infusion of drama and socio-political commentary. Filmed in Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Los Angeles, you really get the sense of the hopeless desperation of these three men, who are dying to make a better life for themselves and their families, but are trapped in soul-crushing jobs at the factory.
Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto are their usual brilliant selves. The true surprise for most viewers will be Richard Pryor in one of the very few dramatic roles he ever played. He's hilarious, tragic, sympathetic, and--in the end--despicable all rolled into one.
The DVD version of "Blue Collar" contains interesting bios of the three stars and of Schrader, and a commentary from the director and a female journalist (who spends much of the time swooning over Keitel...particularly when he's in his underwear!).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rupert Pupkin on February 29, 2000
Format: DVD
This little-seen film (hence the reason I'm the first and so far only person to review it) is one of my favorites of the '70s, which would pretty much make it one of my favorites ever since the '70s was the best decade for film ever. After writing successful screenplays for directors like Martin Scorsese and Brian DePalma, Paul Schrader here makes his directorial debut, and it is still his best film to date. It's a searing, knowing drama about the lives of Detroit auto workers, and in it Richard Pryor gives his first dramatic performance. He's brilliant, and Harvey Keitel--no surprise here--matches him. If you'r a fan of filmmakers like Scorsese, you'll like Paul Schrader and this film in particular. Highly reccommended.
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