Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Blues Brothers (1980)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Blues Brothers (1980)

In director John Landis' rock-filled, anarchic musical crime-comedy, with many cameo appearances (Twiggy, Carrie Fisher, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, James Brown, Pee-Wee Herman, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Steve Lawrence, Steven Spielberg, and Frank Oz - of the Muppets, and more!); the idea of the "Blues Brothers" was derived from Aykroyd's and Belushi's popular SNL (NBC-TVs Saturday Night Live) sketch:

  • the film paired two "blues brothers" - two white singers with soul wore shades, and identical black suits and hats; in the opening scene, Joliet (Illinois) Prison inmate "Joliet" Jake Blues (John Belushi), a blues singer, was paroled after three years; outside the prison gate, he met up with his brother Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd), driving a used, battered, super-powered Plymouth police car - dubbed their Bluesmobile; Elwood described how he picked up the car at a police auction: "It's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?"; Jake was unimpressed: "Fix the cigarette lighter"
  • in Elwood's apartment lobby, he announced that his brother Jake would be staying with him, and card-playing Cheez-Whiz (Layne Britton) yelled out: "Did you get me my Cheez-Whiz, boy?" to which Elwood responded by revealing a Cheez-Whiz can from his jacket and tossing it to him
  • the brothers traveled to their childhood home in Calumet City, IL, where they visited the Roman Catholic orphanage (St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud) where they were raised; they met with their former teacher and head orphanage nun Sister Mary "The Penguin" Stigmata (Kathleen Freeman); she sent them on a "mission from God" to raise $5,000 (for property taxes) to save her orphanage from foreclosure; otherwise, it would be closed by the Archbishop; she also reprimanded the two for their bad behavior: ("You are such a disappointing pair. I prayed so hard for you. It saddens and hurts me that the two young men whom I raised to believe in the Ten Commandments have returned to me as two thieves"), she struck at them with a yardstick (until it broke) for having "filthy mouths and bad attitudes" - and warned them not to come back "until you've redeemed yourselves"
  • after speaking to an old friend - the orphanage's handyman, and their father figure Curtis (Cab Calloway), they were encouraged to go to an evangelical church to redeem themselves; the brothers attended the Triple Rock Baptist Church, in the presence of Reverend Cleophus James (James Brown), who was preaching a sermon titled "The Old Landmark": "Do you see the light?...Have you seen the light?"; the two brothers had an epiphany (conversion experience), and dedicated themselves to raising the $5,000 for the orphanage after reassembling their R&B Blues Brothers Band; Elwood repeatedly spoke his famous line to Jake: ("We're on a mission from God!") to justify their brotherly activities
  • soon after, they were stopped by two Illinois State Police Troopers: Daniel (Armand Cerami) and Mount (Steven Williams) for driving through a red light; the police were about the impound Elwood's car, due to his long criminal record, a suspended license, 116 outstanding traffic tickets and 56 moving violations; to avoid arrest, they fled in their Bluesmobile, followed by a contingent of police cars and two more troopers: Trooper La Fong (director John Landis) and a "Charming Trooper" (Stephen Bishop)
  • the comedy has become well known for its tremendous number of noisy and wasteful multi-car crashes and pile-ups on their way to and in the city of Chicago as they were relentlessly pursued in their Bluesmobile by police; there was an incredible amount of carnage, destroyed buildings and an entire shopping mall (Dixie Square Mall)
  • once the Blues Brothers arrived in a run-down area of Chicago, they narrowly avoided being hurt by a bazooka rocket launched by a strange Mystery Woman (Carrie Fisher) driving a red Cadillac, while on their way to Elwood's dingy flophouse hotel filled with homeless and indigent transients; the next morning, the Mystery Woman again assaulted the hotel building with her rocket launcher and reduced it to rubble, just as Troopers Daniel and Mount were about to arrest the brothers; they fled unharmed after her attack saved them from arrest
  • to assemble their band, the brothers searched for their ex-band members, and located the 5 member Murph and the Magic Tones playing a gig in an empty Holiday Inn Hotel lounge, and successfully persuaded them to join up; they also coerced band member and former trumpet player 'Mr. Fabulous' (Alan Rubin) at an upscale Chez Paul Restaurant to be recruited
  • while driving around in their Bluesmobile, a traffic jam at Jackson Park was caused by Head Neo-Nazi Leader (Henry Gibson) conducting a rally of "Illinois Nazis" on a stone bridge: ("White men! White women! The swastika is calling you! The sacred and ancient symbol of your race since the beginning of time. The Jew is using the black as muscle against you. And you are left there, helpless...What are you gonna do about it, whitey? Just sit there? Of course not! You are going to join with us, the members of the American Socialist White People's Party - an organization of decent law-abiding white folk just like you")
  • the Blues Brothers forced the hateful Nazi followers to jump off the bridge into a lagoon when they drove through, after Jake's stated: "I hate Illinois Nazis"; the Neo-Nazi leader vowed to seek revenge ("We're gonna kill that son of a bitch!")
The Neo-Nazi Rally
  • later inside a soul food restaurant on Maxwell Street, they found two more band members to accompany them - cook and owner Matt 'Guitar' Murphy (Matt Murphy) (a guitarist) and dishwasher 'Blue' Lou Marini (Lou Marini) (a saxophonist)
  • there were numerous Blues Brothers' musical performances, along with some others:
    • "Think" - a show-stopping version performed in the soul food diner by Mrs. Murphy (Aretha Franklin), the wife of the restaurant owner who tried to dissuade her husband from joining the band
    • "Shake a Tail Feather" with blind music store owner Ray (Ray Charles) at Ray's Music Exchange Shop in Calumet City, where they bought (with an I.O.U.) $1,400 dollars worth of musical instruments that he had demonstrated for them
    • the "Theme from "Rawhide" at Bob's Country Bunker in Kokomo, Indiana, where they had to win over an unruly country bar crowd after not paying their bar tab, and after impersonating the late-arriving country-western band scheduled to play - the Good Ole Boys, led by singer Tucker McElroy (Charles Napier) who also doubled as their Winnebago driver
    • their first major gig was booked with promoter Maury Sline (Steve Lawrence), to play at the Palace Hotel Ballroom over 100 miles north of Chicago; in the packed ballroom, the opening act was "Minnie the Moocher" (reprised by Curtis (Cab Calloway)) who filled in for the late arrival of the Blues Brothers; Elwood praised the troopers in the audience poised around the perimeter to arrest them after their performance ("And we would especially like to welcome all the representatives of Illinois's law enforcement community that have chosen to join us here in the Palace Hotel Ballroom at this time. We certainly hope you all enjoy the show"); they sang the energetic "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"
Memorable Musical Performances


"Shake a Tail Feather"

"Theme From Rawhide"

"Minnie the Moocher"

"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"

"Jailhouse Rock"
  • their performance was so exceptional that after sneaking offstage, Clarion Records' President and music promoter (Michael Klenfner) offered them a cash advance of $10,000; some of the money was used to pay their I.O.U. for their instruments; the two brothers were able to sneak out through a trap door and service tunnel
  • in the crazed concluding sequence, they were again confronted by the Mystery Woman firing a high-powered M-16 rifle at them; it was revealed that she was Jake's ex-fiancee whom he had abandoned at her wedding several years ago; Jake apologized: ("I ran out of gas. I-I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! It wasn’t my fault, I swear to God!"), and then after removing his sunglasses, he was able to charm her, and she was moved to reconcile with him
  • Elwood introduced their road-trip journey back to Chicago: "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses" - Jake responded briefly: "Hit it!"
  • a massive car chase commenced as the Bluesmobile headed southward toward Chicago, pursued by police officers and state troopers, the enraged Good Ole Boys, the Nazis, Illinois National Guardsmen, SWAT teams, MPs, helicopters, and other disgruntled characters, etc.; at times, the race back to Chicago sometimes exceeded speeds over 100 mph, and dozens of cars crashed or piled up
  • in the final scene, their dilapidated car arrived at Daley Plaza as it sputtered to a stop; inside the adjacent Cook County City Hall Assessor's office, the Blues Brothers were able to pay the orphanage's property taxes to one of the office clerks (Steven Spielberg in a cameo) - but were then promptly arrested and handcuffed with dozens of guns pointed at them
  • following their arrest, the Blues Brothers played "Jailhouse Rock" during a prison concert to entertain the other inmates

The Blues Bros

Elwood's Bluesmobile - A Used Police Car

Cheez-Whizz Guy

Sister Stigmata

The Blues Bros. with Curtis

Epiphany in Church

"We're on a mission from God!"

Mystery Woman (Carrie Fisher) Attempting to Kill Elwood

Carnage in Shopping Mall

Elwood Thanking Troopers in the Audience for Attending Their Performance

Jake's Apology to Mystery Woman For Leaving Her at the Altar

"It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses"

Final Scene - At the Assessor's Office In Cook County City Hall


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z