5.9/10
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The Jazz Singer (1980)

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3:36 | Trailer
The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of being a popular singer.

Directors:

Richard Fleischer, Sidney J. Furie (uncredited)

Writers:

Samson Raphaelson (play), Herbert Baker (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Neil Diamond ... Jess Robin / Yussel Rabinovitch
Laurence Olivier ... Cantor Rabinovitch
Lucie Arnaz ... Molly Bell
Catlin Adams ... Rivka Rabinovitch
Franklyn Ajaye ... Bubba
Paul Nicholas ... Keith Lennox
Sully Boyar ... Eddie Gibbs
Mike Kellin ... Leo
James Booth James Booth ... Paul Rossini
Luther Waters Luther Waters ... Teddy
Oren Waters Oren Waters ... Mel
Rod Gist Rod Gist ... Timmy
Walter Janovitz ... Rabbi Birnbaum (as Walter Janowitz)
Janet Brandt Janet Brandt ... Aunt Tillie
John Witherspoon ... M.C. Cinderella Club
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Storyline

Neil Diamond stars in this motion picture as Yussel Rabinovitch, a young Jewish cantor who strives to make a career outside the synagogue in popular music as Jess Robin. Against the wishes of his rigid father and his loving wife, Yussel travels from New York City to Los Angeles to play his music. Swept up by the excitement, he meets a spunky manager who believes in his talent and shares his dream. He grows apart from his family, and becomes confused about what he should ultimately do with his life. Written by Ted Kula <tkula@cs.wvu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

His story will make you cry. His music will make you sing. His triumph will make you cheer. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cantaretul de jazz See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$27,118,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,118,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

EMI Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | DTS-ES (DVD version)| Dolby Digital EX (DVD version)| 70 mm 6-Track

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was not the first theatrical movie to have music by Neil Diamond, as Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973) had had a background score composed by Diamond, for which it won a Best Original Score - Motion Picture Golden Globe award in 1974. See more »

Goofs

When Jess first sits down to write Love on the Rocks in his bathrobe there is a menorah on the table near a beer can. The next shot of the table a minute later reveals the menorah is gone and the beer can is turned. See more »

Quotes

Jess Robin: [Watching as Keith Lennox does a rock version of "Love on the Rocks"] He's just kidding around, right?
Molly Bell: No, they're doing it for real.
Jess Robin: This song's supposed to be a ballad.
Paul Rossini: That's his style, mister. Made him a millionaire.
Jess Robin: Yeah, but the thing is it's too fast. You can't hear the words.
Paul Rossini: Yeah, that's why we brought you down here. He changed the tempo. You got to change the lyrics.
Keith Lennox: [Yells] Hold it!
[Whistles, then screaming at the top of his lungs]
Keith Lennox: HOLD IT!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in I Love the 80's 3-D: 1980 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Adon Olom
Traditional Adaptation by Neil Diamond and Uri Frenkel
Adaptation © 1980 Stonebridge Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Basic plot but the music makes this worth watching
1 October 2018 | by grantssSee all my reviews

A Jewish man, Yussel Rabinovitch, seems destined for a life in the synagogue. Every generation of Rabinovitches for five generations has served in the synagogue and his father can't imagine any other path for him. However, Rabinovitch would prefer to be a singer and gets finds success writing and playing secular music. When this leads to a recording contract he has to choose between his passion and tradition, a choice that will alienate him from his father.

The original The Jazz Singer was released in 1927 and starred the legendary Al Jolson in the lead role. It told roughly the same story and was an historic movie in that it featured the first ever audible words uttered on film. (For the next Trivia evening, those words were "Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet!"). The story itself was rather dry, predictable and trite - it is only really watchable for the history attached to it.

This, the 1980 version, updates the story and casts Neil Diamond, at the height of his powers and fame, in the lead role. The story remains fairly basic, however - there's nothing too profound, original or engaging about it.

However, what makes the movie is the music. Neil Diamond wrote the soundtrack and it includes some his greatest songs. These get a lot of airtime, in one form or another. More than just good in isolation, the music gives the film energy. The minutes seem to fly by due to the music.

Not a must-see, but certainly not dull.


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