5.8/10
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63 user 16 critic

The Jazz Singer (1980)

Trailer
3:34 | 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.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

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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Photos

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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 Sully Boyar ... Eddie Gibbs
Mike Kellin ... Leo
James Booth ... Paul Rossini
Luther Waters Luther Waters ... Teddy
Oren Waters Oren Waters ... Mel
Rod Gist Rod Gist ... Timmy
Walter Janovitz 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:

Sometimes you have to risk it all... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

AL | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 January 1981 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Cantaretul de jazz See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$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

Though this movie was one of the Top 30 highest grossing movies in North America in 1980 (earning twenty-seven million dollars), Sir Lew Grade, who invested in the movie, stated that the box-office results were "disappointing", and that his company failed to recoup their advertising and distribution costs. The soundtrack album made more money than the movie. See more »

Goofs

Jess sings to an audience in California in the middle of the movie. At the end of the movie he is singing to an audience in New York (it is assumed from the progression of the film) and it is quite obviously the same audience and venue. A number of audience members are present in both scenes. There is a woman with glasses wearing a vest and white shirt, a man in the middle of the audience with a checked cap, and a large man having a great time down front clapping very excitedly. See more »

Quotes

Molly Bell: I'm with Keith Lennox productions. Molly. Molly Bell. That's what they call me. My real name is a lot longer.
Jess Robin: So's mine.
Molly Bell: Belengocavela?
Jess Robin: Rabinovitch?
Molly Bell: Oh. That's not bad.
See more »

Connections

Remake of The Jazz Singer (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Havah Nagilah
Traditional Adaptation by Neil Diamond
Adaptation © 1980 Stonebridge Music
See more »

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User Reviews

What's the Deal? Need more NEIL!
10 July 2002 | by Clint FordSee all my reviews

Okay... all these submissions below? Ignore them. Here's the real scoop.

The biggest problem most folks have with this film is that they're comparing the two male leads' acting ability. BIG MISTAKE.

One is Neil Diamond-- one of the greatest singers of all time. The other is Sir Laurence Olivier-- one of the greatest ACTORS of all time. Think of it this way: if Sir Larry accompanied Neil in a recording of "Cherry, Cherry"-- people would rave about Neil's performance, but then spend an hour going on about how much Olivier sucks.

The fact is this: neither of them suck. Everything is great! Neil Diamond is a fine actor. (Not an AMAZING actor, mind you... but a fine actor.) He'd even beaten out Dustin Hoffman for the role of Lenny Bruce in "Lenny", but turned it down... leaving the door open for Hoffman.

I made the mistake of reading all of the below jeers and whines about Neil Diamond's "terrible acting performance" in this movie. I then watched it over at my girlfriend's house with very low expectations. But I was very impressed, and greatly enjoyed the film. Granted, there are some times when Neil's performance isn't exactly as dramatic as it should be... (i.e., when his father shrieks "I HAVE NO SON!!", Neil doesn't exactly seem to be heartbroken.) But then, there are times when he manifests a great deal of emotional power... especially in the scenes where he gets angry.

Okay, so I'm a huge Neil Diamond fan, yes. I love his music, and I think it's cool that he's had a lead in a major motion picture. BUT-- from an acting perspective, he has my respect. From one actor to another. (YES, I consider him an "actor" too... and so does the IMDb.)

I only have two complaints: one is that this is the only movie he's been in until Saving Silverman-- where he had just a cameo. That sucks. I want to see Neil in more movies.

The other complaint is what everyone else doesn't like: "The Jazz Singer". AL JOLSON sung Jazz. NEIL DIAMOND sings Pop. Soooooo... couldn't it have been called "The Pop Singer", and had an addition in the credits that read, "Based on 'The Jazz Singer' by Al Jolson" or something?

Anyway... the music is great, (even "Love on the Rocks"-- and I'm not a big ballad fan... as they depress me. But I can't dislike a Neil song.) the movie is a great story, and the acting is FINE. Watch it. If you're a fan of Neil's, or even just a fan of 20+ year old movies that have good stories.... check out "The Jazz Singer".



--and by the way.... neil diamond rules. thank you.


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