The Blues Brothers

  • Review Date: July 15, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1980
  • Running Time: 133 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A cult classic for adults and older teens.
  • Review Date: July 15, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1980
  • Running Time: 133 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Jake and Elwood lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want, but eventually pay the price.


Explosions, threatened violence, and death, shooting at Jake and Elwood, but all comic.

Not applicable

Considerable cursing, even at a nun.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of smoking and drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that main characters Elwood and Jake Blues steal, destroy property, attempt to run people over, cheat people out of money, lie, drink, and smoke. In other words, kids -- especially teenage boys -- will find them irresistibly cool. There's lots of profanity and violence played for laughs.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

After three years in prison for robbery, Jake Blues (John Belushi) is released with one thing on his mind: Getting the band back together. His brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) has something else on his mind -- getting right with God. The brothers discover that the orphanage where they grew up will be sold if they can't raise $5,000 to pay the tax assessor, and set out to raise the money by getting the band back together and holding a benefit concert. Along the way, they meet up with some of the great R&B musicians of all time: James Brown preaching in a Baptist church; Aretha Franklin belting out "Think!" in her soul food restaurant; Cab Calloway singing to a packed house; Ray Charles singing about doing the twist in a pawn shop. Along with great music, their quest is full of car chases, property destruction, and repeated explosions. Jake and Elwood are scamps, but they pay for the damage they do, and do good in the end.

Is it any good?


THE BLUES BROTHERS holds a special place in cult movie lovers' hearts for a reason. It's surreal, it's got style, and it has great music. Indeed, it's a cross between a Saturday Night Live skit and a really great musical. Even if you hate the flimsy plot, you're likely to be humming the songs days later.

Though teens may find parts of it slow and may need to be educated about old school R&B, the film is likely to become a favorite. Expect to hear them quoting lines ("Mom, we're on a mission from God," when you question where they're going) and to see them wearing their sunglasses all the time. In the end, you get the sense that this movie is the teenage boy's dream inside Dan Aykroyd and John Landis, the co-writers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Elwood and Jake's morals are -- or aren't --reflected in their behavior. For instance, they want to save the orphanage they grew up in, but they lie, cheat, and steal to raise the money. Is the damage they cause justified by their goal?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 16, 1980
DVD release date:August 30, 2005
Cast:Aretha Franklin, Dan Aykroyd, James Brown, John Belushi, Ray Charles
Director:John Landis
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:133 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:comic violence and language

This review of The Blues Brothers was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byParamoreFan09 February 28, 2010

Language is all, otherwise, enjoy! :)

My dad showed the to my ten year old sister and I and we loved it! Not any blood, and super funny! Great music legends like Cab Calloway and Ray Charles, so that makes it sort of educational. My dad would pause it and tell us about the musicians. Super fun!!! The only thing is language because ALL swear words (yes, including f***) are in this film. That's the only real reason this is rated R. There is an episode of Drake and Josh that has things based on this movie! They sing "Soul Man" and they play a brief clip. This movie is a-okay! Just make sure your kid KNOWS swear words are bad and is not young enough to not understand they're bad and start saying them. 10 should be fine (if you've got a good kid) ;)
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byShadowclaw46 December 30, 2009

My all time favorite movie

When I first read Common Sense's review, I was shocked to find out that this movie was a CULT classic. It should be a classic peiord. I love this movie. This is my all time favorite. Now im not saying that it's the greatest movie ever made, because that title goes to "Forest Gump", but thats another story. Now This movie dose contain some strong language, but if you compare it to a movie like "Scarface" or "Stand By Me" or "Die hard" then it's not that bad. There is a very subtle sense of humor, and when it's not subtle, then it's distructive. Why is this my favorite movie? Well one reason is because of the Charecters of Jake and Elwood Blues, two of the greatest movie charecters of all time. But it's mainly because of all the things that this movie has to offer. Likeable charecters, great car chases that must have taken months and Thousands of dollars to pull off, spectactular music, and memborable moments and lines. There is honestly nothing that I can say bad about this movie. If you haven't seen this masterpeice then why are you still reading this review? Go get the movie and watch it now, because it truly is one of the greatest movies ever made.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byJ-dog21 March 23, 2009

3rd favorite movie!

3r favorite movie, just barely passed R rating by saying F**K too much
What other families should know
Too much swearing


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide