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.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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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
Kid, 12 years old September 17, 2013

A Fun and Enjoyable Ride with The "Bad" Brothers!

This is fun and orignal classic that i enjoyed watching with my brother and my dad. Lots of language, and you're going to see the baddest and most naughty acts by two "badass" brothers Elwood and Jake, one just getting out of jail, as they have the whole city of police chasing them around Chicago. They would never get caught though- because they're on a mission from God. The guys are so likable, especially by teens like me. Overall, great classic comedy/action film you HAVE to see.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 12 year old Written byjsl April 3, 2011

A good message beneath the surface

Yes, it's funny, yes, there's strong language, but underlying message is profound - the people we least expect to make a contribution to society often do exactly that. Jake and Elwood had all the cards stacked against them - orphans, wrong side of the tracks, time in prison (on a Robin Hood-type mission, as is revealed later in the film), and the Penguin telling them not to come back until they've "redeemed themselves." Yet Jake and Elwood are determined to help her raise the tax money, regardless of what the consequences are to themselves. It cost them their freedom, but they were willing to do it for her and the orphanage - talk about selfless! Swearing, drinking, bad driving (and not wearing seatbelts) aside, they serve as good role models for my kids. I could take some cues from them myself.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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