Share

Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Blow Out Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Brian De Palma's homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's classic art movie Blow-Up (1966) blends suspense and political paranoia when a Philadelphia soundman inadvertently records a murder. Former police technician Jack Terri (John Travolta) makes his living doing sound for slasher flicks. While recording new outdoor effects one night, Jack witnesses a couple's car careen off a bridge into a river, but he can save only the female occupant, Sally (Nancy Allen). Jack begins to suspect something when he learns that her dead companion was a Presidential hopeful. Re-playing his tape over and over, Jack thinks that he hears a gun shot before the crash-causing tire blow-out. When sleazy photographer Manny Karp (Dennis Franz) comes forward with photos of the accident, Jack discovers the real reason that the naïve Sally was in the car -- and also a way to prove his auditory suspicions through motion pictures. Even with all his surveillance talent, however, Jack cannot see (or hear) how dangerous the big picture really is until it's too late. Taking a break from horror films, De Palma turned his interests in technology and voyeurism toward more politically loaded subject matter at the dawn of the Reagan era; the film's red, white and blue mise-en-scène, "Liberty Day" celebration climax, and conspiracy surrounding political "dirty tricks" suggest that American politics are still rotten, seven years after Watergate. Although Blow Out earned some favorable notice, particularly for Travolta's first "adult" performance, De Palma's downbeat film did not go over well with 1981 summer audiences. Rather than blockbuster escapism, Blow Out instead harks back to 1970s political thrillers like Dennis Franz (1974), using cinematic fireworks to tell an unsettling story about one man's struggle against unstoppable corruption. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:July 24, 1981

Cast

John Travolta
as Jack
Nancy Allen
as Sally
John Lithgow
as Burke
Dennis Franz
as Manny Karp
Peter Boyden
as Sam
Curt May
as Frank Donohue
Ernest McClure
as Jim
David Roberts
as Anchorman
John McMartin
as Lawrence Henry
Deborah Everton
as Hooker
J. Patrick McNamara
as Nelson
Amanda Cleveland
as Coed Lover
Lori-Nan Engler
as Sue
Cindy Manion
as Dancing Coed
Archie Lang
as Mixer
Claire Carter
as Joan
Maurice Copeland
as Jack Manners
John Hoffmeister
as George McRyan
Tom McCarthy
as Policeman
Dick McGarvin
as TV Newscaster
James Jeter
as Film Lab Man
Bud Seese
as Corrupt Captain
Brian Corrigan
as Cop at Karp's Office
Robin Sherwood
as Screamer
Tony Devon
as Sailor's Friend
John Hoffmeister
as George McRyan
Lori-Nan Engler
as Sue
Maurice Copeland
as Jack Manners
Bud Seese
as Corrupt Captain
Tom McCarthy
as Policeman
Archie Lang
as Mixer
Amanda Cleveland
as Coed Lover
David Roberts
as Anchorman
Robin Sherwood
as Screamer
Dick McGarvin
as TV Newscaster
Brian Corrigan
as Cop at Karp's Office
James Jeter
as Film Lab Man
Cindy Manion
as Dancing Coed
Deborah Everton
as Hooker
John McMartin
as Lawrence Henry
Claire Carter
as Joan
J. Patrick McNamara
as Nelson

Crew

Brian De Palma
Director
George Litto
Producer
Brian De Palma
Screenwriter
Vilmos Zsigmond
Cinematographer
Pino Donaggio
Composer (Music Score)
Paul Hirsch
Editor
Paul Sylbert
Production Designer
Jeannine Oppewall
Set Designer
Vicki Sanchez
Costume Designer
Ann Roth
Costume Designer
Joe Napolitano
First Assistant Director
Jim Tannenbaum
Sound Mixer
Advertisement