The Jazz Singer (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Jazz Singer (1980)

The Jazz Singer (1980)

The Jazz Singer




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Jazz Singer Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Pop singer Neil Diamond stars in this ill-begotten second remake of Al Jolson's seminal 1927 musical The Jazz Singer. The moth-eaten story concerns a cantor's son who desires success as a pop singer, despite the wishes of his imperious father. The film takes place in the present day with Yussel Rabinowitz (Neil Diamond) playing a young (though middle-aged looking) cantor performing at the synagogue of his father (Laurence Olivier). Yussel is married and has settled down to a life of religious devotion to the teaching of his fath. But on the side, he writes songs for a black singing group, and when a member of the quartet takes ill, Yussel covers for him at one of their gigs by wearing blackface! The nightclub engagement is such a success that Yussel abandons his family -- and his father's synagogue -- and leaves his New York home for Los Angeles, hoping to break into the music business. Almost immediately he is spotted by spunky agent Molly Bell (Lucie Arnaz), who books him as an opening act for a touring comic. Yussel hits it big, but his father resents Yussel's forsaking their traditional Jewish ways. His father disowns him, rending his garments and bellowing, "I hef no son!"more
Rating: PG
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Herbert Baker, Harbert Baker, Stephen H. Foreman, Arthur Laurents
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 15, 2000
LionsGate Entertainment


Neil Diamond
as Yussel Rabinovitch
Laurence Olivier
as Cantor Rabinovitch
Lucie Arnaz
as Molly Bell
Catlin Adams
as Rivka Rabinovitch
Paul Nicholas
as Keith Lennox
Sully Boyar
as Eddie Gibbs
James Booth
as Paul Rossini
Rod Gist
as Timmy
Walter Janowitz
as Rabbi Birnbaum
Janet Brandt
as Aunt Tillie
John Witherspoon
as M.C. Cinderella Club
Hank Garrett
as Police Sergeant
James Karen
as Barney Callahan
Jill Jaress
as Cowgirl
Victor Paul
as Irate Driver
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Jazz Singer

Critic Reviews for The Jazz Singer

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (5)

The most cautious soft-rock superstar movie debut you'll ever get to see.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The Jazz Singer has so many things wrong with it that a review threatens to become a list.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Mr. Diamond, looking glum and seldom making eye contact with anyone, isn't enough of a focus for the outmoded story.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Richard Fleischer's direction is appropriately close-in and small, and Diamond himself, while no actor, proves to be a commandingly intense, brooding presence.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Stick with Jolson's version via 1927. Or even the Danny Thomas take. Skip Neil.

February 17, 2008

Audience Reviews for The Jazz Singer

This was a pretty good movie. Some of the acting was really cheesy, but I thought it was entertaining enough.

Erin Collins

Super Reviewer

Great for fans of the singer as i am but however this is a musical and i only like about two of them.

Lee Kyle

Super Reviewer

I had to watch this damn movie a bunch when I was a kid - NOTHING ELSE ON GODDAMN IT HBO!

Chad Roesti

Super Reviewer

The Jazz Singer Quotes

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