Blow Out

1981, Mystery & thriller, 1h 48m

52 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

With a story inspired by Antonioni's Blow Up and a style informed by the high-gloss suspense of Hitchcock, DePalma's Blow Out is raw, politically informed, and littered with film references. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

While recording sound effects for a slasher flick, Jack Terri (John Travolta) stumbles upon a real-life horror: a car careening off a bridge and into a river. Jack jumps into the water and fishes out Sally (Nancy Allen) from the car, but the other passenger is already dead -- a governor intending to run for president. As Jack does some investigating of his tapes, and starts a perilous romance with Sally, he enters a tangled web of conspiracy that might leave him dead.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Blow Out

Audience Reviews for Blow Out

  • Aug 08, 2016
    Stunningly shot conspiracy-theory thriller, with fantastic use of (then) current technology and particularly great editing and sound editing. The debts to Hitchcock and the film Blow Out are writ large but hugely enjoyable, and Travolta and Lithgow are very watchable.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2013
    From the very opening the normal erocism of DePalma is in full speed. The seeds are all there and I was a little worried before it's revealed to be a crappy slasher film production that Travolta is doing sound work on. This basically sets into motion a thriller from the 80s that like most of DePalmas films throw logic to the wind. The whole coverup is so hilariously silly it is just one thing you need to overcome pretty quickly otherwise this won't work for you. Not the greatest film but it works very well and is one of the better films of DePalmas
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Aug 09, 2013
    A potent thriller from DePalma that borrows from other aspects of cinema to create a visceral experience. Well shot, well acted, and original, 'Blow Out' can find comfort in many film buff's libraries.
    Kase V Super Reviewer
  • Aug 04, 2012
    Jack Terry: So you got your choice. You can be crazy or dead.  "Murder has a sound all of its own!" Classic Brian De Palma and classic John Travolta. Blow Out is up there with some of De Palma's best works, and is only held back by an annoying performance from Nancy Allen. The movie isn't quite as good as Dressed to Kill of Scarface, but just a notch below with movies like Carrie and Carlito's Way.  Jack Terry is out collecting sound for a new horror movie that he is working on. He's a sound man and the director isn't happy with the same old wind sound, so he's out to get a new wind sound. When he's out, he witnesses a car accident that ends up in a river. He jumps in and saves a girl, but another passenger dies. That passenger ends up being a governor and suspected running candidate for the presidency. Everyone is saying it's an accident, but Jack thinks it's more because he swears he heard a gunshot before the blow out. And he has it on tape. Blow Out is an extremely cool and entertaining piece of filmmaking from De Palma. It also feels like more restrained work from him. It isn't a movie that is obsessed with sex and violence(although there are elements of both). He lets the suspense and tension build to a windup. You still won't have trouble noticing all the elements that make De Palma so easy to spot. If only he didn't like Nancy Allen so much.  There's a lot to like about the movie, but I especially loved the usage of the scream scenes from the movie that is getting made within Blow Out. There's a lot of foreshadowing with the movie being made and works extremely well. Also, John Travolta is really, really good here. It's up there with his best stuff like Pulp Fiction. There's never a moment in his performance where he seemed fake or like all this wasn't really happening to him. He makes for an incredible hero and really keeps the tension building right along with De Palma's direction.  Blow Out is another must see film from De Palma. The guy made his share of bad movies for sure, but when he is on his game, he's fucking amazing. I know he is normally a director that you either love or hate, but with this one, I can see even his biggest haters enjoying it. It's just like Lynch's Blue Velvet with me. I despise Lynch, but I really like Blue Velvet. So even if you don't like De Palma, still give this one a look. It may surprise you.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer

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