Blue Collar (1978)


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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Three guys, two African-American and one Polish, work on the production line in a Detroit automobile factory, and they are fed-up with the conditions. It dawns on them that their workers' union is doing them no greater good than their screwed-up bosses. So the trio pulls off a clumsy robbery at union HQ, in which they only gain access to some suspicious documents that point to union links with organized crime. Suddenly they're out of their league: violence, paranoia, rivarly, and recrimination … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Sydney A. Glass, Leonard Schrader, Paul Schrader
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 8, 2000
Universal Pictures


as Zeke Brown

as Jerry Bartowski

as Smokey James

as Bobby Joe

as Eddie Johnson

as Jenkins

as Arlene Bartowski

as Clarence Hill

as John Burrows

as Caroline Brown

as Sumabitch

as Charlie T. Martinez

as Superintendent

as Unshaven Thug

as Blonde Thug

as Debby Bartowski

as Bob Bartowski

as Flannigan

as Frazier Brown

as Ali Brown

as Aretha Brown

as Little Joe

as Union Member
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Blue Collar

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A dark-tinged prole caper, a crimson tableau of impotent wrath

Full Review… | September 2, 2013

It's intense, well-acted, gives one a good idea about everyday factory life and offers a clear-sighted muckraking take on blue collar types ...

Full Review… | October 24, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Although the film does not tell us how to break out of the plantations we know too well, it does give us a vivid sense of the problems and the pitfalls of those who try.

Full Review… | January 24, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Blue Collar

Director Paul Schrader's film explores a little of what was wrong with the working class in the late '70s. Inflation, unemployment, corruption and how floorworkers in the auto-industry were continually fucked over. The film gives platform to a rock solid performance by Richard Pryor, which always seems to go unmentioned when most reflect on his career.

This is a heist film that shows who is really being robbed. This is not a pro-union film such as Norma Rae. Here, the Union is inaffective and indifferent, at first, until truths are exposed as the story develops. Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto don't really come off as romanticized or even as anti-heroes, since their characters do drugs, cheat on their wives and commit petty crimes. When one of those petty crimes reveals more than expected, "THE MAN" works harder at tearing them apart than having them unite. Gritty character drama that deserves a little more recognition.

El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

Richard Pryor in unfamiliar territory in a very serious role but brilliantly executed. Blue Collar is both Gritty and kick ass, a great slice of late 70?s life and an overlooked American classic!

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


Surprisingly good and gritty 70's drama about three carworkers, Yaphet Kotto, Harvey Keitel, & a straight-playing Richard Prior, trying to stick it to the man/company/union. .

Lesley N

Super Reviewer

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