Blue Collar (1978) - Rotten Tomatoes

Blue Collar (1978)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Blue Collar Trailers & Photos

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 erupt around them.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


Richard Pryor
as Zeke Brown
Harvey Keitel
as Jerry Bartowski
Yaphet Kotto
as Smokey James
Ed Begley Jr.
as Bobby Joe
Harry Bellaver
as Eddie Johnson
Lucy Saroyan
as Arlene Bartowski
Lane Smith
as Clarence Hill
Cliff De Young
as John Burrows
Chip Fields
as Caroline Brown
Milton Selzer
as Sumabitch
Jimmy Martinez
as Charlie T. Martinez
Jerry Dahlmann
as Superintendent
Denny Arnold
as Unshaven Thug
Rock Riddle
as Blonde Thug
Stacey Baldwin
as Debby Bartowski
Steve Butts
as Bob Bartowski
Stephen P. Dunn
as Flannigan
Davone Florence
as Frazier Brown
Eddie Singleton
as Ali Brown
Rya Singleton
as Aretha Brown
Jaime Carreire
as Little Joe
Tracey Walter
as Union Member
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Blue Collar

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


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

A Powerhouse drama, and a especially impressive directorial debut for Paul Schrader that is intelligent and well observed, about three Detroit automobile workers played by Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto, who all give extraordinary dramatic performances, the three friends find bills piling up and pressures bearing down on them, they decide to rob their corrupt union office. The trio end up empty handed with no money, but fine a suspicious ledger that links the union with organized crime, they try to blackmail the union for cash for the return of the ledger, and find that they are out of their league. Suddenly a once loyal friendship turns to paranoia, betrayal, and murder. A serious underrated classic and one of the last Hollywood films to exploring the lives of the working class. Highly Recommend.

Danny Rovira

Super Reviewer

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