Steelyard Blues - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Steelyard Blues Reviews

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May 4, 2017
The ex-con Jesse Veldini (Donald Sutherland) has a passion for demolition derbies. He has wrecked almost every possible car, but violates his parole when confronted by a 1950 Studebaker. This embarrasses his brother, Frank Veldini (Howard Hesseman) a politically ambitious district attorney who wants Jesse to clean up his act. Trying to get away from Frank's good intentions and find a happier life against the norms of society, Veldini ends up out of town with his other brother Kid (John Savage), the crazy Eagle Thornberry (Peter Boyle), and his hooker girlfriend Iris Caine (Jane Fonda), trying to restore an old Consolidated PBY Catalina to an airworthy state, whatever it takes...

"Steelyard Blues" is to be frank an incoherent unfunny mess that just makes no sense. With this ensemble what could go wrong? The writer, David Ward, wrote "The Sting" two years later, Jane Fonda had just won an Academy Award for Klute, Donald Sutherland had done excellent work in films like "Klute," "M*A*S*H" and "Kelly's Heroes" while Peter Boyle and John Savage had not yet done their best work. Itīs supposed to be a caper but at the same time the movie wants to be a hip satire, presenting a series of comedy sketches that just feels incoherent as said and not funny at all. The result is that the caper plot makes the comedy parts awkward and forced. So we get a really disconnected comedy in our hands. The only plus in "Steelyard Blues" is a great soundtrack.

Trivia: Because Fonda, Sutherland and Boyle were active in anti-war activities when this movie was made, it seems that "Steelyard Blues" was not given a wide release or much publicity. Nevertheless, it is memorable for its portrayal of oddball characters, and found a warm reception among college students and non-conformists. With its anti-establishment message and hip soundtrack by musicians Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Nick Gravenites, Maria Muldaur and others.
December 28, 2015
A group of counter culture merry pranksters occupy a junkyard and get a harebrained scheme to fix up an airplane that's laying broken in the yard. The merry pranksters include Donald Sutherland, Howard Hesseman, Peter Boyle, John Savage, and Jane Fonda sporting a big afro. The film was written by David S. Ward, who'd go on to win an Academy Award for his next film "The Sting," but I have to say that this film is less like that film in quality and more along the lines of some of his later films like "King Ralph" or "Major League," which weren't bad, but fairly average of comedies.
December 21, 2015
this film reunites Fonda & Sutherland (Klute) and also includes some of the best character actors like john savage & peter boyle whom r the fuel that makes this zany caper pic go.
½ September 1, 2015
The trailer opens with the somewhat prophetic admonition: "The world may not be ready for Steelyard Blues!".
Yeah. Nope, it wasn't. But for a small minority of film freaks it instantly made the short list of favorite caper flics.
Can't tell you how many times I've caught myself singing "They're Lettin' Me Drive Again" in the shower. Great soundtrack (Butterfield, Gravenites, Bloomfield and more), amazing cast. Just a goofy good time.
Hard to believe the project ever found a green light. But it was a time when the suits had no IDEA what was happening, but sure hoped to cash in on it with another Easy Rider.
Sorry, man. I'll go to my grave loving this little hijacking.
June 28, 2014
Someone criticising this film opined that it was reminiscent of Smokey and the bandit. This film came out 4 years before S&B! SYB is actually a pretty good film, yes a little dated but so many of the films which people compare it owe a great deal to the sheer reckless inventiveness and charismatic acting. Another criticism I note was that some fine actors were wasted; again, you have to remember that this was the first major screen opportunity for some of these guys, and only Jane Fonda and DS can be said to have achieved much before. For my own part, I have to confess, I fell about laughing. I took another look at it today and was surprised to see that there was a great deal of inventiveness in it, albeit, those of you who struggle with farce will struggle with this.
½ July 17, 2013
Steelyard Blues est un film indescriptible, tres original, par moments incomprehensible, inconstant et qui tourne a vide franchement tres vite (une petite heure). Et pourtant, grace a des personnages savamment trousses, des acteurs excellents (Donald Sutherland, surtout) et certains passages hilarants d'etrangete (Peter Boyle y mange une vitre),Steelyard Blues est un film admirable a defaut d'etre reellement recommandable.
Super Reviewer
½ February 11, 2013
A definite artifact of its time this terribly dated and pointless nonsense wastes many fine actors. A lot of the musical score is reminiscent of Smokey and the Bandit, hardly the spirit the movie seems to be going for although the film is so obtuse its hard to say what the actual point is. Jane's wig looks like a poodle climbed on her head and fell asleep, this could be her worst film.
July 5, 2009
I will NOT see a Movie that has this Commie, Traitor, BITCH in it.
They don't have a LOW enough rating for her.
She can rot in the Hanoi Hilton, for what she did to Our troops during Vietnam.

May 10, 2009
Interesting but there's nothing outstanding about the movie. The cast is good, especially the supporting players. The score can be a bit much at times.
December 16, 2008
I hate to admit it - but this was a very formative movie for me when I saw it in the theaters at 15. It solidiefied everything from my love of Studebakers to my general anit-authoritarian stance. I even developed an abiding love for Peter Boyle - later enhanced by his role as the Frankenstein monster in Young Frankenstein - one of the few movie portrayals I've seen that evoked such a sense of "Hey that's me up there on the big screen!"
January 15, 2008
By no means a masterpiece, but a bit of wacky fun with a great feel for time and the whole anti establishment thing, as tired as that theme is now. Havent seen anything like it quite honestly and I would persuade anyone to take a look. Check out Fonda's do
½ October 27, 2007
alienation comedy with the first hollywood all-blues-music score.
October 15, 2007
A truly bizarre film, but worth watching if you can find it. Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland make an unlikely partnership as a couple of misfits who want to change the system, albeit anarchically. Peter Boyle as Sutherland's light-bulb chewing brother is on top form, and an early role for John Savage hints at a talent that came to fruition in The Deer Hunter.....difficult to catagorize and impossible to dislike, SB is a hidden Gem. A terrific soundtrack from Paul Butterfield also acts as a narrative thread which is essential in a film with such a surreal, scattalogical plot. Wierd and wonderful.
August 28, 2007
Not so good, not so bad either. It's hard for me to dislike anything Donald Sutherland is in. On the other hand, I'm the last person to call anything "dated" or "cheesy" or "ridiculous" - but this movie is all those things. Without Sutherland or a great loony performance by Peter Boyle, this movie would hardly even exist. Plus, the frequent musical contributions are truly mediocre. For completists only.
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