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Blow Out

Blow Out

1981
Suspense/Thriller, Mystery
1h 48m
A soundman accidentally records the evidence that proves a car "accident" was murder, and consequently finds himself in danger. (imdb)
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Blow Out

1981
Suspense/Thriller, Mystery
1h 48m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 65.8% from 1947 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1947)
Compact view
Compact view
Rated 01 Jan 2015
95
96th
De Palma movies come from some cinematic blender with all the right ingredients put in and he knows when to shut the thing off and get that perfect, silky consistency until 2000's De Palma emerged and forgot how the hell to work the damn thing.
Rated 12 Dec 2008
83
72nd
Amazing trademark De Palma visuals and one of the few good Travolta acting jobs combine for an allusion to the similar (but superior) "Blow-Up". Regardless, it is effectively told in an unorthodox way and one the best films Brian De Palma has made. It also uses authentic Philadelphia locations effectively to create a menacing environment.
Rated 14 May 2011
55
27th
De Palma is a great visual director, but an awful storyteller. There are so many amazing moments in this film, which makes the awful acting from everyone outside of Travolta and Lithgow, the convoluted, clumsy storytelling, and the cheesy music all that much more frustrating.
Rated 21 Jan 2014
60
54th
De Palma steals from pretty much everyone, and it mostly works. The beginning is great and Travolta gives a pretty strong performance. Sadly, the middle meanders into a bloated climax that only exists because every character is stupid. I'm not sure if Nancy Allen just gave a terrible performance or De Palma thinks all women are stupid whores. Both? Not sure. Still, ultimately worth watching for the striking use of color.
Rated 23 Sep 2018
77
77th
Opens strongly, and holds the attenstion throughout, even if the ending left an odd taste in the mouth. Terrific use of the camera, sound and colour, the score seems like it is from another era. Feels like an homage to countless other films; Hitchcockian and noir elements featuring highly. Travolta does well in the lead, and the assembly of interesting character actors add flavour; Allen grates a bit, though, Worth seeing - maybe De Palma's best.
Rated 18 Jan 2019
92
93rd
The script is great, De Palma might just be in top form here, and my man Vilmos crushes it with his cinematography. Nancy Allen seems to be playing her character as at least slightly mentally challenged. If that was the intention, then it makes the way every man in the entire film uses her all the more disturbing.
Rated 17 Nov 2008
8
84th
Starts on a high note, ends on a high note, but drags in the middle section. Striking visuals and similarly inspired use of sounds both diegetic and non-diegetic keeps the mind alert. One of De Palma's best, almost reaching the level of The Untouchables, Carrie, Carlito's Way - and Sisters.
Rated 24 Nov 2011
84
86th
Every time I think back to this film the more and more I love it.
Rated 27 Oct 2012
46
21st
Starts out promising, but eventually descends into tedious nonsense. The climax and ending are particularly awful.
Rated 23 Apr 2015
100
98th
A noir-y thriller about a man in search for the perfect scream. De Palma's response to post-Watergate America, filled with lush colours (red, blue, and white, baby!), and a great performance from Johnny T (and a sleazy appearance by Franz). Allen's Sally resembles a femme fatale, but she lacks the power and knowing of the archetype, and is instead used by each man she comes across for their gain (which makes the last scene in the film that much more heartbreaking).
Rated 31 Jan 2016
50
14th
Watching Travolta interact with the audio equipment was honestly more intriguing than anything else this movie had to offer after the first 20 minutes. The ending made up for what was a disappointingly tedious watch that lacked any real suspense or mystery.
Rated 02 Feb 2008
30
20th
Now I know what Harlan Ellison means when he talks about how there are times when you choke on the word "hommage" and end up exclaiming, "THIEF!" as De Palma steals not only from Hitchcock this time but Antonioni as well. I also know what he means when he describes De Palma's work as "sick". I knew he was a misogynist before, but this movie is so much so that I felt a little ill afterwards
Rated 25 May 2009
68
46th
A tight film with a wobbly narrative focus. De Palma almost seems to be restraining his own sensibilities, trying to construct a more conventional, relatively lean thriller. He can't quite do it, and the film teeters on that indecision. John Travolta gives a solid, engaging performance in the lead role, although it becomes clear as the film proceeds that the character is too thinly conceived. By the end, he has little more to do that play variations on a man becoming slowly unhinged.
Rated 12 Oct 2009
75
84th
One of De Palma's best works. Sort of like a cross between political paranoia thrillers (The Parallax View or Three Days of the Condor), Coppola's The Conversation and Antonioni's Blowup. Hitchcock's influence on De Palma is as strong as ever. The plot may be a bit lacking in the believability department, but the film is so nicely written and engaging that it doesn't matter. Blow Out is just serious enough and not too serious, and really feels juicy and bubbling throughout.
Rated 08 Jan 2010
62
18th
Sub-par thriller fare, with no mystery at all--John Travolta doesn't impress, and Nancy Allen is obnoxious. De Palma could have done much better, had he let someone else write this. The score sounds more like this is an 80's drama than a thriller, and that's a bad thing.
Rated 21 Sep 2010
70
79th
A poor man's Hitchcock even if you hate De Palma this is still a pretty good thriller. Lithgow is great as usual.
Rated 06 May 2011
78
82nd
De Palma manages to rip off Hitchcock AND Antonioni en route to showcasing "his" best work. The visuals are there and Travolta gives a surprisingly good performance but the soundtrack really bogs this one down, which is a big nono in a film dedicated to sound.
Rated 08 May 2011
8
82nd
Completely unoriginal, stealing from Coppola, Carpenter and Hitchcock, to name a few, but still a satisfying movie that is well paced and has a great premise. John Lithgow was basically born to play a serial killer. Between this and Dexter I think he perfected the role. The ending was pretty solid as well. John Travolta gives it a lot of life.
Rated 10 Jun 2011
3
45th
An engaging genre film, generally well-crafted but not without flaws, such as the tacky music and the drab acting. I found myself by turns thrilled and annoyed, but on the whole it's an enjoyable flick.
Rated 25 Jul 2011
65
42nd
"Blow Out" is another De Palma film that fits the description "overblown, but entertaining". This thriller works as partly self-aware camp and greatly benefits from De Palma's gimmicky but sharp visual style as there is an abundunce of terrific shots. The acting and writing are middlebrow, but the suspenseful, Hitchcock-esque atmosphere makes this loopy, corny endeavor quite fun.
Rated 20 Apr 2012
90
93rd
John Travoltas best performance. One of De Palma's best films. Music's great. The ending will stay with you...'Good scream, good scream.'
Rated 26 Aug 2012
9
90th
Fantastic, consistently intriguing film from De Palma, who makes a strong case on the indispensable marriage of image and sound while toying with viewer's expectations. Jack Terry's obsessive devotion to uncovering the truth and subsequent exploits are traits I tend to be irresistibly attracted to and Travolta's underplayed performance makes it really easy to root for him. All in all, a cool as heck movie and essential viewing for any filmlover.
Rated 09 Dec 2012
39
34th
Meh, don't get the love for this one
Rated 04 Mar 2013
50
15th
Starts off as a very intriguing thriller along the lines of "The Conversation" or "Blow-Up" but loses its way with the introduction of Lithgow's absurd character. Also, Nancy Allen is awful. Travolta is mesmerizing however.
Rated 17 Mar 2013
65
33rd
Starts out good, but kind of goes downhill from there.
Rated 17 Dec 2013
90
97th
I would have ranked this in the eighties but I watched Berberian Sound Studio last night. Now this is in the nineties.
Rated 12 Feb 2014
89
96th
It really makes me wonder how odd this movie will seem to future generations, since half the movie is showing analog media. Between that and John Travolta's mullet, this might be lost to time.
Rated 12 Jul 2018
85
82nd
A blown-up conversation
Rated 04 Nov 2022
95
84th
This was very good. Probably one of the best thrillers I’ve seen in a long while. I think it was plotted really well, never letting the tension go even after the viewer has perhaps figured everything out. I don’t think it feels very dated either, which is a miracle. It’s a shame this may have ended Travolta’s relatively successful career at the time. He was very good, as were Allen and Lithgow. Also probably one of the best last acts I’ve seen in awhile, and an ending for the ages.
Rated 29 Dec 2022
58
73rd
It's good, but I thought it'd be better. It has some really good and interesting shots, and that's what I liked the most about it. The plot and script were fine, but i was expecting more.
Rated 07 Dec 2023
87
84th
A superb, taut conspiracy thriller with excellent filmmaking and one of the best endings I’ve ever seen. Easily my favourite De Palma to date.
Rated 01 Mar 2007
30
9th
Aweful,poor soundtrack poor acting poor story .Give it a miss.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
100
99th
Porque hoje eu queria ver alguma coisa boa dos anos 80 e porque deve fazer vinte anos que não o revejo. Mas o verdadeiro porque é o fato de Blow Out é uma das maiores obras insanamente metalinguisticas da história, ele destrincha de forma espetacular como o cinema foi erigido através do olhar masculino e da misoginia. Clap claps infinitos ao senhor De Palma em seu melhor filme. DVD Cinema em Dobro MGM.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
88
79th
A good mystery. A sound-man is collecting sounds and accidently records a murder. Now his life is in danger.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
55
53rd
Slightly above average thriller with some good thematic elements and somewhat interesting camerawork. Very blatantly "inspired" by, among other things, THE CONVERSATION, and also suffers from a mediocre score and some so-so acting, writing and characterisation. Re-watched on July 17, 2010.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
71
37th
So-so thriller. De Palma does interesting visual work as usual, but the performances leave something to be desired.
Rated 17 Sep 2007
75
79th
Surprisingly engaging thriller.
Rated 02 Mar 2008
65
44th
# 701
Rated 14 Jul 2008
55
42nd
The whole soundman angle is interesting. Otherwise, this seemed like a lot of standard material for De Palma--stuff that was maybe edgy in the 80's but now just looks cheap and exploitative--mixed with a huge amount of outdated plot elements. The amount of work it takes for Travolta to do his job in this film is astounding. And I guess I've seen enough movies now that were influenced by this one that I was impatiently thinking PUT THE DAMN FILM TOGETHER AND SEE WHAT HAPPENED ALREADY!!
Rated 07 Oct 2008
80
84th
John Lithgow rules in this, a kinda remake of Blow up. An intriiguing idea was where a local DJ fused the two films together
Rated 19 Dec 2008
77
54th
452
Rated 06 Feb 2009
86
81st
That shot that circles Travolta with the fireworks is gold, pure gold. And the rest is good too!
Rated 13 Mar 2009
50
39th
Absorbing most of the way, but weakened by show-off camerawork and logic loopholes.
Rated 16 Mar 2009
77
51st
A well constructed film that builds the tension and uses sound and visuals quite effectively. Its flaws keep it from fully succeeding, though. The acting is merely passable and the finale is really forced and overdone.
Rated 03 Nov 2009
71
50th
Entertaining movie with memorable characters. But a couple scenes, including the final chase, didn't work for me. And I would've liked some more thrills. I enjoyed the shots of Philadelphia.
Rated 14 Jan 2010
76
52nd
485
Rated 10 Mar 2010
88
80th
At first, it's extremely mysterious and compelling, but then somewhere in the middle we are presented with some information that would have been more satisfying if the protagonist had actually figured it out first. Still, it's fully engaging, and has some really great compositions.
Rated 30 Apr 2010
4
55th
Bollocks. Of course it's well-crafted, but these leads are too weak to spark any interest.
Rated 03 May 2010
10
97th
This is Brian De Palma's movie about making movies (well more so than usual) and for me its also his strongest work. Tour de force all round.
Rated 05 Jun 2010
100
87th
un-fucking-believable
Rated 13 Jun 2010
100
98th
If there's one thing to learn from Blow Out, it's that it's OK for Brian De Palma to be a Hitchcock "rip-off" if he is a good Hitchcock rip-off and this should be proof enough that he is. I can't believe how watching John Travolta sync up audio and film is so thrilling. EDIT: The more I think about this, the more I'm sure that Blow Out is a perfect film. (2 times)
Rated 17 Jul 2010
2
39th
Enjoyable for the direction and a good performance by Travolta. The story is intriguing but meanders for a long time before finally resolving itself in a very unsatisfactory way.
Rated 23 Oct 2010
40
97th
"Blow Out is not known as one of Brian De Palma's horror movies, but of all his films, it's the one that feels most like a nightmare." - Paul Schrodt
Rated 10 Jan 2011
73
83rd
Good Movie
Rated 25 Feb 2011
80
62nd
Execução brilhante, desfecho anticlimático. A câmera lenta e o chroma key no salvamento de Nancy Allen são patéticos. Que escorregão... De Palma tinha uma obra-prima em mãos!
Rated 21 Apr 2011
82
53rd
I really wish this movie had a better score.
Rated 08 Jun 2011
84
52nd
On the surface this is a silly conspiracy movie, but it is actually really sad, really subversive, and really awesome.
Rated 21 Jul 2011
61
43rd
So much about this movie is so good the shortcomings hurt all the more. Love travolta, love nancy allen. The scene with lithgow and the prostitute in the train station is incredible, but to me the ending is just horrendous. Tonally wrong, colossally misjudged, and in very bad taste.
Rated 01 Aug 2011
75
83rd
Blow-Up was a huge influence on the conception of New Hollywood auteurism, so it makes sense that De Palma's worthy homage to that film come right at the end of the New Hollywood Era. One of his best.
Rated 29 Aug 2011
70
53rd
If it weren't for the last scene...
Rated 10 Sep 2011
51
49th
"Now, THAT'S a scream!"
Rated 09 Oct 2011
100
95th
watched: 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2020
Rated 23 Oct 2011
80
77th
Tense and the ending is dark and painful.
Rated 30 Nov 2011
73
46th
#534
Rated 16 Dec 2011
98
58th
Blow Out is a 1981 thriller film, written and directed by Brian De Palma. The film stars John Travolta as Jack Terry, a movie sound effects technician from Philadelphia who, while recording sounds for a low-budget horror film, serendipitously captures audio evidence of an assassination involving a presidential hopeful. Nancy Allen stars as Sally Bedina, the young woman Jack rescues during the crime. The supporting cast includes John Lithgow and Dennis Franz. While in post-production on a low-
Rated 27 Jan 2012
60
42nd
6- pretty good, decent
Rated 24 Feb 2012
78
79th
suikast, politik suikast, cinayet, ses teknisyeni, telekulak, ses kayit (baslangicta cok müstehcen, Finali olaganüstü, hikaye sürükleyici)
Rated 03 May 2012
81
69th
81.250
Rated 25 Jun 2012
50
53rd
Not really very good, but better than 'Blow-up'.
Rated 19 Jan 2013
30
6th
Wow, I really do not understand the widespread love for this. Nancy Allen is incredibly annoying, Travolta is thouroughly meh leaving me uninterested in his character (or maybe that's the script's fault), the plot gets progressively more absurd eventually reaching a final act that is intensely dumb, the music is overblown and mawkish and the visuals were garish. Also, to me the film's presentation of women seemed to be if not misogynistic then at the very least exploitative and in bad taste.
Rated 22 Apr 2013
70
59th
This is a good film, that unfortunately lacks some key elements. There's a bit too much of a "the b-version of The Conversation"-sensation about this, most severely though it suffers from Nancy Allens talentless acting. Which is a real shame as I actually think Travolta is doing a very good job, to my surprise. The merits resembles those of the great political thrillers of the 70's, like the paranoia, good story and the long distance photography which gives it an unique surveillance feel.
Rated 06 May 2013
94
97th
There is sort of a film within a film in this private investigation held by this guy who tries to put together video and audio in order to make a conspiracy looks undeniably real -- just like a director who tries to make his film look undeniably real. There is no better camera placement or tracking shots or pan shots (the office one, wow!) or split-screens than the ones De Palma uses here. Its bitter finale during the Liberty Day -- full of flashy and loud fireworks -- is pure beauty.
Rated 19 May 2013
69
57th
Better as a metacommentary on thrillers than an actual thriller, proving yet again that de Palma is better as a Hitchcock-for-hire than as a writer, and with a slightly disturbing fetish for heroes watching women get gruesomely murdered without being able to stop it. OK, "New York Ripper" it ain't, but it only wishes it were "The Conversation". But it's stylish, and how great is John Lithgow as a psychopath, hmmm?
Rated 30 May 2013
68
32nd
An impressive and attentive (and with a keen awareness for film-making, specifically sound design) thriller with some startlingly great cinematography. However, there's a large disparity between the characters -- Travolta does a very good job with his engaging lead performance, but he's up against Allen's ditzy shoe-horned romantic side-kick. More disappointment follows as the film focuses more on its negative aspects (wide contrivances, unsatisfying plot conclusions) in the last third.
Rated 06 Jun 2013
80
78th
brilliantly directed with perfect camera work and sound fx. must see.
Rated 14 Aug 2013
76
68th
Michelangelo Antonioni - Blowup (1966) Francis Ford Coppola - The Conversation (1974)
Rated 26 Aug 2013
73
57th
After watching this film you can clearly see why DePalma was one of the biggest directors of the 80's. Excellent directing and pacing combined with a Saturday-night-fever looking travolta ( who plays a sound recorder for movies, which was genius since it adds so much to the tension) and a good support cast make for a very entertaining watch, though unfortunately not much happens the entire movie, its almost all build up. Still, Depalma was called the master of suspense for a reason..
Rated 01 Sep 2013
90
81st
Subliminal 80's film-noir that doesn't pander to the audience's desire for things to turn out well for the main players in the story. Solid acting from Travolta, Allen and Lithgow, but the real highlight is the exceptional sound design, essential to the plot as well as creating mood.
Rated 18 Sep 2013
82
71st
81.500
Rated 06 Oct 2013
4
52nd
it's an okay, often tense thriller/mystery, but not much left behind. reminiscent of 'the conversation' and not nearly as well-crafted, but still a suspenseful ride.
Rated 01 Jun 2014
31
48th
Fantastic first half, and the entire film is directed quite masterfully. Unfortunately it slowly falls apart towards the final act with some sub par acting and numerous flaws. Also the ending is kind of awful...
Rated 20 Dec 2014
5
88th
one of my favorite endings in film history.
Rated 09 Apr 2015
88
81st
The ending really got to me
Rated 01 May 2015
99
83rd
Blow Out is a taught conspiracy thriller with great direction and a great performance from John Travolta. John lithgow does a good turn as the main villain and the film has an ending that'll have you talking well after the credits roll. It's one of De Palma's best films and is just a really entertaining thrill ride, see it.
Rated 14 Feb 2016
85
82nd
A bit uneven in places, but a pleasant surprise.
Rated 22 May 2017
76
69th
An unbelievably bad character and performance by the female lead almost undoes a good film
Rated 17 Jun 2017
81
65th
De Palma works best when his tendencies toward pastiche are focused on specific ideas, his hyper-stylized romanticism and obsession with sexual perversion interact more dynamically, and his skill with suspense takes center stage; luckily, that's exactly where Blow Out finds him. After watching, it's even clearer that he's the quintessential American director of the '80s: dreamy, dark, hip, and stylish beyond measure.
Rated 12 Nov 2017
73
78th
(Viewed on 28/11/11): Comparisons to Blow Up and The Conversation are common, but B.O is not in the same class. There are a countless number of media signposts, but the film has no intellectual ambition. Even as a post-Watergate exercise in genre paranoia it probably isn't as good as The Parallax View. Nonetheless, it's a gripping thriller held together by Travolta's surprisingly strong performance and De Palma's visual fireworks which culminate in a brilliantly executed final chase sequence.
Rated 21 Feb 2018
60
47th
Good thriller, I guess. John Travolta is very good here.
Rated 12 Apr 2018
6
31st
idk, it did everything it was trying to do extremely well, but still, all the stuff it did felt pretty standard bread and butter, nothing really engaged me
Rated 02 Jan 2019
78
48th
B
Rated 16 Jan 2019
90
77th
Between this and Dexter I'm convinced that John Lithgow is actually a murderous psychopath.
Rated 08 Feb 2019
60
12th
I'm sorry, John Travolta can not act...
Rated 05 Apr 2019
80
50th
The beginning of the good De Palma.
Rated 18 May 2019
60
27th
Jack Terry: "It's a good scream."
Rated 17 Jan 2020
85
78th
De Palma bu filminde dönemin yozlaşmış siyasetine ve emniyet teşkilatına oldukça sert göndermeler yapıyor.Senaryosundaki önemli politik göndermelere karşın film,çoğu De Palma yapımında olduğu gibi asıl tarzıyla ön plana çıkıyor.Yönetmenin alışık olduğumuz ekranı ikiye bölge tekniğinden,oyuncuları takip eden kamera ve gerilim anlarındaki ağır çekimler filme oldukça artistik bir hava katıyor.De Palma kamerayı nereye koyacağını çok iyi biliyor.
Rated 24 Jan 2020
88
80th
Travolta's best
Rated 14 Mar 2020
52
53rd
Seen: 2. This isn't the classic some claim it to be. It's too rough around the edges, and so convoluted with its cover ups upon cover ups that it becomes laughable. Lithgow plays another cartoon character. Travolta's search for vindication and the truth is what makes Blow Out succeed, but it's only half of the movie. The final act is very silly and sappy, but at the very end it hits an effective sad, regretful note.
Rated 13 Apr 2020
92
77th
De Palma pays a great homage to "The Conversation" and, above all, to the power and potential of the cinematic medium itself. To put it simply: without sound and image, there is no story.
Rated 13 Jun 2020
68
26th
De Palma's kinetic formalism and directorial flair can't overcome his insipid writing: what begins as an enthralling first 20 minutes, with some devilishly clever sound mixing and cinematography, soon descends into narrative lunacy, replete with ham-fisted romance and character motivations hinging on that of mental deficiency (Travolta driving through the Liberty Day parade... give me a fucking break). The ending rules but, like the rest of the film, cannot overcome the sum of its parts.

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