Film / The Blues Brothers

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Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.

The first Saturday Night Live skit to be spun off into a movie, and arguably the best. Back when Dan Aykroyd wasn't fat and John Belushi wasn't dead, they starred together in an occasional sketch-cum-musical-act featuring the two of them in dark suits and sunglasses as "The Blues Brothers"; Belushi was Jake Blues, and Aykroyd was Jake's silent brother Elwood. What made the skits good? The duo were skilled at both the comedy (which was obvious) and the music (which was surprising). Aykroyd and Belushi spun off their own band with established musicians (members of the SNL house band as well as experienced R&B musicians) and served as the frontmen, in character as Elwood and Jake; their 1978 album Briefcase Full of Blues was a big success in its own right, topping the Billboard album chart and producing a Top 20 hit single with their remake of the Sam & Dave classic "Soul Man".

In 1980, they got a musical-extravaganza feature film—titled The Blues Brothers—that quickly and deservedly became a Cult Classic. "Joliet" Jake Blues has just been released from prison, with Elwood there to pick him up in a battered piece of crap that used to be a police car. (Elwood is not silent in this film; he gives some serious lectures.) Fulfilling a promise made before Jake began serving his sentence, the brothers go to the Chicagoland orphanage where they grew up and visit "The Penguin", the nun who runs the place. During this meeting, the brothers learn that the orphanage is about to be closed down if its $5,000 property tax bill cannot be paid off by the end of the month.

The brothers head to a nearby church as they try to figure out a way to save their childhood home. While listening to a sermon from James Brown, Jake sees the light (literally) and has an epiphany in the form of a Mission from God: the Blues Brothers must get their band back together so the band can raise the money to save their old orphanage—no matter what. Along the way, they meet up with Cab Calloway, Carrie Fisher, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Candy, Henry Gibson, Twiggy, Frank Oz, Chaka Khan, John Landis, Paul Reubens, and Steven Spielberg. Hilarity Ensues, some damn good music gets played, and every last police car in the state of Illinois is destroyed.

There was a sequel titled Blues Brothers 2000 (which was actually produced in 1998). The sequel didn't go over as well as the original, in part because some important players (most notably John Belushi) had died in the interim. (The death was actually worked into the film's plot; it didn't really help, but it was at least respectful to Belushi.) Some admit that though the plot wasn't as up to snuff as the original, the music at least was pretty good. John Landis helmed the director's chair on both movies.


"We're getting the tropes back together!"

  • 0% Approval Rating: Nobody likes Illinois Nazis. The cops at their rally were only there by decision of the court, one of them calling them "bums." Everyone cheers when the Blues Brothers drive them into the water.
  • 555:
    • Subverted. The "fake" address Elwood gives for his driver's license is a real address. But the address is that of Wrigley Field.
    • "KL5" on the card that Mercer leaves for Jake at the flophouse.
  • Absurd Altitude:
    • The Nazis chasing the Brothers are launched from an unfinished highway ramp... fly as high as the Hancock Building... and fall several miles away, just in time for the Blues Brothers to dodge the hole they made and another car full of Nazis to fall into the hole.
    • The phone booth containing the brothers shoots straight up into the air when the adjacent propane tank explodes, with a hang time of several seconds.
    • The congregation members of Triple Rock church are somehow able to propel themselves dozens of feet in the air to perform backflips and aerial splits.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: As Jake and Elwood deliver the 5 grand to the Cook County assessor's office, they do this to the lobby of the building...to keep out the army. Bonus points for doing it again with office furniture to blockade the assessor's glass door and wall.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Everyone knows church properties can't be taxed, but that wouldn't make for a plot. Or a nun on rails. Or the best car chase ever put on film. It's explained that the church is no longer interested in maintaining the orphanage, meaning they likely stopped the tax exemption on the property. Also, there was an actual bill in the Illinois legislature at the time the script was being written that would have made certain properties owned by nonprofit organizations (including churches) subject to property tax. The bill never passed.
  • Acrofatic: John Belushi. The only thing they needed a body double for was the backflips in the church. Big Mack in the sequel.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Burton Mercer seems almost amused at the Blues Brothers' antics, despite frequently being on the receiving end of or having them backfire rather disastrously on him. And he damn well gets into their gig despite being there to arrest them.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Elwood uses a can of epoxy spray to torch an elevator control panel.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Jake pulls this off successfully when confronted by the Mystery Woman.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • The Mystery Woman's banged up 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix.
    • The Bluesmobile in the original movie subverts this trope. It's a beat-up surplus police cruiser with a missing cigarette lighter (thanks to Jake throwing it out the window after he found out it didn't work), but it can jump over an opening drawbridge and hold its own through several high-speed chases. It only falls apart when the brothers reach the tax assessor's office in Chicago.
  • All in the Eyes: The eyes of the Neo-Nazi leader are lit like this while he's standing in front of Wrigley Field declaring war on Jake and Elwood.
  • All There in the Manual: Information about the brothers' background comes from the liner notes of their first album, Briefcase Full of Blues, while fictional backstories are included for the rest of the band members and some other characters found their way into a book written by John Belushi's wife.
  • Alternate History: A somewhat more mundane example than most. Not long before the movie was made the Illinois state legislature had debated a law that would revoke the tax-exempt status of buildings owned by churches that weren't themselves used as houses of worship. In Real Life the law didn't pass but in the film it did, necessitating the boys take on their Mission from God to get money to pay the taxes on the Catholic orphanage they grew up in.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Illinois Nazis might seem to a latter-day viewer to be a random bit of craziness. In fact those scenes were inspired by a Real Life Supreme Court case (National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie) in which the American Nazi Party won the right to march through the largely Jewish suburb of Skokie, IL. (The Nazis eventually marched through Chicago instead.)
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: After Jake and Elwood force the Illinois Nazis off of the bridge by driving straight toward them and making them jump off into the water, the mob cheers.
  • Animated Adaptation: In 1997, 6 animated episodes were produced (with Peter Aykroyd and James Belushi) for the UPN network, but were never aired.
  • Arson, Murder ... and he's Catholic
  • Artistic License – Cars:
    • The Bluesmobile 'throws a rod' halfway through the chase through Chicago and sprays oil on the windshield, which then disappears moments later. The rear window that is shot out early on also reappears throughout the film, finally disappearing in final chase.
    • While being chased through Chicago, Elwood takes a wrong turn on the highway and ends up on an unfinished portion, slams on the brakes, and shifts to reverse. The rear end dips down, causing the Bluesmobile to flip end over end, and somehow face the opposite direction. No one's figured out how.note  The Nazis chasing them drive right off the end, and crash into a street, causing a hole to break open in the road, which the second car then drives into.
    • A deleted scene had Elwood fill the tires of the police cars at the concert with an overcharged glue that would cause the tires to explode when heated up.
    • Word of God says that the Bluesmobile is "a magic car" and left it at that.
  • Artistic License – Law: There's two things wrong with the scene where Elwood is pulled over, then chased around the mall:
    • The police who pull him over are State Troopers, not Chicago Police, so pulling someone over for running a red light within Chicago city limits is beyond their jurisdiction (they also go all the way to Wisconsin to arrest the Blues Brothers, which is even worse).
    • The light was yellow, and Illinois state law states that as long as the light is still yellow when the front tires cross the white line, the car has legally passed through the intersection. In this instance, the light did not change to red until after he had left the intersection. Elwood actually points this out, which suggests that the cops (and by extension the writers) just wanted to pull Elwood over and used that as an excuse.
  • As Himself: Played with. The band members play themselves. The majority of them were part of the original backing band, and are well known blues and R&B legends, including Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn (both of whom played for Otis Redding, amongst others), and Matt "Guitar" Murphy. Paul Shaffer turns up in Blues Brothers 2000, but he's not actually playing himself — he instead adopts a thick French accent, playing the role of Queen Mousette's aide, Marco. He later takes off the wig and performs with the band, though, for which he gets credited both as Marco and as himself on the end credits list.
  • Aside Glance: Trumpeter Alan Reuben AKA "Mr Fabulous" does a quick one to the camera after Jake´s question: "Did I ever lie to you"?
  • A-Team Firing: Everyone's a crap shot, except when they're not aiming directly for the Blues Brothers. Vaguely justified with Holy Protection, but mostly played for Rule of Funny.
  • Audience Participation: In Australia, specifically the Valhalla theater in Melbourne (until it closed down in 2003), where the audience lovingly recite the dialogue, dress up as their favorite characters, throw items such as white bread, newspaper and stuffed animals at the screen, and dance in the aisles to the movie's awesome soundtrack. It's an awesome experience.
  • Audience Participation Song: "Minnie the Moocher".
  • Backup Twin:
  • Badass Driver: It takes a lot of gusto to turn a car around at the end of an unfinished bridge like Elwood did. He can even speed through the dark of the night and outrun dozens of police cars with his sunglasses on.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Subverted. The brothers wear black suits, but it's soon revealed that those are the only clothes they own. They wear them to bed, into the sauna, etc. Unsurprisingly, they smell bad. Lampshaded in the sequel when Elwood tells his new partners why they have to dress the same way.
  • Bash Brothers: They don't fight a lot, but when they do...
  • Battle of the Bands: Where the band is ultimately headed to in the sequel.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill:
    • In the original, Jake stalls the Good Ol' Boys by posing as union rep "Jacob Stein... from the American Federation of Musicians." He even quickly flashes an empty pack of cigarettes like a badge.
    • In the sequel, Elwood's "puffball bacteria." John Goodman's intentional hamming it up and Evan Bonifant's over-the-top screaming is hilarious, but the rest of the band completely ignoring them is what sells it.
  • Beam of Enlightenment: Jake experiences this in a black church, which sets the plot ball rolling.
  • Behind the Black:
    • Jake and Elwood get to the clerk's office, file their paperwork, and save the orphanage. Then the camera turns and about forty police officers and National Guardsmen are right behind them with guns drawn. Jake, Elwood, and the clerk didn't see or hear them come in, despite the fact that they were the opposite of stealthy in the buildup scenes and would have had to break through the Blues's makeshift barricades.
    • In the wide shot, the clerk (played by Steven Spielberg) is seen pointing a gun at the brothers from behind them. Despite the fact that literally a second earlier he was seated on the opposite side of the counter, unarmed.
    • After Jake and Elwood have a conversation with Maury about booking them for a big event in a steam room, the camera zooms out to show the entire rest of the band sitting orderly just off-screen.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not use unacceptable language in front of The Penguin. Taking the Lord's name in vain is even worse.
    • Also, you shouldn't go to a country and western bar and try to play the blues. It never ends well.
  • Big Eater:
    • For lunch, Jake orders four fried chickens. And a Coke.
    • The brothers order five shrimp cocktails at Chez Paul.
  • Big "WHAT?!": The whole band delivers this when Curtis tells them they need to raise the money for the orphanage.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The orphanage is saved, but the Brothers get tossed back into jail. The sheer hilarity of the buildup, however, overshadows it.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Elwood's preferred food is dry white toast, one slice of which makes up an entire meal for him.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Jake threatens to reveal their agent's infidelity to his wife.
  • Blatant Lies: The Apology of Jake Blues.
    Mystery Woman: You miserable slug! You think you can talk your way out of this? You betrayed me!
    Jake: No I didn't! Honest...I ran out of gas. I...I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!!!
  • Blind Black Guy: Ray, true to his nature as a Danza of Ray Charles, is implied to be blind.
  • Blind Mistake: Ray is shown hanging up a poster advertising the Blues Brothers' concert — upside down.
  • Blind Musician: Ray Charles does some light Adam Westing as the owner of Ray's Music Exchange. He plays a total dick of a store owner, obviously employing some shady business practices and even fires a handgun at a kid he suspects of shoplifting, but hoo boy can he play the electric piano!
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Ray fires a couple of warning shots at a would-be guitar thief.
  • Blood Brothers: According to supplemental materials, the brothers are not biologically related, but sealed their blood brotherhood at the orphanage by cutting their fingers with Elmore James's guitar string.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the gazillions of dollars in property damage throughout the first movie, nobody dies. Even the Nazis only get slammed into a giant pothole, after falling a cartoonishly long way.
  • Book Ends: The first movie opens and closes with Jake in jail. He's just being released in the beginning and performing while re-incarcerated at the end.
  • Bowlderise: In the TV version, Jake tells the nun that she's up "the creek" instead of "shit creek," which makes it look strange that she finds the phrase so offensive. Also, they replace Elwood's repeated use of "bullshitting" with "bamboozling". The nun also seems to find "Ow, my arm!" to be offensive, then again, it is funny in an unintentional way.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Jake's personal effects, being returned to him at the beginning of the movie, include a used condom.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Elwood mentions early in the film that he spoofed his address forms to show the address for Wrigley Field. Later in the film, the Illinois Nazis find his information and meet up to discuss tracking him down... in front of Wrigley Field.
    • Among Jake's possessions being returned? "One digital watch. Broken." During the mall chase, one of the officers in the flipped police car laments that he broke his watch in the chase. During the pileup on the highway shortly after dawn in the finale chase, one of the officers in the background is heard complaining of a broken watch as he climbs out of the wrecked car.
      • Someone climbing out of a wrecked car and complaining of a broken watch happens in the sequel as well, at least according to the subtitle.
    • In the first film, Elwood's favorite meal is two pieces of dry white toast. He orders it at the soul food restaurant, tries to cook some in his apartment and even pulls some out of his pocket in Ray's music store to try out a toaster oven with. In the second film, the police invade Bob's Country Kitchen to look for the Blues Brothers, and notice the table where they were sitting. One of the plates has two pieces of dry white toast on it.
    • Elwood crudely propositions Twiggy ... then while he's driving like a bat out of hell towards Chicago, we see her waiting at his suggested trysting place.
  • Bulletproof Fashion Plate: The boys' suits. True to the trope, ending up covered in mud signals that their situation has gone to hell.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Illinois Nazis; all of them. But then, Acceptable Targets.
  • Camera Abuse: During the car chase scene in the mall, some of the musical instruments hit the camera causing it to shake and at the end of the scene a person runs into the camera.
  • Car Fu: Taken to an exorbitant amount in both films, as both contain 50+ car pileups. The first film held the Guinness World Record for most cars destroyed in a single movie (reports vary, but the number's about 75 to 80) for 18 years, finally being surpassed by the sequel, (over 100, as reported by Guinness) for another 11 years. That's almost 200 cars destroyed and almost 30 years of car-totaling supremacy.
  • Car Meets House: The police chase the titular duo through a mall. Both the Brothers themselves and the police repeatedly drive into shops.
    Elwood: The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!
  • Car Porn: From an early scene:
    Jake: What the hell is this?
    Elwood: This was a bargain. I picked it up at the Mt. Prospect City Police auction last spring. It's an old Mt. Prospect Police car. They were practically giving them away.
    Jake: Well, thank you, pal. The day I get out of prison, my own brother picks me up in a police car.
    Elwood: You don't like it?
    Jake: No, I don't like it.
    [Elwood guns the motor and jumps the car over an opening drawbridge on the Chicago River]
    Jake: Car's got a lot of pickup.
    Elwood: It's got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters, so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say? Is it the new Bluesmobile or what?
    Jake: Fix the cigarette lighter.
    • To elaborate further, the police-spec 440 contained forged engine internals, including an oil pan windage tray, more aggressive camshaft and stiffer valve springs, high flow exhaust manifolds and dual-snorkel air cleaner, which produced 275 brake horsepower compared to the stock 235.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue:
    • While driving through the mall, Jake and Elwood remark on the variety of stores the mall has. "This place has everything."
    • Happens again just after the Mystery Woman blows up a nearby fuel tank with a flamethrower while the two are making a phone call.
    Elwood: Hey Jake! There's got to be at least seven dollars worth of change here!
    • Jake and Elwood keep up the laid-back chatter even when being chased by seemingly every squad car in Chicago:
    Elwood: This is definitely Lower Wacker Drive! If my estimations are correct, we should be very close to the Honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza!
    Jake: That's where they got that Picasso!
    Elwood: Yep.
  • Catch-Phrase: "We're on a Mission from God."
    • "The Lord works in mysterious ways." in the sequel.
  • Celebrity Star: Many famous musicians appear in various roles to sing their hits.
  • Chase Fight: The title characters are trying to get to the Cook County Assessor's office to pay the tax on the orphanage. They're pursued by police officers, National Guard troops, Nazis and a country-western band, with much destruction along the way.
  • Chase Scene: Several times. The last quarter of the first movie is one giant Chase Scene.
    Mercer: We're in a truck!
  • Check, Please!: Bob's Country Kitchen in the second movie.
  • Chekovs Classroom: Elwood goes on one of these lectures to Jake on the benefits of a cop car: cop shocks, engine, suspension, etc. This comes in handy with the utter vehicular chaos that ensues.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The benefits of a cop car prove necessary.
    • A more-literal example, when the Mystery Woman is seen reading the manual for a US Army flamethrower.
    • Elwood falsifying his address prevented the Nazis from finding him.
    • In the second film, you see some wiring hooked up to the ignition of the Bluesmobile when they reveal where Elwood is. A short time later, you see the wiring is part of a secondary control method.
  • Chez Restaurant: Mr. Fabulous (trumpeter Alan Reuben) is maître d' at Chez Paul, which (at the time) was the name of an actual high-class restaurant in Chicago.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Subverted. While the orphanage where Jake and Elwood grew up is clearly Catholic (and run by Creepy Nuns, no less), the only religious service the brothers attend is at the VERY evangelical Triple Rock Baptist Church. Then again, if James Brown was a pastor...
  • Chronically Crashed Car: The Bluesmobile doesn't quite crash, but it gets into progressively more ludicrous (and strenuous) chases over the course of the movie, and at the end of the final one simply falls to pieces after finally getting Jake and Elwood to their goal.
  • *Click* Hello: Taken to the absurd extreme. After finally getting the money needed to save the orphanage to the Clerk and Recorder's office, Jake and Elwood both reach out to take the receipt. In a flash, their wrists are locked together in handcuffs, upon which they turn... and discover probably EVERY Police officer, SWAT Member, and Army Soldier in the greater Chicago area pointing a weapon at them.
  • Closer to Earth: Aretha Franklin's character, who tries to dissuade her husband (Matt "Guitar" Murphy) from rejoining the Blues Brothers in both films.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The scene with The Penguin, who hits Jake and Elwood whenever they swear, at which point they swear even more.
    Curtis: Boys, you gotta learn not to talk to nuns that way.
  • Comforting Comforter: Elwood does this for Jake in the flophouse.
  • Comically Invincible Hero: Among other things Jake and Elwood casually dodge bullets from multiple shooters, survive a propane explosion, having an apartment complex dropped on them, and walk away from several car crashes that would probably kill a normal human. It's heavily implied to be the result of Divine Intervention.
  • Concept Video
  • Cool Car:
  • Cool Guns: The Nazi leader uses a DWM Luger. Subverted when it jams while he's shooting at the brothers and cannot unjam it before he becomes part of Chicago's pavement.
  • Cool Old Guy: Curtis, the janitor at the orphanage played by Cab Calloway, who taught Jake and Elwood about the blues.
  • Cool Shades: Which they almost never take off. Flat-out parodied, like everything else, in 2000 when Cabel tells Elwood to take his hat and glasses off in the office. The camera pans to Cabel, then back to Elwood—covering his eyes with his arm to avoid being blinded by normal indoor light.
  • Crashing Through the Harem: The brothers sneak through the window of a ladies' room to get into the Palace Hotel Ballroom for their gig.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: In the sequel, they shrug off a bunch of Russian gangsters chasing them by dumping out a bag of thumb tacks carpenter nails drywall nails, which they drive directly into. It works.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Elwood produces various props that are all exactly perfect for whatever needs to be done, from spare white bread for toasting to the materials needed to sabotage elevators and vehicles. One of the restored scenes (included in every home video release since 1998) reveals where Elwood got some of those materials—from the aerosol-products factory where he worked.
  • Creator Cameo: John Landis is the cop driving the second car that shows up to chase the Blues Brothers through the mall.
  • Creepy Catholicism: The title characters go "to see 'The Penguin'" - a very stern, heavyset, intimidating Catholic nun who wields a wooden 1-foot ruler like a martial arts weapon and moves with a Ghostly Glide.
  • Critical Existence Failure: As soon as Jake and Elwood exit the car at the end of the Chase Scene, it literally falls to pieces. Elwood even takes off his hat as a gesture of respect.
  • Crowd Song:
    • During the concert at the end, Curtis manages to get the whole crowd singing along to parts of "Minnie the Moocher". A better example, however, may be the scene in Ray's Music Exchange - true, the crowd doesn't sing along to "Shake your Tailfeather", but they do dance along, with remarkable accuracy and skill, after which everyone cheers. Presumably they were happy to get the take.
    • "Minnie" is totally justified, as it's a call-and-response song that Cab Calloway was known for performing the same way "Curtis" does it in the movie, and the audience would faithfully sing along. It's not like "hi de hi de hi de hi" are difficult lyrics, after all. The one time Calloway actually breaks out into something that's hard to follow (something like "zip-dot-deet-doot-diddly-zip-a-deet-dot-diddly-zip-zap-zeet-do-ooohh"), the audience just laughs in response.
    • Also when Mrs. Murphy starts singing at her husband, not only do the customers keep time, but the girls at the counter become spontaneous backup singers. After the song ends, they sit down as if nothing had happened.
  • Damage-Proof Vehicle: The Bluesmobile is indestructible (except when it reaches the courthouse, at which point it spontaneously falls apart). A better indicator of this trope is the chase scene earlier in the film through a crowded mall. The mall was abandoned and had nothing inside. The Blues Brothers team filled the inside of the mall, then asked a few car dealers to fill the lot outside so the mall would look crowded. In interviews later on, the cast and crew were very afraid of doing any damage whatsoever to the parked cars, as they all had to go back to the dealers without a scratch. They were on a mission from God, you know.
  • Dance Party Ending: To the Jailhouse Rock, of course.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: See Cool Shades
  • Debut Queue: Goes hand-in-hand with Putting the Band Back Together—we start with the Blues Brothers, then meet every member of their band sequentially as they track them down.
  • Description Porn: The famous scene when Elwood introduces the Bluesmobile to Jake after jumping the bridge.
    Elwood: It's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters, so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?
  • Destructive Savior: Elwood and (to a lesser extent) Jake. To wit: the Blues cause what has to be almost a million dollars worth of damage to just the Chicago Police by wrecking all of their cars just to save an orphanage by paying a bill of $5,000.
  • Determinator: Do not mess with the Blues Brothers when they're on a Mission from God, because they will kick your ass.
  • Disability Superpower: Ray is apparently a crack shot with a pistol and uses this ability to scare off shoplifters who try and take advantage of his blindness.
  • Disappointed in You: The Penguin says this to Jake and Elwood after kicking them out of her office, calling them a disappointing pair because in her eyes, they've returned to her as "two thieves with filthy mouths and bad attitudes",and she didn't raise them to grow up the way they did.
  • Disney Villain Death: The two head Nazis suffer quite a spectacularly ludicrous one after flying off an unfinished bridge. It's not shown if they survive but after seeing Jake and Elwood survive a bazooka attack and their building being obliterated by a bomb, it's not unlikely.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Nazis go gunning for the Brothers just because they forced them to jump off a bridges into a lake during one of their hate rallies.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Jake finds out from Elwood that the rest of their old band had taken straight jobs. Jake is upset that Elwood lied to him and claimed that the band might still get back together; Elwood replies, "It wasn't a lie... it was bullshit."
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Around 100 rifles, assault rifles, and other firearms are pointed at the brothers in the climactic scene, and we get to hear a lot of them being cocked. Interestingly, the first click-click is the brothers getting handcuffed. Were the officers and soldiers going to shoot them while in custody?
  • Dream Team: The Blues Brothers band in-universe, as well as the Louisiana Gator Boys in the second film.
  • Drink Order: Burton Mercer attends the film's pivotal fund-raising concert in order to arrest the performing band, but decides he wants to see them perform first and orders three Orange Whips for himself and the much more "serious" uniformed state troopers he is with.
    • The line was ad-libbed as an informal promotion of a non-alcoholic orange creame beverage sold by the family of the film's costumer. Since the film the beverage has morphed into a sweet alcoholic cocktail.
  • Drives Like Crazy:
  • Driving into a Truck: Literally. A police squad car jumps off the side of a freeway, smashing into the side of a passing truck.
    Mercer: We're in a truck!
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Played for laughs. Two Illinois Nazis are falling to their deaths in a car, their eyes and mouths open in shock. One turns to the other and says "I've always loved you". The other Nazi simply looks at his lieutenant without changing his expression.
  • The Elevator from Ipanema: A John Landis trademark, starting with this film. Possibly the Trope Namer. Word of God is that its use here was intended as a Take That! against its composer by Landis. Years later, it occurred to Landis just exactly how much the composer must have made in royalties thanks to him.
  • Escalating Chase: Jake and Elwood not only get dozens of Lemming Cops on their tail but also Jake's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend and the Illinois Nazis.
  • Ethereal Choir:
    • Heard by Jake when he sees the light.
    • Also heard by Cab in the sequel when he similarly has an epiphany.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Averted(!), and later becomes a full-blown subversion when the Illinois Nazis' red wagon (which actually is a Ford Pinto) drops thousands of feet and punches a neat hole into the pavement without suffering so much as a scratch, let alone exploding. Their green wagon, a much larger Ford Galaxie station wagon, drives neatly into the same hole and lands on top of the red Pinto.
  • Everyone Join the Party: Inverted. While the police have been chasing Jake and Elwood for the whole film, at the climax, hundreds of police men, SWAT team, soldiers, tanks, and helicopters show up out of nowhere in downtown Chicago to apprehend two unarmed men.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Jake and Elwood attempt to put on another show in order to save the orphanage they were raised in from being closed due to back tax debt.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through!: Most notably in the mall chase, shown with hood cameras.
  • Explosive Overclocking: This is what the Bluesmobile is doing during the final epic chase sequence from the Palace Hotel Ballroom to Chicago City Hall, presumably because it's on a Mission from God. It eludes cops, Illinois Nazis, and the Good Ole Boys, gets Jake and Elwood to the Cook County Assessor's Office in record time, and then collapses into a pile of scrap metal.
  • Facial Dialogue: Jake and Elwood do this several times, for example in Bob's Country Bunker, where Elwood is clearly trying to ask Jake what the hell he's playing at.
  • Faking Engine Trouble: One of the Hurricane of Excuses that Jake gives his ex-fiancée for leaving her at the altar.
    Jake: Oh, please, don't kill us! Please, please don't kill us! You know I love you baby. I wouldn't leave ya. It wasn't my fault!
    Mystery Woman: You miserable slug! You think you can talk your way out of this? You betrayed me.
    Jake: No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Most of the band is recruited from one of these, a gig as Lounge Lizards for a spectacularly unappreciative audience in a cheap hotel. On the other hand, Mr. Fabulous has a well-paying job as a maître d', and the brothers have the most trouble convincing him to rejoin.
  • Family of Choice: Jake and Elwood met each other while they were both in an orphanage, and used a string from Elmore James' guitar to become Blood Brothers.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Jake's right eyebrow seemed fixed in this position.
  • Fast-Roping: How the SWAT team comes in near the end of the first movie. "Hut hut hut hut!" Exactly why is anyone's guess since they don't go through any of the building's windows.
  • Fat and Skinny: Jake and Elwood in the first film, and Elwood and Mighty Mack in the second.
  • Femme Fatalons: Carrie Fisher in the original.
  • Final Speech: As they are falling to their death in a car, one Illinois Nazi says to the other (the leader), "I've always loved you."
  • Foreshadowing: A weird case. The reason for the Brothers' murderous stalker is alluded to when Elwood propositions a lady to meet after the big show—of course, he can't make it, on account of the murderous stalker and the cops.
    • The mystery woman is seen doing her nails and reading the instruction manual for the flamethrower she uses later. Also in the scene are three pictures of her with Jake, who's wearing his sunglasses and hat in all of them.
  • Formal Full Array of Cutlery: Jake and Elwood go out to eat at a fancy restaurant and make a show of eating with the worst possible table manners. At one point Elwood holds out his glass for more wine; the waiter tells him "Wrong glass, sir," but Elwood gestures for him to pour it in anyway.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Three pictures of Jake with the mystery woman (with sunglasses and hat, of course), are seen when the mystery woman is doing her nails and reading the instruction manual for the flamethrower.
  • Friendly Enemy: Burton Mercer seems honestly amused by Jake and Elwood's ability to trick the police; he even insists on waiting to arrest them until he's heard them play. Hell, even when he ends up with his car embedded in the back of a semi near the end, he doesn't seem the least bit angry about it.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • The name of Carrie Fisher's beauty salon is "Curl Up And Dye."
    • Also, "Welcome Exterminators" near the place where The Magic Tones are playing.
  • Fun with Acronyms: It's never shown or mentioned on-screen, but there's a very subtle one. Think about the American Socialist White People's Party for a moment.
  • Generation Xerox: Cabel Chamberlain sings and dances just like Curtis, and by the end of the second movie, Buster has turned into a mini-Elwood.
  • Genre Shift: While the first film has more than its share of goofy, over-the-top humor, the sequel goes more in the direction of outright fantasy, including a performance of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" causing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to appear, Cabel being transformed into a Blues Brother by God, and the climax revolving around a 130-year-old voodoo lady, who temporarily transforms the Blues Brothers into zombies and the pursuing bad guys into rats.
  • Get Out: The Penguin gives Jake and Elwood this after her Disappointed in You moment. "...and don't come back until you've redeemed yourselves."
  • Ghost Butler: When Jake and Elwood go to visit the Penguin in their old orphanage, the door to her office opens of itself as they approach. Of course, the only Ghost in play here would be the Holy one.
  • Ghostly Glide: At the end of the scene with the "Penguin" (Sister Mary Stigmata) and Jake and Elwood Blues, she moves back through an open door into a room as if she is floating on air. Along with the other magical effects she demonstrates earlier in the scene, this is the crowning moment of creepiness.
  • Give Me a Sign: "The band... the band!"
  • Glasses Pull:
    • Jake does this to talk the Mystery Woman out of murdering them. It's the only time in the original theatrical release of the whole movie when either of them take their sunglasses off.
    • During the factory scene (restored to all home video releases since 1998), Elwood wears a pair of transparent safety glasses when he goes in to quit his job at the factory. It's the only time during either movie when his eyes are visible.
  • God Is Good: If they really are on a mission from God, then the Lord must want them to save the orphanage given all the "magic" that aids them on said mission.
  • Good Ol' Boy: The Good Ol' Boys band, and Tucker McElroy in particular. The Brothers manage to convince the owners of a country & western bar that they qualify.
    Elwood Blues: We're the Good Ol' Blues Brothers... Boys. Band.
  • Gospel Choirs Are Just Better: The Brothers' moment of inspiration that kicks off the plot features them being sung at by James Brown and a berobed gospel choir.
  • Gospel Revival Number: Both Blues Brothers movies — first one having "The Old Landmark" (with James Brown presiding!), second time around featuring John The Revelator (although we get a taste of the song during the opening credits too, with Taj Mahal singing solo. It's later on sung again at a Tent Revival by James Brown, Sam "The Supervoice" Moore, and Joe Morton.
  • Gratuitous Nazis: On their quest, the boys just happen to run into Illinois Nazis.
  • The Grovel: Jake delivers one of these (in the form of a Hurricane of Excuses) to the fiance he left at the altar. She forgives him and they kiss passionately - only for him to then drop her in the mud and run off again.
  • Hammer Space: Elwood's briefcase and pockets. At various times he produces Cheez Whiz, plain white bread, spray glue ("strong stuff"), flammable spray to blow out the police cruisers' tires, and all of the tools he needs to quickly disable an elevator, including a fairly exotic Yankee spiral ratchet screwdriver.
  • Hammerspace Police Force: Used to hilarious effect in the climatic action sequence. (According to the article, this movie held the Guinness world record for cars destroyed in a single movie for 18 years, and was then trumped by its sequel.) After Jake and Elwood evade every single member of the Chicago police and the Illinois state troopers, the National Guard gets called in to apprehend them. The National Guard shows up with a tank, helicopters, and several hundred assault-rifle wielding soldiers.
  • Handcuffed Briefcase: As seen at the big concert, Elwood Blues carries his harmonica around in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. Jake carries the key.
  • Happy Ending Override: The sequel starts with Elwood being informed of Jake's death, and later Curtis's as well. To make matters worse, we quickly learn that the orphanage Jake and Elwood went through so much trouble to save in the first movie was shut down anyway sometime in between the two movies.
  • Hatedom: An in-universe example; the regulars at Bob's Country Bunker don't react too favourably to "Gimme Some Lovin'" (but they're placated by the theme song from Rawhide and "Stand By Your Man". It's hinted that, being the only two vaguely country songs they know, the band alternates between those two for the whole set, to great acclaim).
  • Hello Again, Officer: State Troopers Mount and Daniel, and Burton Mercer.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Sorry about the massive collateral damage! It's for orphans!
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: To save the orphanage... twice, since the first time only nets them $200 (and a $300 bar tab, which they run out on).
  • Hilarity Ensues
  • Hollywood Nuns: Sister Mary Stigmata ("The Penguin") plays the "elderly, scary disciplinarian with a yardstick" role almost straight, except for the fact that she moves like she's on wheels.
  • Hollywood Police Driving Academy: If the cops' driving were any worse, they would burst into flame as soon as they got in. The ones in the sequel are the advanced class, to the point where it breaks the Suspension of Disbelief. At least when they confront the pileup at the end of Lower Wacker Drive in the first film, the cops stop.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Queen Mouset in the sequel.
  • Holy Backlight: Jake's release from prison at the start.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Jake.
  • Hurricane of Excuses: Jake's list of excuses as to why he failed to show up to marry Carrie Fisher.
    Jake: No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!
  • Hydrant Geyser: A geyser is seen to erupt after the police car collides with The Good Old Boys' Winnebago after the Blues Brothers flee the Country Bunker.
  • Hyperspace Wardrobe: The band do a super-fast costume change for Curtis to lead them in Minne the Moocher. They change back in the blink of a camera cut afterwards.
  • I Can Explain: Played for laughs. Jake's 'explanation' turns out to be a series of increasingly unlikely excuses. Amazingly enough they do the job and let the brothers make their escape.
  • Iconic Item: The brothers' black suits and fedoras. And their sunglasses, of course.
  • Iconic Outfit: The brothers' black suit pants and jackets, ties, shades, hats, and white shirts. Mostly the shades, if anything gets parodied.
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Elwood knows the streets of Chicago like the back of his hand.
    Elwood: If my estimations are correct, we should be very close to the honorable Richard J. Daley plaza.
    Jake: That's where they got that Picasso!
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • The police, the Nazis, the Good Ol' Boys, and the crazy woman trying to kill Jake are all terrible shots. Especially funny in the case of the crazy woman, who's played by Princess Leia.
    • Subverted or spoofed or... something... by letting Ray Charles fire a gun with incredible precision.
  • Implacable Man: Jake and Elwood are a rare heroic example. Once put on their divine mission to save an orphanage, they're shot at, bombed, and chased by every force imaginable. None of this can do anything more than slow them down.
  • Improbable Parking Skills
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
    • After telling Bob that Elwood is in the car writing out a (nonexistent) American Express Travelers' Cheque to cover the band's extensive bar tab, Jake says, "I'd better check up, see how he's doing. See, I have to sign it too... I usually sit in the car and write it out on the glove compartment lid." Then he beats a hasty retreat for the car.
    • See also Hurricane of Excuses above.
  • Invincible Classic Car: The Bluesmobile survives incredible abuse amidst ridiculous stunts until it literally comes apart once the boys finally reach Daley Plaza. Though unusually for this trope, it was only five years old at the time of filming.
  • Iron Butt Monkey/Iron Woobie: A rare live-action film example. The boys manage to take a building collapsing on them and dust it off. Their shades are that cool.
  • Is It Always Like This?: Upon entering Elwood's noisy apartment, Jake asks how often the train comes by. Elwood replies, "So often that you won't even notice it."
  • It Has Been an Honor: When their car is plummeting off an incomplete highway, one Nazi looks at the other one and goes, "I've always loved you," just before crashing.
  • It's X. I Hate X.:
    Elwood: Illinois Nazis.
    Jake: I hate Illinois Nazis.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Jake and Elwood deliberately invoke this trope to drag Mr. Fabulous away from his ritzy maître d' job and back into their band. Though his insistence to buy the young daughter of the family in the next table probably has even greater effect.
  • Just Got Out of Jail:
    • The movie begins with "Joliet" Jake Blues being released on parole from Joliet State Penitentiary.
    • The sequel begins with Elwood getting out of jail, though Jake did not join him.
  • Just Keep Driving: The police car carrying Burton Mercer and the two state troopers who had been pursuing Elwood from the start crash into a trailer. The truck keeps driving.
  • Just Take the Poster: One of the Nazis brings a poster promoting the band's gig at the Palace Hotel Ballroom, which he had obviously torn off a wall somewhere, to the leader of the Illinois Nazi Party.
  • Knuckle Tattoos: The brothers each have their names on their knuckles. Elwood's name actually spills onto his other hand.
  • Lame Excuse: Jake famously gives every excuse ever conceived (and then some) when confronted by his axe-crazy fiancée as to why he ditched at the alter:
    Jake: I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!
  • Large Ham: The scene where Jake finally comes face to face with the Mystery Woman and throws himself on his knees to apologize:
    Jake: Oh, please, don't kill us! Please, please don't kill us! You know I love you baby. I wouldn't leave ya. It wasn't my fault!
    Mystery Woman: You miserable slug! You think you can talk your way out of this? You betrayed me.
    Jake: No, I didn't! Honest! I ran out of gas! I, I had a flat tire! I didn't have enough money for cab fare! My tux didn't come back from the cleaners! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! THERE WAS AN EARTHQUAKE! A TERRIBLE FLOOD! LOCUSTS! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!
  • Leitmotif: The horn intro from "I Can't Turn You Loose", originally recorded by Otis Redding, could very easily be retitled "The Blues Brothers Theme" by now.
  • Lemming Cops: Leads to spectacular car crashes.
    HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded by Willie Hall. "At least we've got a change of clothes, sucka. You're wearing the same shit you had on three years ago!"
  • Literal Genie: The car chase through the mall starts with Jake being a little vague:
    Jake: You got us into this parking lot, pal, so you get us out.
    Elwood: You want out of this parking lot? OK.
  • Living Prop: Tom "Bones" Malone in the first one. All the other band members had at least one memorable scene. Tom only has a handful of lines and doesn't do anything memorable.
  • Long List:
    • In the second movie, Elwood runs down the list of musical genres the Blues Brothers are capable of performing. It includes just about every genre imaginable (except Caribbean music, for whatever reason).
    • Jake's absurd amount of excuses to his fiancée as to why he left her at the alter.
  • Loudspeaker Truck: The brothers mount one on the Bluesmobile to advertise their show at the Plaza.
  • Lounge Lizard: Murph turned into this. Too-Big, Colonel, Duck, and Bones seem to be mostly in it for the paycheck.
  • MacGuffin: Raising the money to pay the orphanage's debts.
  • Mafia Princess: Carrie Fisher's character, possibly; she mentions her father having used up his influence with some sort of criminal while planning her wedding to Jake.
  • The Mafiya: The sequel substitutes Russian mobsters for Illinois Nazis.
  • Magic Brakes: Elwood glues the Good Ol' Boys' truck's accelerator pedal down.
  • Magic Bus: The Bluesmobile.
  • Magic Realism: The car, the Blues Brothers' invulnerability, etc.
  • The Mall: One of the film's more memorable Chase Scenes has the cops pursuing Jake and Elwood through one of these.
  • Man Hug: Jake and Elwood at the beginning when Jake gets out of prison.
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "Jailhouse Rock" in the first movie, "New Orleans" in the second movie.
  • Meaningful Name: The film begins with "Joliet" Jake Blues being released from Joliet Correctional Center.
  • The Men in Black: Jake and Elwood get mistaken for this after inquiring about one of the bandmates at his ex-landlady's apartment:
    Landlady: Are you the police?
    Elwood: [Perfect deadpan] No ma'am. We're musicians.
  • Metallicar Syndrome: Played with by the "black and white 1974 Dodge Monaco." It sounds like it should be a straight example, but it's actually an ex-police cruiser still in Mt. Prospect Police colours, and the lack of a light-bar or the emblem on the doors isn't immediately noticeable from some angles. This doesn't actually help very much in the end, though.
  • Mickey Mousing: Most especially when the brothers are sneaking past the cops to get to their gig, in time with Curtis's rendition of "Minnie the Moocher".
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: "They broke my watch".
  • Mission from God: Trope Codifier. The phrase did exist long before, but the film put it into pop culture, and nowadays, using "Mission from God" can be a reference to this film.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: The band impersonate the "Good Ol' Boys" at Bob's Country Bunker, adding yet another to the long-ass list of pursuers during the climax when both the Good Ol' Boys and the bar owner realize they've been had.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Jake kisses the mystery woman in the tunnel to try and stop her from killing them, then turns to Elwood and says, "Let's go," before dropping her. Literally.
    • A rapid-fire example during the climax when the Blues Brothers are in The Elevator from Ipanema while hundreds of law-enforcement personnel are storming the building.
  • Motivational Lie: Elwood told Jake that he was staying in touch with the band while Jake was in prison, so that Jake would have some hope to hang onto.
    Elwood: It wasn't a lie, it was just... bullshit.
  • Motor Mouth: Elwood. In both movies (and indeed, in the gigs prior to the movie's creation)! This is Dan Aykroyd's trademark, as a tribute to Jack Webb.
  • The Musical
  • Musical World Hypothesis: The music is mostly diegetic, with actual bands and musicians doing rehearsed performances. But then you have Aretha Franklin randomly bursting into song in a diner accompanied by background singers, and people flooding the streets to do a choreographed dance when Ray Charles belts out a number. "Minnie the Moocher" is an odd case where the music is clearly diegetic (they just happened to know how to play that exact song perfect the first time), but the outfits worn by the band are clearly part of an Alternate Universe: they instantly change from their regular clothes to white vests when the song starts and suddenly reverted when it ends between shots, without any scene change whatsoever.
  • Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: The Mystery Woman qualifies in method, if not in profession.
  • Natural Spotlight: Lampshaded, when Jake "sees the light" thanks to James Brown's sermon.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: The title characters are pretty determined not to go back to prison... at least until they can pay the assessment taxes on the orphanage they grew up in.
  • Never Mess with Granny: The Penguin maybe a little young, but she fits the badass by whipping the piss out of Jake and Elwood.
  • Nice Hat: As with the Cool Shades, the brothers' hats are never removed—except when Elwood uses his as a glove to punch out a window, and when he takes it off for a moment in a gesture of respect for the (very) defunct Bluesmobile. In the sequel, Elwood takes it off two times: when Caleb tells him to do so, and when he's face to face with Queen Mousette, as a gesture of respect, prompting the other members of the band to do the same. She appreciates the gesture.
  • No Ending: The second film ends with Elwood and Buster on the run from authorities; whether they escape is uncertain.
  • No Endor Holocaust:
    • Parodied; after the car crash in 2000, every police officer is shown climbing safely out of the mountain of wrecked cars.
    • An inferred, more straightforward variant happens in the first film, when Jake's ex-fiancée blows up the hotel where the brothers are staying. Immediately afterwards, we see the brothers, and then the cops climb out of the debris none the worse for wear, presumably meaning that everyone else there survived too.
  • No Name Given: Carrie Fisher's stalking killer is never referred to by name. The script refers to her as "Mystery Woman."
  • No One Could Survive That!: Played for laughs. The Mystery Woman tries several different times to kill Jake. She uses a missile to blow up the building where he (and his brother) live, bringing the whole building down on them. They just arise from the pile of bricks, brush themselves off, and continue on their "mission from God". Later on, she fires a flame thrower at them while they're in a phone booth next to a propane tank, blowing them up into the air. When they land, the phone breaks and they pick up the change. The justification (not directly stated by rather heavily implied) is that since they are on a "mission from God" they have His divine protection too.
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Parodied. The Penguin floats, and the doors leading to her office open and close completely by themselves. And it even gets a laugh from the Vatican, who've called it a Catholic Classic.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Jake and Elwood, when their car starts breaking down during the epic chase at the end.
    • Also when the Good Ol' Boys start firing on them.
      Elwood: Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail me now!
    • And when the car finally does die, we get some quick shots of the statues on the building looking down with shocked expressions.
    • When the Mystery Woman finally confronts the brothers following the concert and Jake unleashes his Hurricane of Excuses, Elwood's immediate reaction is to duck and cover in preparation for his presumably imminent death.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. The Blues Brothers Band has two members named "Murphy" - Matt "Guitar" Murphy and Murphy "Murph" Dunne.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Jake takes off his sunglasses exactly once: when he begs his jilted ex-fiancée not to murder him.
  • Orphanage of Love: St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud, where Jake and Elwood grew up and what they risk everything to save. More thanks to Curtis than the Penguin, though she seems fairly reasonable. Jake really needs to learn not to swear in front of a nun.
  • Overly Long Gag: The car chase in the second movie.
  • Overly Polite Pals: The brothers invoke this trope when they go into Mr. Fabulous's restaurant, taking each other's arms.
  • Parallel Parking: Elwood has to be one of the best in history. Able to do an e-brake slide into any spot.
  • Parental Substitute: The Penguin and Curtis both function as these to Jake and Elwood.
  • Performance Video
  • Plot Armor: They get shot at with a rocket launcher, caught in a collapsing building, launched sky-high in a phone booth, splattered with beer, and shot at with an automatic rifle from point-blank range and never get wounded. And five seconds later their suits are clean and pressed again—in all but the last situation, anyway, when they go face-down in the mud to avoid the shots. This is because, as they constantly remind you, they are on a Mission from God.
  • Police Are Useless: The Chicago Police and Illinois State Police.
  • Police Brutality: "Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved."
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The neo-Nazi villains are introduced by their leader giving a deeply racist speech at a rally. Our heroes are not pleased.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: The Bluesmobile pulls off all sorts of crazy stunts throughout the film, but after a 120 mile mad-dash to the city tax office with just about every law officer in the state hot on their tail (plus a few other groups they pissed off along the way), the car quite literally falls to pieces after pulling up in front of the building; it's mission complete.
  • The Power of Rock: The original R&B in this case.
  • Precision F-Strike: The Good Ol' Boys' response to the Blues Brothers' attempt to delay them:
    McElroy: You’re going to look pretty funny trying to eat corn on the cob with no fuckin’ teeth!
  • Produce Pelting: Although it's beer bottles instead of vegetables. And that's even after they please the crowd! Good thing the chicken wire between the band and the stage is reinforced with Plot Armor.
  • Product Placement: The car chase through the mall features a number of store banners and individual products mentioned by name by the Blue Brothers themselves. But it's such a fantastic and memorable scene that you probably won't even notice at all that you just saw an extended product placement sequence!
    Jake: This place has got everything!
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Jake's fiancée, whom he dumped at the altar. Seriously. This one packs a four-barreled ROCKET LAUNCHER.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Jake Blues may have executed the most epic use of this trope ever in order to not get blasted in the face by his ex-fiancée.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The Trope Namer.
  • The Quest: Jake and Elwood embark on one to save their orphanage.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: The boys are on a Mission from God, and would like to remind you that "the Lord works in mysterious ways."
  • Ramp Jump: The Bluesmobile jumps the gap between two halves of a raised drawbridge in a police car. Since the car landed on a slope, this one is at least plausible (if still incredibly dangerous).
  • Rare Guns: The Mystery Woman's prop rocket launcher is obviously based on the M202 FLASH.
  • Rated M for Manly: It's about saving an orphanage with the power of awesome music and outrunning the police in a Cool Car, while wearing Sunglasses at Night. It's the only musical men will watch, even if they deny that it's a musical.
  • Rays from Heaven: One of these hits Jake as he and Elwood are standing at the back of a church and he has an epiphany — "The band!"
  • Real Place Background:
    • "This is definitely Lower Wacker Drive."
    • "1060 West Addison? That's Wrigley Field."
    • "If my estimations are correct, we should be very close to the Honorable Richard J. Daley Memorial Plaza."
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Imagine the prop people handing Ray Charles, a blind man, a pistol with blanks, and telling him to fire it in the direction of three actors, a cameraman, assorted production staff...
  • Re-Cut: The first cut of the film lasted 2-1/2 hours, with an intermission. After one early screening, Lew Wasserman demanded it be shortened, and 20 minutes were cut. Amongst the deleted material:
    • The two Joilet guards come to get Jake in his cell and have trouble waking him up.
    • One additional line from Frank Oz as he rattles off Jake's material possessions.
    • An additional line for the Penguin regarding missions: "I'll be sent to the missions... Africa, Latin America... Korea."
    • Jake and Elwood discuss getting the money for the mission honestly outside of the Triple Rock Baptist Church.
    • The "The Old Landmark" number is considerably longer, incorporating more dance sequences and extra verses.
    • After the demolition derby in the shopping mall Elwood parks the Bluesmobile in a hiding place beside an electrical power box. (John Landis explains that Dan Aykroyd thought this would show how the car gets its incredible endurance, but also goes on to explain that it never did make any sense, so the scene was cut.)
    • A few extra lines of dialog when Elwood and Jake rest in his apartment.
    • When the cops come to arrest Jake and Elwood in the motel, they first stop at the registration desk and intimidate the manager. They also greet Sam, who seems to be known by everyone.
    • An entire sequence with Elwood boosting chemicals from his day job, then quitting the job to become a priest, is restored.
    • After the above sequence, Jake and Elwood study a cigarette box with "the last known address of Bones Malone and Blue Lou Marini".
    • After getting the new address of Bones Malone, Elwoods thanks Ms Tarantino before leaving.
    • Jake has an extra line of dialog while pep-talking Murph and the Magictones at the Holiday Inn ("Now, who here at this table can honestly say that they played any finer or felt any better than they did when they played with the Blues Brothers?")
    • One line of dialog for Henry Gibson is restored for the Illinois Nazis scene at the bridge, with regards to the swastika ("The sacred and ancient symbol of your race since the beginning of time!")
    • The "Boom Boom" number is much longer, with extra shots of John Lee Hooker laughing and arguing with his band. Jake and Elwood watch for a moment then enter the Soul Food Cafe.
    • "Think" has extra verses and shots of dancing.
    • When the band arrives at Bob's Country Bunker, Bob hands the request list to Bones Malone, who looks at it blankly.
    • The "Theme from Rawhide and "Stand By Your Man" numbers are slightly longer.
    • The original Picwood preview included another musical number, "Sink the Bismark", but that footage has been lost.
    • More lines of dialog for Maury Sline in the steam room scene, mostly regarding to the old gigs having been turned into (gay) discos.
    • When Jake fills up the tank for the Bluesmobile, he overfills it and gas spills over. When they peel out from the station, Elwood flicks a cigarette out of the window and causes the station to explode. (Landis now says he doesn't remember why this particular scene was cut.)
    • Before the sound-check Curtis explains to the band that they need to do it for the kids, since the Blues Brothers will use the money raised from that concert to pay the taxes for a church. The look on the faces of the band after they hear it is priceless!
    • The "Minnie the Moocher" number is considerably extended.
    • As Jake and Elwood sneak into the show, Elwood takes the chemicals that he stole from the show and sneaks them into the tires of the cop cars.
    • Both the "Everybody Needs Someone to Love" and "Sweet Home Chicago" numbers are extended.
    • When Jake and Elwood sneak out, the gas in the cop cars tires reacts and causes the tires to explode on some to delay the police.
    • An alternate line of dialog for Carrie Fisher in the sewer when she confronts Jake, about how her father "used up her last favors" with the Mafia for her wedding. In the original release it was changed due to complaints of the Italian-American community.
    • The lengthy climactic chase to (and through) Chicago features many extra lines and shots of racing autos.
    • The "assault on Daley plaza" and the Assessor's Office scenes also feature extra lines and shots.
    • The "Jailhouse Rock" number is slightly longer.
    • As the prisoners riot at the end of the film, there is a brief shot of riot-geared police guards racing into the mess hall that has been added. It changes the end of the film subtly.
    • The "cast of characters" and end credits are extended to accommodate the new footage.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Non-reusable in this case, as Jake throws the one in the Bluesmobile out the window after he finds that it doesn't work.
  • "Ride of the Valkyries": Played by the Nazis, no less!
  • Road Block: Both films.
    • In The Blues Brothers, the Blues brothers escape the cops by driving into a mall. Later, they hide the Bluesmobile in a sewer directly under a roadblock outside their gig. They also humiliate the Illinois Nazis' protest—blocking a bridge—by driving straight at them, to the crowd's applause.
    • In The Blues Brothers 2000, a roadblock has been set up; Elwood gets around it by driving under a river.
  • Rousing Speech: Blues Brothers 2000 has Buster verbally kicking Elwood's rear end, followed up by this gem:
    Elwood: You may go if you wish. Remember this: Walk away now and you walk away from your crafts, your skills, your vocations; leaving the next generation with nothing but recycled, digitally-sampled techno-grooves, quasi-synth rhythms, pseudo-songs of violence-laden gangsta-rap, acid pop, and simpering, saccharine, soulless slush. Depart now and you forever separate yourselves from the vital American legacies of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmie Reed, Memphis Slim, Blind Boy Fuller, Louie Jordan, Little Walter, Big Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson I (and II), Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Elvis Presley, Lieber and Stoller, and Robert K. Weiss.
    [Duck, Cropper, and Bones Malone shrug]
    Elwood: Turn your backs now and you snuff out the fragile candles of Blues, R&B, and Soul, and when those flames flicker and expire, the light of the world is extinguished because the music which has moved mankind through seven decades leading to the millennium will wither and die on the vine of abandonment and neglect.
  • Runaway Bride: Gender Flipped; Jake turns out to have left Carrie Fisher at the altar.
  • Running Gag:
    • Lots of them ranging from the obvious ("We're on a Mission from God") to the subtle (Jake constantly checking his watch, which was declared broken in the first scene). There's also the ones in the sequel referring to the first movie, from Elwood throwing the cigarette lighter out the window to all the cops being terrible shots.
    • "They broke my watch!"
    • "The Lord works in mysterious ways," said by Jake, becomes the running gag of 2000.
    • Elwood stealing things (the windshield wipers from the gas station in the first movie; the toilet paper from Bob's Country Kitchen in the second).
  • Saving the Orphanage: The basis for the entire plot.
  • Scenery Porn: This is the film that put Chicago back on the map. Averted though in the exterior shots of the orphanage.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When Jake and Elwood offer to get the money for the Penguin "in a day" (by stealing it, which Jake just got out of prison for), she immediately stops them, refusing to accept any money gained from a life of crime.
  • Senseless Violins: A Russian gangster at the country fair hides his sniper rifle in a guitar case.
  • Sentimental Sacrifice: The Bluesmobile falls apart when they get to the Cook County building. The boys stop for a moment and take their hats off in silent salute.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    • Jake's conversation with Elwood when they come to dine at Chez Paul.
    • Elwood's Rousing Speech to the band in 2000 takes this one Up to Eleven.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Blues Brothers 2000 inadvertently turned the first movie into this by revealing that the Saint Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage was demolished anyway, meaning that Jake and Elwood went through all that grief in the first movie for nothing. May also count as Shoot the Shaggy Dog in Jake's case.
  • Shoplift and Die: It's a risky proposition at Ray's Music Exchange.
  • Shout-Out: When Carrie Fisher's character fires off a bazooka, the sound effect is the same as the blasters in Star Wars.
  • Sibling Team: Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues. However, they're not biologically related - they became blood brothers while growing up together in the orphanage which the film centers around saving, and took the Blues name as adults.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Jake and Elwood are deliberately crude at Chez Paul and threaten to come back every day until Mr. Fabulous rejoins the band.
  • Slo-Mo Big Air: Jake and Elwood have this in their Bluesmobile. Some say it was because they were on a Mission from God. Apparently, John Landis said "It's just a magic car!".
  • Smoking Is Cool: Virtually everyone smokes. Jake in particular is typically seen holding a cigarette in the film's poster.
  • Smoky Voice: Lloyd, the very raspy fellow at Elwood's SRO flop house. Elwood delivers him a pack of smokes.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Matt knows Jake and Elwood by their food orders: four fried chickens and a Coke for Jake, and dry white toast for Elwood.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The finale of the crazy chase is when Jake and Elwood get on a lift to reach the office where they have to deliver the check for the orphanage's back taxes. Scenes where the frenzied pursuers storm the building are then counterpointed with shots of the Blues Brothers silently standing in the lift as "The Girl from Ipanema" plays in a corny, soothing muzak version.
  • Spin-Off: Of the Saturday Night Live sketches.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: The crowd outside the music store breaks out into spontaneous dance once Ray Charles starts up "Shake a Tail Feather".
  • Staircase Tumble: Angry over the wayward ways of Jake and Elwood Blues, Sister Mary Stigmata starts whacking them with a cane, causing them to flee. Jake is unable to escape the schooldesk he's crammed into and ends up tumbling down the stairs in it.
  • Stairs Are Faster: The brothers take the elevator up to the floor the Assessor's office is on, then disable the one elevator they came up in. The combined might of the Chicago Police, SWAT, National Guard, etc. try to follow up the elevator, but after waiting a few seconds they decide to charge up the stairway instead.
  • Stealth Pun: In the White Supremacist Rally scene, the Rally speaker refers to their party as the American Socialist White People's Party, or, if you were to initialize it, ASWPP. The Neo-Nazis are ASsWiP(P)es.
  • Stern Nun: The Penguin.
  • The Stoic: Both Jake and Elwood are, for the most part, utterly unflappable and deadpan. Except when singing.
  • Straight Gay: "I've always loved you." From a Nazi. Right before the car they're in gets smashed into the ground.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: Though they were often there before.
  • Sunglasses at Night: More like sunglasses ALL the time.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted by John Goodman in the sequel, who distinguishes himself from Belushi in his performance and his singing.
  • Take That!/Affectionate Parody: The scene with John Popper in the sequel reads like an affectionate parody, verging on a Take That!, of the fans and the unease felt by Landis and Aykroyd whenever blues fans and musicians tell them that the Blues Brothers are these really great blues musicians on par with B.B. King or other well known names.
  • Tank Goodness: An M4 Sherman shows up alongside the U.S. Army when Jake and Elwood reach the Assessor's office. Despite being over 40 years out of date.
  • Television Geography: Averted; most of the exteriors really were shot in Chicago, perhaps one of the most interesting ones being that they found a closed-off shopping mall (Dixie Square Mall) and set up some fake stores in it for that scene. The abandoned mall remained abandoned for over thirty more years until demolition commenced in 2012.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Elwood gets an unconvincing one in the sequel.
  • Thememobile: The Bluesmobile. The previous one was a Cadillac that Elwood traded in for a microphone (a fair trade, we're told). The replacement Bluesmobile seen in the movie was a former police car that at first appears to be The Alleged Car, but endures more abuse than any automobile reasonably should. It also proves to be tire-shreddingly fast, in spite of its appearance.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: "Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved." This line alone annoyed the Chicago Police Department so much that they refused to be in any films for years afterwards.
  • Those Wacky Illinois Nazis: We hate them.
  • Tough Room: Bob's Country Bunker is a country-western bar with a heavily redneck clientele. When the Blues Brothers start up a show there with "Gimme Some Lovin'" (a blues song, naturally), they're pelted with beer bottles and boos. They then launch into a country set including the theme from Rawhide and "Stand By Your Man", which gets them pelted with beer bottles and raucous cheers. At least there's a chicken-wire fence up to protect the stage...
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • In addition to Elwood ordering dry white toast at Matt's diner, when he and Jake are in his SRO hotel room he heats a piece of white bread over a hotplate, and at Ray's pawn shop he gets distracted examining a small toaster-oven, the better to toast his white bread with.
    • He even pulls a piece of bread out of his pocket to try it out. Apparently he just carries white bread around with him.
    • When the police invade Bob's Country Kitchen in the sequel to look for the Blues Brothers, they notice the table where they were sitting. One of the plates has two pieces of dry white toast on it.
    • "Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Orange Whip?"
  • Trash the Set: One chase scene has the duo drive the Bluesmobile through a busy mall, causing all manner of displays and storefronts to be destroyed. The set was actually a then-recently closed-down mall (Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois) — ironically, the filmmakers never cleaned up the damage from filming, and the site remained destroyed and abandoned for more than 30 years until its demolition in 2012.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot:
    • Somehow, despite being being only 106 miles away from Chicago at midnight, and traveling at a high rate of speed, the Blues Brothers do not arrive in Chicago until 8 a.m. or so when the Cook County Assessor's Office is open.
    • So, why didn't the Good Ol' Boys show up for their gig at the country bar until the bar was closed and the Blues Brothers were leaving? They give a Hand Wave when they show up, simply saying they're running very late.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: The brothers, especially Jake. They mean well enough as they just want to save the orphanage they grew up in, but they're not above scamming patrons, acting like jackasses and endangering bystanders more than they really need to.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • People seem rather unfazed by things like someone blowing up a hotel front with a rocket launcher. Followed by blowing up the building the next morning.
    • Jake and Elwood treat the mystery woman's attacks this way. After each occurrence of being shot at and/or blown up, the two simply get up nonchalantly and dust themselves (and each other) off, without saying so much as a word to one another. Only in their very last confrontation does Elwood finally give any indication they consider this unusual.
      Elwood: Who is that girl?
  • Vehicular Sabotage: On their way to sneaking in to their concert, Elwood makes Jake wait while he sprays glue onto the gas pedal of the Good Ol' Boys' RV and fills the police cars' tires with a gas that will expand and burst them (although the latter is a deleted scene that didn't quite fit the rest of the film).
  • Video Credits: And a great song, too!
  • The Voiceless: Sort of. Elwood was initially introduced in the SNL sketches as Jake's "silent brother." He later sang back up and, by the time of the first film, had graduated to a full speaking role.
  • Walking In Rhythm: While sneaking into the Palace Hotel Ballroom, Jake and Elwood tiptoe past a snoozing policeman to the beat of Cab Calloway singing "Minnie the Moocher". The scene is probably a reference to artists like Calloway, who would lead a band and a crowd simultaneously, and walk to the beat as part of the performance.
  • Watch the Paint Job: The Bluesmobile receives a brief but moving moment of silence from Jake and Elwood shortly after its (hilarious) demise.
  • We Sell Everything: The drive-through mall scene:
    Jake: There's pants and burgers.
    Elwood: Yeah, lots of space in this mall.
    Jake: Disco pants and haircuts.
    Elwood: Yeah... Baby clothes.
    Jake: This place has got everything.
    Elwood: The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year.
  • We Wait:
    • Invoked: Bob and the Good Ole Boys have bought tickets to the Blues Brothers' show, and must now wait for the band to actually come on stage.
    • Subverted by the police, who must also wait, but in their case, it's because the officer in charge wants to see the band play before they arrest them.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The Bluesmobile is rusty and has a broken cigarette lighter, but as a former police vehicle, the innards are solid. It proves itself mightily over the course of the film, only to fall to pieces as soon as its mission is complete.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Jake's murderous ex-fiancée disappears after the Blues Brothers make their escape from the big performance.
    • It's not obvious what happened to the other hotel occupants after the "Mystery Woman" blew the place up. Common sense would say that they all died horrifically, but there's a good chance that they survived since the Blues Brothers, the state troopers, and Burton Mercer all emerged from the rubble dazed but unhurt. The film, however, doesn't let us know either way.
  • Where Does She Get All Those Wonderful Toys: The Mystery Woman somehow has access to an absurd amount of firepower, including a bazooka, a flamethrower and enough explosives to bring down a building. She even has the military manuals.
  • A Wizard Did It: A deleted scene was intended to Hand Wave why the Bluesmobile can do so many fantastic stunts. The Brothers parked it under a bunch of power transformers, allowing it to get "charged up." Since this scene was removed (and never really explained, even in versions that include it), Landis has offered the following explanation: "It's just a magic car."
  • Woman Scorned: Taken to hilarious extremes by Jake's jilted fiancée, who's turned into a Pyro Maniac in the process and tries to blow the Brothers up several times. Just when it looks like Jake's about to take her back, he drops her. Again. This time, literally as well.
  • Worthy Opponent: Detective Burton Mercer, John Candy's character, seems to regard the Brothers as this. At very least, he is clearly amused by all of their antics, to the point where he's chuckling wryly after the police car he's in has been rammed into the side of a truck.
  • Your Favorite: Inverted. Jake and Elwood order a meal in a soul food restaurant. The cook, one of their former bandmates, recognizes the order (dry white toast for Elwood, four fried chickens and a Coke for Jake) and goes out front to greet them.

Alternative Title(s): Blues Brothers 2000, Blues Brothers

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheBluesBrothers?from=Main.TheBluesBrothers