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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.

In the late 1970s, during Saturday Night Live's early years, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi appeared together in an occasional sketch-cum-musical-act featuring the two of them in matching dark suits and sunglasses as "The Blues Brothers"; Belushi was Jake Blues, while 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), so 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—directed by John Landis, and titled The Blues Brothers—that quickly and deservedly became a Cult Classic. As the film begins, "Joliet" Jake Blues has just been released from prison, with Elwood there to pick him up in a battered piece of crap that was formerly a police cruiser. (Elwood is not silent in this film; in fact, he gives a few serious lectures.) Fulfilling a promise made before Jake began serving his sentence, the brothers head to the Catholic orphanage where they were reared and visit "The Penguin" (Kathleen Freeman), the nun who runs the place. During this meeting, the brothers are informed that the orphanage is going to be closed down if its outstanding $5,000note  property tax bill isn't paid within 11 days.

The brothers drop in at a nearby Baptist church as they try to figure out a way to save their childhood home. While listening to the sermon from the minister (James Brown), Jake sees the light—literally—and has an epiphany regarding their Mission from God: the Blues Brothers must get their band back together for a charity concert to raise the money to save the orphanage—no matter what. Along the way, they encounter such notables as Cab Calloway, John Candy, Ray Charles, Carrie Fisher, Aretha Franklin, Kathleen Freeman, Henry Gibson, John Lee Hooker, Chaka Khan, John Landis, Charles Napier, Frank Oz, Paul Reubens, Steven Spielberg, and Twiggy as hilarity duly ensues, some damn good music gets played, and every last police car in the City of Chicago is destroyed.

There was a sequel, released in 1998, titled Blues Brothers 2000.

The Blues Brothers would later get selected for preservation for National Film Registry in 2020.

"We're getting the tropes back together!"

  • 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 five 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.
    • The mail woman back up dancer to Aretha too!
    • One of the dancers outside Ray’s Music Exchange is rather large, but has some great moves!
  • Actor Allusion: In a follow-up to Frank Oz's appearance as a prison property supervisor, a random customer in the shopping mall sequence asks about Miss Piggy dolls, while holding a Grover toy.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Burton Mercer seems genuinely amused at the Blues Brothers' antics, despite frequently being on the receiving end of them or having them backfire rather disastrously on him. And he damn well gets into their gig despite being there to arrest them.
    • Mercer jovially calls dispatch to tell them they are out of action due to their cruiser being embedded in a semi. Mercer finds it hilarious.
    • Jake and Elwood can't help but join in on the music number at the diner when Arethra Franklin busts out the pipes.
  • Aerith and Bob: Elwood and Jake.
  • 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 plays with 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 for the final punchline, and only after having withstood a Herculean amount of punishment.
  • 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.
    • Also for Jake when he takes off his sunglasses and begs the Mystery Woman not to kill him. Here, though, the effect is caused by the dirt covering the rest of his face.
  • 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 for the rest of the band members (and some other characters) found their way into a book written by John Belushi's wife.
  • All Women Are Lustful: The Mystery Woman who keeps trying to kill Jake? She remained celibate for him. She was celibate, at the back of a cathedral with 300 friends and family in attendance, for him.
  • 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 where they grew up.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • The Head Nazi's lieutenant, who tells him "I've always loved you", just before they crash through the street, leaving a huge pothole. It's not clear if he means it in a platonic or romantic sense.
    • When the band are meeting with their manager, Jake puts some pressure on him by commenting that he'll ring up Mrs. Sline because there's something he "want[s] to tell her". The film then cuts to a wider shot, showing the whole band and Mr. Sline sitting in what's either a sauna or a Turkish bath — each location associated to some degree with casual gay sex, particularly the latter.
  • 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 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.
  • Artist and the Band: Jake and Elwood are dismayed to find that several of their old bandmates have formed "Murph and the Magictones," a cheesy lounge band.
  • Artistic License: Elwood plays a 78rpm blues record in his hotel room with no issues. As anyone who's lived in a place like that can tell you, passing trains will constantly shake the building, which would repeatedly result in the needle literally jumping off the record.
  • 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 the 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; the second car then drives into the hole.
    • 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.
    • Landis says that the Bluesmobile is "a magic car" and left it at that.
    • It's not just the Bluesmobile, though. Prime example: Drive a police car at approximately 100 mph off an embankment. It may, possibly, land on a tractor-trailer, which is going at least 55 mph (the US national interstate speed limit at the time) in the opposite direction. However you will not wind up with a mostly-intact car stuck in a still-moving truck. This could be considered Artistic License – Physics as well. Then again, either Newtonian physics never applied in the Blues-world, or God just suspended those rules for the duration of the mission.
  • 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.
    • On the other hand, they were in Park Ridge, IL, so it's possible they may have been driving on a state-owned road at the time.
  • Artistic License – Law Enforcement
    • Police generally break off from a car chase if it reaches a point where innocent bystanders are facing significant risk. A police chase inside a mall parking lot, where there would presumably be a large number of pedestrians, is already on somewhat shaky ground, but even the most cowboyish cop wouldn't continue a pursuit inside the mall itself.
    • The final chase scene is deliberately over-the-top and not intended to be even slightly realistic (as Lampshaded by the dispatcher calmly noting that "The use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved.") but even then, the mobilization of both a SWAT team (who largely wouldn't be any more effective against largely non-violent criminals on the run than any other law enforcement) and a police marine unit in patrol boats (who wouldn't have any role to play against the land-bound Blues Brothers) is a bit of a head-scratcher.
    • After the huge pile-up beneath the L, a number of cops get out and start blasting away at the fleeing Brothers with their sidearms. Putting aside the fact that a shootout in downtown Chicago is a seriously bad idea, the car is definitely out of effective pistol range by then.
  • 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.
  • Aside Glance: Trumpeter Alan Rubin AKA "Mr Fabulous" does a quick one to the camera after Jake's question: "Did I ever lie to you?"
  • Asshole Victim: A group gets its first amendment rights violated by the Blues Brothers driving a car through their demonstration. Which group? The fucking Illinois Nazi Party. They're also the only people who come close to being confirmed dead as a result of the movie's over-the-top car chases.
  • 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 theatre 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 soundtrack. It's an awesome experience.
  • Audience Participation Song: "Minnie the Moocher" has the audience singing along with Cab Calloway.
  • 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.
  • Badge Gag: When Jake fakes flashing a badge, it's actually an empty, flattened pack of cigarettes.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: 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.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Jake is furious at Elwood for getting them into a high speed chase. He demands of Elwood, "You got us into this mall parking lot, you get us outta this mall parking lot." Elwood obliges by crashing through the wall into a toystore and leading the cops on a chase that destroys the mall.
  • 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' makeshift barricades.
    • In the wide shot, the clerk (played by Steven Spielberg) is seen pointing a gun at the brothers from behind them. This is 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. Speaking 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. They will angrily boo and curse while throwing beer bottles at you until you stop playing the wrong music and start playing the right music, at which point they will enthusiastically clap and cheer while throwing beer bottles at you. There's a reason for the chicken wire barrier that puzzled Blue Lou.
    • Don't blaspheme in Mrs. Murphy's presence. Or give the impression of blaspheming.
  • Big Eater:
    • For lunch, Jake orders four fried chickens. And a Coke.
    • The brothers order five shrimp cocktails (and some bread for Elwood, natch) 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 for all the laws they broke during the effort. The sheer hilarity of the buildup, however, overshadows it and least they, and the rest of the band, can still sing and dance while they're serving their sentence.
  • 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 an affable but very shady store owner, firing a handgun at a kid who's trying some shoplifting, but hoo boy can he play the electric piano!
  • Blind Shoulder Toss:
    • Early on, when Jake tries out the cigarette lighter in the police car his brother came in to fetch him out at the prison, he finds it not working and impatiently tosses it out the window.
    • At Chez Paul, Elwood eats some bread and then tosses a chunk of it over his shoulder - and directly into Jake's waiting mouth.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Ray Charles fires a couple of warning shots at a would-be guitar thief.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the gazillions of dollars in property damage throughout the movie, nobody dies. Even the Nazis only get slammed into a giant pothole, after falling a cartoonishly long way.
  • Bookends: The movie opens and closes with Jake in jail. He's just being released in the beginning and performing while re-incarcerated at the end.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The mysterious woman's four-barreled rocket launcher fires five rockets.
  • Bowdlerise: 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 driver's license renewal forms to list his home address as 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. It happens a third time when one of the Chicago police officers faintly yells "They broke my watch!" after most of their cars get destroyed in a pile-up.
    • Elwood awkwardly propositions Twiggy... then, while he's driving like a bat out of hell towards Chicago, we see her waiting at his suggested trysting place. (The film was originally going to end on another one, with Twiggy, Aretha Franklin, and Carrie Fisher waiting in silence outside the prison, presumably for the Brothers and Matt Murphy to get out.)
  • Bulletproof Fashion Plate: The brothers' suits. Even after such mishaps as getting caught in a bomb blast or blown sky-high by an exploding propane tank, all they have to do is brush off the dust and they're good as new. True to the trope, getting covered in mud is the signal that their situation has finally gone to hell.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Illinois Nazis; all of them. But then, they're fair game to mock.
  • Cain and Abel: Subverted. Initially it seems like Jake is a problem child and Elwood is the more responsible brother, but not only does Jake come around to the idea of the Mission from God very quickly, Elwood proves to be just as amoral as his brother. You can't really pick a "good" brother or a "bad" one between two antiheroes.
  • The Cameo: The movie is loaded to the brim with film and music stars, from classic blues and rock, to revent movie stars, to behind the scenes music producers most people wouldn't recognize.
  • 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: The 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 its own sequel.
  • 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, causing the phonebooth they're in to be catapulted high into the air: 10 seconds later, they crash back down largely unharmed and Elwood notices that the impact broke open the payphone's coin box.
      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.
    • "We're so happy to see so many of you lovely people here tonight, and we would especially like to welcome the many representatives of Illinois's law-enforcement community who have chosen to be here this evening..."
  • Catchphrase: "We're on a Mission from God."
  • 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 movie is one giant Chase Scene.
    Mercer: We're in a truck!
  • Chase-Scene Obstacle Course: One of the most iconic scenes in the film starts as a simple parking lot chase outside an indoor mall. The eponymous brothers then crash through a toy store, and the police follow suit. They swerve around (and sometimes go through) booths, clip and sometimes go through corner stores, and finally fly out the window of one of the anchor stores.
  • Chekhov's 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.
    • One deleted scene (restored in some versions of the movie) showed Elwood stealing the glue he would eventually use to sabotage the cops and Good ol' Boys from his (soon to be ex-) employer.
  • Chez Restaurant: Mr. Fabulous (trumpeter Alan Rubin) 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.
  • 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 to begin what is, apparently, the only night they'll spend in anything resembling a home.
  • Comically Invincible Hero: Among other things Jake and Elwood casually dodge bullets from multiple shooters, survive a propane explosion, having what used to be called a flophouse 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.
  • The Comically Serious: The Brothers go through all of the above and more besides without ever raising an eyebrow. They also have some minor Cloudcuckoolander tendencies, which makes their utter casualness all the more ridiculous.
  • Concept Video: The movie is a long string of these.
  • Cool Car: The Bluesmobile. At the beginning of the movie, it's What a Piece of Junk; at the end of the movie, it's The Alleged Car. It survives jump after jump, being driven through a shopping mall, and a high-speed chase with a thrown rod, among other things — and then it literally falls apart upon reaching the property tax office. Elwood briefly pauses to pay his last respects to the wreck while the cops are still chasing them. They no longer needed the car, so it was no longer under God's protection.
  • Cool Old Guy: Curtis, the janitor at the orphanage played by Cab Calloway, who taught Jake and Elwood about the blues. He instigates the whole plot by sending the brothers off to church, recruits a dozen orphans (who all think he's the coolest thing since sliced bread too) for the gig advertising campaign and, when the brothers are delayed, breaks into a brilliant rendition of "Minnie the Moocher" to buy time.
  • Cool Shades: Which they almost never take off.
  • Crashing Through the Harem: The brothers sneak through the window of a ladies' bathroom to get into the Palace Hotel Ballroom for their gig.
  • 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.
  • Creator Thumbprint: We see a billboard for a film named See You Next Wednesday. Most films by John Landis either contain a background reference to a film of this name, or have a character say the words. The Other Wiki has a long list.
  • Credits Gag: Continuing on from Animal House, the ad for the Universal Studios Tour still says "Ask for Babs".
  • Creepy Catholicism: The title characters go "to see 'The Penguin'" — a very stern, heavyset, intimidating Catholic nun who wields a wooden 3-foot ruler like a martial arts weapon and moves with a Ghostly Glide. Her office looks like the set of a horror movie, with prominent sculptures of Christ suffering on the Cross and plenty of creepy shadows.
  • Critical Existence Failure: The instant Jake and Elwood arrive at their destination and exit the Bluesmobile at the end of the Chase Scene, the car literally falls to pieces. Elwood even takes off his hat as a gesture of respect.
  • Crowd Song:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • During the concert at the end, Curtis manages to get the whole crowd singing along to parts of "Minnie the Moocher". This is totally justified, as it's a call-and-response song that Cab Calloway was known for performing the same way "Curtis" does 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.
  • 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, the cast and crew admitted they 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.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Elwood welcomes the Chicago PD to the music hall, then tells the audience that "Everyone is welcome. No matter what you need to thrive and survive. You, me, them.".
  • Dance Party Ending: To the Jailhouse Rock, of course.
  • Death Glare: After Matt "Guitar" Murphy takes off, his wife is left standing there. She glowers at her backup singers, who suddenly look very interested in their food.
  • 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?
  • Destroy the Product Placement: During the mall chase scene, the Blues Brothers and the police destroy several name-brand stores, including Toys-R-Us, Pier 1 Imports, and an Oldsmobile dealership. Lampshaded by the brothers, who casually point out the stores as they get destroyed.
  • 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.
  • Deus ex Machina: The Blues Brothers manage to get to the concert at the Palace Hotel Ballroom, but get stuck with half the Illinois State Police in the building and no way to collect the gate money. A random record executive appears and offers them a contract, enough cash in advance to cover both the orphanage and the Brothers' debts, and even has knowledge of the building to sneak them out past the cops. Considering Who they're on a mission for, this is probably a literal example.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Jake and Elwood with the Penguin. She starts slapping them for swearing in her presence, and every time she does, they swear some more, so...
  • Dine and Dash: The band are booked at a western bar. They order some drinks in between performances, but come time to pay, find out it's more than they can afford. With this plus the arrival of the real country band whose place they took, Elwood and Jake end up fleeing, with said band and the bar owner now added to their list of pursuers.
  • Dingy Trainside Apartment: Elwood takes Jake to his tiny room in a broken-down flophouse. Aside from the fact that there's no room to move, the Chicago "L" passes by every time the window is shown.
  • 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. The Good Ole Boys and bar owner attempt to kill them over a few hundred bucks. Mystery Woman attempts to kill them both because Jake left her at the altar. The Chicago Police escalate like crazy over (admittedly dozens of) unpaid parking tickets and racing a light from a couple of patrol cars up to every single able man with a gun and National Guard assistance 'with tanks' and Police Brutality approved. A fair chunk of the movie consists of Jake and Elwood trying to avoid being shot, blown up or otherwise lethally inconvenienced over petty misdeeds.
  • 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."
  • Divine Intervention: If it's to be taken literally that the brothers are on a "Mission from God," then their inexplicable ability to brush off what should be lethal incidents with ease could be read as this.
  • 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 is considered a dream team in-universe.
  • 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!
  • Dull Surprise: Most of the band are played by actual musicians and not actors, and it shows.
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When meeting the state troopers outside Elwood's actual "residential hotel," Burton Mercer quips that he actually enjoyed Elwood's little trick of listing his address as Wrigley Field. Mercer goes on to be increasingly amused and impressed by the antics of the Blues Brothers throughout the movie, to the point where he's wryly chuckling after the squad car he and his fellows are in has been rammed into the side of a truck.
  • Establishing Series Moment:
    • First we meet Jake. He's fast asleep and lethargic. He gets his property back. A broken watch. An unused prophelactic. One ... soiled.
    • A fairly lengthy one, but the scene just after Jake gets out of prison basically sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The Brothers hug it out, bicker with each other in a scene laden with deadpan humor (including throwing the car's cigarette lighter out the window because it's broken), and then jump a bridge. All set to the tune of "She Caught the Katy".
  • Ethereal Choir: Heard by Jake when he sees the light.
  • 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.
    • At least as the story goes, an unintentional subversion. The reason they chose a Pinto for that scene was because they were banking on its reputation, to save a bit of money for explosives. However (un)fortunately, Reality Is Unrealistic.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The brothers are criminals who hate cops, but they hate nazis even more.
  • 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 reared 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, Elwood is clearly trying to silently ask Jake what the hell he's playing at.
  • Failed a Spot Check: An Illinois police car with lights and siren screaming has just flown off an embankment and into his trailer... and the trucker just keeps driving, at the same rate of speed even.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • The Fool: While Jake and Elwood are by no means stupid, they are rather lackadaisical and prone to absurd leaps in logic. However, they always seem to avoid having to deal with any significant retribution (they survive every assassination attempt with barely a scratch, whenever a pursuer is catching up to them, they end up stopped by some third party, etc.) and they succeed in their goal of raising the money to save the orphanage in the end.
  • 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.
    • The movie does a lot with its props. Among the items on Elwood's dashboard are a crushed beer can (Budweiser) and an ashtray.
  • 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 after 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 Jake's former fiancée (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.
    • There's also the SCMODS (State / County / Municipal Offender Data System).
  • Furniture Blockade: Happens twice in after the title characters are chased into a building by the police.
    • When the Blues Brothers first enter the building, they push some vending machines, two trash cans and benches in front of the door.
    • After they reach the Cook County Assessor's office on the 11th floor, they put chairs, ashtray cans and a bench against the door from the stairwell.
  • 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.
    • He also kept His Hero Insurance up-to-date, because for all the reckless driving and other shenanigans, the only casualties in the film are the literal Nazis, and even they might conceivably have survived.
  • 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: 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 robed gospel choir.
  • Gospel Revival Number: "The Old Landmark" (with James Brown presiding!)
  • Gratuitous Nazis: On their quest, the boys just happen to run into Illinois Nazis. However, this is really a case of Ripped from the Headlines.
  • The Grovel: Jake delivers one of these (in the form of a Hurricane of Excuses) to the fiancee 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.
  • Hammerspace: 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. The joke of the briefcase goes back to a series of SNL sketches were Dan and John played US Secret Service agents to Chevy Chase's Gerald Ford. That is why they wear dark suits and sunglasses, mimicking the Secret Service dress. The briefcase locked with a chain to the wrist comes from a real member of the US President's detail who carries a locked case with the Nuclear Codes. In one episode of the show, after the President Ford sketch, they appear and open the brief case, showing it contains an harmonica. They then proceed to perform a song.
  • Hated by All: Nobody likes Illinois Nazis. The only reason the cops at their rally were protecting them was because of the decision by the court and they're none too pleased about it, with one of them calling the group "bums." Everyone cheers when the Blues Brothers drive them into the water.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Jake is getting out of prison early. Instead of being ready and eager, he's so soundly asleep that the guards have to whack him three or four times with a truncheon to get him to finally wake up.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Holy Backlight: Jake's release from prison at the start.
  • Homage Shot: The POV shot of the Bluesmobile driving under the railway bridge during the final car chase was clearly a nod to the car chase in The French Connection.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Jake.
  • Hurricane of Excuses: Jake's list of excuses as to why he failed to show up to marry Carrie Fisher's character.
    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.
  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won: There really was no escaping the Chicago Police Department in the end.
  • 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.
    • Inverted 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: Elwood's standard parking shtick is to parallel park by drifting into the parking spot from the opposite direction.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Played with. After the brothers browbeat Mr. Fabulous into rejoining the band, he sits down and reaches for the bottle of expensive champagne they ordered, only to find that they've drunk the whole thing.
  • 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.
    • Jake famously gives every excuse ever conceived (and then some) when confronted by his axe-crazy fiancée as to why he ditched at the altar:
      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!
  • Inspiring Sermon: After learning that the Catholic orphanage where they grew up is going to be torn down due to it being deeply in tax debt, Jake and Elwood go to the Triple Rock Baptist Church while contemplating what to do about the situation. While there, Reverend Cleophus James (played by an Adam Westing version of James Brown) gives a passionate sermon that's so powerful that a beam of light shines down from Heaven and inspires Jake to reunite his old bandmates and hold a benefit concert for the orphanage.
  • 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: 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 "hotel" room, 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.
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: "Jerk" may be a little strong, but Donald definitely comes across as the saltiest and casually rudest member of the group, even though he's a stand-up guy.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: The movie begins with "Joliet" Jake Blues being released on parole from Joliet State Penitentiary.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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-Minded: The car chase through the mall starts with Jake being a little vague and Elwood taking his request literally:
    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. All the other band members had at least one memorable scene. Tom only has a handful of lines and doesn't do anything memorable.
  • Logic Bomb: According to Jake's explanation as to why he missed the wedding, he ran out of gas, had a flat tire, and his car was stolen.
  • Long List: Jake's absurd amount of excuses to his fiancée as to why he left her at the altar.
  • Lounge Lizard: Murph turned into this. Too-Big, Colonel, Duck, and Bones seem to be mostly in it for the paycheck.
  • Lower-Class Lout: The brothers invoke this and play it to the hilt at the French restaurant while they're putting the band back together.
  • 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.
  • 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 Penguin is the most explicitly magical element of the film, but the whole damn thing runs on the Rule of Cool, and it works. It's Broadway meets late night meets a stoner party.
  • The Mall: One of the film's more memorable Chase Scenes has the cops pursuing Jake and Elwood through one of these, which they - and the police - end up destroying.
  • Man Hug: Jake and Elwood at the beginning when Jake gets out of prison.
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "Jailhouse Rock"
  • 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. And as noted elsewhere on this list, it's very strongly hinted that, yes, the brothers literally are on one of these.
  • 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. This is Dan Aykroyd's trademark, as a tribute to Jack Webb.
  • Mourning an Object: When against all odds the Bluesmobile that has got Jake and Elwood across Illinois to their destination finally "dies", Elwood takes his hat off in respect for a moment as if at a funeral.
  • 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 Bareheaded: 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.
  • 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 Job Fixing It, Villain: Jake's ex-fiancee wants revenge on him? All she had to do was wait for the cops to arrest both him and Elwood at the hotel. She even sees the cops arrive, and could probably guess what they were there for. But no, she had to do it herself and as a result of blowing up the entire hotel, stops the cops arresting them both and they get away.
  • No Endor Holocaust: An inferred variant happens 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. First, she shoots a rocket launcher at him while he and Elwood are entering the flophouse, but only manages to knock some bricks loose and break the doors and the bum sleeping in the stairway doesn't even wake up from the noise. She then uses a bomb to blow up the same building where he (and his brother) now 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 spilling from its coin box. The justification (not directly stated but rather heavily implied) is that since they are on a "mission from God" they have His divine protection too.
  • Novelization: The novel, which is based on the original screenplay (which bears only a slight resemblance to the final version), expands on some points, such as what Elwood was doing between Jake getting locked up and the beginning of the film (he worked in an aerosol can factory as a maintenance guy, which is how he got that glue can. In a deleted scene, in fact, he is shown working at the factory on the assembly line (or more accurately swiping cans from the line and setting a big chunk of it off-balance), before going to his boss' office to tell him that he's quitting to become a priest).
  • No Endor Holocaust: The Mystery Woman blows up Elwood's hotel. He and Jake pull themselves out of the rubble unharmed. So do the cops who were seconds away from arresting them.
  • No-Tell Motel: Elwood's place is an absurdly tiny hotel room right next to an el. It has a fridge, a sink, a microwave, a bed, and enough counter for a hotplate. Opening the door just barely misses hitting the bed. The sign over the front door reads (shortly before the Mystery Woman blows it up) "Transients Welcome".
  • 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!:
    • The Illinois Nazis get one when Jake and Elwood drive straight at them during their rally, forcing them to jump in the river. And There Was Much Rejoicing follows.
    • Jake and Elwood, when their car starts breaking down during the epic chase at the end.
    • The head Nazi and his lieutenant, when the Bluesmobile does a 180-degree flip over them with Jake and Elwood driving away, and they end up taking a flying leap off the incomplete expressway bridge, and their car crashes through the pavement below, leaving a gigantic pothole in the street below.
    • 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.
    • The young would-be guitar thief after Ray starts blasting away with his hand cannon.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. The Blues Brothers Band has two members named "Murphy" - Matt "Guitar" Murphy and Murphy "Murph" Dunne.
  • The One with a Personal Life: When Jake and Elwood are trying to get the band together again]], trumpet player Alan "Mr Fabulous" Rubin turns them down, as he has a new life as maître d' at an upscale restaurant. He takes some heavy persuading. Similarly, Matt "Guitar" Murphy is initially reluctant as he and wife (played by Aretha Franklin) have settled down to run a soul food eatery together.
  • 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 beer bottles being thrown at Bob’s Country Bunker.
  • 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.
  • Pedal-to-the-Metal Shot: While chasing the title brothers, there's a nice close-up of Tucker flooring it to get to Jake and Elwood before the entire "Illinois law enforcement community" can. A bad idea, first because he's driving the Good Old Boys Winnebago, and second because Elwood has coated the accelerator and the floor of the RV with glue.
  • Performance Video
  • Plain Palate: Elwood's favourite food is plain, dry toast.
  • 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. The armor wears off the second their mission is concluded, landing them both in the slammer.
  • 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 106 mile mad dash to the county tax office with just about every law officer in the state hot on its owners' tail (plus a few other groups they pissed off along the way), the car screeches to a stop in front of its destination and quite literally falls to pieces, its 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!
  • Prisoner Performance: The film ends with the band performing "Jailhouse Rock" in their prison's mess hall.
  • 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!
    • An extremely subtle one: John Candy's line asking for an Orange Whip. While also a cocktail,note  Orange Whip provided refreshments for the crew, and the costumer, Sue Dugan, was daughter of the director of sales for Orange Whip, Kenny Dugan, who asked the brand be mentioned in the film.
  • 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.
  • Putting on the Reich: Jake and Elwood can't stand those damn Illinois Nazis.
  • The Quest: Jake and Elwood embark on one to save their orphanage.
  • 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).
  • 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!"
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: There really is a difference between country and western music. Fittingly, the theme to Rawhide is a good example of western song while "Stand by Your Man" is a good example of a country song.
  • 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."
  • 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."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Burton Mercer thinks that he has the Palace Hotel Ballroom surrounded and all of its exits guarded. Thus, rather than immediately arrest the Blues Brothers on stage, he allows them to perform their show so as to avoid upsetting the large crowd in attendance.
  • 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 rented room.
    • 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, Elwood 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 uses some of the chemicals that he stole from the factory where he worked to overinflate the cop cars' tires.
    • Both the "Everybody Needs Someone to Love" and "Sweet Home Chicago" numbers are extended.
    • When Jake and Elwood sneak out, the gas Elwood sprayed into the cop cars' tires overheats and explodes, delaying the pursuit.
    • 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.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: 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.)
  • Road Block: 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.
  • Rule of Cool: The film accepts its stupid premise and runs with it. It's an SNL skit made into a movie about a couple of white boys who love the blues. Let's just make it a musical with big dance numbers and get every damn amazing figure in the world of music we can, as well as every other big name actor we can convince to have a cameo.
  • Runaway Bride: Gender Flipped; Jake turns out to have left the Mystery Woman 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).
    • "They broke my watch!"
    • Elwood can produce anything from inside his coat pocket, as long as it is contained in an aerosol can (epoxy, glue, Easy Cheese).
    • Elwood never takes off his sunglasses; Jake never takes off his hat.
  • Saving the Orphanage: The basis for the entire plot.
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • The aerial shots that make up the opening show smog-infested industrial landscapes.
    • The orphanage is tucked away in a particularly gritty, run-down ghetto alley with buildings reminiscent of abandoned industrial buildings or warehouses.
    • The side street where the substation is located which Elwood uses as a garage for the Bluesmobile isn't any prettier.
    • Maxwell Street as of 1979, especially as shown in the extended cut, was straddling between this and Scenery Porn. On the one hand, there's the colorful market, and on the other hand, some of the buildings are just plain ruins.
  • 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.
  • Sentimental Sacrifice: The Bluesmobile falls apart when they get to the Cook County building. The boys stop for a moment and Elwood takes his hat off.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Jake's conversation with Elwood when they come to dine at Chez Paul.
  • Shoplift and Die: It's a risky proposition at Ray's Music Exchange.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the Mystery Woman fires off a bazooka, the sound effect is the same as the blasters in Star Wars.
    • The scene in which the Blues Brothers drive through Chicago making deadpan announcements from the loudspeaker strapped to the top of their car is strongly reminiscent of a scene in the 1969 movie adaptation of Keith Laumer's book The Monitors, in which a car with a loudspeaker drives through Chicago making deadpan announcements that "the Monitors are your friends." The Monitors was the first movie production of The Second City comedy troupe, whose numbers later included John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.
    • The fuel company that delivers the gas that the brothers blow up is called "Argon", the same fuel company in The Kentucky Fried Movie.
  • Shown Their Work: Before performing the theme from Rawhide appease the crowd of rednecks at the bar, Willie asks "what key?" This is to make sure the band is all on the same page, something any group of seasoned musicians (which they all are in Real Life) would address first and foremost. A minor but crucial detail that most moviegoers would have overlooked.
  • 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 Versus 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. A deleted scene (put back into the special edition disc release) had Elwood parking it by a power transformer to "charge it up." John Landis cut that scene because he felt the car's special abilities didn't need explanation; as he put it, "It's just a magic car!"
    • Especially exaggerated with the unfinished highway. The Bluesmobile nearly drives off the ramp, brakes, reverses, does a backflip, and careens and twists in the air to somehow land behind the Illinois Nazis' car, facing the other way. When the Nazis drive off the ramp, suddenly they're over a mile in the air, and take over 20 seconds to fall back to Earth.
  • Skewed Priorities: Elwood traded in a Cadillac in order to buy a microphone. Jake gets it.
  • 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.
  • Soft Glass: When the brothers need to sneak into the Palace Hotel without being caught, Elwood covers a window with his hat and punches through the glass. Hat and hand both survive undamaged.
  • 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 disable the only elevator leading up to the tax assessor's office after using it to get to that floor. 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, who whacks both Jake and Elwood with her ruler for swearing.
    Jake: Well, I guess you're really up shit creek.
  • 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.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The fuel station in the extended cut. When Elwood tries to refuel the Bluesmobile, he wraps a cloth around the lever on the hose so that he doesn't have to hold it. He doesn't pay attention, and when the fuel truck has finally arrived, he doesn't notice that the Bluesmobile's fuel tank is overflowing, and gasoline is spilled on the ground. When the Blues Brothers leave the gas station, the trail of gasoline behind them is ignited, and the whole fuel station blows up.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: Though they were often there before.
  • Sunglasses at Night: More like sunglasses ALL the time.
  • Sworn 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.
  • Take That!: On the phone at Chez Paul, Mr. Fabulous says that Mayor Daley is dead. This was because Richard J. Daley had (unofficially) banned all location filming in Chicago for the entire duration of his administration, in response to a 1959 episode of the Lee Marvin TV show M Squad showing a Chicago cop taking bribes. Also, Daley was actually dead, having died in 1976. The ban was lifted by his successor, Jane Byrne, which made it possible for The Blues Brothers and other films to be shot on location in the city.
  • 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.
  • 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, and can keep up that speed even after throwing a rod.
  • 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 Nazis: We hate them, and so do Jake and Elwood. A chapter of the Illinois Nazis become secondary antagonists in the film (behind the fuzz and ahead of the Good Ol' Boys) after the Blues Brothers nearly run them down during one of their public demonstrations, forcing them to dive off the bridge they're blocking into the river. As a result, they're the only enemies of the Brothers (other than The Woman) who actually wants to kill them for revenge, and consequently the only ones to actually be killed off when they drive their car off a high overpass while chasing the Brothers.
  • 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.
    • "Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Three Orange Whips!"
  • 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 noon or so, when the Cook County Assessor's Office has temporarily closed while the assessor is out grabbing lunch.
    • 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.
  • Uncertain Doom: In most films the Illinois Nazis who go flying off the bridge and fall through the road would definitely be dead, but the Blues Brothers survive much worse things without a scratch, so the Nazis could potentially be fine.
  • Unflinching Walk: In the extended cut, the Blues Brothers drive away from the gas station where they had to refuel on their way to the Palace Hotel. The entire gas station blows up right behind them as spilled gasoline is ignited, and they don't care.
  • 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).
  • Verbal Tic: SWAT operatives in the climax all shout "hut, hut" repeatedly for... some reason.
  • 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 Pyromaniac 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Blues Brothers


The Blues Brothers (1980)

Apparently safe driving skills are not among the skills valued by the Chicago Police Department.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (29 votes)

Example of:

Main / LemmingCops

Media sources: