Making Movies, released in 1980, is the third studio album by British rock band Dire Straits. The album marks a significant turning point in the band's style, introducing a greater degree of musical complexity and experimentation compared to the low-key roots rock style of their self-titled debut and Communiqué, born out of frontman Mark Knopfler's desire to push what the band were capable of artists. While not everyone was on-board with the idea, with Knopfler's younger brother David leaving the group due to Creative Differences, the band was in enough agreement with Knopfler to shift focus towards longer, more intricately-arranged songs influenced by the emerging New Wave Music scene and the waning Progressive Rock scene without totally abandoning their Blues Rock core. In particular, the band sought out Jimmy Iovine for production duties after hearing his work on Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen's duet "Because the Night".
The end result was a considerable commercial success, spending 252 consecutive weeks on the UK Albums chart, during which it peaked at No. 4, topping the charts in Italy and Norway, and peaking at No. 19 in the United States. The album was certified gold in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain, platinum in the United States, New Zealand, and Finland, and double-platinum in the band's native UK. Lead single "Romeo and Juliet" additionally peaked at No. 8 on the UK Singles chart.
- "Tunnel of Love" (8:11)
- "Romeo and Juliet" (6:00)
- "Skateaway" (6:40)
- "Expresso Love" (5:12)
- "Hand in Hand" (4:48)
- "Solid Rock" (3:19)
- "Les Boys" (4:07)
The music make her wanna be the troper, and the troper was whatever was the song, what it was:
- Alternate Music Video: "Tunnel of Love" received two music videos, both of which directly adapt the song's lyrics. The first video, directed by Lester Bookbinder, is shot in a studio and features various offbeat setpieces corresponding with the lyrics. The second video, meanwhile, is shot on-location and features more straightforward interpretations of the lyrics (among other things, part of it is filmed at an actual amusement park).
- Breather Episode: "Hand in Hand" and "Les Boys", both of which are much more laid-back both musically and lyrically compared to the emotional intensity of the rest of the album.
- Call-Back: A couple nods to the band's debut album appear:
- "Tunnel of Love" features the phrase "sing about the six-blade, sing about the switchback, and a torture tattoo," in reference to "Six Blade Knife".
- "Expresso Love" features the line "hey mister, you wanna take a walk in a wild west end sometime," nodding to "Wild West End".
- Camp Gay: Explored sarcastically in "Les Boys".
- Epic Rocking: This album marked the point where Dire Straits really started focusing on this trope, with all three songs on side one being six minutes or longer.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The narrator of "Solid Rock" predicts this happening to the target of the song:"Because the heart that you break,"
"That's the one that you rely on,"
"The bed that you make,"
"That's the one you gotta lie on,"
"When you point your finger cos your plan fell through"
"You got three more fingers pointing back at you!"
- I Am the Band: This album marked the point where frontman Mark Knopfler started becoming a more singlehanded leader for the band, to the point where it drove his brother to quit.
- Longest Song Goes First: The 8:11 "Tunnel of Love" opens the album.
- Love Hurts: "Romeo and Juliet", inspired by Knopfler's own breakup with a fellow musician, Holly Vincent. Less obviously, there's "Tunnel of Love".
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: "Skateaway", though unlike many examples of the trope it just seems to be a girl the narrator has seen who has no apparent interest in him.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: Compared to the more elaborate artwork for the band's first two albums and last three, Making Movies sets itself apart with a stark red square with a notched turquoise strip on the side. See Packaged as Other Medium, below.
- New Sound Album: This record features more keyboards, courtesy of Roy Bittan from Bruce Springsteen's E Street band, as the band began to move away from the "roots rock" sound of their first two albums.
- The One That Got Away: "Tunnel of Love" features the narrator remembering a little flingy encounter with a female stranger at an amusement park which he didn't pursue further, but was wistful about later.
- Packaged as Other Medium: The album cover is a minimalist reinterpretation of the packaging for a movie reel, tying in with the album title.
- Putting on the Reich: "Les Boys" features the eponymous performers dressing in erotic parodies of SS uniforms.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: "Romeo and Juliet" was inspired by Mark Knopfler's failed relationship with Holly Vincent of Holly and the Italians; the line "now you just say 'oh, Romeo, yeah, I used to have a scene with him'" was based on Vincent's casual dismissal of the relationship as a "scene" in an interview after their breakup, which made Knopfler feel that she had simply dated him to boost her own career.
- Redemption in the Rain: The general theme of "Hand in Hand".
- "Tunnel of Love" opens with an excerpt from "The Carousel Waltz".
- "Romeo and Juliet" takes its title from the famed Shakespeare tragedy of the same name and uses its characters to explore Knopfler's own romantic woes. The track also references "My Boyfriend's Back" by the Angels and "There's a Place For Us" from West Side Story.
- Stealth Pun: A great one in "Romeo and Juliet":"Now you just say "Oh, Romeo. Yeah, I used to have a scene with him."
- Surreal Music Video: The Lester Bookbinder-directed music videos for "Tunnel of Love", "Romeo and Juliet", and "Skateaway" literally adapt the song's lyrics, resulting in a cavalcade of offbeat, but thematically-related imagery. note