5.8/10
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60 user 16 critic

The Jazz Singer (1980)

The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of being a popular singer.

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Writers:

(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Cantor Rabinovitch
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Rivka Rabinovitch
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Sully Boyar ...
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Leo
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Luther Waters ...
Teddy
Oren Waters ...
Mel
Rod Gist ...
Timmy
Walter Janovitz ...
Rabbi Birnbaum (as Walter Janowitz)
Janet Brandt ...
Aunt Tillie
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M.C. Cinderella Club
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Storyline

Neil Diamond stars in this motion picture as Yussel Rabinovitch, a young Jewish cantor who strives to make a career outside the synagogue in popular music as Jess Robin. Against the wishes of his rigid father and his loving wife, Yussel travels from New York City to Los Angeles to play his music. Swept up by the excitement, he meets a spunky manager who believes in his talent and shares his dream. He grows apart from his family, and becomes confused about what he should ultimately do with his life. Written by Ted Kula <tkula@cs.wvu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you have to risk it all... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cantaretul de jazz  »

Box Office

Gross:

$27,118,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (DVD version)| (DVD version)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To date [May 2014], this is the only acting role for Neil Diamond (not counting the times he played himself in movies). See more »

Goofs

When Jess' father comes to visit him in California and they walk into the apartment, Jess never shuts the door completely. Later when Molly comes home, we hear the sound of the door opening. See more »

Quotes

Bubba: Boom boom boom! I want more boom boom boom! I want more boom boom boom!
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Soundtracks

Shabbat Shalom
Words - Traditional
Music by Uri Frenkel
© 1980 Frogking Music
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User Reviews

 
A great score applied to a great story
26 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I try to go into a movie uncolored with opinions, and thankfully hadn't heard any negative reviews on this one prior to seeing it for the first time in 1980. That allowed me to view it with an open mind.

The score is superb. It's what makes the movie what it is. The songs fit the mood in every scene, and are all well-placed. The acting, while not the best I've ever seen, isn't nearly as bad as made out to be by critics. Let's face it. Neil Diamond is not an actor. He is a singer, a performer. In this movie he does that very well. And yet, he manages to pull off his character, Yussel Rabinovich, without a hitch. His scenes with Sir Lawrence Olivier are touching and believable. They are indeed a good match as father and son cantors. But for Yussel, his heritage isn't enough. His music roots drive him, and that's what he sets out to discover. Against the will of his father, and over the protest of his wife Rivka, he leaves his home in New York for L.A. and seeks his destiny.

Lucie Arnaz turns in a good performance as Molly Bell, a "retired" music promoter who sees potential in Yussel and takes him under her wing. What follows is a tug-of-war, a battle of values—old and new—as Neil's character, now Jess Robin, climbs the charts professionally, yet never really forgets where he came from.

Watching Neil perform in this movie is like seeing one of his concerts. He's all-show, and not a bit shy. When he picks up a guitar, you know you're in for a treat, and he does music as only he can. It's a great story, well-told and, on the whole, well-acted. Neil gives emotions where called for. But in this movie, the music's the star. That's where Neil really delivers.


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