The Jazz Singer (1980)

The Jazz Singer (1980)
5.9
  • 3905
  • PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: 1980 ()
  • Running time: 115 min
  • Original Title: The Jazz Singer
  • Voted: 3905

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.

#PersonCharacters
1Laurence OlivierCantor Rabinovitch
2Neil DiamondJess Robin,Yussel Rabinovitch
3Lucie ArnazMolly Bell
4Catlin AdamsRivka Rabinovitch
  • A great score applied to a great story by 10

    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.

  • A microcosm of a man in turmoil, facing a difficult choice... by 7

    Between his duties and responsibilities, and his dreams and love. For those who want to pick the movie apart, without looking inside the story it tells, skip this comment.

    Given the choice between one's responsibility to family, parents, religion, tradition, and duty, or choosing love, dreams, goals, and the pursuit of happiness through following our heart, which choice would we make?

    The movie tells a story of strength through failure, of living versus wasting away in a life spent pleasing others, and of giving our heart and our dreams sway over the path we take in life.

  • Neil Diamond - still number one. by 10

    The Jazz Singer with Neil Diamond is one of my favorite movies. How can anyone say he can't act? Every time I suggest to my husband that we watch it, he usually doesn't want to because he reckons it is one of the saddest movies of all time. I keep saying "They are only acting and it does work out in the end after all" but I still have trouble getting him to watch it and I usually have to agree to watch 'Going my Way" first!!!! Neil Diamond in concert is fabulous. Neil Diamond acting is nearly as good. I also can't understand why Lucy Arnez didn't make it as an actress, having famous parents must be a disadvantage in some cases.

  • I'm in shock by 8

    I love Neil Diamond. I had always heard of this film, but never knew what it was about, what type of reviews it got... anything. So I Netflixed it this weekend, and I loved it. There were even times where I got choked up in parts.

    So I came on here, saw the negative overall reviews, and was SHOCKED when I learned Neil won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor for this. I thought he did a very fine job. The story unfolded very nicely, the love story was genuine... I would say this film was even better than the "music" genre film Dreamgirls.

    Sure it had it's glitches here and there, but for the most part I was very pleased.

  • The Jazz Singer-When Accommodations Were Made ***1/2 by 9

    Wonderful version of a cantor's son in conflict over his orthodox Jewish beliefs and his desire to be a singing star.

    The only major flaw that I had with this film is that by the orthodox Jewish people, there is no accommodation made whatsoever in the field of intermarriage. If it occurs, the person intermarrying is regarded as dead as depicted in the film.

    Caitlin Adams, who portrayed Jesse's wife Rivka, is true to life since she chose to break with her husband due to her orthodox beliefs. Others might argue that their marriage was headed towards a downward spiral anyway.

    Laurence Olivier is absolutely mesmerizing as Diamond's father. His authentic Jewish accent and tearing his clothes are memorable.

    Diamond's voice is superb and is acting is on par for the role. "Love on the Rocks," as well as "Acapulco," and "Coming to America" are wonderfully staged.

    In the world of today, we need understanding and accommodation and that's exactly what we get in this fine film.

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