They’re on a mission from God. The Blues Brothers is an undeniable classic. It’s a musical. It’s a comedy. It’s one of the best car chase movies ever made. And now it is getting special recognition from of all places The Vatican. Apparently the pope loves him some Jake and Elwood Blues.
Some have declared watching The Blues Brothers a religious experience, but it was never released or promoted as a faith-based movie. The comedy from director John Landis starring Saturday Night Live breakout cast members John Belushi and his best friend Dan Aykroyd is an R-rated smash and grab that is epic in length and a bit raunchy at times. But all of that doesn’t matter. The Catholic Church has now deemed The Blues Brothers as a ‘Catholic Classic’.
Perhaps it is the best faith-based movie ever made? Devout Christians may argue that fact. The Blues Brothers is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, originally released in the summer of 1980. In honor of that fact, the Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano announced the movie as recommended viewing for Catholics everywhere.
The movie is based on an SNL sketch created by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. The pair set off on an unlikely road trip to save their orphanage run by nuns. They perform a giant fund raising concert, while being chased by cops, neo-nazis and rednecks. Carrie Fisher is also tracking them, playing a spurned lover who attempts to blow up Jake with a rocket launcher. The movie ends with a double-whammy concert performance and a car chase that hasn’t been topped since, utilizing real vehicles for one of the largest pile-ups ever committed to screen.
Though The Blues Brothers claim to be on a mission from God, the deity does not feature heavily in the narrative. Kathleen Freeman plays a wrist-slapping Nun known as The Penguin. And there are cameos aplenty. The all-star cast includes musicians James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, and Chaka Khan, in addition to noted actors John Candy, Carrie Fisher, Charles Napier, and Henry Gibson, and cameo roles for Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg, Landis, Mr. T, and Paul Reubens.
The Blues Brothers is far from the only movie the Vatican has recommended. Also on the list of movies the Catholic authorities have sited as ‘Catholic Classics’ include Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, Jesus of Nazareth from Franco Zeffirelli, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ, Victor Flemming’s Joan of Arc, and It’s a Wonderful Life from Frank Capra.
John Belushi passed away in March 1982, only two years after the movie came out. While The Blues Brothers marks Jake and Elwood’s only big screen adventure together, Dan Aykroyd did return with a sequel called Blues Brothers 2000 in 1998, with John Goodman stepping in as a replacement for Jake, though he played an entirely new character. Perhaps it will be the next movie deemed a classic by the Vatican? This news comes from The Hollywood Reporter via Reuters.