When Jake and Elwood Blues, the protagonists in John Landis' cult classic “The Blues Brothers,” claimed they were on a mission from God, the Catholic Church apparently took them at their word.
On the 30th anniversary of the film's release, “L'Osservatore Romano,” the Vatican's official newspaper, called the film a “Catholic classic” and said it should be recommended viewing for Catholics everywhere.
The film is based on a skit from “Saturday Night Live.” In the story, Jake and Elwood — played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, respectively — embark on an unlikely road trip featuring concerts, car chases, clashes with the police and neo-Nazi groups, and attempts at revenge from a spurned lover, all, ostensibly, to raise money for the church-run orphanage where they grew up.
But aside from a brief appearance from Kathleen Freeman as a wrist-slapping nun referred to as “The Penguin” and the brothers' periodic claim that they were on a mission from God, spirituality does not play a significant role in the film.
In addition to Belushi and Aykroyd, the film featured an all-star cast including 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.
With the recommendation, “The Blues Brothers” joins the list of dozens of films recommended by Catholic authorities that includes 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.