BSK 3480 Making Movies
Produced by Jimmy Iovine and Mark Knopfler
Released on October 17, 1980
Find it at GEMM
BSK 3480 cover
[high resolution scan]

T hese are the songs you’d sell your soul to write. Maybe Mark Knopfler has more talent in his little pinky finger than most of us could wring out of our whole bodies, or maybe he’d found a way to distill Bruce Springsteen’s iconic essence from the caricature. The similarities between the two are striking this time, a comparison invited by the participation of the E Street Band’s Roy Bittan. Both sprang from the garden of Dylan, so perhaps it was only a matter of time. But Mark Knopfler is a better guitarist than both, and more of a romantic to boot. The opening “Tunnel of Love” is largely a rewrite of “Sultans of Swing,” replacing the smoky nightclub setting with a carnival, reeking with the romantic idealism of a doomed Jimmy Dean character (another Springsteen trait). It’s a brilliant song, one of the Straits’ finest moments, yet most would concede the lion’s share of their loyalty to the next track, “Romeo And Juliet.” Here is a lump-in-the-throat love song complete with banjo* that plays like a staging of West Side Story. If you were making a list of the greatest love songs, you’d do well to start here. “Skateaway” shifts direction to character painting of a woman in her own world, living on her own terms. It has a much sexier gait than the preceding tracks, and finishes off a trio of tracks that would rank with the most polished sides of plastic from the ‘80s. Little ground is yielded on side two, from the energized “Expresso Love” to the substantive “Solid Rock.” On most albums, these would have been hit singles, but here they’re just part of the foundation. Making Movies closes with “Les Boys,” a dark little joke that drips with condescension. It’s an unusual ending, but after the emotional drain and painstaking detail of the previous songs, it’s good to let a little steam off. Making Movies is my favorite Dire Straits record, and I doubt I’m alone in that opinion. Brothers In Arms, as good as it was, got sidetracked by trying to make an important social statement. Making Movies is instead a direct and personal statement, as close a connection as Knopfler has made with his audience, a point that the live Alchemy confirmed. (*Sam Reed kindly corrects me: "The twangy string sound in "Romeo & Juliet" isn't a banjo, it's a late '30s National Reso-phonic Model O guitar; the same one that's on the cover of "Brothers in Arms," the "Money for Nothing" single and the Greatest Hits album. The same guitar is used in the intro to "Telegraph Road" and on several other songs.")

BSK 3480 back cover BSK 3480 lyric sleeve
BSK 3480 back cover BSK 3480 lyric sleeve


  1. TUNNEL OF LOVE    (extract from The Carousel Waltz by Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II)    8:09
  2. ROMEO AND JULIET    5:57
  3. SKATEAWAY    6:38
  4. EXPRESSO LOVE    5:11
  5. HAND IN HAND    4:48
  6. SOLID ROCK    3:25
  7. LES BOYS    4:07

    All songs written by Mark Knopfler


JOHN ILSLEY -- bass, vocals
MARK KNOPFLER -- vocals, guitars
PICK WITHERS -- drums, vocals
Roy Bittan -- keyboards
Shelly Yakus -- engineer
Neil Terk -- design and artwork
Brian Griffin -- photography

return to DIRE STRAITS discography

UK/WW October 1980 Vertigo LP/CS 6359/7150 034 lyric sleeve
US October 17, 1980 Warner Bros. LP/CS BSK 3480 lyric sleeve
CAN 1980 Mercury LP SRM-1-3857  
JPN 1980 Vertigo LP RJ-7690 lyric insert
UK/WW 1996 Vertigo CD 800 050  
US 1987 Warner Bros. CD WB 3480  
US September 19, 2000 Warner Bros. CD 47771 digital remaster


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