Making Movies

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Making Movies
Sleeve of Making Movies.svg
Studio album by
Released17 October 1980
Recorded20 June – 25 August 1980
StudioPower Station, New York
GenreRoots rock
Warner Bros. (US),
Mercury (Canada)
ProducerJimmy Iovine, Mark Knopfler
Dire Straits chronology
Making Movies
Love over Gold
Singles from Making Movies
  1. "Romeo and Juliet"
    Released: 9 January 1981
  2. "Skateaway"
    Released: 1981
  3. "Tunnel of Love"
    Released: 2 October 1981

Making Movies is the third studio album by British rock band Dire Straits released on 17 October 1980 by Vertigo Records internationally, Warner Bros. Records in the United States and Mercury Records in Canada. The album includes the single "Romeo and Juliet", which reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart, as well as one of Dire Straits’ best known cuts, “Tunnel of Love”, which was also featured in the 1982 Richard Gere film An Officer and a Gentleman.

Making Movies reached number one on the album charts in Italy and Norway, number 19 in the United States and number 4 in the United Kingdom. Making Movies was later certified platinum in the United States and double-platinum in the United Kingdom. It is regarded as one of Dire Straits’ best albums.[1][2]


After Dire Straits' Communiqué Tour ended on 21 December 1979 in London, Mark Knopfler spent the first half of 1980 writing the songs for the band's next album. He contacted Jimmy Iovine after hearing Iovine's production on the song "Because the Night" by Patti Smith—a song co-written by Smith and Bruce Springsteen. Iovine had also worked on Springsteen's Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town albums, and he was instrumental in recruiting E-Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan for the Making Movies sessions.[1]

Making Movies was recorded at the Power Station in New York from 20 June to 25 August 1980. Jimmy Iovine and Mark Knopfler produced the album.

David Knopfler left Dire Straits in August 1980 during the recording of the album, following heated arguments with his brother.[3] His guitar tracks were almost complete for the album, but were re-recorded by Mark. David appears on video playing "Solid Rock" and "Les Boys" live in concert, but these performances preceded the recording. The album sessions continued with Sid McGinnis on rhythm guitar, although he was uncredited on the album. Dire Straits expanded into a quintet when keyboard player Alan Clark and Californian guitarist Hal Lindes were recruited as full-time group members shortly after the album’s release in October 1980.

Four songs were recorded during the sessions but not released on the album: "Making Movies", "Suicide Towers", "Twisting by the Pool" and "Sucker for Punishment". "Twisting by the Pool" was released on the ExtendedancEPlay EP on 10 January 1983 and reached the UK Top 20 when released as a single. The title of the album is taken from a line in the song "Skateaway" and from the outtake "Making Movies".


Making Movies was released on 17 October 1980 on LP and cassette formats. In 1981, an identically named short film was released on VHS and Beta, as well as screened in some theatrical venues, consisting of three music videos directed by fashion/commercial photographer Lester Bookbinder, for "Romeo and Juliet", "Tunnel of Love" and "Skateaway". The original CD version was released in 1984.

The album was remastered and reissued on CD with the rest of the Dire Straits catalogue in 1996 internationally, and on 19 September 2000 in the United States.[4]

The album includes some of Dire Straits’ best known songs. The album’s main single was "Romeo and Juliet" which reached number 8 in the UK singles chart in early 1981. The second single release was "Skateaway", and the third and final single from the album was the lengthy opening track, "Tunnel of Love", with its intro "The Carousel Waltz" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, which only reached the number 54 position in the UK, however it remains one of Knopfler’s most popular compositions.

With new group members Alan Clark and Hal Lindes on board, Dire Straits embarked on tours of Europe, North America, and Oceania[5] from October 1980 until July 1981 to promote the album.

Three of the seven tracks from Making Movies continued to be played throughout the Love over Gold, Brothers in Arms and On Every Street tours: “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love” and “Solid Rock”, while “Expresso Love” was played in all concert tours until 1986.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Robert ChristgauC+[6]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[8]

In his retrospective review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album four and a half out of five stars, noting that Making Movies "ranks among the band's finest work."[2]

In his review for Rolling Stone, David Fricke gave the album four out of five stars, writing:

Making Movies is the record on which Mark Knopfler comes out from behind his influences and Dire Straits come out from behind Mark Knopfler. The combination of the star's lyrical script, his intense vocal performances and the band's cutting-edge rock & roll soundtrack is breathtaking—everything the first two albums should have been but weren't. If Making Movies really were a film, it might win a flock of Academy Awards.[8]

Rolling Stone ranked Making Movies number 52 in their survey of the 100 Best Albums of the Eighties.[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Mark Knopfler, except where indicated.[9]

Side one
1."Tunnel of Love" (Extract from "The Carousel Waltz" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II)8:11
2."Romeo and Juliet"6:00
Side two
1."Expresso Love"5:12
2."Hand in Hand"4:48
3."Solid Rock"3:19
4."Les Boys"4:07
Total length:37:39


Dire Straits[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]




The album spent 252 weeks on the UK Albums Chart.[11]

Chart (1980–81) Peak
Spanish Albums Chart[12] 6


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia 125,000[13]
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[14] Platinum 53,858[14]
France (SNEP)[15] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[16] Gold 250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[17]
1980-1982 sales
Gold 250,000*
Italy (FIMI)[18]
sales since 2009
Platinum 50,000double-dagger
Netherlands (NVPI)[19] Gold 50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[20] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[21] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[22] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[23] Platinum 1,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b c "100 Best Albums of the Eighties: 52: Making Movies". Rolling Stone. 5 February 1980. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Making Movies". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  3. ^ Genzel, Christian. "David Knopfler". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Making Movies". Discogs. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Dire Straits Biography". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Dire Straits". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (23 September 2020). "Dire Straits: Dire Straits Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b Fricke, David (5 February 1980). "Dire Straits: Making Movies". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  9. ^ a b Making Movies (booklet). Dire Straits. Burbank, California: Warner Bros. Records. 1980. p. 2–4, 11. 947771-2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  10. ^ "Sid McGinnis". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Making Movies". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  12. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959-2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  13. ^ "Major fight economics with quirky rock originals". Billboard. 12 June 1982. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Dire Straits" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  15. ^ "French album certifications – Dire Straits – Making Movies" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  16. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Dire Straits; 'Making Movies')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  17. ^ Venegoni, Marinella (15 December 1982). "Ai re del disco, oro, argento e platino". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 17. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Italian album certifications – Dire Straits – Making Movies" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 22 February 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Making Movies" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Album e Compilation" under "Sezione".
  19. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Dire Straits – Making Movies" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Making Movies in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  20. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Dire Straits – Making Movies". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  21. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  22. ^ "British album certifications – Dire Straits – Making Movies". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Making Movies in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  23. ^ "American album certifications – Dire Straits – Making Movies". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]