Making Movies is the third studio album by the British rock band Dire Straits released on 17 October 1980 by Vertigo Records internationally and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States. The album produced the single "Romeo and Juliet", which reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart. The album reached #1 on album charts in Italy and Norway, #19 in the United States and #4 in the United Kingdom. Making Movies was later certified platinum in the United States and double-platinum in the United Kingdom.
After the Communiqué Tour ended on 21 December 1979 in London, Mark Knopfler spent the first half of 1980 writing the songs for Dire Straits' next album. He contacted Jimmy Iovine after hearing Iovine's production on the song "Because the Night" by Patti Smith—a song she had co-written with Bruce Springsteen. Iovine, who had also worked on Springsteen's Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town albums, was instrumental in recruiting E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan for the Making Movies sessions. Without Bittan, the album's "cinematic power and evocative landscapes might have been impossible to achieve."
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. His guitar tracks were almost complete for the album, but were re-recorded by his brother. David appears on video playing "Solid Rock" and "Les Boys" live in concert, but these performances preceded the recording.
Four outtakes were recorded but not released on the album: "Making Movies", "Suicide Towers", "Twisting by the Pool", and "Sucker for Punishment". "Making Movies" and "Suicide Towers" appear on bootlegs. "Twisting by the Pool" was released on the ExtendedancEPlay EP on 10 January 1983. 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 released on CD with the rest of the Dire Straits catalogue in 1996 internationally, and on 19 September 2000 in the United States.
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".
In his review for Rolling Stone magazine, 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.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Making Movies number 52 in their survey of the 100 Best Albums of the Eighties. The album was the biggest selling album in Italy in 1981 with one million copies sold, with 3.8 million copies sold throughout Europe.
All songs were written by Mark Knopfler, except where indicated.Dire Straits
Mark Knopfler – vocals, guitar
John Illsley – bass, vocals
Pick Withers – drums, vocals
Roy Bittan – keyboards
Sid McGinnis – guitar (uncredited)
Jimmy Iovine – producer
Mark Knopfler – producer
Shelly Yakus – engineer
Jeff Hendrickson – assistant engineer
Jon Mathias – assistant engineer
Greg Calbi – mastering
Neil Terk – original design and artwork
Brian Griffin – photography
Bob Ludwig – remastering
The album spent 252 weeks on the UK Albums Chart. In Australia, Making Movies was the fifth best selling album of 1981.