Celebrating 35th Anniversary, Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense” Returns to the Detroit Film Theater

Thirty five years ago, “Stop Making Sense,” the joyful Talking Heads concert film directed by Jonathan Demme, was screened to thousands of metro Detroiters at the Detroit Film Theater.

In 1984, the Detroit Film Theater was not known for screening concert films. But when its curator, Elliot Wilhelm, saw “Stop Making Sense” in a small screening room in New York, he insisted that Detroit audiences would love it as much as he did — and he was right.

In a time before the internet and social media existed to alert people to this stunning film, it was old fashioned “word-of-mouth” excitement that filled every seat for every screening on a weekend in 1984. Nearly 10,000 people sang and danced to a concert film like no other.

Ann Delisi talks with Elliot Wilhelm about seeing the film for the first time, the reaction from a cautious Detroit film critic and what it was like when Detroiters came out to watch this exuberant band perform their music on the big screen.

Click on the player above to hear Ann Delisi talk with former DFT curator Elliot Wilhelm about the Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense.”

The Detroit Film Theater is bringing “Stop Making Sense” back to mark its 35th anniversary the weekend of November 1, 2 and 3rd for 5 screenings. 


  • Ann Delisi
    Ann Delisi hosts Essential Music, the Essential Conversations podcast series and the Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast. Born and raised in the Motor City, Ann is a broadcaster, interviewer, producer, music host, storyteller and proud Detroiter.