Backdraft

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Released 1991

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Movie Summary

Director:
Ron Howard
Released:
1991
Rating:
R

Backdraft is a blockbuster summer movie directed by the prolific Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Cinderella Man, The Missing, Cocoon, The Davinci Code, Ransom, Apollo 13). Brian McCaffrey (William Baldwin, Sliver) had a father who was a fireman and he was there, as a child, when he died. When he grew he tried to be a fireman but quit and left town and for a few years tried other jobs. He would eventually return and try to be fireman again. However, he finds himself working under his brother Stephen (Kurt Russell, Death Proof, The Thing, Escape From New York, Big Trouble in Little China, Breakdown, Used Cars) whom he doesn't exactly have a good relationship with. When Brian gets his picture in the paper and is lauded as a hero when in fact it was a mistake, a politician offers him a job working under the department's arson investigator, Donald Rimgale. It seems that Rimgale is working some unusual fires wherein someone is killed. Brian initially refuses but when he has too many confrontations with Stephen, he takes the job. And he gets a lesson on what it means to be a fireman. The film spawned a popular ride at Universal Studios.

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Metacritic Score

  • 75

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    What I regret is that all of the expertise lavished on this movie couldn't have been put at the service of a more intelligent story about real firemen, real working conditions, rea...

  • 60

    Variety

    Visually, [the film] often is exhilarating, but it's shapeless and dragged down by corny, melodramatic characters and situations.

  • 50

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    While Mr. Howard ably maintains a strong forward momentum, Backdraft often feels directionless beneath its overlay of frantic activity. One clear story line would have been worth m...

SUBMIT REVIEW
    Robert De Niro

    Robert De Niro

    Donald 'Shadow' Rimgale

    J.T. Walsh

    J.T. Walsh

    Alderman Marty Swayzak

    Donald Sutherland (I)

    Donald Sutherland (I)

    Ronald Bartel

    Kurt Russell

    Kurt Russell

    Stephen 'Bull' McCaffrey/Dennis McCaffrey

    Jason Gedrick

    Jason Gedrick

    Tim Krizminski

    Scott Glenn

    Scott Glenn

    John 'Axe' Adcox

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    Themes

    Thrillers, Disaster