A rookie firefighter tries to earn the respect of his older brother and other firefighters while taking part in an investigation of a string of arsonmurders. This detailed look into the duties and private lives of firemen naturally features widespread pyrotechnics and special effects.
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So few comments for this film! A film about which its viewers have wildlydifferent views! (POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD, SO BE YE ADVISED; HERE ENDETHTHE WARNING.)Me, personally, I enjoyed it at the theatre, but I thought the ending wasway too neat and tidy. The plot was already a little far-fetched anyway,stretching credibility to the breaking point. Would a fireman, someonedevoted to saving lives and keeping people from harm...would a firemanreally turn to assassination as a method of revenge? Not justassassination, but incredibly elaborate assassinations; these murdersrequired incredibly intricate planning and exquisite timing. How did hemanage it? Did he have a detailed appointment schedule for these men? Howdid he know exactly when they would show up at the right place? How did heget into their homes without attracting any attention? (Okay, that one'snot so hard to swallow.)Not to mention the fact that, darn it, I wanted to see more of thefirefighting action and less of the subplot. I didn't care about thecorrupt mayor or any of that. I wanted fire. I love fire. I want to burnthe world! Everything should burn! BURN IT ALL!Signed,Ronald
Ron Howard is a genius people. Not only did he get a Baldwin to finally act, he captured the grit and pain of firefighting. Yeah, we all know you can't see crap in a fire but for smoke and black, but hey it is a movie. If you didn't well up for a sec at the end of this, you have no heart or was sleeping. Wish Universal would remaster this, get the picture better, dts would be nice, and add some extras, overall a hell of an entertaining film. Kurt Russell is awesome in this, the man can act, check out Escape from New York, Tombstone or The Thing to see what I mean.
Backdraft is a very impressive movie about firefighting in Chicago. Itmanages to combine some humour with some grisly scenes and very impressivespecial effects.The story itself is not the best I've ever seen, but the special effects andacting pretty much make up for this.Add to this the gorgeous Jennifer Vaitkus (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and all inall you have a great movie!
Ron Howard presented us with another first rate movie. The steller cast alone makes it wonderful. The subject is an issue we sometimes take for granted and will cause us to stop and pause and be grateful for all that our beloved firemen do for us. Call it favortism if you will because my son and grandson are both firemen but this is a truly collectiable movie I can watch over and over.The sibling rivalry is believeable as well as the marital discord for Kurt Russell because of the danger he is constantly exposed to and he LOVES being a fireman!It has all of the dirty politics and mystery of "who done it" that makes a great plot!It also gives us a chance to see how the internal behind the scenes fire department works for us.An absolute MUST SEE movie!
Yeah, if you want a firefighting movie, it's this or "Ladder 49". I'drather watch this than some sentimental John Travolta moviecapitalizing off the the post-9/11 glorification of our nation'sheroes. Not that I'm really into firefighting movies, mind you... butit could be worse.What this film is, is a series of conflicts. Brother against brother.Fire department against the city alderman. Fire department against aserial arsonist. A man against his own shortcomings. And of course, managainst fire. It could actually be rather intricate and beautiful if Iwanted to romanticize it (which I don't). And all this with WilliamBaldwin, Kurt Russell and Robert DeNiro.By far the best role in this movie was the old arsonist who knows "theanimal" of fire inside and out. The way he acts like a pedophile withfire (rather than children) is a very convincing act. I regret I don'trecall the actor's name off hand. (Note: the old arsonist and theserial arsonist are two different characters -- I'm referring to theold man with the mustache.) Jennifer Jason Leigh reportedly said thebest role went to the fire. She's right in two ways. The obviously way,of course, was that the scenes with the fire were by far the mostengaging and visually stimulating. But she also, probably unbeknownstto her, was the weak part of the film. Coming out in 1991, this is thecusp of the 1980s and the 1990s. All the other actors seem to know thisis the 1990s but she has not converted yet. I love Leigh in the 80s("Fast Times"), and in the 90s and 00s. But acting like its the 1980sin the 1990s is poor form (her childish demeanor and mismatch hair areso distracting). Sorry, Jen, you are the weakest link.But overall, it's a respectable film. Definitely better than some ofthe stuff Kurt Russell has pumped out over the years.
Really great. The villian resembles everything humanity must deal with when deciding between right and wrong. The hero's heart breaks all emotional boundries and allows the audience to feel what Ron Howard is portraying.
The man who gave us Splash, Cocoon and Parenthood gave us this incoherentmuddle of cliched characters, poor plotting, you've-got-to-be-kiddingdialogue and melodramatic acting? I guess everybody has a bad day at theoffice now and then. He's allowed.
My VCR is on the fritz, so, after watching this so very watchable, popcorn movie on tv the other day, I decided it was time to get myself a DVD version. If you are from Chicago, like me, you know that firemen are practically worshipped there (for better or worse). This movie has great scenes of Chicago, with the bungalow that Kurt and Rebecca live. Speaking of De Mornay, it must be written into all of her movie contracts that she has at least one scene where she takes off her clothes. We also see the great Chicago skyline and the brick structures, including the burning ones, that make up the majority of buildings in the town. We also get to see why William Baldwin doesn't get more acting jobs. What a whiner! Jennifer Jason Leigh looks awful in either a bad hair dye job or a really awful wig. J.T. Walsh is Alderman Swayszak and right away, because he is in the movie, you know he is a bad guy. That's also his name because, in Chicago, at least a few of the 40-some alderman are going to be Polish. The ending is, of course, big. The real ending.The other reviewers are correct in saying that the central character is the fire. Get the enhanced version to find out how Howard carried off the firefighting scenes; they are pretty incredible. This was before most enhanced computer effects were around. That was mostly the real stuff, folks.Enjoy!
Both my wife and I were in suspense throughout the film. At the end my wife even cried. We had just bought a DVD player and picked this as our first movie. Unfortunatly, We did not check its rating. Too late we found that there was heavy use of four-letter words like f-ing, and GD. That did away any desire to see it again. I cannot recommend it because of its excessive use of profanity.
I was going in, thinking it would be a awesome film, but I got burn.It's no way realistic. I know it's Hollywood so there going to takesome liberties, but this movie has a ridiculous portrayal offirefighters. These firefighters are so terribly trained that theydon't even know how to don their gear correctly. When Stephen "Bull"McCaffrey (Kurt Russell) goes into the 2 story building, to rescue thechild from a fire, he has his coat wide open and no SCBA equipment. Thesmoke would have killed him in a matter of seconds as his lungs wouldbe seared by the heat. If anybody was to run into a fire filled roomwith their coat undone they'd be cooked like a goose! Most of thecharacters would have died within the first 30 seconds of the film fromhaving seared lungs, smoke inhalation, or extreme burns. I like how thefire can explode right in their face, and they don't end up gettingfirst or second degree burns. The amount of smoke that was in the firesif real life would have been blinding, not clear. By the way, what typeof firefighters smoke cigarettes while cleaning up a burned outbuilding after breathing in tons of smoke? I would be afraid to lightup in a building that might have gases in it because it might start afire, again.As for the title of the film, 'Backdraft'. It's veryincredibly rare behavior of fire. Even if you were the evil geniusarsonist setting these backdraft, you would need to spend days creatingjust the right environment where a back-draft can occur. It's a easytask. Honestly the idea that an arsonist is creating backdrafts to killcertain individuals is preposterous to begin with. I'm not afirefighter and I know that it would be nearly impossible to do that,and it would certainly be impossible to do it to the extent that thearsonist does here. The movie plot is suppose to just that.Firefighters trying to catch the arsonist, but screenwriter GregoryWiden shovels one subplot on top of another, and it becomes too much.There is the sub-plot about two brothers, Stephen McCaffrey and BrianMcCaffrey (William Baldwin) having a love and hate relationship, withBrian living under the shadow of his heroic brother, and father. Themovie is very clichÃ©s with the firefighter heroics such in the case itbecomes unrealistic. The first shot of Kurt Russell's Stephen is himwalking out a burning building in a manly pose. This is follow up witha heroic slow moment of him rescuing a kid. It's so cheesy. Even theopening scene is over the top, with the firefighters taking a childwith them to fight fires. Who is going to babysit the kid while you arefighting fires? Is taking a child to a fire zone kinda dangerous?Director Ron Howard seeks to wring tears from the audience by having afireman's helmet incredibly bounce out of a second story window infront of the kid and everybody slow motion moves around is just poeticstupid. The worst is the silly montage of Brian training under hisbrother with dripping his head in water as if a male model. Anothersubplot of the film is Stephen trying to get back with his estrangedwife, Helen McCaffrey (Rebecca De Mornay) which doesn't play no factorinto the main plot. No, honestly, it's doesn't play into anything. It'sjust waste screen time, that could have better been focus on findingthe arsonists. The best scenes in the film are that of Brian teaming upwith Donald "Shadow" Rimgale (Robert de Niro) a dedicated arsoninvestigator looking for the backdraft killer. They even get help fromArsonist 'Silent of the Lambs' what a be Hannibal Lector, Ronald Bartel(Donald Sutherland). Donald Sutherland is pretty creepy in his role. "Afire eats and breathes and hates." He quotes. Sorry, but fires don'thate; only people hate, Ronald. Firs is not a living entity, film.Robert de Niro is great in his role, and get closer to closer tofinding the murderer. Too bad, Brian is rarely any help. Brian barelydoes anything in the film for the main character, but gets in the wayof better supporting characters. Rather than finding the killer, he ishaving sex with Jennifer Vaitkus (Jennifer Jason Leigh) Brian'sex-girlfriend and works for the city alderman who trying to cut backthe fireman department budget. Her loyalties are torn between her joband Brian. I think making love on top of a speeding fire truck will getyou fired in real life.William Baldwin is no Alec. His performance washorrible. The way he played puppy dog in an attempt to conveydepression and self-pity, it was eye-rolling bad. Baldwin's role wasoriginally written for Tom Cruise, who would have given the movie somemuch-needed star power. He is disappointing. The film tries way toohard to be cool instead of realistic, which is a shame considering thata film about firefighters and arson could have been wholly intriguingwhile remaining believable, had it been attempted properly. Instead,this film feels so fake with the over the top action sequences. Thefactory argument in particular is awful. Rather than putting out thefire, they waste their time arguing while the building is burningaround him. Don't get me wrong, the action scenes are impressive, andthe special effects are still rather extraordinary, but it's sceneslike that, that makes me cringe. Han Zimmer's score is amazing in myopinion. The best thing to come out of this movie is Backdraft firespecial effects show at Unversial Studios Hollywood, and that's notsaying much. It closed down in 2010 after 19 years worth of shows.Overall: watch it if bored, but don't think too much into it. It's justa pointless popcorn flick
The story alone is very good (the culprit is not quite who you would expect), but the effects are great. This does for fire what "The Abyss" does for water. The "monster" has a life of its own and can be captivating. The personal level interaction is very good and sibling rivalries are presented well. Touches many emotional aspects while still entertaining technically. This should be in your top 100 "must see" movies.
I was a fire fighter 82-83, and i seen the movie when it was in the theatre, i liked it a lot, in fact i used to work but a few blocks away from the china town station on cermak road where some of the footage was shot, it dealt with fire house comrades, dealt with " hero syndrome", i was not expecting a techical as it really suppose to be movie, but the heroism displayed bythe fire fighters are 5 star commendable.
Although the actual fire scenes were no weres close to being realistic, the story line was great. In fact in the fire service we call an exaggeration of a fire "A Backdraft Fire." The life described is right on point though of a fireman. Great movie, one of the top two greatest firefighting movies of all time (Ladder 49 being the other).
After growing up in a firefighting house hold, the first thing I noticedabout this movie were all the goofs that the firemen in the film did vswhatgoes on in real life. Anyway, with all that aside, Backdraft is good forentertainment values. But if you are thinking on becoming a fire fighterand watch this movie, trust me when I say this isn't even close to howit'sdone in real life.Billy Baldwin and Kurt Russell put in a convincing performance of feudingbrothers who grow up to be firemen themselves. Donald Sutherland alsoshines as the resident pyromaniac, Ronald. All in all, it's a good filmthat is worth seeing.--SC
If you all think about it, backdraft was made in 1991. For a movie madethen it is a very very good movie.. it is so well made and i think thatif you compair it to movies today it still is as well made as those oftodays standards! Backdraft was a movie i respected and watched a lot.now i am trying to become a firefighter. Backdraft has been aninspiration to me, and many other people. I believe it could have alsoset the standards for movies of today. It is so well made and shot!People need to realize that those people did risk their lives, andmillions still do today! 9/11 is another example of outstanding firefighters risking their lives, and Backdraft gave one aspect into thelives of fire fighters.
For a movie chock-full-of awesome actors, I must echo the sentiment ofseveral other viewers who have posted comments on IMBD; the movie was longand fractured. However, I respectfully disagree with some on the idea ofthe plot. I think the plot was an excellent idea. There were several aspects of the movie that turned me off. The mostirritating was Steven McCaffrey (Russell) entering the fires without aScott-pack. I mean REALLY, come on. I realize that Howard was trying toportraying McCaffrey as an on-the-edge, suicidal maverick and renegade whocould survive thick, black, acrid smoke, but it failed to convey him assuperhuman; instead, it dehumanized him. Insofar as Deniro is concerned, why he chose to be in this movie is beyondme. Obviously, money was a factor. I think Russell's portrayal ofMcCaffrey was decent, but perhaps Scott Glenn would've been the betterchoice as the lead role. In my opinion, Glenn comes across more grizzled. Sutherland, as usual, was amazing. He is one of the most versatile actorsto grace the screen. Baldwin was blah. Jennifer Jason Leigh, although niceto look at, was blah.Overall, I would give Backdraft 2.5 out of 4 stars.
I love the film 'Backdraft'.Many firefighters watching have criticised it but it's not real life is it? The film stars a very good-looking William Baldwin and a muscley looking Kurt Russell.They star as the McCaffrey brothers,whose father was killed in a fire years before.The two feuding siblings are forced to work with each other in the same firefighting unit which neither is happy about.Stephen (Russell) feels he has to protect his younger brother and Brian (Baldwin)feels he has to do well in front of his 'kick-[bootie]' firefighter big brother.It is good to see Russell attempt some emotional roles and he plays his brotherly role well,the scenes where Brian rescues a mannequin and Stephen chases him up to the fire-station roof always have me laughing as well as the 'War' song.And the wonderful lines 'Look at him,that's my brother ...' and 'who's your brother Brian' have me blubbing like a baby 10 minutes before they even come on.The great scenes with Stephen fixxing Brian's fire-suit always get to me too.Brothers hey,you gotta love them and this film is such a great example of fire,bravery and brotherly love.
If you like to watch a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat with great special effects and wonderful, true to life character interactions, I definitely recommend Ron Howard's Backdraft. The interactions among all the actors come across as very natural, as if all the actors where actually who they were playing, making the characters more believable. Not only are the characters believable, but the special effects that continue through out the movie, whether big or small, pull everything together to make Backdraft one of the best films I have ever seen. The basis of this movie is that people around the Chicago area are dying by way of these backdrafts. It is up to the arson investigator, played by Robert DeNiro to find out what is going on. The other characters involved are two brothers who's father died serving the same fire department they work for. Kurt Russell plays the oldest brother, Lieutenant Stephen 'Bull' McCaffrey ,who has been with the force for many years, and William Baldwin plays the younger brother, Brian McCaffrey who just joined the force. Throughout the movie the two brothers battle conflict with each other relating to sibling rivalry among other things, and Brian ends up leaving the force to join the arson investigating office.. Other characters involved around the two brothers are Rebecca De Mornay, who plays Helen McCaffrey, the ex-wife of Kurt Russell. Her part is not that large, but the importance of her character in regards to Kurt Russell is definitely noticeable, and the friendship that still exists between them is easy to relate to. Jennifer Jason Leigh, who plays Jennifer Vaitkus, the ex-girlfriend of William Baldwin, has a bit of a larger role. Not only does she appear from William Baldwin's past, but she now holds the position of Assistant to the Alderman, to whom many contacts will be made. Donald Sutherland, who plays Ronald Bartel, a former arsonist who understands the criminal psychology of pyromaniacs, gives insight to the arson investigation team, by sharing some of his own stories of arson from his past. Scott Glenn plays the role as a fellow firefighter "Axe" Adcox. His character is that of a supporting brotherly figure, to which is not quite appreciated. Finally there is J.T. Walsh, who gives an excellent supporting performance as the sleazy Alderman Swayczak. He is responsible for making changes within the Chicago fire department that do not benefit the department all that well. All of the actors work great together, and seem natural among one another. These special effects, by far, make the movie mesmerizing. Not only do you see the fire as it threatens the characters and destroys everything in its path, but you get to see an insight of how fire really moves, how it breaths, and how it can dance and hide with the wink of the eye. One particular scene, where a building is on fire and the two brothers must go in after a little boy, really give you the feeling of being up close and personal with the fire around them.. You feel the fear of being hurt along the anticipation of trying to save the life of the little boy right along side the characters. The combination of great characters and believable situations, make this story memorable. The story, written by Gregory Widen, is not only full of action, but in some situations, it shows how life really is.. Whether it is the friction felt by siblings trying to live up to false expectations of one another, or doing the right thing when it comes to your job and your personal friendships, nothing in this story appears impossible. Over all a great combination of characters, actors and producer that make one heck of a good film.
This movie starts out with our main character, as a boy, seeing hisfather's smoking fire helmet land at his feet, and things just godownhill from there. Hokey dialog, poor direction, unbelievableover-acting. I guess this is what you get from a director who neverrose above his Happy Days roots. The scene where Kurt Russel was posinghis way through a roof repair while arguing with his estranged wife wasbad, the habit those guys had of entering burning buildings withoutoxygen, and with their jackets open just plain unrealistic; and doesn'tChicago ever have minor fires, or false alarms, or any of the othertrivial calls that don't involve an entire city block and a creepy guywho sets fires for fun?
I enjoyed this movie a lot and wouldn't mind watching it more than oncewith someone to share the fine moments of the movie.Contrary to what the majority think about William Baldwin's acting, Iliked him very much in this movie and his performance was equal to KurtRussel's. I don't know why he didn't make it although in this movie heproved to be good.The movie has so many attractive fiery scenes thanks to the brillianceof director Ron Howard.The ending, however, is a bit too clichÃ© and wasn't really serving tothe plot as one would think given the fact that the two brothersweren't on good terms in the beginning of the movie. It could haveworked without getting the elder brother killed.