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Backdraft (1991)

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Two Chicago firefighter brothers, who don't get along, have to work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

Director:

Ron Howard

Writer:

Gregory Widen
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Popularity
2,646 ( 552)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt Russell ... Stephen McCaffrey / Dennis McCaffrey
William Baldwin ... Brian McCaffrey
Robert De Niro ... Donald Rimgale
Donald Sutherland ... Ronald Bartel
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Jennifer Vaitkus
Scott Glenn ... John Adcox
Rebecca De Mornay ... Helen McCaffrey
Jason Gedrick ... Tim Krizminski
J.T. Walsh ... Marty Swayzak
Anthony Mockus Sr. Anthony Mockus Sr. ... Chief John Fitzgerald (as Tony Mockus Sr.)
Cedric Young Cedric Young ... Grindle
Juan Ramírez Juan Ramírez ... Ray Santos
Kevin Casey Kevin Casey ... Nightingale
Jack McGee ... Schmidt
Mark Wheeler ... Pengelly
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Storyline

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 arson/murders. This detailed look into the duties and private lives of firemen naturally features widespread pyrotechnics and special effects. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In that instant it can create a hero... or cover a secret. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Backdraft See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,686,200, 26 May 1991

Gross USA:

$77,868,585

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$152,368,585
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (QSound) (70 mm prints)| DTS (DTS HD Master Audio)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The actual Engine 17 wasn't in service anymore at the time of production. The truck that portrays 17 was actually Engine 18. See more »

Goofs

In the garment factory fire when Brian goes off searching for a person, there is a drain on the floor and you can see the fuel the crew spread on the floor, the camera then cuts to a different angle and when it returns the fuel is on fire. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Brian, Age 7: Leave me alone! Will you? You think you're so smart!
Stephen, Age 12: What a geek!
Brian, Age 7: I'm not a geek!
Stephen, Age 12: You're doing it wrong.
Brian, Age 7: Shut up!
Stephen, Age 12: You're doing it wrong. it doesn't go like that.
Brian, Age 7: Who asked you?
Stephen, Age 12: Who's your brother?
Brian, Age 7: You are, Stevie.
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the edited for TV version, Stephen replies, "Forget it you!" instead of "Fuck you!" after Brian says, "You burned him, Stephen!" See more »

Connections

References The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Sunshine Of Your Love
Written by Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce & Pete Brown
Performed by Cream
Courtesy of Polygram Special Products
A Division of Polygram Records INC.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Firefighting Legacy
5 February 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Although Backdraft got Oscar nominations for Best Sound and best visual and audio effects what drives this Ron Howard film is the performances he got from Kurt Russell and Billy Baldwin as the firefighting McCaffrey brothers.

The brothers have a lot of distance in their ages as Russell practically raised McCaffrey after their firefighter father was killed on the job. Baldwin realizes he has a big legacy with the Chicago Fire Department and he's hesitant about it. After some issues with Russell, Baldwin gets assigned to arson investigator Robert DeNiro.

Which gets Baldwin involved in DeNiro's investigation of some strange arson fires that were set to Backdraft and cause homicides and there is a connection between three seemingly unrelated deaths.

The fire effects were great and the location shooting in Chicago a definite plus. Backdraft is the kind of a film you just cannot make on a studio back-lot which 50 years ago it would have been.

I'm surprised some Oscar nominations didn't come for either Russell or Baldwin. Their performances are so good you forget they're actors and you think you are watching firefighting drama.

And Donald Sutherland's bit role as the Hannibal the Cannibal of arsonists is one you'll remember. He has two scenes, one with DeNiro at a parole hearing and later one with Baldwin as Baldwin seeks expert opinion on the arsonist's technique. In that scene Sutherland evokes Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter when FBI agent Jodie Foster seeks his expertise.

And this review is dedicated to all the firefighters all over the world who take on that terribly important job to protect citizens from flame. After watching Backdraft you might get an insight into why the ancient cave people worshiped this phenomenon.


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