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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.29%
Worth A Look65.71%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 4.29%
Total Crap: 1.43%

5 reviews, 40 user ratings

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by Ryan Arthur

"See it for the visuals, if nothing else."
4 stars

Run, damn you!

My dad used to be a volunteer fireman. For the longest time, this was his favorite movie. I think each fireman was forced to watch it several times a year.

Anyway. It's a movie about two brothers (Kurt Russell and Billy - I mean, William - Baldwin), both Chicago firefighters, who really don't get along. They end up working together (out of necessity) when an arsonist starts going apeshit.

Backdraft is basically a conventional action-type film, complete with flames and shit blowing up. But it's the way we see the flames and the way they look and sound that make me recommend this film.

The fire sequences are absolutely stunning. They're shot almost lovingly, but the flame itself is a monster that can kill on a whim and without any warning. When we see a fire burst, we can hear it crackle and sizzle and - this may sound weird - moan. It's incredible. Director Ron Howard has also blended some tricky footage in there as well, so it looks an awful lot like Russell, Baldwin and their comrades really are there in the thick of it.

But the plot is weak, with almost each specific point done countless times before and done better. A sprawling cast that includes Robert DeNiro, Rebecca DeMornay, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Donald Sutherland and Scott Glenn among others, never really holds us interested in the lives of the characters. We just wanna see the fire.

It's got a Baldwin, so I'm tempted to give it a lower grade, but the fire sequences are just too cool.

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originally posted: 09/19/98 01:20:30
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell lame script good acting & effects 4 stars
12/15/13 mr.mike Not bad despite a dopey climax and overlong running time. 4 stars
9/22/13 Jeff Wilder Cliched script. But performances and FX save it. 3 stars
3/07/07 David Pollastrini Not great not terrible 3 stars
5/07/06 chienne Yeah, it was alright, impressive uniforms, great soundtrack 4 stars
4/27/06 scott robinson what's it rated? on this entire site i cannot find a 'rated r, pg, what' 4 stars
4/24/05 Quigley great action movie, but it easily could have been titled "the F word" 3 stars
1/27/05 Jeff Anderson A big disappointment. The fire effects are amazing, but a weak script & acting suffer. 2 stars
10/25/04 Chris Average 2 stars
10/23/04 UMER deniro was great and desrved more screen time 3 stars
8/08/04 Norman Hollingsworth Great effects, short on plot 4 stars
5/05/04 J.Peckerfoot The script isn't great but the cast and the effects are.I really enjoyed it. 4 stars
2/18/04 john good fire effects but the movie is a bit on the nose and overblown 3 stars
1/18/04 steve andrews This near perfect action drama excels, despite the miscast Billy Baldwin. 5 stars
10/21/03 sam brown it was really exciting 5 stars
8/31/03 R. D. Miller Pretty cool for a hollywood flick about fire 4 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby Simply awful. Script is all over the place, and the characters are all cliches. 1 stars
11/11/02 mark andrew kenniston this movie is the best movie ever rent it 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum I smell must be Jennifer Jason Leigh 4 stars
9/17/02 Murray H To be honest, I bought the film, but it doesn't take 2 minutes to get on the truck! 4 stars
7/12/02 KMG Doesn't stand the test of time well, but is still pretty good. 4 stars
5/28/02 R.W. Welch Some flaming good cinematography here but could have used a rewrite. 3 stars
12/09/01 toh Cockamammy plot, about an hour too long, and melodramatic as hell. Fire effects ok though. 2 stars
11/30/01 Shams Huque Entertaining. Superb fire sequences. Fine musical score. 5 stars
8/01/01 TLsmooth On a short list of good Kurt Russell flicks. He is a shithead. 5 stars
6/19/01 Joe Russo Damn Fucking Awesome 4 stars
2/28/01 Dmitriy I like this movie because I dream to become a firefighter 5 stars
2/25/01 Ian Camwell realy radical spectacular special effects 5 stars
2/16/01 Jake mediocre with lots of cheese 3 stars
12/04/00 Cristopher Revilla Great FX , good film 4 stars
12/02/00 Angela Murtagh Great film...kept you of my favorites! 5 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin Astounding special effects with a bit of humor; a must-see 4 stars
4/12/00 Elvisfan at turns melodramatic, stupid, spectacular; VERY sad in part, too-best acting is by Kurt 4 stars
3/18/99 Madcap the fire was alive...that was the cool part...the actors weren't, that part sucked 3 stars
2/19/99 nun uf yur businness crted through the whole movie! mostly because it really hit home! 5 stars
10/05/98 Negative Creep FIRE!! FIRE!! But why was Hannibal Lecter in this though? 3 stars
9/26/98 Armageddon Top notch film. Production and directing, along with acting, is top notch. 5 stars
9/15/98 Badass One of those movie you have to see in full screen, cuz the LTBX crops Jennifer Leigh's tits 4 stars
9/15/98 tessSpork great entertainment-defenetly not boring 4 stars
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  24-May-1991 (R)
  DVD: 19-Sep-2006

  02-Jul-1991 (15)

  02-Jul-1991 (MA)

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