Breaking Away (1979)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Sport  |  20 July 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 16,565 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 57 critic

A small-town boy obsessed with the Italian cycling team vies for the affections of a college girl.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robyn Douglass ...
Mike's Brother
Lisa Shure ...
French Girl
Jennifer K. Mickel ...
Suzy (as Pamela Jayne Soles)
David K. Blase ...
500 Race Announcer


Best friends Dave, Mike, Cyril and Moocher have just graduated from high school. Living in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, they are considered "cutters": the working class of the town so named since most of the middle aged generation, such as their parents, worked at the local limestone quarry, which is now a swimming hole. There is great animosity between the cutters and the generally wealthy Indiana University students, each group who have their own turf in town. The dichotomy is that the limestone was used to build the university, which is now seen as being too good for the locals who built it. Although each of the four is a totally different personality from the other three, they also have in common the fact of being unfocused and unmotivated in life. The one slight exception is Dave. Although he has no job and doesn't know what to do with his life, he is a champion bicycle racer. He idolizes the Italian cycling team so much he pretends to be Italian, much to the chagrin... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Somewhere between growing up and settling down... [Australia Theatrical] See more »


Comedy | Drama | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

20 July 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bambino  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the scene where Dave admits to Catherine that he is not Italian but is actually a "Cutter" (one of the local residents), Catherine starts to walk off, then turns back and slaps him across the face. According to director Peter Yates, she did not 'fake' the slap but actually did strike him, and fairly hard at that. There were over 6 takes for this scene, with several on lookers flinching every time Dave got slapped. See more »


Visible in the upper corner of a mirror when Dave is talking to his parents in the dining room. See more »


Dad: I was proud of my work. And the buildings went up. When they were finished the damnedest thing happened. It was like the buildings were too good for us. Nobody told us that. It just felt uncomfortable, that's all.
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Referenced in Gilmore Girls: New and Improved Lorelai (2005) See more »


Bury Me Not On The Lone Prarie
Traditional ballad
Sung by Dennis Quaid with modified lyrics (Deliver Me From The A&P)
See more »

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User Reviews

Simply the best.
24 May 2000 | by See all my reviews

Dennis Christopher stars as a local cutter in a small college town. He and his friends enter a crucial bike race that can make them or break them. This film offers great insight into its characters. Christopher is exceptional, and has never been better. He is supported by a first rate cast, especially Barbara Barrie and Paul Dooley as his mom and dad. Brillantley directed, edited, and scored, plus the film makes very effective use of its beautiful cinmeatography. The ending will have you on the edge of your seat. Now this is what movies are all about,

This moving drama is on my top ten favorite films of all time. And it should have won the best picture Oscar in 1979, instead of Kramer vs. Kramer. Rating: A PERFECT 10 out of 10.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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