Breaking Away (1979)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Sport  |  20 July 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 16,568 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


The movie that tells you exactly what you can do with your high school diploma! 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

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


David K. Blase:  The real life Little 500 cyclist as a Little 500 Race Announcer. See more »


The sky alternates between bright blue and cloudy between shots during the race. See more »


Dad: I didn't want you to be this miserable. A little bit's all I asked for.
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Referenced in The Simpsons: The Blunder Years (2001) See more »


Symphony No. 4 in A major (Italian Symphony), Op. 90
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

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User Reviews

Sweet but not saccharine
26 May 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film was a pleasant surprise. No sex, no violence, no special effects. Just an incredibly literate and humorous script (which won an Oscar for Steve Tesich) and fantastic performances by the four leads. This is a film for those who still believe that good cinema requires meaningful dialogue and acting that is achingly real in its sincerity. Don't get me wrong: sex and violence have a very real and justifiable place in film; but this movie would have suffered from such a gratuitous inclusion. Peter Yates, the director, has done a fantastic job of pacing the film, and the score, consisting mostly of Rossini overtures, and excerpts from Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony (#4 in A Major, Op. 90), is an inspired touch, adding precisely the right atmosphere. This is the kind of low-budget triumph that the film community constantly extols for P.R. purposes, yet never supports with actual awards.

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