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
At script level, the film originally existed in the form of two screenplays, one called "The Cutters" about the townie quarry workers, whilst the other, "The Eagle of Naptown", was about the Little 500 bike race. Both had been written by screenwriter Steve Tesich. The April 2000 edition of the magazine 'Indianapolis Monthly' says of this: "The screenplay that would eventually become Breaking Away (1979) was first titled The Eagle of Naptown. Director Peter Yates suggested combining it with another Tesich script, called The Cutters. He did, turning it into a script called Bambino". Reportedly, the "Bambino" title was then changed because it was felt that moviegoers would assume that the film was about Babe Ruth whose nick-name was "The Bambino". See more »
I believe I saw on a campus scene a large "I" which I think is the logo for the University Of Illinois whereas the movie is in Indiana. See more »
[On the phone]
Oh, hi Rod, I just wanted you to know that there's some guy outside with a guitar serenading Kath!
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...and unsure of your future. Other reviewers have given good summaries of the film, so I won't go into it. It's interesting though that of the four principle actors, only Dennis Quaid had any kind of career after this, which is very surprising since they were all such strong performances. "Breaking Away" really captures that limbo period right after high school when you're not sure what the future holds. I identified strongly with Dennis Christopher's character - I though I was going to just pump gas or flip burgers for a year before my mom pushed me to go to college. In other words, this is a realistic, character-driven movie - you'll probably find a bit of yourself in one, or several, of the characters. There's also real chemistry here between all the actors. And the photography really captures the beauty of the Midwest (some of you, no doubt, are scratching your heads after reading that). This is a gem - don't pass it up at the video store or when it appears next on TV.
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