Breaking Away (1979) Poster

(1979)

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9/10
Delightful teen coming-of-age winner
Woodyanders16 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Working class small town teenager Dave (a fine and engaging performance by Dennis Christopher) aspires to be a champion cyclist and falls for college girl Katherine (an appealing portrayal by Robyn Douglass). Meanwhile, Dave's three friends -- macho Mike (a sturdy and likable turn by Dennis Quaid), smartaleck Cyril (amiable Daniel Stern), and short-tempered Moocher (an excellent Jackie Earle Haley) -- all try to figure out what they're going to due with the rest of their lives after high school.

Director Peter Yates brings a real warmth and sensitivity to the engrossing story along with an ideal balance of humor and pathos. Steve Tesich's thoughtful and observant script astutely pegs the awkward transition from blithe adolescent carefreeness to grim adult responsibility, poignantly addresses the basic human desire to amount to something, and incisively explores the fierce competitiveness that exists between the haves and the have nots. Moreover, there are marvelous supporting contributions from Paul Dooley as Dave's befuddled dad, Barbara Barrie as Dave's tolerant mother, Hart Bochner as stuck-up preppie jerk Rod, and Amy Wright as the sweet Nancy. Matthew F. Leonetti's sunny cinematography provides a pretty bright look. A real treat.
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10/10
Why this movie works
rooster_davis17 August 2017
Reading the accolades heaped on this movie by the many, many others who have reviewed it here, I can only agree with all of them. The casting, the story, the message, the beautiful cinematography (you don't have to be in California for that), this movie hits the ball out of the park on all counts. But -

For me the biggest reason this movie really works is the characters. All of them well developed, well played, and we CARE about them. We get to know them easily as each has his or her own distinct personality. Just about all of them we like, and we can't help but care enough to want to see what they'll do or say next.

Movies like this make me proud to be a Hoosier.
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9/10
Charming Film About an Impliied Class System
Hitchcoc24 December 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It is about a group of Bloomington, Indiana friends who are not part of the University of Indiana college crowd. The come from blue color families who are, for the most part, "Cutters," which means they work in the granite quarries cutting out stone. They all have a passion, bicycling. More specifically, bicycle racing. They form a team which does reasonably well, but their chief adversaries are rich college kids who have sponsors and an attitude. One of the riders is enamored with the European bicyclists, specifically the Tour de France racers. He even learns French and impersonates the French to impress a girl. Anyway, we know that at some point a race is going to happen between these guys who call themselves "The Cutters" and the University cyclists. I won't do any spoilers. At times it gets a little contrived, but over all a delight. By the way, the the cinematography is great, especially the summer scenes in Indiana.
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10/10
An essential coming of age story from producer/director Peter Yates
jacobs-greenwood12 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Produced and directed by Peter Yates, this essential comedy (sports) drama features an Academy Award winning story by Steve Tesich, who won the Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Oscar on his only nomination. Yates received his first two (of four unrewarded) nominations as well, for Best Picture and Best Director. Patrick Williams, who wrote the film's Score, also received his only nomination as did Barbara Barrie, who was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category.

But the film also features many fine other performances including some of the first from actors who would become more well known over the years for their work. The cast includes: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern (his screen debut), Jackie Earle Haley, Paul Dooley, Robyn Douglass (her feature film debut), and Hart Bochner (among others). #8 on AFI's 100 Most Inspiring Movies list.

It's a coming of age story about Dave Stoller (Christopher), an awkward teen who yearns to be a world class cyclist like the Italians he idolizes. Unfortunately for Dave, when he gets the chance to meet and compete with these Italian cyclists (Team Cinzano), he is cheated by them and becomes disillusioned. Mike (Quaid), Cyril (Stern), and Moocher (Haley) are Dave's best friends, all just out of high school with no college or other life plans, sons of blue collar workers that live in Bloomington, Indiana. They're called 'cutters' by the students at the University after the laborers that helped build the town and its institutions by mining and cutting the stone used to construct its buildings. The label is used derogatorily even though it's thought of as a badge of honor by their fathers. Each of the others struggle with their identity too: Mike with his fleeting fame as the star quarterback on his high school football team, lanky brainy Cyril has relationship problems with his father (who's seemingly uninterested in his son), and Moocher with his short height. Dave's solution is pretending to be Italian as he escapes to a peaceful world on his bike; Mike tries to compete with college kids like Rod (Bochner) and though he's overmatched, he refuses to admit it ; Moocher fights with anyone who refers to his shortcomings, and also gets engaged to his sweetheart Nancy (Amy Wright); sadly, Cyril never seems to connect with anyone other than his fellow cutters - the film's ending is particularly poignant for him.

Paul Dooley gives a terrific performance playing Dave's confused (by his son) father Raymond, driven crazy by his son's behavior; Barrie plays Dave's understanding mother Evelyn, who provides the glue that keeps the family together, the perfect balance and quiet understanding peacemaker between father and son. Robyn Douglass plays an attractive college girl that catches Dave's eye; he's so taken with her that he pretends to be a foreign exchange student at the university. This leads the cutters onto the campus, some of the college kids had made their way to the cutters swimming hole at the abandoned marble quarry, where a fight breaks out between the rivals. The Dean's solution is to invite the locals to enter into the mini-500 bicycle race around the college's cinder track, against the protestations of the fraternities and their leaders, notably Rod.

The climactic race itself, while somewhat predictable in outcome, is thrilling and well staged. There's also a bonus for Dave's parents in the end.
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8/10
four Indiana guys make decisions about where to go from here
blanche-22 March 2016
"Breaking Away" from 1979 was directed by Peter Yates, and tells the story of four young men right out of high school, a turning point in their lives. Do they stay in their small town and get jobs? Go to college?

The four guys -- Dave, Mike, Cyril and Moocher are played by Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Jackie Earle Haley and Daniel Stern. Someone mentioned that of the four of them, the only one who had any "real" career is Dennis Quaid. He's had the biggest career, but the rest of these guys are still going strong.

Having just seen Dennis Quaid in "Truth," seeing him in this was a shock -- a total baby. And I mistook Hart Bochner for Christian Bale. I used to love Hart Bochner, who in the '80s starred in a lot of big TV miniseries.

The four guys are best friends. It's summer in Bloomington, Indiana, which is a college town. As locals, they are part of the town's working class, and their parents worked at the limestone quarry. As a result, the boys are known as "cutters." The quarry is now closed and has become a swimming hole.

There's a rivalry -- a hatred, really, between the wealthier students and the local kids, which is strange as the locals worked the limestone used to build the university. Now it's too good for them.

The guys are unmotivated, without much in the way of ambition or discipline. Dave is the exception. He bicycle race. He loves the Italian cycling team and rides around town practicing Italian and speaking it at home, which drives his grounded father (Paul Dooley) nuts.

Then Dave meets an IU student, Katherine, who is dating a hot-shot, Rod (Bochner, who else). To impress her, he claims to be an Italian exchange student.

When he learns the Italian cycling team will be racing in Indianapolis, Dave is in heaven, ready to enter and race. But an incident there causes him to rethink his goals.

Such a wonderful story about floundering young men - for some reason, it seems to take guys longer to find their way, and these kids are no exception. Paul Dooley and Barbara Barrie are hilarious as Dave's parents, really adding to the film.

Basically this movie, with its beautiful scenery (all filmed in Indiana) and wonderful bike races is about breaking away from the pack in more ways than one - making a decision not just about a career, but how you will tackle life mentally and emotionally. It's a tough lesson but it's well learned.

Highly recommended - certainly one of the best films of the '70s.
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8/10
Score one for the hometown kids
bkoganbing27 February 2016
Breaking Away is one quirky, but entertaining film. It's the story of four young men in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana. As it is set in a real place in time it's far more than entertaining, it's a serious sociological study of the rust belt Midwest which if anything has gotten a whole lot rustier.

The four kids Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley have grown up in Bloomington in the shadow of the University of Indiana which their parents built out of the limestone quarry that used to be the town's chief employer. Yet the kids feel it forbidden to them. Of course these four look like a singularly unmotivated group.

The latter three seem almost resigned to their fate. But Christopher has constructed a fantasy world of his own involving bicycle racing and it's the Italians whom he sees as kings of the sport. He plays Italian opera records, speaks in the pidgin Italian he's learned and that just drives his father Paul Dooley to distraction. Dooley was among the many who used to work in the quarry and now he sells used cars, not a profession with a lot of dignity attached to it and it certainly fits Dooley.

In the end though its Dennis Christopher and his fantasies and quirks that affords an opportunity for the group to score a needed victory over the outside visitors temporarily in residence at the college dormitories.

Watching Breaking Away I was struck by the fact that Bloomington, Indiana is a microcosm for where I live now. Buffalo, New York was a thriving industrial city where the industry over the last half of the last century just moved away. But Buffalo is also the center of a cluster of colleges and in many ways we've become a giant college town with a lot of students temporarily in residence. Many more locals do go to the colleges here, but are as frustrated as our four protagonists in not finding jobs here. Look at Jackie Earle Haley in a great scene where he reports to work at a carwash.

In the end credits the producers thanked the town of Bloomington for its participation in the making of Breaking Away. In truth the town itself is as much a character as any of the human cast members.

It might be interesting to do a sequel to Breaking Away in Bloomington to see how it and life have changed there.
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7/10
fine coming of age movie
SnoopyStyle27 February 2016
Best friends Dave (Dennis Christopher), Mike (Dennis Quaid), Cyril (Daniel Stern) and Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) are aimless working class recent high school graduates in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana. Dave's obsession with bicycling and Italian leaves his father confounded. The guys swim in the abandoned quarry. The college kids call them Cutters for the workers who cut the limestone to build the colleges. Mike is the former quarterback angry at the rich college kids since college is always beyond him. Dave falls for college girl Katherine while pretending to be an Italian student.

Dennis Christopher is ostensibly the lead actor. His character is a little too naive. Dennis Quaid delivers the most powerful performance. His swimming race with the college kid at the quarry is a highlight. There are some funny moments centering mostly with Dave and his Italian obsession. This isn't the newer National Lampoon SNL type of humor. It's gentle and sweet. Paul Dooley is hilarious playing the father. There are great touching moments. This is a fine coming of age movie.
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10/10
Lesson of the Day: Cyclists Get the Women!
Leftbanker6 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A coming-of-age story full of humor, warm characters, and bikes. What more could anyone ask for? I call this movie my autobiography as I was actually attending Indiana University when this was filmed. I watched and participated in the filming (I was at the stadium for the final race). I was also a fanatic cyclist and I, too, had delusions of being from somewhere, anywhere else. Instead of Italian I wanted to be French but it's the same psychosis. This is one of the few movies of this genre in which the kids don't get drunk, smoke dope, or get laid...not that I have anything against any of that but in movies they always turn those events into terrible clichés.

Peter Yates has made a few great films and this and The Friends of Eddie Coyle are among them.
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7/10
Inspirational, Relatable, Fun, and Somewhat Quirky
RbDeraj1 January 2015
Breaking away is an inspirational sports film, but also a coming of age story or four young men trying to find their way in life. The friends have graduated high school but are unsure of what to do when considering college, jobs, parental expectations, social pressures, and being looked down upon for being "cutters." The plot mainly focuses on Dave who is obsessed with cycling and everything Italian. This comes to an end when he realizes that "everyone cheats" and he sees the world through new eyes. His friends urge him to be in a 500 lap race and they all enter as a team. What comes next is the race of a lifetime. The plot focused on real-life problems of growing up and was relatable to an audience yet had a good, exciting, and capturing story. The movie was inspirational, had an excellent cast with good acting, and was surprisingly funny. It will keep your attention and is sure to entertain cyclists and non-cyclists alike.
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10/10
My favorite movie for 30 years! Real, normal life, and good life lessons.
claytonchurch116 August 2014
This is my favorite movie, and has been since about 1983, when I first saw it. Want a movie that's not schmaltzy, but has lots of good, real-life realities and lessons? This is for you. Want to see Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Dennis Christopher as young actors? This is for you. Want to see life in the late 1970s in a small, but not backward, town--what it was like for those who weren't doing drugs and getting drunk? This is for you. This movie chronicles four guys who've just graduated from Bloomington High (Bloomington, IN, in which the whole film was shot), who've made a pact not to work or do anything for a year. This movie is about growing up, about class divisions between the college-educated and the blue-collar (Bloomington is the home of Indiana University, which plays a big role in the film), and about coming to grips with who you are and what's important in life. This is a sweet, sweet (but not corny or feel-good) movie. Yet, it's not tragic. It's just a very good picture of slice of life as a kid (an old kid) in a safe town. Many lines from this movie summarize truths of life, and I've quoted the movie from the mid-'80s to today. Just watched it again (August 2014), and was once again refreshed. A gem of a movie, indeed.
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9/10
Always uplifting and FUN
Andreapworth14 January 2014
Alright, it reminds me of just when I was out of college and EVERYONE was talking about this movie. I saw it and was completely hooked. How can you not like this movie with so many good and young and coming actors?

It's a solid story and I met someone from Bloomington Indiana who was so completely wholesome and was amazed that I knew the school song (from this movie).

Many sections of the movie are just hilarious. In Austin we didn't have equivalent to 'cutters', but for some reason, the University loved this movie, too.

If you've never seen this classic, now's the time to try it out. OK, t takes me back in time, but it's still a hidden classic of the times.
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9/10
When the bitterness of disillusion gives victory its sweetest taste ...
ElMaruecan8211 December 2013
If there was one film I've been dying to watch for many years, it is the fifth Best Picture nominee of 1979, the 8th most inspiring American movie from AFI's Top 100, the 8th sports movie from AFI's Top 10, the gem that has been impossible to find in my usual DVD stores: "Breaking Away". The first of the many satisfactions the film provided me was the magical moment where I finally found it… and God, I wasn't disappointed.

"Breaking Away" opens in a small town of Indiana, with four friends and as many personalities to identify with. Mike (Dennis Quaid) is a former athlete venting the bitterness of unfulfilled athletic dreams on local college' upper-class students. Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) is hung-up on his height, trying to repress his insecurity while enduring derogatory nicknames every day. Cyril (Daniel Stern) a tall and lanky former basket-ball player and guitar apprentice cares as much about his future as his own father cared about him. And surprisingly, Dave (Dennis Christopher), the central protagonist is the most upbeat of the bunch.

"Breaking Away" is one of these miracles that only the New Hollywood era could provide, something that cuts straight to your heart without you even noticing it. It carries the authentic realism of its Best Picture co-nominee "Norma Rae", with a more heart-warming effect: you smile, laugh and embrace the friendship between these boys who don't know what to do with their post-high-school future, and keep reinventing the world when they go swimming in the abandoned water-filled quarry. And there is something in Peter Yates' directing, that invites the viewer to seize the present with enthusiasm.

And the enthusiasm is embodied by one of the most engaging and lovable characters I've seen in a long time. Dave is so obsessed with the Italian cycling team he translated it in his own life. He talks and sings in Italian and in English with Italian accent, infuriating his Dad (Peter Dooley) who must endure food ending with '-ini-' all the time instead of something American like French Fries. The portrayal of Dave's parents is far from the stereotypical detachment, the mother (Oscar-nominated Barbara Barries) cares too much while the father believes a 19-year old shaving his legs, listening to opera must have some serious issues … While watching Dooley, I kept wondering what happened to his Oscar nomination, he's hilarious to a Walter Matthau-level.

The story goes on, Moocher gets a job but finally leaves it after one 'shorty' too many, Mike keeps clashing and competing with the rich college boys who call him 'cutter', a reference to the working-class that built the college and Cyril is the eternal victim of his helpful nature. Drama always works as a misleading safeguard. Many times, you expect an accident to happen, in the quarry, during a fight, but Dave's excitement to compete against the Italian team, in a local sporting event, makes us lower our guard. Amazingly, Dave isn't your typical bleak and disenchanted underdog hero, his cheerful attitude towers over his friends' struggles as we would all love to do with ours.

And in one of the film's most exhilarating sequences, he follows a semi-truck in a freeway with the perfect music in the background, "Barber of Seville'"s Overture. Dave grabs our heart like Opera our feelings, it's so genuine that many stereotypical situations work like serenading Katherine, the girl he loves, or courting her with an Italian accent, we believe "Catherina" would fall for it, because we would too. And while I loved watching Dave's adventure, I kept wondering what exactly made "Breaking Away" in the AFI's Top 100, let alone Top 10 most inspiring films … was Dave going to win over the Italians? Big deal! There had to be something.

And that something is the pivotal moment that made me realize there's much more intelligence in "Breaking Away" than your average Sports film, something I could relate to, and that made the ending so emotionally rewarding. Dave finally races with the Italians, he approaches them with an insolent ease, speak Italian with them, but they're obviously irked by that local clown, and finally, the very team he admired jams a tire pump under his wheel and make him crash… and at that moment, we witness with shock the collapse of Dave's dreams. The sparkle disappears with the Italian posters, he talks normally, again, asks his father for help and finds him, he embraces his friends' mood and feels like a loser… naturally, he tells the truth to his girlfriend.

As painful as the fall was, I felt a deliverance to see him act normally, to become himself again. It provides the necessary taste of disillusion and the discovery of cheat in grown-ups world as the obligatory coming-of-age. When he competes in the "Little 500" race against the college boys, he's got determination, self-confidence and three other 'Cutters' to take a few leaps, 'Cutters' stop being an insult, it's their identity. The final victory doesn't surprise us because the real victory is over our demons, it's not just winning but winning by being true to yourself. That's the kind of stuff great stories are made on, and it earned "Breaking Away" a well-deserved award for Best Original Screenplay.

As a screenwriter myself, I was fascinated by the film's narrative and the way it rode back and forth from comedy to poignant drama, as a screenwriter it reminded me how happy I was to work with an author, putting all my sweat and blood into a six-month promising project before he would dismiss me after receiving the first draft. I felt cheated exactly like Dave felt when he was kicked off his bike. But you know what they say about what doesn't kill you.
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7/10
Apart from some unlikable main characters, a very good film.
MartinHafer27 October 2013
When "Breaking Away" debuted in 1979, it made quite a splash. It was a 'small' film that suddenly broke out from the crowd--gaining a lot of critical attention as well as an Oscar. Now, over 30 years later, I decided to watch the film for a second time--mostly because I barely remember it and because it's an important film from this era.

The film is about a group of young high school graduates who are not going to college, aren't particularly interested in working and are afraid of growing up. Additionally, they seem to have a chip on their shoulders, as these so-called 'Cutters' are jealous of the local college students. As for the students, they seem to feel the Cutters are beneath them. One way that these so-called losers can finally feel important involves an upcoming bicycle race--and David (Dennis Christopher) hopes to prove something to himself and the community. Can he and his three working-class friends (including Dennis Quaid and Daniel Stern) somehow end up winners?

While a lot of folks adore this coming of age story, I felt very mixed about it. It was exceptional and some of it I really liked (Paul Dooley's character was great as was Barbara Barrie's), but some I didn't. I particularly had difficulty caring for the kids. The Cutters seemed like jerks--as were the college students. Making any sort of connection with them was tough for me. But, the film did combine nice music, a rousing finale and a lot of nice sports clichés into an enjoyable, though perhaps slightly overrated film.
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6/10
Bicycling Drama.
AaronCapenBanner27 September 2013
Four young friends(played by Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley) who live in the college town of Bloomington Indiana struggle to find purpose in their lives, as they are disrespected by the more wealthy kids of the nearby college, with whom they have periodic brawls. One of them, named Dave, is a dedicated bicyclist who has an obsession with the Italian racing team, who will be coming soon for a big race. Dave is so taken with them that he pretends to speak(and be) Italian, much to his parents(played by Paul Dooley and Barbara Barrie) chagrin. His outlook will change with a new romance and first-hand exposure to the Italians...

Original drama is certainly offbeat and funny in places, though also stretches credibility and patience after a while. Still, a nice(if slight) film that became a sleeper hit.
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10/10
Refund?!
Scrues18308 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Isn't it great when you find a movie that you'll plan to watch for the rest of your life? I knew it a long time ago. Dennis Christopher was strong in his performance, especially the parts where he talks with his father about whether or not he should go to college. When I was a kid and watched this for the first time, I knew it was going to be my favorite. I soon became obsessed with cycling as well, and managed to enter one of those races and win second place! I love the screenplay, which definitely deserved the Oscar it won, and the chemistry between all the characters is undeniable. It really makes you believe that they all are good friends. My favorite part is when Dave says, "Everybody cheats, I just didn't know." and as a 13 year old, believe me, that was really philosophical. If you want to watch a movie that will really blow you away, or help you remember what it was like to be a kid, this is the movie for you. All the actors were amazing, and you find yourself relating to a lot of the problems they face. I even wish I saw it much sooner, because after I saw it, my entire look on life changed. It's a real masterpiece!
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5/10
Once A Cutter,Always A Cutter!!
ehrldawg20 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I was at the exit 5 Beacon in Indianapolis. I was talking to the driver who had his truck in the south bay. He was telling me that he only had one speeding ticket in his whole driving career. He was driving near Bloomington. He was pacing a young bicyclist. he got up to 60 mph,when smokey pulled him over for speeding. I asked,"I thought you guys,back in the day, got extra points for hitting a bicyclist".

So,When the kids in Bloomington get bored,they go to Terra Haute to find some kicks instead of Indianapolis. If this is true,how come Bloomingtons own Johnny Cougar didn't do a song or a video about this fact. By the way,was Johnny Cougar there for the shoot of "Breaking Away"? Why wasn't Indiana basketball legend Bobby Knight in this movie?

An Unknown Actor drives the Peterbuilt 18 wheeler.

That Unnkown Actor is a permanent A list actor!! Barbara Barrie,Robyn Douglas,Amy Wright,Lisa Shure, and Jennifer Mickel are hot!!!

---One Truck Drivers Opinion---

erldwgstruckermovies.com
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9/10
Breaking Away is my Willoughby.
humbleradio10 August 2012
I recently saw this on the big screen here in Tokyo (July 2012).

I hadn't seen it for years, going back decades probably. I saw it originally when it came out, as I was only a couple of years junior to those portrayed on the screen. Like others have mentioned, the acting was superb and true to life. Not one second on screen do you feel anyone is acting. Dennis Christopher as lead character David Stoller is really a joy to behold. His enthusiasm is never forced or fake. He pulls it off beautifully.

And Dennis Quaid's Mike character is probably all too common in this world of high school stars peaking with graduation. His story is quietly repeated among so many who saw their best years in high school only to watch others get the longer lasting glory. The speeches he gives are poignant, deep and yet perfectly fitting of his character. He does a wonderful job of showing the frustration of change.

Daniel Stern's Cyril is perfect as the more comical of the bunch - simply perfect casting. Some of his lines are just priceless.

And Jack Earl Haley and 'Moocher' looks like so many of us looked like back then, me included (though I wasn't short). Long straggly hair, t shirt, jeans and string-bean skinny.

Paul Dooley and Barbara Barrie were wonderful. As were the brief shots of others at the Little 500. I can only imagine they were locals hired as extras.

Hart Bochner (Lloyd's son) did a fine job as the snob jock. Gotta admit, they didn't come better looking than that back then. I sometimes wonder if Paul McTiernan didn't intentionally subject Hart to that somewhat comical but deadly ending in "Die Hard" out of payback for being such a jerk in "Breaking Away".

Katherina played by Robyn Douglass was wonderful. She had that perfect look of girls you would just die for back then. She even resembled a girl me and my pals were all in love with back in Chatham Township high school. I loved her scenes and her moment when she finds out the truth. Really jolts you out of your seat. Choked me up.

Watching this film really made me aware of how we've changed, not just in our clothing or hair styles, but in our entire lives. Everything is brand-name now, everyone is so conscious of who made the object they desire and how much it cost. The more expensive the better. Everything is new and shiny. Every single element in a movie is examined from eyeglasses to shoes to pens. Everything is measured for its affluence and brand quality.

Back then, we had Schwinns, Huffys, Raleighs, even Sears and whatever else we could afford. We wore clothes just like those kids in the movie wore, T shirts, old jeans cut-offs in summer, and ripped up sneakers. We had fishing holes or swimming holes and spent enormous amounts of time riding bikes, or just laying in the grass or on rocks in the sun, or up in some tree house, just thinking or talking or planning out the universe... and also about girls, which none of us had actually had any meaningful contact with yet. A magical time in a boy's life.

Reminds me of the time we discovered an old playboy in the woods under a fallen tree. It was a huge deal with us at the time. We'd hide it back under the tree trunk wrapped in some plastic and go back to it when we were back there. Nowadays, the most descriptive and graphic porn that even Ripley wouldn't believe is simply a click away 24/7. It's a different world, indeed.

(Ironically, as a side note, the Playboy issue, we found out years later was the one that highlighted the ill-fated Dorothy Stratton.)

Nowadays, can you imagine anyone, especially a 19 year old kid sitting still out in nature or anywhere else for that matter for even ten seconds without whipping out a smart-phone or some other gadget? Or being seen not having just the right clothes, just the right Nikes or Adidas sneakers? We had converse back then, and they were the cheap sneakers.

It's just sad that such a time in life is gone forever, not just in the styles which were, yes, sloppy, an unkempt, but in the way kids lived. It's an entirely different world today and I wouldn't trade my childhood in the 70s and early 80s with any kid today for all the money in the world.

I sat through the film twice, loving it so much and knowing I'd probably never get a chance to see it on the big screen again. Watching it with tears in my eyes, I really felt such an urge that if I could have, I would've climbed into that screen in a second to go back to that time once again that is never more. Just like Willoughby must've been to Rod Serling.
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6/10
Solid but not spectacular
hall89522 July 2012
Breaking Away is a movie which certainly has its charms. But it's a case where the movie's reputation slightly outstrips reality. It's one of those movies which isn't quite as good as people remember it as being. It won an Oscar for best screenplay but there's really nothing remarkable about the script. In fact the story is actually quite predictable and mundane, with some rather corny dialogue to boot. It's a movie which follows a well-worn formula, the underdogs striving to make good. And you can see the obstacles the main character will face, and the reasons for his eventual disillusionment, coming a mile away. There's never really any great drama, you know where the movie's headed.

But just because the movie is predictable doesn't mean it can't be reasonably enjoyable. It's the story of four teens, just graduated high school and trying to find their path in life. But it's the story of one of the four which is at the heart of the film. Dave Stoller is obsessed with bicycle racing. Italian bicycle racing to be specific. He Italianizes his life, much to the consternation of his father. Meanwhile he and his directionless friends have run-ins with the college kids and it all comes to a head in a bicycle race. Well, points for originality there I suppose. Not many movies have a bicycle race as the big, dramatic climax. The movie is hailed as being truly inspiring. That's a stretch. But when the movie ends you'll probably at least find yourself smiling. It's not riveting stuff all the way through, there are plenty of lulls. The movie does do enough to keep you interested though. Dennis Christopher does an excellent job in the role of Dave. Paul Dooley, playing Dave's father, is also memorable. The tug-of-war between these two characters produces many of the movie's highlights. The supporting cast features now familiar faces such as Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Jackie Earle Haley. But it's really Christopher who must carry the movie. It's Dave's story. And it's a good story. Just not a great one.
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6/10
Breaking Away
Jackson Booth-Millard14 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is definitely one of those films I never would of heard of without being in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, and it was also because of some good names in the cast and an award win, from Oscar and Golden Globe nominated director Peter Yates (Summer Holiday, Bullitt, The Deep). Basically best friends Dave Stoller (BAFTA winning, and Golden Globe nominated Dennis Christopher), Mike (The Day After Tomorrow's Dennis Quaid), Cyril (Home Alone's Daniel Stern) and Moocher (A Nightmare on Elm Street's Jackie Earle Haley) have all just graduated from high school in Bloomington, Indiana. They are all deciding what to do next in their lives, but until then they spend a lot of their time swimming in an old abandoned water-filled quarry, and they clash with Indiana University students. Dave, who has a passion for Italian music and the culture, which concerns his father Ray (Paul Dooley), has an obsession with competitive bicycle racing, his mother Evelyn (Oscar nominated Barbara Barrie) is very supportive of these things. Dave has a crush on university student Katherine (Robyn Douglass) and puts on an Italian accent to romance her, but she is does already have boyfriend Rod (Hart Bochner), and he has his gang beat up Cyril after mistaken identity. Soon after this there is the announcement a professional Italian cycling team coming to town for a racing event, and Dave is keen to participate as well, but the team cause to get depressed after a crash. He does come back, and he gets support from his father, and after some incidents in the race Dave has his feet taped to his bicycle pedals, Moocher, Cyril and Mike all watch in hope, and on the last lap he overtakes Rod to win the race, and after the trophy glory he decides he'll enrol at the university. Also starring Amy Wright as Nancy, Peter Maloney as Doctor and Halloween's P.J. Soles as Suzy. Christopher is a talented young leading character, Quaid, Stern and Haley who would all go on to bigger things do really well as they are young as well, and in her scenes I can see why Barrie was nominated an award, the material that would inspire the Brat Pack genre are all amusing, the cycling scenes are good watching, and the dialogue is witty and also sensitive, so all in all it is a likable comedy sports drama. It won the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, and it was nominated for Best Music for Patrick Williams and Best Picture, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy, and it was nominated for Best Screenplay. Good!
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9/10
Breaking Away Races to the Front
pkarnold3 January 2012
One of my favorite genres of movies is sports movies. Usually there is drama, comedy, and often surprising results. For me Breaking Away is certainly one of my top ten favorite sports movies, and quite possibly on my top five list.

Breaking Away is a story about a teenage cyclist growing up in Bloomington, Indiana. Somehow he has become obsessed with the Italian cycling team. And whether his motivation is a unique way to meet young coeds at Indiana University or something else, he is an incredible cyclist.

The fun part of this movie is his interaction with his mother Evelyn Stoller, who seems very understanding about his Italian cultural ways, and his father Ray Stoller, who doesn't understand why his son thinks he's Italian. Give credit to writer Steve Tesich whose script takes viewers on a humorous and believable adventure in this wonderful small-budget movie.

Add in three friends who just graduated from high school, and this story is a fascinating jaunt with coming of age. Dennis Quaid plays a former high school quarterback, Jackie Earle Haley plays the short and defensive Moocher, and Daniel Stern plays Cyril, a student whose father likes to encourage him when he fails. Each of the supporting actors does a great job in helping to convey the story, but you can really see Daniel Stern's strength in comic acting in his first major movie role.

The sports rivalry is actually established by the city kids called Cutters, competing for dates against the college male students. Eventually, the two rival groups compete against each other in a bike race called the Little 500. But honestly, the joy in this movie is the journey with all of the characters in the Peter Yates directed movie.

As in life, there is humor and sadness, friends and family, rivals and conflict brought out on the big screen. This movie was surprisingly good the first time I saw it, and still enjoyable 30 years after its release. How good is Breaking Away? It won an Oscar in 1980 for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen with Steven Tesich doing a tremendous job in "wordsmithing" the script. The movie also received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Barbara Barrie), and Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score (Patrick Williams).

Perhaps my best recommendation for Breaking Away is that I consider it better than that other famous Indiana sports movie about High School basketball. That's probably a minority view, but if you haven't seen Breaking Away, you have missed a jewel of a movie.
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8/10
Breaking away is pretty good for commercial standards.
MovieGuy1092 September 2011
Peter Yates's film Breaking Away is a movie made for the average human, not for art houses or award shows. Just for the audience. Normally when a filmmaker sets out to make a film like this, the results are lacking. Breaking Away is an exception to that however. This film works as a commercially oriented story without misusing a bit of talent on display here. It is a relatable story for not only cyclists but also just people that have had problems in their life. A real gem of a film with great performances from Dennis Christopher and Dennis Quaid. No one says it is a masterpiece, but most everybody that sees this will take something worthwhile from it.
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7/10
A pleasantly inspiring film
I'm not much of a biker, and by that I mean I haven't ridden a bike since I was probably ten, but there's something inspiring about Peter Yates' Breaking Away that almost makes me wish I had kept it up. Breaking Away is about teenager Dave Stoller and his buddies in the small town of Bloomington, Indiana. Dave is obsessed with the Italian cycling team and longs to be Italian, speaking the language and listening to the music. He also vies for the affection of a college girl in an almost Romeo and Juliet fashion. Dave and his friends are what are known as cutters and they are despised by the college students of the town. But this doesn't stop Dave from serenading the beautiful Catherine under his sentimental Italian guise. Breaking Away is a charming film that is plenty of fun to watch.

There isn't a whole lot to this film and it doesn't' intend to be much. It isn't hard hitting or dark in any way. It is a very innocent film that isn't much more than a delightful use of an hour and forty minutes of your time. This is a lighthearted film that doesn't demand any sort of harsh criticism or intense focus. Take this film as it is and just enjoy it. It is plenty worth it to just sit through the film, which is fairly short anyways, and enjoy it not as something grand and life changing, just a pleasant little film that has fun with what it's doing and will bring about warm and happy feelings in you if you just take it for what it is.

Breaking Away succeeds greatly from a character standpoint as all four of the main characters are plenty likable. They are portrayed excellently by the actors in this film and we really get the sense that these four really are lifetime buds. There really isn't anything to criticize about them as characters. They have their flaws but it makes them human. And thats what this film is more than anything. Human. It is a nice story that doesn't make us think and it doesn't hit hard emotionally, but it can be easily enjoyed as a pleasant story that is believable enough for your typical underdog story.

You wont find anything revolutionary or groundbreaking here but you will find a simple and heartfelt story that will please you for the hour and forty minutes that you watch it unfold. There isn't too much more to this film other than just a happy tale of success and friendship. It is well written, well directed, well acted, and is just an all around well put together film. It isn't something I would watch again, but I don't regret giving it a shot.
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10/10
What a great movie then and still.
gogovero7 June 2011
I was in a bike shop today selecting a new model for myself. The sad part is I now require easy entry, lots of gears and so forth. But still Breaking Away maybe the best and most uplifting film I can remember. Humor and humility are equally balanced. Loved it then, still do. The characters are heartbreakingly sincere and naive. No gratuitous( or any other kind of) sex scenes. No questionable language. Nothing but good. AND,Mendelsohn's Fourth symphony doesn't get sufficient (or any) credit as the urgent, driving and melodic background music. How come they don't make good, clean movies anymore? Okay, I'm an old codger, but really, why not?
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10/10
A classic that is 32 years young
dimplet20 April 2011
We now have more than a decade of reviews on IMDb of Breaking Away, going back to 1998, enough to conclude, as do many of the reviewers, that this is a classic that has passed the test of time. I would dare say that there will be viewers watching and loving this film 10, 20, 50, 100 years from now. Its theme and message transcend time.

Breaking Away was popular when it came out. It was mentioned in three different college classes within the context of the professor's lecture to illustrate a point. So don't underestimate the depth of concept of this film. It effortlessly works on many different levels, and different people see different things in it. You need to watch it carefully, more than once, to appreciate this. But it has become somewhat forgotten, a sleeper.

However, tears come to my eyes when I think about one of the key messages, explained by the father, after Dave's encounter with the Italian team. It has proved all too true, with the result that the America of 1979 is crumbling around us.

In short, if you haven't seen this movie, watch it. If you don't own it, buy it, because you will want to watch it again, perhaps even 10 or 20 years from now. I've been watching it now and then for more than 30 years.

Jackie Earle Haley, who plays Moocher, was also in Bad News Bears, the original with Walter Matthau. He has some pretty funny lines.

--- On a bicycling note, I happened to find a mint condition Ciocc Itallian racing bicycle from around this period with full Campagnola components and sew on tires. It was a dream to ride, far more agile, yet stable, than my other expensive road bikes. I can see why Dave developed a love affair with his bike.

What I learned is that a well-maintained drive train is nearly silent, at least using modern dry lube. Yet in the movie you can always hear the chain and gears grinding away, especially in the group scene with the Italians. It makes me wonder if bikes back then were really so noisy. Or whether the director or foley man thought too much silence would seem unrealistic to viewers used to cheap bikes, so they added in gear noise.

Also, it becomes amusingly apparent, on close viewing, that Dave is in a very low gear moving slowly, pumping and huffing away, when he appears to be tearing down the road. But most people don't notice this.

The bottom line is this movie often inspires an impulse to get a road bike, and this is a good thing if you have some relatively quiet roads to go long distances, like Dave. On terrain like in the movie, many people could ride 50 or more miles in a day once you get into condition, but with a road or comfort bike, not a mountain bike. It's a great form of recreation. Go for it!
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10/10
Amazing movie that really touched me
TheLittleSongbird23 January 2011
Along with Hoosiers, in my opinion, Breaking Away is one of the better sports movies out there. It is beautifully filmed with the cinematography and scenery both outstanding. The story is touching, brilliantly written and refreshingly unpredictable, while the script is truly remarkable with a perfect blend of wit and sensitivity. Peter Yates does a wonderful job directing, the pace never lags, all the characters are credible and I'll be honest, this film does have an impact on me emotionally. The performances are all marvellous, as good as Daniel Stern and Jackie Earl Haley were, the best are from Dennis Quaid and especially Dennis Christopher. Overall, this is a wonderful movie. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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