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Backdraft (1991)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  24 May 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 55,309 users   Metascore: 38/100
Reviews: 132 user | 60 critic | 12 from Metacritic.com

Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don't get along have to work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen McCaffrey
Tim Krizminski
Alderman Marty Swayzak
Anthony Mockus Sr. ...
Chief John Fitzgerald (as Tony Mockus Sr.)
Cedric Young ...
Juan Ramírez ...
Kevin Casey ...


A rookie firefighter tries to earn the respect of his older brother and other firefighters while taking part in an investigation of a string of arson/murders. This detailed look into the duties and private lives of firemen naturally features widespread pyrotechnics and special effects. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Silently behind a door, it waits. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 May 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Marea de fuego  »

Box Office


$77,868,585 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (QSound) (70 mm prints)| (DTS HD Master Audio)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alec Baldwin was considered to play Brian McCaffrey but he turned it down and recommended his brother Billy for the role. See more »


Just as the department goes to a call when the hippies are around, you can see the overhead light-bar on while the fire bell rings. See more »


Brian, Age 7: I'm not a geek!
See more »


Referenced in Sugar & Spice (2001) See more »


Nothing For You
Written by Michael Stuart Kirkpatrick (as Michael S. Kirkpatrick) & Kathleen Keane
Performed by The Drovers
See more »

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User Reviews

Howard's film is solid, better than you think
8 August 2005 | by (Milpitas, California) – See all my reviews

Ron Howard's action/thriller about two brothers (Baldwin and Russell), who have some differences but need to work together to find out whose causing recent arson fires in their district. THe film is done well, good acting for the most part, brilliant direction, and a decent screenplay. I thought William Baldwin started out the first couple scenes with a bit of a constant smirk on his face, but his acting seemed to improve (or maybe grow on me), he gave a satisfying performance. Meanwhile Russell was solid as well as his older brother who is an old-fashioned bitter fireman who takes too many risks. The female performances were rather average, Jennifer Jason Leigh was decent as Jennifer a girl who helps Brian (Baldwin). Rebecca DeMornay is not so great as Steven (Russel)'s ex-wife. Robert DeNiro was great in his role as a fire department detective trying to solve the case. J.T. Walsh was also decent in his role, which was similar but expanded in F. Gary Gray's THe Negotiator. The best performance of the film came from Scott Glenn who was great as a firefighter known as "Axe". I haven't seen Ladder49, so this is my favorite firefighter movie as of now. The script had some problems, as it didn't flow well, but the actors managed to save it although i was particularly upset with one dialogue between jennifer jason leigh and william baldwin which seemed like a complete rip-off of the scene where Michael Corleone and Kay see each other again after Michael is back from Sicily in Godfather part 1. But for the most part the script was average, not bad, but saved by brilliant direction, solid acting and great action. The music was done very well and suited the film, props to Hans Zimmer for yet another great score. The cinematography was also very good, especially in the fire scenes, good job by Mikael Salomon. 8/10

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