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Backdraft
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Reviews & Ratings for
Backdraft More at IMDbPro »

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47 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Excellent portrayal of actual events

Author: Seattle911 from Seattle, Washington
10 January 2004

Ron Howard did a wonderful job of bringing some of the real-life problems that firefighters face everyday in Backdraft. I'm kind of tired of hearing the Monday morning quarterbacks on this site trying to talk about how bad it was and that it wasn't realistic, etc. Take it from a REAL firefighter who has lost brothers in REAL fires and has lived through a REAL backdraft, it's NOT all fun and games, and it's far from glamourous. This movie did an excellent job capturing some of the emotions that flow through every firehouse in America today, particularly after 9/11, we are a brotherhood in which the "I go---we go" mentality is a very REAL concept that most of us live by everyday. And the corruption part of the story, well that's Hollywood for ya, if it doesn't have death, destruction, and corruption...then it doesn't sell very well. Yes there are corrupt politicians and it wouldn't surprise me if things like that did happen, but it's far from commonplace and was just to enhance the film and give you a person to "hate" in the film (JT Walsh, God rest his soul).

So I give it 4 out of 4 stars, very realistic, well directed, EXCELLENT acting on Kurt Russell and Robert DiNiro's parts, and can't wait til I find it on DVD to buy it.

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32 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Blockbuster Movie

9/10
Author: wlmlbl from Hawaii
27 October 2002

This is one of Ron Howard's better films. Much of the filming was done on location in Chicago. Acting was excellent. Especially by Kurt Russell and William Baldwin. I have heard a lot of negatives about this movie, but I still feel it is worth a 9 at least. Steven and Brian McCaffery's dad (also a fireman) was killed in a fire in 1971. Brian was just a youngster, and along for the ride with his dad when he was killed. Twenty years later, Brian has become a fireman after failing at other pursuits. Steven is a lieutenant with the Chicago Fire Department. Steven does not think Brian can cut the mustard as a fireman, and Brian is out to prove himself. It makes for a great sibling rivalry. On top of this, an arsonist is setting fires, and the arson investigator, Donald Rimgale (Robert DeNero) does not have a clue as to who it is. Rimgale is pressured by an egotistical alderman (J.T. Walsh) who wants to be mayor. Brian has his problems working with Steven, and finally gives up, and accepts a job working with Rimgale. They find the links between all the fires, but Brian finds out more. (who the arsonist is). The climactic scene in chemical warehouse is great! I was told by someone that the funeral scene was overdone. I don't think so...I have seen funerals for firemen and they look exactly like what you see in the movie...Universal Studios in Hollywood had a Backdraft set on their lot some years back (which I visited), and it gives you a chance to see what these actors really faced...This is without a doubt one of my favorite movies, and Ron Howard deserves his share of kudos for an excellent directing job

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29 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Howard's film is solid, better than you think

8/10
Author: PersianPlaya408 from Milpitas, California
8 August 2005

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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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

burn baby, burn

7/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
8 May 2006

It's weird to think that when I went to see "Home Alone" in the theaters, "Backdraft" was advertised right before the movie came on. The whole thing is a little grimmer than we usually expect from Ron Howard. It focuses on mutually hostile brothers Stephen (Kurt Russell) and Brian McCaffrey (William Baldwin), both firefighters in Chicago having to put aside their differences to fight an arson outbreak.

True, it doesn't really sound like much of a plot, but Howard knows how to keep everything going. Stephen is the sort of guy with a bad attitude whom you can't help but respect. Brian mainly shows that there was once a time when Alec Baldwin's brothers could act. As for the climax, that is really something that is likely to shock you royally. But don't get me wrong. This is a good movie. Maybe not any kind of masterpiece, but worth seeing nevertheless. Above all, it's not a disaster movie (the less said about "The Towering Inferno" the better). Also starring Robert DeNiro, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Glenn, Rebecca DeMornay and J.T. Walsh.

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

A teary eyed romantic picture...for the guys.

8/10
Author: Justin Purwitsky from Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
18 January 1999

Backdraft, proves once again, that Ron Howard is one of Hollywood's major contenders. This time around he explores fire through technical wizardry.

The movie itself is a tad bit overdone, story wise, but the effects are absolutely astonishing. And the acting, by mostly everyone is fabulous. It takes a lot to outdo Robert De Niro, but Kurt Russell manages to do so, especially in the end sequence. And even better, William Baldwin shows he can act.

Rating = 8 of 10

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Backdraft Forever Burns in my Memory!!

10/10
Author: somme22 from United States
21 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Backdraft" is one of those movies that stays on your mind after you've seen it. It is just so amazingly shot, and the story takes you in. When I first saw this movie, maybe five years ago, I thought the fire sequences were extremely realistic, and I still do. I thought that Ron Howard did an excellent job directing this film, and the cast was superb.

The story is about two feuding brothers, Stephen and Brian McCaffrey, both of who are part of the Chicago Fire Department. The story covers the reason behind the McCaffrey's feud, the hardships and adventures of a firefighter's life, and the consequences of the phenomenon known as a "backdraft". Someone is also murdering people and covering their deaths with this phenomenon. The McCaffrey's discover that they have to work together to solve this unsolvable mystery.

I thought that Kurt Russel was perfect as Stephen McCaffrey, because he provided the toughness and grit necessary for the role. And William Baldwin was perfect as Brian, the McCaffrey brother who is still searching for his place in the world, and trying to fit into the role that both his father once played and that his brother Stephen is now playing. Scott Glenn is also perfectly cast as Axe.

The film perfectly shows the life of a fireman- the hardships, the pains and the glory. It also shows that two people can put aside their differences for the greater good. I strongly recommend Backdraft to everyone. It is a very powerful movie.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Backdraft A Movie Definitely Worth Watching

9/10
Author: tburke85 from United States
5 June 2009

Backdraft is a movie definitely worth watching from famous director Ron Howard who continues to show his skill as a filmmaker with this one. Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca De Mornay, and Robert De Niro are great in the movie bringing to life these believable characters we see on the screen. The rest of the cast are admirable in their small roles including J.T. Walsh, Jason Gedrick, and Donald Sutherland. Its better to watch this movie without knowing too much about it because if you do than you're going to be in for a heck of a movie experience. The film tells story of two brothers (Russell and Baldwin) in the fire department whose bond is tested as mysterious murders begin to occur by a dangerous arsonist on the loose. Backdraft is an excellent story about fire fighters with realistic action for the most part, suspense, some humor, and a little romance that make for an enjoyable movie to watch. The film did seem to drag a little near the end but its one flaw so the good more than outweighs the bad. If you're looking for an entertaining movie to watch that's worth your time and money then see Backdraft. You can't go wrong with this film. It's definitely one of Ron Howards best movies on par with Apollo 13 and A Beautitful Mind. It's really that good.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Fire. A living, breathing animal.

9/10
Author: Josh Jensen from Canada
9 February 2001

When you watch this movie, you'll never look at fire the same way again. In 'Backdraft', fire is portrayed as a vicious animal that breathes and devours. The story revolves around an arson investigation in the city of Chicago where a sibling rivalry is flaring as well between Brian and Stephen McCaffrey. You'll be blown away by Industrial Light & Magic's special effects and Hans Zimmer's dramatic score. Ron Howard put together an incredible, thrill-ride movie with action, drama and romance all rolled in. Do not miss this movie and don't turn your back on a fire, it knows when to strike.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Thin story, but diffucult to dislike.

Author: flicklover from United States
14 May 2004

I have seen this movie many times noe, and I can understand that many people slam this film for being corny and unrealistic. And they are right, it is corny, but it is acted and directed with conviction, that it is hard for me not to like it. The core of the movie the story of 2 feuding firefighter brothers played by Kurt Russell and Adam Baldwin. This part of the story may be cliched, but the 2 actors do a good job in their roles, especially Russell, he plays the elder brother, trying to protect his screwup younger brother from the dangers of firefighting. The other parts are less successful, there is a subplot involving the wife of Russell's wife inabilty to deal with his risk taking in his job, Rebecca DeMornay does what she can with a small role. The other subplot of the story is the one that doesn't work, it involves the murders of financial experts hire by a city alderman to close down firestations for financial gain. This part of the story should have been scrapped, it just chops up screen time and is never compelling. That leaves the action scenes, they are spectacular. The fire scenes keep you on the edge of your seat. The special effects are great, but even though the script is corny the actors made me care enough for what was happening to them. It is directed by Ron Howard, who usually is more successful in the human side of the story, he seems to have spent more time on the technical side of the story than the human side. Too bad, even though I like this film, it misses greatness due to a weak script.

Grade: B

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable Contemporary Cowboy Classic

9/10
Author: FiendishDramaturgy from .: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.
22 March 2007

This work features some great, entertaining and witty banter by Kurt Russell, the hot dog firefighter, willing to risk it all for the people of his city. Okay, maybe that was a little overstated, but it's still accurate.

I like this movie at least as well as the first couple of Lethal Weapon movies. When there's action, it's awesome; when there's witty repartee, it's witty; and when there's drama, it's dramatic. The performances here are top notch, and the plot is intriguing, holding your attention throughout.

Hats off to the Cowboys! Ron Howard's direction is inspired, the effects are awesome, and the performances are legendary.

I was nothing, if not entertained.

It rates an 8.8/10 from...

the Fiend :.

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