Edit
Backdraft (1991) Poster

(1991)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (2)
Kurt Russell, Scott Glenn, and William Baldwin did a lot of their own stunts, and the Stunt Coordinator Walter Scott was so impressed by their performances, that he credited them as stunt performers in the credits.
In an interesting twist of fate, Brad Pitt lost out on the role of Brian McCaffrey in Backdraft (1991) to William Baldwin, who then had to be released from his contract to play the small part of J. D. in Thelma & Louise (1991) that was re-cast with Brad Pitt.
The iconic promotional image of the fireman's silhouette emerging from a fiery doorway appears on Firefighter License Plates issued in the state of California.
Robert De Niro's character, Don Rimgale, is a real arson investigator with the Chicago Fire Dept's Office of Fire Investigation. Don Rimgale also appears in the movie.
Many of the extras in the film are actual Chicago firefighters. A casting call was put out in a Department memo prior to the start of shooting. In addition, many suburban firemen participated in the funeral procession.
To draw audiences into the intensity of real fire, a cameraman was outfitted in fire-proof suit and wandered through the flames with a hand-held camera.
The film's screenwriter, Gregory Widen, was a firefighter for three years before becoming a screenwriter. The film is based on the death of a friend in an actual backdraft.
There's a scene where Scott Glenn's character breaks out the windows of a Mercedes Benz that is blocking a fire hydrant in order to snake the hose through the car to access the hydrant. On the night of April 9, 2014, the Boston Fire Department was forced to break out the windows of a BMW that was blocking a fire hydrant so they could respond to an 8-alarm fire across the street from the hydrant.
Much of the soundtrack was later used for the Japanese cooking show Iron Chef (1993), AKA "Iron Chef".
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
There are three arson victims: Donald Cosgrove, Alan Seagrave, and Jeffrey Holcomb. Cosgrove is named after the real-life Chicago fireman/author William Cosgrove who served as Robert De Niro's technical advisor for the movie. Seagrave is the name of a fire apparatus (fire and ladder truck) manufacturer. Also, the firehouse where Engine 17 and Truck 46 were quartered is the real, in-service firehouse of the Chicago Fire Department's Engine 65 and Truck 52.
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
After reading the film's script, Jennifer Jason Leigh reportedly told director Ron Howard that she wished she was the fire because it has the best part.
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Following tradition, Ron Howard cast his brother Clint Howard in this movie. Clint plays Ricco the pathologist.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Dennis Quaid turned down the role of "Bull" McCaffrey. He went on to play a firefighter in the movie Frequency (2000).
The Fire Engine 17 used in the movie was purchased by a Volunteer EMS/Fire company in North Eastern PA and is currently under renovations to restore it back to active duty as a first due unit after several years of storage.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Robert Downey Jr. and Keanu Reeves tested for the role of Brian McCaffrey.
The photos of firefighters seen on the walls of the investigators office are of the Los Angeles Country fire fighters who were on scene during the filming of the fire scenes as a precautionary measure.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the television version of the movie, there is an extra scene where the firefighters go to a widow of a deceased firefighter to help her with her house.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
One of the fire engines outside the high-rise fire downtown was Engine 51, a nod to the 1970s TV show Emergency! (1972), which was also produced by Universal Studios.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Val Kilmer and Johnny Depp both turned down the part of Brian.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The numbers of the fire companies are all "dead" numbers in the Chicago Fire Dept. Engine 17, Truck 46, Engine 24, Truck 6 (now back in service as of March 2004), and Engine 33 (referred to, not actually seen in the movie), are all out of service. The Chicago Fire Dept. has twenty-four battalions. Battalion 25 was created for the movie.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The firehouse where Rimgale's office was located is in the heart of Chinatown at the corner of Wentworth and Cermak Avenues.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The production company totally refurbished six pieces of fire apparatuses and, upon completion of filming, donated five of them to the Chicago Fire Department, who used four of them as front-line equipment for several years, and one as a spare. The only one that was not donated to the city was the truck that was flipped over, which was totaled for that shot.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Actors Cedric Young (Grindle), Kevin Casey (Nightengale), and Richard Lexsee (Washington) are former Chicago firefighters.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
During the boat party, Alderman Swayzak (J.T. Walsh) asks his aide Jennifer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who a guest is, and she says the man's name is DeWaay. Larry DeWaay is a co-producer for Backdraft.
2 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The Character of Donald Rimgale is always referred to as "Inspector" but his actual rank is Captain as evidenced by his helmet and his dress uniform. This means he is a senior inspector who probably commands others of lower rank.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Kurt Russell plays two roles in this film as Father and Son McCaffrey. In the beginning, he plays Dennis Mccaffrey the father of Stephen and Brian. He dies in 1971 in a blaze. The rest of the film, he plays Stephen Mccaffrey the son of Dennis and big brother of Brian. He dies on his way to the hospital after falling down on a pipe with his family friend "axe" who burns up in a chemical plant fire. He does that while finding out that axe is responsible for the backdrafts and while axe is on fire. In both those scenes Brian is there when both his father and brother die. Stephen and Dennis have similarities being that they look alike and dress alike. But the difference is that Dennis has his hair combed down and a mustache and Stephen has no mustache and his hair spiked up like a flattop.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The firestation that Brian works at had an engine 51 the same number as the engine on Chicago Fire. And the ambulance that took Tim to the hospital is ambo 62, on Chicago Fire the ambo number is 61.
1 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page