7.7/10
20,604
108 user 70 critic

Breaking Away (1979)

Trailer
2:51 | Trailer
A small-town boy obsessed with the Italian cycling team vies for the affections of a college girl.

Director:

Peter Yates

Writer:

Steve Tesich
Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Norma Rae (1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young single mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved.

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Sports physician Marcus persuades his unstable brother David to come with him and train for a bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains. Marcus doesn't tell David that he has a brain aneurysm... See full summary »

Director: John Badham
Stars: Kevin Costner, David Marshall Grant, Rae Dawn Chong
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, an unemployed dancer and her 10-year-old daughter are reluctantly forced to live with a struggling off-Broadway actor.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings
The Dresser (1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Personal Assistant Norman (Sir Tom Courtenay) of deteriorating veteran actor Sir (Albert Finney) struggles to get him through a difficult performance of King Lear.

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, Edward Fox
Fat City (1972)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two men, working as professional boxers, come to blows when their careers each begin to take opposite momentum.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell
All That Jazz (1979)
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer.

Director: Bob Fosse
Stars: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer
Hoosiers (1986)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A coach with a checkered past and a local drunk train a small town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship.

Director: David Anspaugh
Stars: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.

Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris
Coming Home (1978)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A woman whose husband is fighting in Vietnam falls in love with another man who suffered a paralyzing combat injury there.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A dropout from upper-class America picks up work along the way on oil rigs when his life isn't spent in a squalid succession of bars, motels, and other points of interest.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush
Atlantic City (1980)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer find themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs and danger.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid
Diner (1982)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A group of college-age buddies struggle with their imminent passage into adulthood in 1959 Baltimore.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Christopher ... Dave
Dennis Quaid ... Mike
Daniel Stern ... Cyril
Jackie Earle Haley ... Moocher
Barbara Barrie ... Mom
Paul Dooley ... Dad
Robyn Douglass ... Katherine
Hart Bochner ... Rod
Amy Wright ... Nancy
Peter Maloney ... Doctor
John Ashton ... Mike's Brother
Lisa Shure Lisa Shure ... French Girl
Jennifer K. Mickel Jennifer K. Mickel ... Girl
P.J. Soles ... Suzy (as Pamela Jayne Soles)
David K. Blase David K. Blase ... 500 Race Announcer
Edit

Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The movie that tells you exactly what you can do with your high school diploma! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | French

Release Date:

20 July 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bambino See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,702, 15 July 1979

Gross USA:

$16,424,918

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,424,918
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Sports" in June 2008. See more »

Goofs

As the Cinzano truck is being pulled over, Dave passes the truck and can be seen crossing a bridge. In another shot, you can see the truck behind Dave, on the shoulder, but no bridge. See more »

Quotes

Dad: What is this?
Mom: It's sauteed zucchini.
Dad: It's I-ty food. I don't want no I-ty food.
Mom: It's not. I got it at the A&P. It's like... squash.
Dad: I know I-ty food when I hear it! It's all them "eenie" foods... zucchini... and linguine... and fettuccine. I want some American food, dammit! I want French Fries!
Mom: [to the cat] Oh, get off the table, Fellini!
Dad: Hey, that's *my* cat! His name's Jake, not Fellini! I won't have any "eenie" in this house!
[to the cat]
Dad: Your name's Jake, you understand?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Introducing

Robyn Douglass See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Burt Reynolds/Anne Murray (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

M' apparì tutt' amor
(uncredited)
from "Marta" (Italian version)
Music by Friedrich von Flotow
Sung by Dennis Christopher
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Endearing hero, fabulous music, heartwarming coming of age film
21 September 2006 | by roghacheSee all my reviews

This is my absolute favourite coming of age movie! It has an endearing teenage hero, an engaging story, a touching theme, an amazing musical score, and an abundance of humour. The story revolves around Dave Stoller and his three buddies, four misfits who have just graduated from high school.

Dave recently received a bicycle as a gift, has become a good racer locally, and his heroes are the Italian Cinzano racing team. To the consternation of some, his life begins to revolve around his dreams of becoming a racing champion, to the extent that he basically tries to turn himself into an Italian. He learns the language, absorbs the culture, listens to its operas, and gives his cat an Italian name Fellini! He even pretends to be an Italian exchange student in order to impress a pretty sorority girl named Katherine, whom he calls Caterina and feels would otherwise be beyond his reach.

Dave makes an appealing hero, wonderfully portrayed by Dennis Christopher, vulnerable but with an amazing joie de vivre. His hilarious attempts at becoming Italian, for example shaving his legs like their men but not their women, proved one of the highlights of the movie. The scene where he serenades his Caterina at her sorority house has to be one of the most charming in all filmdom. I was also bowled over by his endearing enthusiasm when he discovers "The Italians are coming!", that his racing heroes will soon be arriving in his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana where the entire tale is set, culminating in the Indiana Little 500 cycling race.

Dave is a kid who doesn't think he is good enough for college, lives in a fantasy world of Italian cycling, and wants to break away from his own aimless, mundane life. This is a typical coming of age movie in that he learns a lot about himself and the realities of life, especially from the behaviour of his heroes, the Cinzano racing team. His three sidekicks are a sympathetic bunch -- the rebellious, angry Mike, the short, feisty Moocher, and the goofy, appealing Cyril who seems to have no family. Through competing against the college crowd in the Little 500, they learn lessons in self esteem and team spirit, believing in yourself and striving toward reachable goals.

Breaking Away is a movie with obvious social class themes. Dave and his friends are "townies" called Cutters, named for the stonecutters from the town's quarries. The students at the nearby college campus look down their noses at these Cutters. However, Dave's father, who is a car salesman lacking a college education himself, teaches his son to take pride in the name, that it was stonecutters who built these impressive college buildings.

The film is refreshingly unusual in having a major sympathetic role played by Dave's parents. I absolutely loved the father, portrayed by Paul Dooley, the source of much of the film's humour, announcing for example that he doesn't want anything in his house that ends with 'ini'! Mr. Stoller despairs of his son's Italian phase, fearing verbally that Dave is going to wind up an Italian bum! Both the marital relationship between Dave's parents and the bond between father and son are captured with poignancy as well as humour.

When I first saw this movie after its original release, the thing that remained with me besides the charming joie de vivre of its hero was the wonderful Italian music, from Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony and a Rossini opera. This musical score provides magnificent accompaniment to the bicycle racing sequences, especially one in which Dave is racing the Cinzano truck on a highway heading toward Bloomington!

This is a heartwarming movie that no one should miss. It may be almost thirty years old but its characters and story are as engaging as the day it was released. I won't give it away, but that last scene is priceless!


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 108 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed