7.7/10
19,882
104 user 69 critic

Breaking Away (1979)

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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 »

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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
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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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | French

Release Date:

20 July 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bambino See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,702, 15 July 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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 »
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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

The scene were Dave is chasing the Cinzano truck towards Indianapolis, he passes fields of corn at least 5-6' tall. As this occurred prior to the Little 500, which is held in early spring, it is doubtful the corn would have grown to that nearly harvest stage in early spring. See more »

Quotes

Dad: He's never tired. He's never miserable.
Mom: He's young.
Dad: When I was young I was tired and miserable.
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Crazy Credits

Introducing

Robyn Douglass See more »


Soundtracks

Il barbiere di Siviglia: Sinfonia
(uncredited)
Music by Gioachino Rossini
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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!


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