6.9/10
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Breakdown (1997)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | 2 May 1997 (USA)
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A man searches for his missing wife after his car breaks down in the middle of the desert.

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(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2,630 ( 1,962)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jeff Taylor
... Red Barr
... Amy Taylor
... Earl
... Billy
... Sheriff Boyd
... Al
... Arleen (as Moira Harris)
... Deputy Len Carver
... Calhoun
... Bartender
Vincent Berry ... Deke
Helen Duffy ... Flo
Ancel Cook ... Barfly
... Tow Truck Driver
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Storyline

Jeff and Amy Taylor are moving to California and must drive across the country. When they find themselves stranded in the middle of a desert with hardly anyone or anything around, their trip comes to a sudden halt. Amy had taken a ride with a friendly trucker to a small diner to call for help, but after a long time, Jeff becomes worried. He finds that no one in the diner has seen or heard from his wife. When he finds the trucker who gave Amy the ride, the trucker swears he has never seen her. Now Jeff must attempt to find his wife, who has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. But who can he trust? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No-one is safe from chance See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence/terror and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

2 May 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A félelem országútján  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,307,128, 4 May 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$50,129,186, 17 August 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kurt Russell has starred with J.T. Walsh three times before, in Tequila Sunrise (1988), Backdraft (1991), and Executive Decision (1996). See more »

Goofs

The broom in the bank's bathroom. See more »

Quotes

Red: [Jeff forces Red and his family to get into the cellar] You better remember this, fella cuz no matter where you go...
Jeff: You fuck!
[kicks him in the face, sending him falling down the cellar]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Independence Day (1983) (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Burgers & Fries
(1978)
Written by Ben Peters
Performed by Charley Pride
Courtesy of the RCA Records Label of BMG Entertainment
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User Reviews

 
Hang on Lady, We Go For a Ride
26 December 2012 | by See all my reviews

It takes a lot for me to designate a thriller as utterly and completely mesmerizing, but such is the case with the 1997 Kurt Russell vehicle Breakdown. I stumbled upon this gem when it was released on VHS some 10+ years ago, and, as I recently browsed the somewhat deflated selection of films available in my "Watch Instantly" Netflix queue, decided to give it another go. Once again diving headlong into this ballet of desert highway carnage was like getting reacquainted with an old friend; consequently, this has caused me to lament the stale-by- comparison state of many recent "road rage thrillers" offered up by Hollywood.

If you've never seen Breakdown, it could be described as a more intelligent version of Joy Ride (or, perhaps, The Hitcher). It's about a married couple named Jeff (Russell) and Amy (Quinlan) who are driving cross country—from Boston to San Diego—to take on more lucrative employment opportunities. Along the way, they almost collide with a local in a pick-up truck on a remote desert highway. When they stop at the next gas station, the fella driving the truck—a black-clad hombre with a handlebar mustache and a cowboy hat—proceeds to chew out Jeff for his idiotic behavior behind the wheel. The two eventually call a truce, part ways, and go about their lives. It's not long, however, before Jeff's brand new Jeep inexplicably breaks down. As the couple is trying to assess the situation, a man in an 18-wheeler stops, offers assistance, and eventually ends up suggesting the pair ride with him to the nearest town so they can call a tow truck. Jeff is leery about leaving his car on the side of a highway with a local lunatic on the prowl, so Amy hops in the semi, presumably to wait for her husband at a diner as he figures out what to do. Once she leaves, Jeff discovers the problem, fixes the car, and heads to the diner. When he gets there, though, Amy is nowhere to be found. The locals have no idea who she is, and they all claim to have never seen her. What ensues is a maddeningly wild goose chase across barren southwestern terrain as Jeff does everything in his power to find his spouse.

There are twists and turns aplenty, and the action is great. The most disturbing thing about the film is how genuine it all seems. I have no trouble believing that something like this could (and perhaps has) occur in such remote locales, and there's a real sense of desperation to everything that's unfolding. Russell is great as the panicked husband who knows he's going to have to take things to the extreme to get his wife back, and almost—almost—every one of his decisions seems completely rational. The movie does give way to certain conventions from time to time, and I wish it would've built up the paranoia just a little longer before the "big reveal" occurs (a la Arlington Road), but there's no denying the intensity on display here.

That being said, who's ready for a road trip?


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