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Only the Brave (2017)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 20 October 2017 (USA)
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Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters who risk everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire.

Director:

Joseph Kosinski

Writers:

Sean Flynn (based on the GQ article "No Exit" by), Ken Nolan | 1 more credit »
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413 ( 220)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Brolin ... Eric Marsh
Miles Teller ... Brendan McDonough
Jeff Bridges ... Duane Steinbrink
Jennifer Connelly ... Amanda Marsh
James Badge Dale ... Jesse Steed
Taylor Kitsch ... Christopher MacKenzie
Andie MacDowell ... Marvel Steinbrink
Geoff Stults ... Travis Turbyfill
Alex Russell ... Andrew Ashcraft
Thad Luckinbill ... Scott Norris
Ben Hardy ... Wade Parker
Scott Haze ... Clayton Whitted
Jake Picking ... Anthony Rose
Scott Foxx Scott Foxx ... Travis Carter
Dylan Kenin ... Robert Caldwell
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Storyline

In 2007 Prescott, Arizona, Eric Marsh of the Prescott Fire Department is frustrated fighting forest fires when the Type 1 or "Hotshot" front line forest fire fighting crews from afar overrule his operational suggestions to his area's sorrow. To change that, Marsh gets approval from the Mayor to attempt to organize an unprecedented certified municipal-based Hotshot crew for Prescott. To that end, Marsh needs new recruits, which includes the young wastrel, Brendan McDonough, to undergo the rigorous training and qualification testing for the most dangerous of fire fighting duty. Along the way, the new team meets the challenge and the hailed Granite Mountain Hotshots are born. In doing so, all the men, especially McDonough, are changed as new experience and maturity is achieved in fire-forged camaraderie. All this is put to the test in 2013 with the notorious Yarnell Hill Fire that will demand efforts and sacrifices no one can ignore. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's Not What Stands In Front Of You, It's Who Stands Beside You

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic content, some sexual references, language and drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Granite Mountain See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,002,665, 22 October 2017, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$18,340,051, 28 January 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Mainland China Cut Version)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos | DTS (DTS: X)| SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jennifer Connelly spent time with the real-life Amanda Marsh in preparation for her role. See more »

Goofs

although the movie is set in Arizona based on the tragedy/true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots it was filmed entirely across the border in the state of New Mexico. See more »

Quotes

Eric Marsh: The world's full of people taking chances.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening logos are tinted a fiery orange. See more »

Connections

Featured in Behind the Song: Hold the Light (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Jump in the Fire
Written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Dave Mustaine
Performed by Metallica
Courtesy of Blackened Recordings, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brimming with heart, spirit and emotion, this character-driven portrait of real-life bravery is a deeply moving tribute to its ordinary heroes
20 October 2017 | by moviexclusiveSee all my reviews

The elite group of firefighters known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots came into national prominence because all but one of them perished in the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire of June 2013, thus marking the highest death toll for US firefighters since 9/11. But this portrait of a fraternity of men who risk their lives day-in and day- out containing fast-spreading wildfires is much, much more than just that fateful incident alone. Oh no, as adapted for the screen from a harrowing GQ article by Ken Nolan ('Black Hawk Down') and Eric Warren Singer ('American Hustle'), it is a celebration of ordinary, sometimes- flawed men doing extraordinary things that pays homage to their indomitable courage and self-sacrifice, but never does turn reverent to the point of idolatry. These are men with real struggles and issues of their own, and in portraying these alongside their heroism, this well-rounded tribute becomes all the more compelling and poignant.

When we first meet these firefighters, they are no more than a municipal squad doing Type II fire mitigation duty, viz. clearing brush and burning firelines relatively far from the danger itself. That diminished status is a sore point for their superintendent Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin), who implores the division chief and close confidant Duane Steinbrink (Jeff Bridges) to get them certified as 'hotshots'. That journey to cherished Type I status will see Eric recruit a bunch of newbies to augment their numbers, including the local screw-up Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) looking for a chance to straighten his life out – not only will Eric have to ensure that Eric does not end up becoming their Achilles heel, he will also have to manage the dynamics between Brendan and fellow hot-blooded member Chris MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch). Thus sets the stage for a good number of scenes which show how the men train – committing rules to memory, conducting deploy drills and creating control burns – which will pay off in unexpected ways in giving context of what the men will be doing in the heat of duty.

That they will be recognised as top-tier firemen is no surprise, but it is how the relationships between these men evolve that is truly engaging to watch. There is plenty of camaraderie to go around, built up over months of training together and fighting fire alongside each other, such that Brendan and Chris will just overcome their initial enmity but become best buddies in a way that feels completely authentic. Due focus is also given to the families of these men, in particular Eric's fierce but loving relationship with his strong- willed wife Amanda (Jennifer Connelly) as well as Brendan's strained relationship with the girl whom he got pregnant and their baby daughter. In fact, the film is as much homage to the men as it is honouring their wives and children who endure long stretches of their absence and persistent anxiety over their safety and wellbeing. Deserving of special mention are the emotionally charged scenes between Eric and Amanda, which not only portray the complexities of being in a marriage with someone so consumed by a profession that may one day claim his very life, but also later on underline the unavoidably profound grief felt by his subsequent demise.

Just as he does with the characters, director Joseph Kosinski keeps the firefighting footage real and authentic. Unlike other such genre films, there is no attempt to inflate or sensationalise the scale and intensity of these conflagrations; instead, each one is approached by the crew in an almost routine fashion – a call for help, a long ride out in their vehicles where they sing songs and trade jokes, and an equanimity on the ground borne out of skill, confidence and professionalism – much in the way that any one of us would our day- to-day work, with the notable distinction of course being how extremely dangerous each one of these missions is. Combining actual fire, special effects and CGI, the five different blazes we see on screen showcase the stunning and terrible beauty of fire, each one magnificently captured by Oscar-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda.

But more than the visual spectacle of the blazes is the brotherhood of the unit, the bonds between the men forged over sweat and soot. It is their camaraderie, their true-to-life challenges and their bravery, determination and perseverance that will stay with you long after the lights come on. Each one of the actors that make up the stellar acting ensemble portraying these real-life heroes puts in some of his or her best work we have seen, no more so than Brolin, who anchors the film as the strong-willed leader with dignity, gravitas and pathos. You'll already know right from the start that there is no happy ending for these men, not even the only one among them who survives out of pure luck and is therefore saddled with a profound sense of guilt, but their eventual fate still hits you like a blast. This is as befitting a homage as it gets to these ordinary men, deeply moving, immensely affecting and thoroughly realistic.


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