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Backdraft (1991)

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Two Chicago firefighter brothers, who don't get along, have to work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

Director:

Ron Howard

Writer:

Gregory Widen
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Popularity
3,447 ( 170)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt Russell ... Stephen McCaffrey / Dennis McCaffrey
William Baldwin ... Brian McCaffrey
Robert De Niro ... Donald Rimgale
Donald Sutherland ... Ronald Bartel
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Jennifer Vaitkus
Scott Glenn ... John Adcox
Rebecca De Mornay ... Helen McCaffrey
Jason Gedrick ... Tim Krizminski
J.T. Walsh ... Marty Swayzak
Anthony Mockus Sr. Anthony Mockus Sr. ... Chief John Fitzgerald (as Tony Mockus Sr.)
Cedric Young Cedric Young ... Grindle
Juan Ramírez Juan Ramírez ... Ray Santos
Kevin Casey Kevin Casey ... Nightingale
Jack McGee ... Schmidt
Mark Wheeler ... Pengelly
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Storyline

A rookie firefighter tries to earn the respect of his older brother and other firefighters while taking part in an investigation of a string of arson/murders. This detailed look into the duties and private lives of firemen naturally features widespread pyrotechnics and special effects. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One breath of oxygen and it explodes in a deadly rage. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Backdraft See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,686,200, 26 May 1991

Gross USA:

$77,868,585

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$152,368,585
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (QSound) (70 mm prints)| DTS (DTS HD Master Audio)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

As this was made several years before a fire effect could be inserted by a digital keystroke, First Assistant Director Aldric La'auli Porter ran into a burning room to check on an actor. "Kurt Russell was in this smoke filled set that the effects team had just ignited with fifty gallon oil drums", Porter remembers. "After about four minutes, he hadn't come out, so I just rushed in after him without a respirator." Porter felt his way along the wall with his hands, as he had been trained, through the intense smoke and heat, but couldn't find Russell. Fortunately, Kurt had already gotten out through a rear exit door. "It wasn't the smartest thing to do", admits Porter. "But instinct took over, and I wanted to make sure he was safe." See more »

Goofs

A cobra street lamp is present in the 1971 scene. They were not in use back then. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Brian, Age 7: Leave me alone! Will you? You think you're so smart!
Stephen, Age 12: What a geek!
Brian, Age 7: I'm not a geek!
Stephen, Age 12: You're doing it wrong.
Brian, Age 7: Shut up!
Stephen, Age 12: You're doing it wrong. it doesn't go like that.
Brian, Age 7: Who asked you?
Stephen, Age 12: Who's your brother?
Brian, Age 7: You are, Stevie.
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Network television version featured additional footage: See more »

Connections

Referenced in Enlisted: Pete's Airstream (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Nothing For You
Written by Michael Stuart Kirkpatrick (as Michael S. Kirkpatrick) & Kathleen Keane
Performed by The Drovers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Blockbuster Movie
27 October 2002 | by wlmlblSee all my reviews

This is one of Ron Howard's better films. Much of the filming was done on location in Chicago. Acting was excellent. Especially by Kurt Russell and William Baldwin. I have heard a lot of negatives about this movie, but I still feel it is worth a 9 at least. Steven and Brian McCaffery's dad (also a fireman) was killed in a fire in 1971. Brian was just a youngster, and along for the ride with his dad when he was killed. Twenty years later, Brian has become a fireman after failing at other pursuits. Steven is a lieutenant with the Chicago Fire Department. Steven does not think Brian can cut the mustard as a fireman, and Brian is out to prove himself. It makes for a great sibling rivalry. On top of this, an arsonist is setting fires, and the arson investigator, Donald Rimgale (Robert DeNero) does not have a clue as to who it is. Rimgale is pressured by an egotistical alderman (J.T. Walsh) who wants to be mayor. Brian has his problems working with Steven, and finally gives up, and accepts a job working with Rimgale. They find the links between all the fires, but Brian finds out more. (who the arsonist is). The climactic scene in chemical warehouse is great! I was told by someone that the funeral scene was overdone. I don't think so...I have seen funerals for firemen and they look exactly like what you see in the movie...Universal Studios in Hollywood had a Backdraft set on their lot some years back (which I visited), and it gives you a chance to see what these actors really faced...This is without a doubt one of my favorite movies, and Ron Howard deserves his share of kudos for an excellent directing job


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