Breakdown (1997)



Critic Consensus: A brainy and suspenseful -- if somewhat uneven -- thriller.

Movie Info

In this suspense thriller, a man discovers the unexpected danger of trusting a good Samaritan. Jeff Taylor (Kurt Russell) and his wife Amy (Kathleen Quinlan) are driving through the New Mexico desert en route to California when an incident with a lunatic driver causes their jeep to break down in the middle of nowhere. Jeff is trying to fix the vehicle when an apparently friendly truck driver, Red Barr (J.T. Walsh), stops by to offer help. Red tells the couple that there's a diner a few miles … More

Rating: R (violence, language)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Jonathan Mostow, Sam Montgomery
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 1, 1998
Paramount Pictures


as Jeff Taylor

as Red Barr

as Amy Taylor

as Sheriff Boyd

as Deputy Len Carver

as Bartender
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Critic Reviews for Breakdown

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (18)

[Kurt Russell's] lack of energy afflicts the film as much as its director's lack of ideas.

Full Review… | May 7, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

A taut suspense film.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Pretty good.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Breakdown gets the job done.

January 1, 2000
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Taut, skillful and surgically effective.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Although Breakdown certainly resembles a compacted version of George Sluizer's Americanized remake of his 1988 Dutch/French psychothriller, it actually owes a lot more to The Hitcher in terms of tone, atmosphere, and execution.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010

Audience Reviews for Breakdown

A plain old bad movie with a ridiculous plot and no logic. The first thirty minutes was sort've interesting, but after that it just takes a trip to crazy town. It just becomes the most ridiculous plot that has no base in reality. They tried to attempt blending abduction with action and it just didn't work.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

It?s been done before and since. It?s been done better, it?s been done worse. It?s ok.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


"Breakdown" is without a doubt one of the best action movies I've ever seen, and one of the more overlooked. It's about a married couple that get stranded after their car breaks down in the desert. A truck driver (J.T. Walsh), convincingly urges Kurt Russel that he will take his wife to a nearby phone so she can call for help. However, that's when Russel's wife gets kidnapped and this movie really starts to roll. Kurt Russel goes on an action packed adventure to try to find his wife and when he finally finds where she's at, the suspense gets more intense than just about any movie I've ever seen.

I don't see why "Breakdown" wasn't one of the biggest blockbuster hits of the 90's. Kurt Russel puts on one of his best performances ever and J.T. Walsh plays his role as the main villain as close to perfection as any other actor ever has. "Breakdown" has many of the best and most suspenseful action sequences you'll find in any movie. You wouldn't really know that the music stars aren't actors for a living cause they do a great job.

There's not many movies that I'll watch twice within a week, but "Breakdown" was so good I watched it 4 times the first week it premiered on cable. I also told all my friends and family how good it was and that they needed to watch it. I taped it the last time I saw it and it's still on my list of one of the best action movies of all time and it always will be. It is also one movie you will never forget. If you like action movies with great suspense and non-stop action, "Breakdown" is one movie you can't miss.

Jason Owens

Super Reviewer

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