Backdraft - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Backdraft Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 27, 2012
Good film. Good story. Almost good acting (I'm looking at you, Kurt Russell.)
Super Reviewer
½ May 29, 2012
Lt. Steven McCaffrey: Look at him... That's my brother god damnit. 

"Silently behind a door, it waits."

Backdraft was a pretty big disappointment for me. The fire scenes were pretty cool, but they weren't enough to make up for everything that was wrong with the film. A great cast is wasted on terrible dialogue and by the numbers filmmaking from Ron Howard. Everything about the firefighters and the story is cliche and everything that occurs is predictable. Nothing in the film is at all original, and we pretty much end up watching the same movie we have seen countless times, except this time it is about firefighters. 

I have trouble grasping how this movie doesn't work. I love the subject, I love the cast, and I even like Ron Howard. Sure he always goes for sentimentality, which is on full display here, but he also has a way of making entertaining and exciting movies. The problem with Backdraft is that it is only exciting when we are in a burning building. Outside of that, it is dull and too unoriginal. The brothers relationship has been done so many times, and Backdraft adds nothing new to the formula. Two brothers who don't get along, but work together, get over there differences through their job and a tragedy. 

This story had potential. Two firefighter brothers are working together while an arsonist is running wild in Chicago. If the movie wasn't so dumb it could work, but every time Howard had the chance to take the story somewhere new, he instead chose to keep it in familiar territory. The result is a lackluster film, be it with some cool effects, that doesn't give any insight into firefighters, brothers, or human beings at all. When I want to get my firefighter kicks, I'll stick with rewatching episodes of Rescue Me.
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2006
This firefighter adventure about two brothers and their unit, fighting their personal struggles and what turns out to be a murder series offers some excellent pyro action in pretty impressive scenes. Excellent actors like DeNiro and Sutherland also manage to make the investigation parts fun, even if the solution to the case is a bit silly. It's built into such an impressively fiery showdown that you easily forget about that, though. Here, director Ron Howard is in his true element, stylizing the fire as a living, breathing villain. Those scenes make this a pretty impressive adventure with some minor flaws in the more every day sequences. Of course the American firefighters are depicted as the heroes of our time with the help of a bombastic Hans Zimmer soundtrack, slow motion and all that jazz.
Super Reviewer
½ June 15, 2010
Backdraft is a near flawless action drama film. A terrific film directed by Ron Howard, Backdraft is THE firefighter film to watch. Fuck Ladder 49, this is the film to watch. The film boast equal amounts of drama and action to create a memorable film, and with a terrific cast to support this film, it truly makes Backdraft a remarkable film from Ron Howard. The special effects are amazing and The fire in this film is the real deal, it's no CGI. and it adds an atmosphere of reality to the film. The fire itself can be considered a character. Backdraft is a brilliantly directed and told film, and for me it's one of Ron Howards best films. Kurt Russell and William Baldwin play the rival McCaffrey brothers. They constantly butt heads in the film. Backdraft comprises a terrific cast including Donald Sutherland in a brief but a very memorable role as Pyromaniac Ronald Bartel. Sutherland's performance is chilling, and for the brief minutes he's on screen, he truly steals the show from bigger actors such as Robert DeNiro. The film steadily builds it's suspense as a deadly arsonist targets city officials. Ron Howard never gives into the mystery, and he effectively builds the story to an explosive action packed climax. Of all the films that Ron Howard has made, this is one of my favorite films and like I've said, this is also one of his best. The cast deliver something powerful on screen and the story is action packed with lots of drama, which adds a lot more to the initial storyline. The film doesn't suffer from overbearing cliches such as Ladder 49 tried to do. Instead Backdraft shows you exactly what it must be like to step into the shoes of a fireman. Firemen themselves have said that this is a pretty good portrait at what they do, despite of course for the fact that the film is fictional. Backdraft doesn't dwell on sentimental cliches to try to coax an audience in spilling buckets of tears when someone dies on screen. Backdraft does have drama, but it doesn't overdue it, and with a good mix of action, Backdraft is more than just a film that you should watch. This is a monumental film that delivers something great on screen. No bad cliches, just terrific action and drama mixed with great acting make this a definite must see film.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2007
While definitely cliched and predictable in a sense, still an undeniably entertaining thriller with some of the most exhilarating fire sequences recorded in a film. Solid performances from most of the cast never hurt either, even if the ending is a little far-fetched.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
I don't know what it is exactly, but something about this movie just makes me really love it. The cast is good, the performances are decent, the effects are awesome, and the story is pretty good. Maybe I'm just fascinated by the portrayal of fireman and the firefighting culture.
Super Reviewer
March 2, 2008
Update: My previous review of this socketed balls, watch out for xxxtreme flames and check dat door for heat. Good cast, Robert De Niro fighting fires is a funny site. Kurt Russell is great in these type of roles.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2010
I thought that Backdraft considers all of the consequences of firefighters, and concludes this gripping story just barely!
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2009
"Backdraft" is a movie about two brothers (Kurt Russell & William Baldwin) who's father got killed trying to fight a fire a few years earlier. They end up being on the same firefighting team and they don't have the best relationship in the world. They must try to quit fighting over who's in charge or something bad might happen.
After I watched "Backdraft," I thought it was a good movie, but it wasn't quite as good as I was expecting it to be. It has good special effects with the fires and especially the backdrafts. Kurt Russell and the rest of the actors also do a good job in the movie.

If you like movies about being a hero with a little bit of conflict between family in it, you'll probably like "Backdraft." It'll keep you interested while you watch it. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. I remember this used to be about the only movie you heard anything about for a long time around the time of its release, and I thought I'd love it cause I like the actors, and I like Ron Howard movies, but I really didn't enjoy it that much.
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2009
Thought to check it out as it was by Ron Howard, but now I wish I'd better not done that.
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2006
Not as good as I remember this film being, but I think that might be due to the special effects, they seemed so great at the time, but we've come a long way since.

VERDICT: Worth watching if it comes on tv
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
Great movie about firefighters.
Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2006
Cool fire fighting action film.
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2007
For a time when Special Effects were limited and it was nearly all done, by stunts and the bravery of the actors, you've got to respect this movie.
Besides the small stretching of how firefighters would really be discplined and required too act as trained in fires, it's a damn good movie.
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2007
Dumb machismo, stereotypes aplenty and laugheble soap opera plot framed with slo-mo firefighting. Drivel.
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2007
classic, best fireman movie of all time
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2006
Really good fireman movie.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2006
Whoa! The fires look so real and frightened in this drama-thriller film.
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2006
An enjoyable bit of camp. A great cast of fireman have their own issues to deal with while arson investigator De Niro must catch an arosnist. Has all you could want, with fires, Kurt Russell playing his own dad, OTT emotion and even an 80's power ballard montage type scene. What movies were made for.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2006
A very lame plot and goofy dialogue only helped out by Kurt Russell of course and some very good Fire stunts.
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