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Breaking Away

Breaking Away (1979)



Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 2

At once a touching, funny coming-of-age story and a compelling sports film, Breaking Away is a delightful treat.


Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

At once a touching, funny coming-of-age story and a compelling sports film, Breaking Away is a delightful treat.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 8,869

My Rating

Movie Info

Dennis Christopher stars as a recent high school graduate in Bloomington, Indiana, who is caught with his friends -- Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley -- coasting between high school and deciding what to do with the rest of their lives. The four friends are snobbishly looked down upon by the college students of the town as "cutters," since they were born in Bloomington and their parents worked in the local limestone quarries that built the university. Dennis Christopher's character


Drama, Comedy

Steve Tesich

Jan 29, 2002

Twentieth Century Fox

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (2) | DVD (9)

There are a few moments when the picture's easygoing pace turns into wobbliness, but these are insignificant compared with its many moments of shrewd insight into the lives of amusingly shaded but very recognizable human beings.

August 3, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though its plot wins no points for originality, Breaking Away is a thoroughly delightful light comedy.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Peter Yates, previously typed as an action director, lends the film a fine, unexpected limpidity, and the principals are mostly excellent.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Displays the kind of unsentimental optimism that went out of fashion with Hawks.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Breaking Away is a wonderfully sunny, funny, goofy, intelligent movie that makes you feel about as good as any movie in a long time. It is, in fact, a treasure.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Here is a movie so fresh and funny it didn't even need a big budget or a pedigree.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rousing bicycle race story is a family favorite.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Breaking Away embraces the good old fashioned small town family values that would catapult Ronald Reagan to an enormously popular two term presidency. And still, I like it.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinemania

The triumphant ending teeters on twee, but feels warranted enough to give it a pass and enjoy the moment right along with him.

March 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Christopher is so good in this quietly charming, Yates-drected tale of four high school graduates trying to decide what to do with their lives that it's a wonder he didn't achieve the heights of co-star Quaid.

August 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

A delightful sleeper.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The screenplay by Oscar-winner Steve Tesich sometimes turns a little precious, but the character and atmosphere is so firmly established that it all works out.

February 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

This charming comedy shows sensitivity to American peculiarities and eccentricties in spite (or may be because) of the fact that it was scripted by a writer of foreign descent and helmed by a Brit, Peter Yates.

May 5, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Despite a reasonably fun performance from Daniel Stern, Dennis Quaid earnest overacting sinks what could have been a quaint film about middle America.

February 23, 2006 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Dennis Christopher is unforgettable in his one big film role.

May 28, 2004
Atlantic City Weekly

This timeworn material probably should work, but it doesn't really since, most of the film's angst and conflict seems calculated.

May 20, 2002 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Calling Breaking Away a 'feel good' movie is far too limiting

March 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

There's a joy to Breaking Away that forgives its occasional skylarking and narrative dips into the cliché pool.

March 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Those looking for a movie about restless young adults that doesn't focus on rampant raunchiness and insipid sex jokes should most definitely search this one out.

March 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

...provides a sense of encouragement for everyone who watches it...a winsome and engaging little film.

January 21, 2002
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Breaking Away

A feel-good, inspirational story concerning an offbeat teenager who discovers his love for biking, despite his non-supportive father (Paul Dooley) wanting him to grow up and accept adulthood as a member of the "cutter" class. While it suffers from a couple scenes that come across as over dramatic and one of the plot points is just downright awful, this movie is still hard not to love given the energetic lead performance by Dennis Christopher, as well as the fact that this is a great coming of age story. Sure, it's absolutely corny at times, but if you really don't fall in love with this movie, especially the last big race scene - something is wrong with you.
April 4, 2011
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

The essential biking film! If you're into sports movies, love riding bikes, or compete in bike racing yourself, you will love this movie. It's a great sports drama about both bikes and growing up.
January 7, 2011

Super Reviewer

This film really impressed me the first time around. But since I haven't seen it since then (about 1984 or so), my rating is based on fond memories. If I see it again and it doesn't hold up, I'll re-evaluate.
July 6, 2009

Super Reviewer

This is my friend Gwen's all-time favorite movie. It turned her into a bike fanatic. Great early work from a young Dennis Quaid. My how time flies.
May 18, 2006

Super Reviewer

    1. Moocher: You're not the quarterback here, Mike.
    – Submitted by G Thomas B (12 months ago)
    1. Mr. Stohler: I don't care if the second coming's coming!
    – Submitted by G Thomas B (12 months ago)
    1. Mr. Stohler: He's never tired. He's never miserable.
    2. Mrs. Stohler: He's young.
    3. Mr. Stohler: When I was young, I was tired and miserable.
    – Submitted by G Thomas B (12 months ago)
    1. Mr. Stohler: Refund?!
    – Submitted by Joe A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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