Critics Consensus

It's not particularly deep, but Backdraft is a strong action movie with exceptional special effects.



Total Count: 46


Audience Score

User Ratings: 204,030
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Movie Info

The sons of a Chicago fireman who gave his life in the performance of his duties, firefighting brothers Kurt Russell and William Baldwin carry their lifelong sibling rivalry into their work. Russell is convinced that Baldwin hasn't got what it takes to remain in the fire department. Baldwin is transferred to a "safe" assignment, assisting arson investigator Robert DeNiro, who is trying to make sense of a series of fires involving an oxygen-induced ball of fire called a backdraft. The investigation reveals a link between corrupt alderman J. T. Walsh and imprisoned pyromaniac Donald Sutherland. The trail of evidence leads Baldwin to suspect that his brother Russell, a much-decorated hero, may be the "inside" man setting up the arsons. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Kurt Russell
as Stephen McCaffrey
William Baldwin
as Brian McCaffrey
Robert De Niro
as Donald Rimgale
Jennifer Jason Leigh
as Jennifer Vaitkus
Donald Sutherland
as Ronald Bartel
Scott Glenn
as John Adcox
Rebecca De Mornay
as Helen McCaffrey
J.T. Walsh
as Martin Swayzak
Jason Gedrick
as Tim Krizminski
Tony Mockus Sr.
as Chief John Fitzgerald
Cedric Young
as Grindle
Juan Ramírez
as Ray Santos
Kevin M. Casey
as Nightengale
Jack McGee
as Schmidt
Mark Wheeler
as Pengelly
Richar Lexsee
as Washington
Beep Iams
as Sean McCaffrey
Ryan Todd
as Brian (age 7)
J.R. Byrnes
as 4th Paramedic
John Duda
as Stephen (age 12)
Robert Swan
as Willy, the Bartender
Ron West
as Alan Seagrave
Kevin Crowley
as 1st Candidate
Carlos Sanz
as 2nd Candidate
Harry Hutchinson
as 3rd Candidate
David A.C. Saunders
as 4th Candidate
Jane Jenkins
as Woman Psychiatrist
Ilene Kwitney
as 2nd Reporter
Tim Grimm
as Man at Parole Board
David Crosby
as 70's Hippie
Richard Lexsee
as Washington
Mike Mangano
as Firetruck Driver
Rick Reardon
as 1st Paramedic
Leslie A. Ford
as 2nd Paramedic
W. Earl Brown
as 3rd Paramedic
Robert Byrnes Jr.
as 4th Paramedic
Kathryn Jaeck
as Mannequin Fire Reporter
David Westgor
as Mannequin Fire Reporter
James Ritz
as Mannequin Fire Reporter
Joe Gustaferro
as Donald Cosgrove
Don Herion
as Repairman
Gregory Widen
as Engine Lieutenant
Andrew Lipschultz
as Man on Party Boat
Walter Williams
as Security Guard
F. Pat Burns
as Battalion Chief at Tenement Fire
Wanda Christine
as Mother at Tenement Fire
Anthony C. Ellis Jr.
as Grasping Child at Tenemant Fire
Zita Visockis
as Grandma Vaitkus
Razz Jenkins
as Photographer on Boat Party
Joe Guastaferro
as Donald Cosgrove
Irma P. Hall
as 1st Nurse
Don Rimgale
as Party Crony
Dennis Liddiard
as Party Brawler
David Luckenbach
as Security Officer
Karel King
as 1st Swayzak Aide
Scott Baity
as 2nd Swayzak Aide
Joan Esposito
as Television Reporter
Bob Rice
as 1st Detective
Tom Clark
as 1st Retirement Party Schmoozer
Jane MacIver
as 2nd Retirement Party Schmoozer
Burton Stencel
as 3rd Retirement Party Schmoozer
Robert Martell
as Retirement Party Roaster
Tony G. Chrisos
as 1st Politico
Cay DeVos
as 2nd Politico
Gregory Lundsgaard
as High Rise Fireman
Charles Burns Jr.
as Battalion Chief at Mannequin Fire
Louise Woolf
as Falling Chair Lady
Ian A. Nevers
as Nervous Probie
Kelsey E. McMahon
as Child Rescued at 70's Fire
Fidel Moreno
as 70's Onlooker
Zan Heber
as 1st Reporter
Ilene Kwitny
as 2nd Reporter
Jan Alderman
as 4th Reporter
Thomas A. Senderak
as 1st Fireman
Jane Alderman
as 4th Reporter
Michael Allen Mark
as 2nd Fireman
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Critic Reviews for Backdraft

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (12)

Audience Reviews for Backdraft

  • Feb 16, 2015
    The crime-thriller, family-drama and action hero elements of the film rub up against each other rather than meshing, but the skill that went in to the filmmaking behind Backdraft is irrefutable.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 08, 2014
    The fire effects have held up remarkably well, but that's about the only thing of note. This notion that fire is a "living breathing thing" and is essentially the the film's main villain ( I'd argue Scott Glenn was just a henchman) is entirely too stupid to forgive.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 27, 2013
    Pretty solid, classic style of the 90s action movie. This film has too much "showboating;" it takes so long to get around to the actual firefighting sometimes, instead focusing on the family drama (which is needed and interesting, but still doesn't really hit an effective crescendo) and the brothers' relationships with their girlfriends/families (which is important in the case of Russell's character, but clearly extraneous in Baldwin's case). So these outside story arcs are necessary to some extent but they're focused on in too much detail considering that most of them are barely relevant to the story. The actual firefighting is really cool, and serves as a testament to firefighters' bravery. The backdraft aspect is really cool, plus I like how De Niro's character analyzes how the fires are started. Now if they had focused more on the firefighting itself rather than all the other shit, and maybe cut a few minutes off this film, it could've been more entertaining and had a better flow. As is, it's still a pretty interesting film, and worth checking out once at least.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2012
    Good film. Good story. Almost good acting (I'm looking at you, Kurt Russell.)
    Christian C Super Reviewer

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