Backdraft - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Backdraft Reviews

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David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews
November 21, 2016
...a top-notch thriller trapped within a poorly-paced and needlessly bloated piece of work...
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
David N. Butterworth
September 10, 2015
Ron Howard's film is one of smoke-eaters, crispers, and torches... and it bestows a renewed respect on a profession all too often taken for granted.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Tim Brayton
Antagony & Ecstasy
July 26, 2014
Absolutely fantastic setpieces strung along an absolutely dimwitted script.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Brian Orndorf
May 24, 2011
Manipulative? Yes. But damn, citywide funerals, a cranked score, and some Baldwin blue steel redemption poses clears away any irksome storytelling dissatisfaction.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Heather Boerner
Common Sense Media
September 23, 2010
Ron Howard popcorn-muncher is sappy, not smokin'.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
David Cornelius
January 16, 2009
Backdraft may not be a very good movie, but it sure is great entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Kathleen Maher
Austin Chronicle
February 5, 2008
The film exploits Chicago's terrain of ethnic neighborhoods, political turf, and glorious modern architecture, but it has trouble when it comes in close to the personal level.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
February 5, 2008
Backdraft has some of the raw filmmaking excitement that has been missing from Howard's recent work.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Variety Staff
February 5, 2008
Visually, pic often is exhilarating, but it's shapeless and dragged down by corny, melodramatic characters and situations.

TV Guide
February 5, 2008
It's spectacular, yes, but that's not all. Not only do the firefighting scenes evoke a feeling of gritty authenticity, but the fire itself really does seem to be alive.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
February 5, 2008
Visually speaking, the film does pretty well with fire-as-spectacle, less well with everything else (Howard tends to trot out fuzzy-toned Spielbergian backlighting on any pretext).
Emanuel Levy
February 24, 2007
An extremely old-fashioned tale about heroic firefighters (rival siblings...) with some good special effects, this is a typical Ron Howard picture in its middlebrow sensibility and sentimentality.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Christopher Null
September 27, 2006
simultaneously overblown and threadbare
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic

Time Out
January 26, 2006
The fire sequences are stunning, and the build-up to them, complete with blaring sirens and bellowed conversations, has an aggressive immediacy.
Steve Crum
Kansas City Kansan
January 2, 2005
Exciting firefighter adventures with all-star cast.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
Widgett Walls
August 16, 2003
Mocked by some, for reasons I can't fathom, I find it to be Howard's strongest film. Excellent cast.
| Original Score: 4/5
Frank Ochieng
June 7, 2003
Howard's burning ode to firefighters and the professional and personal lives they hope to conquer with devotion and defiance. A drama that convincingly spreads itself like a roaring blaze.
| Original Score: 4/5

May 24, 2003
Howard delivers exactly the kind of thoroughly entertaining commercial enterprise you might expect, only this one comes chock-full of breathtaking pyrotechnics allowing the ridiculous posturing of the two leads to take a back seat.
Top Critic
Janet Maslin
New York Times
May 20, 2003
The spectacular fire sequences, which must have been hellish to film, are powerfully enveloping on screen, thanks especially to the eerie effect of the title.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
Clint Morris
April 27, 2003
Blazingly good cinema...the performances first rate, the action, never lets up
| Original Score: 4/5
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