Backdraft - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Backdraft Reviews

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August 17, 2017
A true to life adrenaline pumping thrill fest for anybody who loves firefighter movies or real firefighters!
July 10, 2017
I've enjoyed this film since I was younger than I am now and I am thrilled that it came out in 1991 - the year I was born. I am a longtime fan of firefighting related stories and films. For the most part, I didn't have any problems with this film. The problems I had were that air masks were not worn in certain parts of the film, the brothers lose their firefighter Dad in a firefighting accident and that the older brother dies at the end.
June 3, 2017
When we see we are the story of the burns of fire we see. When we see a promising future in being fireman when it runs in our family to be one. When we see somethings don't change but other things do to know and not know what went wrong and somethings are going right. When what we see we wish to continue yo see to keep close, keep watch over and be a family again. When who we are we can't change when what we do and what we see we don't know when it all will go up in smoke. When what we see we see first hand when we face what could burn us to see whether we are fit to fight fire. When we see we need to be pushed and prove ourselves to be one of the best to see we are one of the family of fire fighters. When we see we are not cut out to be like those whom we see are clearly cut to see even others rather see us in safe places when they see us more then friends to know we fit well in our new families to fight fire. When we see we can't do both, but miss what we see to wish we keep seeing. When we see that we sometimes get to the source of some fires we see get started and others we dont see to know some fires we see are deliberate and others just happen. When we see some people like the sight if some fires that they don't get bothered by them when the flames get too hot, when they like somethings burn, and it's all in a days work when we are used to it this hot. When we see others dont care much what we do when they don't see first hand how dangerous it can be, to give less to those whom need more when the job takes more then gives back. When we take risks to get to the bottom of some fires when we could risk getting burned or worse. When we see all we care is how we look in front of our men or a department thst we are in charge of we should see running smoothly. When we can't believe what we see when some sources of fires are done by our own people a whom do it for us and others close to us when what we do and see we wish to see longer when there is not only fires taking us down but those higher up shutting down departments we need to save. When we see there is no other way to go down and have things go down this way to see it all come to the end. When we see we have each others backs to the end. When we see only the brave, and fearless can be firefighters to not back down to any flame,  and fight fire with the fire deep within us we always had in wanting to be a fireman. When somethings we rather see more is that some fires catch on in our family name and blood that makes closer and proud of one another. When what we don't see is the larger family of fire fighters whom have our backs to the end. When we see the future of our family at stake to see they follow in our steps, have their backs and see we made them proud aswell the people of the city whom count on us to be there when the bell rings.
½ April 14, 2017
Terrible movie. Just nothing about this I enjoy. Don't even remember what it was about. Fires? Burning? Heroic firemen? I've seen better on tv shows.
March 24, 2017
Directors like Michael Bay was born because of this. The end of everybody's career,
½ February 5, 2017
I first saw this film at a drive-in when it was initially released, so it was nice to go back to it. The film is pretty solid, and the VFX really make you feel like you are a part of the action. Kurt Russell is good and Donald Sutherland has a showy cameo, but I thought William Baldwin was rather weak. Worth watching though!
December 28, 2016
As usual, the critics have ower numbers... This is a classic. Has a brother dynamic to it (I have brothers so maybe my viewpoint is biased). But the fire scenes are outstanding. Figuring out the "bad guy" is not super easy... It is a good movie, although this came out when I was young, so... Kinda a classic that most little kids these days will miss out on.
½ November 26, 2016
I know it's a bit of cheese, but I still like it :)
½ April 26, 2016
great movie minus the brutal montage and lame love story
March 21, 2016
I see a lot of similarites between 'Backdraft' and 'Top Gun'. They both take a job that is extremely dangerous and make it look extremely heroic. More heroic than it already is. Both have amazing musical scores and many instances of the "hero" shot. 'Backdraft' does have an interesting premise with a pretty star studded cast and overall is a good time. But where Top Gun shined was with its hero Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, Backdraft lacks with it's lead hero in William Baldwin playing Brian McCaffrey. Maybe it was just me but I couldn't get emotionally invested in him and his relationship with some of the other cast, especially Jennifer Jason Leigh's character. But it is made up for with great performances by Kurt Russell and Robert De Niro. If you are looking for some fun 90's cheese, Backdraft is not a bad option.
David T.
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2016
I have enjoyed this film for a long time and I am one of the biggest fans of this film, especially since I have admired firefighters since I was very young and I appreciate what those brave heroes do for us every day and night. My admiration for firefighters increased even further after the September 11th attacks. Now, this film is good for the most part. But, there are some goofs in this film, like firefighters not donning their breathing apparatus in certain parts. All in all, just well done and I had little to no complaints! Just LOTS of fun to watch! :-) Good job, Ron Howard, the cast and crew! Nothing else to say . Just a good popcorn muncher of a film!
October 20, 2015
I can't think of a better film about firemen. I also can't think of another film about firemen...
½ August 4, 2015
An innovative idea that grasped my attention at first, until I became aware that the characters and melodramatic situations overpowered the fires which they were trying to put out.
May 31, 2015
One of my favorite movies!
April 29, 2015
It's a little slow and convoluted, but Backdraft is still a good, solid action-thriller with amazing special effects.
April 17, 2015
Just love this film reminded me of me wanting to be a firefighter years ago
April 12, 2015
Backdraft is a great movie because its strengths do a good job of making you overlook its flaws. The biggest problem is the actors. Both Will Baldwin and Jenn Leigh in every movie they've done have what I call the Travolta syndrome. All the Baldwin's have it. They smile a lot and always try beyond their acting ability to be cute and charming, and the way they talk sounds more appropriate for a stage play or a television commercial. There's something fake and shallow about their acting, maybe because too much of their real personalities come through. When you watch them perform you don't see them as characters in a movie; their acting gives you the impression that they're really nice people in real life and you'd like to meet them. The Travolta Syndrome. Most Travolta movies I've seen his acting isn't good, but he puts so much of himself into a role and you like the real identity that you see so you end up liking the character because you like the real John Travolta. This type of acting does have its place. Usually in comedies. Travolta's friendly, charming bad boy persona was perfect for Grease. That's what they're acting feels like in Backdraft, like they're going to break into a musical number at any second. Maybe the acting is all-around poor because Ron Howard told them they're motivation is that they're in a real big, dramatic movie that honors firefighters and every scene will be an Oscar moment. But really, it's no more profound than your standard made-for-TV movie.

Kurt Russell definitely brought some talent to the more dramatic scenes involving fire, but seemed asleep through the rest of the movie. The guy can't escape being an action star and a physical actor. He's unconvincing in every dramatic scene besides the scenes where he's fighting a person or fighting a fire. Russell is still a good actor, though. He proved that in The Thing.

Robert DeNiro was wasted in this. He just walked around and read his lines and he wasn't worth the money he was paid to be in the movie. If Baldwin and DeNiro switched roles the movie would have been much better.

The action is the best part of the movie. Every scene that shows a backdraft is really cool. My favorite scene is where they're walking up the stairs and the backdraft shuts the door and starts to bend it. It was like a scene from a haunted house movie. Also, firemen are just cool. Backdraft gets a four star rating from me mostly because it's a brilliant salute to firefighters, especially the one's who fight crime on the side.
April 1, 2015
Shallow as a puddle and the special effects can not save it.
Super Reviewer
February 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.
February 6, 2015
Directed by Ron Howard, who after making Parenthood (1989), which had touched upon a lot of mature themes, decided he wanted to make more serious films for a living. So, he set about looking for a suitable film, and he found it in this action-thriller written by Gregory Widen (Highlander (1986)), and it's a powerful and well made film, and Howard gets the best from his cast and even the fire sequences. The film focuses on the firefighters of Engine 17 of the Chicago Fire Department, in particular, 2 brothers. Lt. Stephen "Bull" McCaffrey (Kurt Russell) and Brian McCaffrey (William Baldwin), the latter witnessed his father Dennis (Russell again) killed in a backdraft of fire 20 years before. Mayoral candidate Alderman Martin Swayzak (J.T. Walsh) wants to make cuts to the city's fire department budget, which the team argue will risk lives. Then, a series of fires occur around Chicago that all seem very similar, and arson investigator Donald "Shadow" Rimgale (Robert De Niro) finds out more, and he even calls upon Brian to help out, much to Stephen's jealousy. It's well made, and it helped to advance Howard's career significantly, and he was blessed with a good, strong cast, and it has some very realistic action sequences, all well choreographed considering they deal with working with fire. It might come across as cliched in places, but it's still a well made and very tense and taut film.
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