Backdraft - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Backdraft Reviews

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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!
January 10, 2016
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.
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.
½ January 15, 2015
I wanted to be a firefighter after watching this as a boy
December 27, 2014
Still as great as I remembered it from my childhood.
½ December 21, 2014
I actually seem to realize that I have never seen a firefighter movie before as there's very few movies of them, and Backdraft proves that there should be more of them. William Baldwin, Kurt Russell, and Robert De Niro are great performances, but the best is from Donald Sutherland who does an amazing job at being calm and crazy at the same time. The plot goes through genres a bit from an action, to mystery. They both work effectively as for the action, it's very exciting and very good. There's lots of explosions that make it seem like something Michael Bay would do, but it makes sense with this film. The special effects from what they can use of it, look really good and alive. As a mystery film, it kept me interested to see what's going on and the makings of a huge fire. There's no villain in this. Even if there's a villain in this, the character had a reason to do it and just thought what was right. Backdraft is the best firefighter movie I have seen, even if the secondary characters aren't memorable, and there may not be a firefighter movie that can be as good as this.
December 19, 2014
Like watching a two hour beer commercial.
½ November 30, 2014
good film great special eff
October 5, 2014
How did this movie receive Academy nominations? The acting is awful and the storyline is just terrible. I remember starting to watch this when it came out on VHS and couldn't finish it. I gave it another shot 23 years later and hated it more the second time. I like William Baldwin and Kurt Russell, but this movie is just terrible. Predictable.

Living in Chicago, I'm quite aware of the history of corrupt politics in the city. This movie is only embarrassment towards the real firefighters of Chicago. Pick another city have correct politics. Again, too predictable.

The only positive thing I can say is that some of the special effects were decent.
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