Backdraft - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Backdraft Reviews

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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.
August 24, 2014
While it does a good job of portraying the camaraderie among firefighters and delivers some thrilling action setpieces, BACKDRAFT is still hampered by an unwieldy and unfocused narrative.
August 15, 2014
Impressive movie, with great fire effects and some humor. The story is pretty good, with the typical movie brothers who love each other but can't stop hating each other as well. There's nothing not to like in this one, although it isn't perfect, but it's exciting, with a good story and characters. The begining is a little too sudden, and the end is heroic but both are very good. So good movie, and the first movie I've seen about firemen, and to my understanding portrays them well.
Super Reviewer
½ August 8, 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.
½ July 27, 2014
(First and only viewing - 8/31/2010)
July 20, 2014
Best movie when I was a kid!!!
July 12, 2014
It's a pretty cheesy movie and half of the dialog comes off as hilarious (or maybe that's just me).... BUT it's still an enjoyable film.
June 27, 2014
For an action film that exceeds 2 hours, there's far too much emphasis on sibling bickering and not enough on the part of the plot that's actually interesting; Donald Sutherland as a crazy serial arsonist. Also, exceptional special effects? Really? Does that include the scenes where the footage of fire is clearly being played in reverse?
½ May 22, 2014
Il y a 20 ans, j'aurais mis un 5 étoiles, mais, aujourd'hui, je ne lui donne que 2 étoiles et demie parce que je suis généreux. Des pompiers allant au front sans masque à gaz!? Il y en a qui y ont cru? Je viens de briser la magie de mon enfance.
½ May 19, 2014
Backdraft is really two movies: an ode to heroic firemen and a political thriller. As a consequence, it is long, bloated and disconnected. It should have just tried to do one well.
½ May 13, 2014
While it's often advertised as a drama film, it doesn't play out much like what I'd recognize as a drama film. It's presented like an action-thriller film, but it doesn't feel much like one either. Either way, it's actually a pretty good film, even if the plot does have some mild pacing problems, by which I mean it tends to take a while to get to the point. The characters are actually pretty good, and their performances are also quite good. Due it being a film where you need fire to appear often, the film is loaded with special effects, and I think the special effects team got a little trigger-happy with the explosions. While this might be a problem for some, the special effects actually look really good, as though they did a professional job with the special effects. There's a little bit of action, and there's a little bit of drama, but I find that, rather than doing both, they should have made Backdraft as one kind of film. The end result of that move would have had more depth, and would have benefited from more solid ideas. However, the film is still pretty good as it is, so I'm giving Ron Howard the benefit of the doubt.
May 9, 2014
Not a lot of people can truely say that they have a one unique favorite movie thats stands out from the rest. Howerver for me Backdraft does. Directed by Ron Howard with an all star cast , Backdraft is the story of Chicago Firefighters of Engine 17. The film begins seeing young Brian McCaffrey (William Baldwin) witnessing his farthers death at a building fire. We cut to 17 years later Brian having just graduated as a candiadte Firefighter , he and his older brother Lt Stephen McCaffery (Played By Kurt Russell) don't get along so well , Stephen tempers with Brians station so that Brian is sent to his Department , Stephen looks over Brian & worrys about him after a factory fire , Brian did not listen to Stephens orders and nearly got killed. After a few weeks Stephen convinces Brian to give up being a Firefighter. Meanwhile thorought the movie , the Department responds to numerous calls that have been killing people with Backdrafts. Brian get's a new Job withfire inspector Donald Rimgale (Played by Robert De Niro), Him & Donald investigate how & who is causing the backdrafts which end in an epic finally and a extremly sad ending. Why do I love this movie ? well beside from the fact that it has stunning special effects & visuals , amazing music & strong performances. I love it being that I watched it at a very young age and since then , my whole llife i've wanted to be a firefighter , sure its farfetched & far from real but thats not the point. The movie made me love Firefighters & My dream is to someday be a professional firefighter. I could watch this movie 10 times a day and never get tired of it. Its one of those movies that get's even better after you watch it again & again . Backdraft.....Thank you.
May 4, 2014
A firefighter themes action film sounded cool enough, but one directed by Ron Howard and starring Kurt Russell isn't one I would miss.

Backdraft wants to be both an action film which emphasises the heroism of firefighters as well as a dramatic film which has interesting characters to it, but in attempting to balance these two themes, Ron Howard leaves Backdraft dangling somewhere in the middle. It isn't a bad film, but it's attempts to be a drama don't work that well.
Backdraft could have been a good solid action film if it narrowed its dramatic focus down simply to the brotherly relationship between Lt. Stephen "Bull" McCaffrey and Candidate Firefighter Brian McCaffrey as they fight a series of fires then it would have been simply a good action film with a dramatic undercurrent. But the fact that it reached out to attempt to have a crime themed undercurrent shows it biting off more than it can chew. Backdraft can't chew too much and so a lot of the dramatic elements seem unnecessary and simply prolong the film. I didn't find any of the dramatics interesting if they weren't focused around the relationship between the two brothers because their other relationships weren't that interesting and the crime drama theme didn't interest me either. Backdraft simply is not as deep as it really wants to be and the fact that it tries a little hard to be what it can't succeed at makes it an example of Ron Howard's trouble at integrating depth into an action film. He gives a fair treatment to Gregory Widen's well written screenplay but what he does simply is not necessary. Action films aren't usually Ron Howard's best talent because he is better at making good comedies such as Night Shift or meaningful drama films like A Beautiful Mind, and even his later film Rush serves as a better example of integrating exciting action in with a serious plot because of how he balanced the racing scenes with the drama of the characters. He doesn't do that in Backdraft, so it is better to say that this film is simply a step in the right direction for him.
And Backdraft does reveal Ron Howard's eye for great action scenes. The action saved the film because it emphasises the heroism of firefighters as well as being vary entertaining. You'd think that a firefighter themed film could only go so far, but thanks to Ron Howard's keen eye for visual elements the film is loaded with some excellent firefighting scenes which are creative and exhilarating thanks to powerful cinematography and excellent editing. It is all very intense as well due to the addition of a powerful musical score and a lot of intense sound effects, so Backdraft is an atmospheric feature. And the visual effects are use me so well that half the time I can't tell if the fires are real or not. So Backdraft is one of Ron Howard's most visually powerful films and entertains on behalf of the action theme due to being visually great and intense at the same time. And the cast make a fine effort to please crowds as well.
Kurt Russell's lead performance in Backdraft is a great one. My capitalising on his heroism, Kurt Russell turns it into a certain sense of cocky arrogance which makes his character one that is both likeable and dislike for a series of reasons. And thanks to his natural charisma and excellent acting skill, Kurt Russell takes the lead role by storm. He is flawlessly convincing as a heroic firefighter due to his muscular physicality and his natural talent for heroism, and his chemistry with William Baldwin make them a greatly convincing duo as a pair of brothers. Backdraft serves as another example of Kurt Russell's talents as a leading man as well as a dramatic actor and action hero, so it succeeds in all areas.
William Baldwin also gives a terrific effort. I haven't seen him in many films, but considering the nature of his performance in Backdraft, I have no problem with him as an actor. He easily takes on the role of a young and inexperienced firefighter who lives in his brother's shadow, and for that he reveals a certain kind of troubled youthful touch while also implementing a sense of determination. So William Baldwin makes the role seem real and does an entertaining job where he deals with the dramatic material honestly making a good name for himself while also putting up a heroic fight. William Baldwin is an awesome heroic addition to the cast in Backdraft, and he plays a firefighter very convincingly.
Robert De Niro, Rebecca De Mornay and Jennifer Jason Leigh also all deliver firm supporting performances.

So although Backdraft is overly long and not as dramatic or deep as it wants to be, it is an awesomely entertaining action film with a fine cast and strong sense of heroism about firefighters.
March 21, 2014
Backdraft has some of the most impressive fire scenes ever shot and some daring stunt work (three of the leads, Kurt Russell, Scott Glenn and William Baldwin, are actually billed as stuntmen), but unfortunately it's wrapped up in a trite two-brothers-at-each-other's-throats plot that keeps it from being anything more than a high-priced soap opera with burning buildings. And, it has to be said, it looks a lot less impressive on the small screen than it did on the big one. Despite the ostensibly impressive ensemble cast, some of the supporting performances are weak, with Jennifer Jason Leigh proving big time that she really can't play 'normal' while Donald Sutherland's Hannibal Firelighter is too Looney Tunes to convince even in his brief screen time, while Baldwin is a considerably less compelling leading man than Russell but gets the lion's share of the screen time anyway. The result is a modestly entertaining but entirely predictable studio picture that plays everything but the conflagrations safe. But it is DEFINITELY worth checking out. This movie has it all.
March 15, 2014
Corny and inaccurate but action packed and exciting
March 10, 2014
still such a 90s classic excellent cast & plot with lots of amazing fire fighting scenes/stunts
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