Breaking Away

1979

Breaking Away

Critics Consensus

At once a touching, funny coming-of-age story and a compelling sports film, Breaking Away is a delightful treat.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,319
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Movie Info

This charming, Academy Award winner (1979, Screenplay) cycles high on comedy as four friends come to terms with life after high school. When top-notch cyclist Dave (Dennis Christopher) learns that the world's bicycling champions are always Italian, he attempts to turn himself into an Italian, driving his parents (Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley) crazy. But everything changes after he meets the Italian racing team-an encounter that ultimately leads him and his friends (Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley) to challenge the local college boys in the town's annual bike race.

Cast

Dennis Christopher
as Dave Stohler
Barbara Barrie
as Mrs. Stohler
Paul Dooley
as Mr. Stohler
Robyn Douglass
as Katherine
John Ashton
as Mike's Brother
Lisa Shure
as French Girl
David K. Blace
as Race Announcer
William S. Armstrong
as Race Official
Howard S. Wilcox
as Race Official
J.F. Briere
as Mr. York
Eddy Van Guyse
as Italian Rider
Carlos Saintes
as Italian Rider
Jimmy Grant
as Black Student Leader
Gail L. Horton
as Fight Spectator
Woody Hueston
as Owner of Car Wash
Jennifer F. Nolan
as Anthem Singer
Nora Ringgenberry
as Race Starter
John W. Ryan
as University President
Morris Salzman
as Blond Guy
Tom Schwoegler
as Team Captain
Mike Silveus
as Homecoming Car Kid
Alvin E. Bailey
as Stonecutter
Harold Elgar
as Stonecutter
Robert Woolery
as Stonecutter
Russell E. Freeman
as Stonecutter
Floyd E. Todd
as Stonecutter
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Critic Reviews for Breaking Away

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (2)

  • There are a few moments when the picture's easygoing pace turns into wobbliness, but these are insignificant compared with its many moments of shrewd insight into the lives of amusingly shaded but very recognizable human beings.

    Aug 3, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Though its plot wins no points for originality, Breaking Away is a thoroughly delightful light comedy.

    Mar 21, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Peter Yates, previously typed as an action director, lends the film a fine, unexpected limpidity, and the principals are mostly excellent.

    Mar 21, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Displays the kind of unsentimental optimism that went out of fashion with Hawks.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Breaking Away is a wonderfully sunny, funny, goofy, intelligent movie that makes you feel about as good as any movie in a long time. It is, in fact, a treasure.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Here is a movie so fresh and funny it didn't even need a big budget or a pedigree.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5

Audience Reviews for Breaking Away

  • Nov 11, 2012
    A simple story greatly told.
    Jared H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2011
    A feel-good, inspirational story concerning an offbeat teenager who discovers his love for biking, despite his non-supportive father (Paul Dooley) wanting him to grow up and accept adulthood as a member of the "cutter" class. While it suffers from a couple scenes that come across as over dramatic and one of the plot points is just downright awful, this movie is still hard not to love given the energetic lead performance by Dennis Christopher, as well as the fact that this is a great coming of age story. Sure, it's absolutely corny at times, but if you really don't fall in love with this movie, especially the last big race scene - something is wrong with you.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    The essential biking film! If you're into sports movies, love riding bikes, or compete in bike racing yourself, you will love this movie. It's a great sports drama about both bikes and growing up.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2010
    Peter Yates "Breaking Away" is a tender picture, starts off slowly and then turns into a beautiful flower. It is one of those coming of age films that can instantly make film goers grin from ear to ear. I don't know how a film this good kept my attention. "Breaking Away" is not even stylistic(but who says all films have to be?) the story of four teenage guys who graduated from high school and is sort of stuck in finding what they want to do. One of the guys is obsessed with cycling, another friend use to be leading football player for the high school, another doesn't want to be known as a shorty, and another who is not so bright. The character that struck me the most is the one who has an obsession with cycling and Italian culture. He is played by Dennis Christopher. In one scene he tries to out run a Cinzano big rig truck, another scene shows him riding his bike on a treadwheel in the rain while his father who is inside the shed looks on in puzzlement. "Breaking Away" has a lot of those funny moments but it also has smartness, heartwarming and heartbreaking scenes.
    Brian R Super Reviewer

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