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.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 37

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,344

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Movie Info

Dave (Dennis Christopher) and his working-class friends Cyril (Daniel Stern), Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) and Mike (Dennis Quaid) spend their post-high school days in Bloomington, Indiana, sparring with snooty students from the local university, chasing girls and--in Dave's case--dreaming of competitive bicycle racing. The four friends face opposition from all corners as they decide to make Dave's dreams come true in the university's annual bicycle endurance race.

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Critic Reviews for Breaking Away

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (35) | 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.

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

    March 21, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Peter Yates, previously typed as an action director, lends the film a fine, unexpected limpidity, and the principals are mostly excellent.

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

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    October 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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