Only the Brave (2017)

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Critic Consensus: Only the Brave's impressive veteran cast and affecting fact-based story add up to a no-frills drama that's just as stolidly powerful as the real-life heroes it honors.

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Movie Info

All men are created equal... then, a few become firefighters. Only the Brave, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, is the heroic story of one unit of local firefighters that through hope, determination, sacrifice, and the drive to protect families, communities, and our country become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country. As most of us run from danger, they run toward it--they watch over our lives, our homes, everything we hold dear, as they forge a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire.

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Cast

Josh Brolin
as "Supe" Eric Marsh
Miles Teller
as Brendan "Donut" McDonough
Jennifer Connelly
as Amanda Marsh
Jeff Bridges
as Duane Steinbrink
James Badge Dale
as Jesse Steed
Taylor Kitsch
as Chris MacKenzie
Andie MacDowell
as Marvel Steinbrink
Alex Russell
as Andrew Ashcraft
Ben Hardy
as Wade Parker
Scott Haze
as Clayton Whitted
Geoff Stults
as Travis "Turby" Turbyfill
Thad Luckinbill
as Scott Norris
Jake Picking
as Anthony "Baby-G" Rose
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Critic Reviews for Only the Brave

All Critics (146) | Top Critics (33)

Only the Brave feels like a film that would have made sense coming from Peter Berg or Michael Bay, but Kosinski mostly pulls back on the macho cheerleading to find something more objective, and ultimately, deeply emotional.

Oct 24, 2017 | Full Review…

Though the movie, based on an article in GQ, by Sean Flynn, offers fascinating insights into the practical exertions and bureaucratic complications of firefighting, it places much greater emphasis on the protagonists' personal lives.

Oct 23, 2017 | Full Review…

Although probably a little too long, the film succeeds in being both emotionally forceful and dramatically satisfying.

Oct 21, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Kosinski lets the story unfold at a measured pace - so much so that by the time we reach the climactic scene, we're unprepared for what unfolds. As a result, it's even more devastating and effective.

Oct 20, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

It's a movie intent on telling us the hotshots were heroes, without sufficiently dramatizing either their professional decisions or their private lives.

Oct 20, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Director Joseph Kosinski puts the brotherhood of the unit front and center, emphasizing the bonds forged over sweat and soot. He directs with a sense of duty to honor the crew, and he does the job.

Oct 19, 2017 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Only the Brave

All the Peter Berg jokes have been made. And while each and every one of them might be accurate Only the Brave is as earnest a movie there is. Camaraderie, bravery, and genuine willing sacrifice are captured in this harrowing tale with an ensemble charismatic enough to make the memories of this movie, and in turn the real-life heroes, stick with you for a long time to come.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

½

There hasn't been a really good fire film since Backdraft but this film attempts to bring something different. The film has that predictability with the setup and conclusion but that doesn't stop it from being a story worth telling. The key to the film is the characters and while it's the usual cliché riddled filmmaking, it is still a lot of fun and the acting is right on the money. The actors are strong and deliver performances that separate themselves from each other, no single character feels left out and it's this style of filmmaking that keeps this from being run of the mill. Brolin is the key ingredient here and is one of the best central actors working in Hollywood, just his presence elevates every scene he is in. Kosinski hasn't been in my high end of filmmakers with some of the choices he has made but this is an impressive step to proving the strength of actor storytelling that other filmmakers have exceeded in. 24/02/2018.

Brendan Nicholls
Brendan Nicholls

Super Reviewer

I went into this movie expecting a sappy story with light fratboy humor, but came out absolutely blown away. The performances were great, particularly by Brolin, the characters who are spotlighted are interesting, the dialogue and action sequences are well written, and Kosinski's directing is superb. My only issue is that it runs a little longer than it should, but the film never lost my attention. Truly a suspenseful and emotionally gripping movie.

Sanjay Rema
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

½

True stories are the one thing throughout the film industry that can't be known as being a dime a dozen because it seems as though almost half of the films nowadays are based on true events. Of that half, I'd say only about half of those stories are done with complete justice and care. So, it's really a toss-up when going into a film like this. With that said, Only the Brave is a fantastic presentation of these events and the men who risked their lives on a daily basis. Although it may feel a little slow at times, here is why I believe this is a film that's pretty much for everyone. When you're trying to tell a possibly tragic story about people that may or may not have to give their lives in the wake of danger, it really does require some powerful and devoted performances in order to get the audience to emotionally respond to the events unfolding on-screen. From Josh Brolin to Miles Teller, to even Taylor Kitsch and Jennifer Connelly, I honestly thought this ensemble was one of the best of the entire year, with the standouts obviously being Brolin and Teller. Each and every one of the supporting roles gave their very best as well, making this a very believable and realistic team. The premise of this film is relatively simple. A crew of firefighters is out to become the next crew of "Hot Shots," and they will do whatever it takes, which also entails hiring some fresh and willing talent. The film dives into their lives outside of work and really invests you in each one of their jobs. I was quite riveted throughout each one of the fires, and I loved how it didn't take it too seriously to the point of depression. With a nice blend of bickering and action, these characters were more fleshed out and likable than I was expecting them to be, which really added a level of intensity to the overall movie. It really is the fact that this film has a terrific cast that really makes you feel for them when the climax occurs in the third act. I was not familiar with the events that occurred in real life, so I wasn't sure what to expect from the finale of this film. Although I feel there are some abrupt aspects about it, I feel as though it was handled with care and respected the families involved in the actual events. The final act of this movie is surprising in multiple ways and it did have me shedding a few tears by time the credits started to roll. In the end, Only the Brave is definitely a slow watch at times and its run time is slightly longer than the material needs it to be, but when it's slow it also takes its time to emotionally invest you in its characters, so it's sort of a catch-22. With terrific performances all around, direction that seems to be inspired, and sequences that will have you on the edge of your seat, this is a very well-made a memorable film that I can confidently say will be one of my favorites of this year. This movie is well-made in every regard and I highly recommend it to everyone.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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