• Backdraft (1991)


Release Date: May 14th, 1991

DVD Release Date: December 10th, 1997

R |2 hr 17 min

Plot Summary

Chicago firefighting brothers Stephen (Kurt Russell) and Brian (William Baldwin) have been rivals since childhood. Brian, struggling to prove himself, transfers to the arson unit. There he aids Don (Robert De Niro) in his investigation into a spate of fires involving oxygen-induced infernos called backdrafts. But when a conspiracy implicating a crooked politician and an arsonist leads Brian back to Stephen, he is forced to overcome his brotherly competitiveness in order to crack the case.

Cast: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Glenn, Rebecca De Mornay, Jason Gedrick

Director: Ron Howard

Genres: Thriller , Drama

Production Co: Universal Pictures, Trilogy Entertainment Group, Imagine Entertainment

Keywords: Gripping, Brother, Mystery, Murder, Suspenseful, 1990s, Rivalry

Ratings & Reviews

  • 60
    TV Guide Magazine

    Not only do the firefighting scenes evoke a feeling of gritty authenticity, but the fire itself really does seem to be alive. show more

  • 75
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    What I regret is that all of the expertise lavished on this movie couldn't have been put at the service of a more intelligent story about real firemen, real working conditions, real heroism, and the real craft and art of fire-fighting. show more

  • 25
    Rick GroenThe Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    The flames sure look real, but everything else in Backdraft, director Ron Howard's inflatable ode to firefighters, seems about as genuine as a plastic log in an electric hearth. Howard's particular type of schmaltz works well enough in small dabs on comic canvases (Splash, Cocoon, even Parenthood), but pumped up to heroic proportions, the sentimentality is just plain silly - in this case, cheap melodrama on a two-hour jag. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Visual Effects
Nominated Sound Effects Editing
Nominated Sound
Nominated Achievement in Special Visual Effects
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1992)