May 24th, 1991



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Still of Kurt Russell in BackdraftBackdraftStill of William Baldwin and Kurt Russell in Backdraft

Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don't get along have to work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

Release Year: 1991

Rating: 6.6/10 (34,403 voted)

Critic's Score: 38/100

Director: Ron Howard

Stars: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro

A rookie firefighter tries to earn the respect of his older brother and other firefighters while taking part in an investigation of a string of arson/murders. This detailed look into the duties and private lives of firemen naturally features widespread pyrotechnics and special effects.

Kurt Russell - Stephen 'Bull' McCaffrey / Dennis McCaffrey
William Baldwin - Brian McCaffrey
Robert De Niro - Donald 'Shadow' Rimgale
Donald Sutherland - Ronald Bartel
Jennifer Jason Leigh - Jennifer Vaitkus
Scott Glenn - John 'Axe' Adcox
Rebecca De Mornay - Helen McCaffrey
Jason Gedrick - Tim Krizminski
J.T. Walsh - Alderman Marty Swayzak
Anthony Mockus Sr. - Chief John Fitzgerald (as Tony Mockus Sr.)
Cedric Young - Grindle
Juan Ramírez - Ray Santos
Kevin Casey - Nightingale
Jack McGee - Schmidt
Mark Wheeler - Pengelly

Taglines: In that instant it can create a hero... or cover a secret.

Release Date: 24 May 1991

Filming Locations: 2834 N Merrimac Ave, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Opening Weekend: $15,723,480 (USA) (26 May 1991)

Gross: $77,868,585 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The numbers of the fire companies are all "dead" numbers in the Chicago Fire Dept. Engine 17, Truck 46, Engine 24, Truck 6 (now back in service as of March of 2004), & Engine 33, (referred to, not actually seen in the movie), are all out of service. The Chicago Fire Dept. has 24 battalions, battalion 25 was created for the movie.

Continuity: When Brian is talking to the Alderman during the retirement party, his fork alternates between the plate and his mouth between shots.

[In high rise elevator]
Tim Kizminski: How are we supposed to know if the floor is on fire in one of these?
Lt. Steven McCaffrey: When the doors open, if it's hot, don't get out.

User Review

Excellent portrayal of actual events


Ron Howard did a wonderful job of bringing some of the real-life problems that firefighters face everyday in Backdraft. I'm kind of tired of hearing the Monday morning quarterbacks on this site trying to talk about how bad it was and that it wasn't realistic, etc. Take it from a REAL firefighter who has lost brothers in REAL fires and has lived through a REAL backdraft, it's NOT all fun and games, and it's far from glamourous. This movie did an excellent job capturing some of the emotions that flow through every firehouse in America today, particularly after 9/11, we are a brotherhood in which the "I go---we go" mentality is a very REAL concept that most of us live by everyday. And the corruption part of the story, well that's Hollywood for ya, if it doesn't have death, destruction, and corruption...then it doesn't sell very well. Yes there are corrupt politicians and it wouldn't surprise me if things like that did happen, but it's far from commonplace and was just to enhance the film and give you a person to "hate" in the film (JT Walsh, God rest his soul).

So I give it 4 out of 4 stars, very realistic, well directed, EXCELLENT acting on Kurt Russell and Robert DiNiro's parts, and can't wait til I find it on DVD to buy it.


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