Published August 2, 2019


Film info

  • Title Backdraft
  • Director Ron Howard
  • Year 1991
  • Run time 2hrs 17m
  • Genres Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Drama, Action
  • Tagline Silently behind a door, it waits

Ron Howard directs an all-star cast in this exciting action-thriller that shows you the mystery, drama and devastation of fire as you've never seen it before! Kurt Russell and William Baldwin star as two feuding siblings carrying on a heroic family tradition as Chicago firefighters. But when a puzzling series of arson attacks is reported, they are forced to set aside their differences to solve the mystery surrounding these explosive crimes.

Live blog

Time Comment
1:40 I mean, there’s take your kids to work day, but do they mean out in the actual trucks?
5:43 Well that’s an intense start to a film.
7:34 I like a collection of business cards all from the same person.
16:20 He didn’t ask for permission to come aboard or anything.
25:56 Jesus Christ, fire is properly terrifying.
29:49 Oof, they have to have the black humour, I know, but that’s so mean to him.
31:04 In a job where you inhale plenty of smoke, smoking seems like a great hobby.
38:34 It’s the epitome of bantersaurous rex.
46:06 Love her reaction is just like, MEN, shrugsies.
48:19 This is so Baywatch.
53:28 The backdraft thing is SO CREEPY.
57:31 Wait a minute, the fire investigator’s office has a calendar of fires.
1:04:15 Literally every time I see someone next to a door, I’m suspicious.
1:08:50 “You’ve got to stop showing up on the roof like this.”
1:15:56 In a fire, you’re not supposed to use the lifts though.
1:22:09 “I should have been there.” “None of us should have been there.”
1:26:09 I’m all for respecting and understanding a fire, but it doesn’t hate and you can’t love it.
1:28:31 He couldn’t sleep so he came and sat outside his ex-wife’s house to drink beer. Sure, that seems fine.
1:37:58 “I’ve got a little problem here,” is the understatement of the century.
1:50:45 They say each other’s names an awful lot. Stephen. Brian. Stephen. Blah blah blah.
2:03:46 Bagpipes? Really? As if things aren’t bad enough.
2:08:26 Three times he’s had to run after fire trucks, he really needs to sort himself out.


This was not the film I was expecting it to be, although in hindsight, knowing it came from Ron Howard, I probably should have been thinking along these lines.

It gets off to a slow start and the brothers are very frustrating to the point you just want to bang their heads together. There’s a lot of testosterone flying around and the women aren’t particularly treated very well. Lots of punching and ego and blah.

However, once Baldwin teams up with De Niro and the mystery starts unravelling, it was gripping. I sort of guessed the villain because in reality it could only have been one of two people. I wasn’t 100% sure and certainly didn’t know why, so it wasn’t a huge spoiler at least.

The two leads were good, although their constant mention of each other’s names was very distracting to me. De Niro and Sutherland were excellent, of course, and even better together.

Overall, despite the slow start, there was some great storytelling, it was very Ron Howard except for the bits that were very Baywatch. Suspenseful and surprising, and I do actually have a new-found respect for fire.

Rating: 4 / 5

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