Metascore
38

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Stephen McCaffrey (Russell) and his younger brother Brian (Baldwin) are two feuding siblings carrying on an heroic family tradition in the Chicago fire department. Stephen is so relentless that he drives Brian out of firefighting and into arson investigation. Brian becomes involved in aStephen McCaffrey (Russell) and his younger brother Brian (Baldwin) are two feuding siblings carrying on an heroic family tradition in the Chicago fire department. Stephen is so relentless that he drives Brian out of firefighting and into arson investigation. Brian becomes involved in a puzzling series of arson attacks, each ignited by explosive phenomena known as backdrafts. Before the smoke clears, love affairs are rekindled and lives are shattered as the McCaffrey brothers fight to resolve their differences and solve the mystery. (Universal) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 12
  2. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. 75
    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.
  2. Fire, as this movie makes clear, is nothing if not photogenic, and Howard has done a beautiful job of conjuring both its danger and its deceptive, primal beauty.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    60
    Not only do the firefighting scenes evoke a feeling of gritty authenticity, but the fire itself really does seem to be alive.
  4. Howard, as usual, seems bent on mixing genres to make several movies at once--monster movie, crime movie, coming-of-age movie, and action-adventure movie (among others)--yielding an overall narrative that's not boring but not especially suspenseful or focused either.
  5. Reviewed by: Kathleen Maher
    40
    Absolutely marvelous special effects are the salvation and the curse of this movie.
  6. Director Howard is so mesmerized by the flames, he squirts formulaic lighter fluid over everything. A conflagration of hyped-up movie cliches, courtesy of George Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic special effects shop, scalds your face.
  7. 10
    A noisy, impenetrable and totally nonsensical cogitation on the nature of firefighters and the sizzling "animal" they love...We just wish somebody would call 911 for boredom.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Aug 29, 2012
    10
    I love Backdraft it's my alltime favorite firefighter movie this movie is claer cut of how a ood cast,great direction and story plus jawI love Backdraft it's my alltime favorite firefighter movie this movie is claer cut of how a ood cast,great direction and story plus jaw dropping fire scenes filled with special effects can amke a movie so good.Backdraft's storyline starts out in familar territory then begins to tread on unexplored areas of storytelling.The cast in this film is as much of a presence as the fire.Ron Howard who reallys surprised me with this movie tis wasn't something he usually did bt he pulled it off wonderfully.That is why I gave this film a perfect score. Expand
  2. May 21, 2014
    10
    Not a lot of people can truly say that they have a one unique favorite movie thats stands out from the rest. However for me Backdraft does.Not a lot of people can truly say that they have a one unique favorite movie thats stands out from the rest. However for me Backdraft does. Directed by Ron Howard with an all star cast , Backdraft is the story of Chicago Firefighters of Engine 17. The film begins seeing young Brian McCaffrey (William Baldwin) witnessing his fathers death at a building fire. We cut to 17 years later Brian having just graduated as a candidate Firefighter , he and his older brother Lt Stephen McCaffery (Played By Kurt Russell) don't get along so well , Stephen tempers with Brians station so that Brian is sent to his Department , Stephen looks over Brian & worrys about him after a factory fire , Brian did not listen to Stephens orders and nearly got killed. After a few weeks Stephen convinces Brian to give up being a Firefighter. Meanwhile thorought the movie , the Department responds to numerous calls that have been killing people with Backdrafts. Brian get's a new Job withfire inspector Donald Rimgale (Played by Robert De Niro), Him & Donald investigate how & who is causing the backdrafts which end in an epic finally and a extremly sad ending. Why do I love this movie ? well beside from the fact that it has stunning special effects & visuals , amazing music & strong performances. I love it being that I watched it at a very young age and since then , my whole life i've wanted to be a firefighter , sure its farfetched & far from real but thats not the point. The movie made me love Firefighters & My dream is to someday be a professional firefighter. I could watch this movie 10 times a day and never get tired of it. Its one of those movies that get's even better after you watch it again & again . Backdraft.....Thank you. Expand
  3. Bob
    May 18, 2006
    9
    memorable realistic action and great actors.
  4. PamL.
    May 20, 2006
    8
    Saw this movie on VHS as a rental and liked it enough to buy it. I found it to be an interesting tale about brothers, teamwork, risk-taking, Saw this movie on VHS as a rental and liked it enough to buy it. I found it to be an interesting tale about brothers, teamwork, risk-taking, and trust. Expand
  5. Mar 1, 2012
    8
    This movie is a very enjoyable watch... the critics are being far too harsh here!!! "you go, we go!" absolutely epic stuff... maybe i have aThis movie is a very enjoyable watch... the critics are being far too harsh here!!! "you go, we go!" absolutely epic stuff... maybe i have a bit of 90's nostalgia but do urself a fav and check it ouy! Expand
  6. Jan 1, 2013
    8
    Thanks to a refreshingly straightforward story, stellar directorial skills from Ron Howard, and an absolutely mind-blowing set of specialThanks to a refreshingly straightforward story, stellar directorial skills from Ron Howard, and an absolutely mind-blowing set of special effects, "Backdraft" makes for a worthy blockbuster of the greatly intelligent kind. Collapse
  7. Dec 18, 2012
    7
    It's definitely a good story, a poor performance on Baldwin but Russell does a good job, excellent special effects, and for those critics thatIt's definitely a good story, a poor performance on Baldwin but Russell does a good job, excellent special effects, and for those critics that say that there were too many fire in the movie I say HELLO!!!!! it's a firefighter's story, it's absolutely expected to see some flames in the movie don't you think? Well, it has a good plot and a great ending. Expand

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