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Encyclopedia > Backdraft (film)
Backdraft
Directed by Ron Howard
Written by Gregory Widen
Starring Kurt Russell
William Baldwin
Scott Glenn
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Rebecca DeMornay
Donald Sutherland
Robert De Niro
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Mikael Salomon
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) May 24, 1991
Running time 132 min (137 min. in Ontario, Canada)
Language English

Backdraft is an American movie released in 1991, directed by Ron Howard and written by Gregory Widen. Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro and Scott Glenn star. Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca De Mornay, Jason Gedrick and J.T. Walsh are also featured. The story is about firefighters in Chicago on the trail of a serial arsonist. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (507x755, 74 KB)The Backdraft movie poster. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Worked as a firefigther for three years. ... Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American actor. ... William Billy Baldwin (born February 21, 1963 in Massapequa, New York) is an American actor best known for his early starring roles in such films as Backdraft (1991) and Flatliners (1990). ... Theodore Scott Glenn (born January 26, 1941) is an American actor known for supporting roles. ... Jennifer Jason Leigh (born February 5, 1962) is an American actress who has appeared in numerous films. ... Rebecca De Mornay (born August 29, 1962) is an American actress, born in Santa Rosa, California, USA. De Mornay grew up in France and went to college in the United Kingdom. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Robert Mario De Niro Jr. ... Hans Florian Zimmer (born September 12, 1957) is an Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe award-winning film score composer from Germany. ... Mikael Salomon (b. ... Universal Studios (sometimes called Universal Pictures or Universal City Studios), a subsidiary of NBC Universal, is one of the major American film studios. ... is the 144th day of the year (145th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... Motto: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Loyal she began, loyal she remains) Other Canadian provinces and territories Capital Toronto Largest city Toronto Lieutenant Governor James K. Bartleman Premier Dalton McGuinty (Liberal) Area 1,076,395 km² (4th)  - Land 917,741 km²  - Water 158,654 km² (14. ... A backdraft is a situation which can occur when a fire is starved of oxygen; consequently combustion ceases but the fuel gases and smoke remain at high temperature. ... The year 1991 in film involved many significant films. ... For other people named Ron Howard, see Ronald Howard. ... Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American actor. ... William Billy Baldwin (born February 21, 1963 in Massapequa, New York) is an American actor best known for his early starring roles in such films as Backdraft (1991) and Flatliners (1990). ... Robert Mario De Niro Jr. ... Theodore Scott Glenn (born January 26, 1941) is an American actor known for supporting roles. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Jennifer Jason Leigh (born February 5, 1962) is an American actress who has appeared in numerous films. ... Rebecca De Mornay (born Rebecca J. Pearch on August 29, 1959)[1] is an American film and television actress. ... Jason Gedrick on the video cover of The Force Jason Gedrick (born Jason Michael Gedroic on February 7, 1965 in Chicago, Illinois) is a contemporary American actor best known for his work on the television series Murder One and Boomtown, as well as the motion picture Iron Eagle. ... J.T. Walsh (September 28, 1943–February 27, 1998) was an American actor best known for his roles as quietly sinister white-collar sleazeballs (quote from Leonard Maltin) in numerous feature films. ... Flag Seal Nickname: The Windy City Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location Location in Chicagoland and northern Illinois Coordinates , Government Country State Counties United States Illinois Cook, DuPage Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 606. ... The Skyline Parkway Motel in Afton, Virginia after an arson fire on July 9, 2004. ...


The film received three Academy Award nominations (Sound Effects Editing, Visual Effects and Best Sound). It also received two nominations at the first annual MTV Movie Awards. Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ... The MTV Movie Awards is a film awards show presented annually on MTV (Music Television). ...


Featured in the film are original songs performed by The Drovers, a Chicago band that was heavily influenced by Irish traditional music. The titles of the tracks are "Unpromised Land," "Nothing for You" and "Granuille Reels." The Drovers appeared several years later in the motion picture Blink, also filmed in Chicago. In the film, Madeleine Stowe plays the band's violinist. The Drovers performing in 1998 at Chicagos Annoyance Theatre. ... Blink is a 1994 thriller film, starring Madeleine Stowe and Aidan Quinn, and is a production of New Line Cinema. ... Stowe pictured with John Travolta in 1999s The Generals Daughter Madeleine Stowe (born August 18, 1958) is an American actress. ...


There is an exhibit at Universal Studios based on the film. The current official logo for Universal Studios Theme Parks Universal Studios, the film division of NBC Universal, operates a number of theme parks based around the movies it has produced. ...

Contents

Tagline

  • Silently, behind a door, it waits. One breath of oxygen and it explodes in a deadly rage. In that instant, it can create a hero...or cover a secret.

Plot

The movie tells the story of a group of Chicago firefighters, two of whom are brothers. Stephen McCaffrey (Kurt Russell), the elder of the two brothers, is slowly being taken over by the fires that he fights. Beating the fire becomes an obsession with him. He is always at the heart of the fire - the most dangerous place to be. Nickname: Motto: Urbs in Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: , Country United States State Illinois Counties Cook, DuPage Settled 1770s Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... A Canadian firefighter A firefighter or fireman is trained and equipped to extinguish fires. ...


Brian (William Baldwin) is a bit of a drifter who has become a firefighter after quitting the fire academy several years before, then embarking on a number of other failed careers before returning. He is looked down on by his elder brother who expects him to fail in his newly chosen career. As a child, Brian witnessed the death of their father (who was also a firefighter) first hand when an explosion killed him. William Billy Baldwin (born February 21, 1963 in Massapequa, New York) is an American actor best known for his early starring roles in such films as Backdraft (1991) and Flatliners (1990). ...


Donald Rimgale (Robert De Niro) is a fire investigator. (The real Donald Rimgale, a veteran Chicago fire investigator, served as one of the technical advisors on the film.) He is called in because a number of fires that have occurred have somewhat similar connections. Rimgale is dedicated to his job as an arson investigator. Convicted arsonist Ronald Bartel (Donald Sutherland) has been imprisoned for a number of years and can appear very normal on occasions but at the mention of fire his mind becomes obsessed with the idea of living fire, one that takes over not only buildings but also people's lives. His latest application for parole is turned down during the story. A fictional chemical substance, trychtichlorate, is used by the arsonist to set the fires. Robert Mario De Niro Jr. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Fictional chemical substances are compounds or minerals that exist only in works of fiction (usually fantasy or science fiction). ...

Kurt Russell as firefighter McCaffrey.

The longest serving of all the firefighters, John "Axe" Adcox (Scott Glenn), served under the McCaffrey's father in the Chicago Fire Department and was like an uncle to the two boys when their father died. He takes great pride in his work and has a love of the department. Obviously brave, he is the firefighter who "takes the pipe" and attacks the fire head on, but is also concerned about Steven's blatant unorthodox methods, and disregard of safety procedures. Image File history File links 3475904152. ... Image File history File links 3475904152. ... Theodore Scott Glenn (born January 26, 1941) is an American actor known for supporting roles. ...


Martin Swayzak (J.T. Walsh) is an alderman on the City Council. He has obvious hopes of being elected to mayor, but has had to make a number of budget cuts to the fire department. Many of the rank and file firemen believe that the cuts that he has made are endangering the lives of the firefighters. Some of the firefighters are not slow in letting him know what they think of him and his cuts. It is revealed during an investigation that he was paid off by several businessmen and contractors to shut down the firehouses for purposes of rebuilding and/or rehabbing the firehouses into community centers, with the aforementioned businessmen receiving the contracts for the construction. J.T. Walsh (September 28, 1943–February 27, 1998) was an American actor best known for his roles as quietly sinister white-collar sleazeballs (quote from Leonard Maltin) in numerous feature films. ... An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions. ...


There are also two main female characters: Helen McCaffrey (Rebecca De Mornay) and Jennifer Vaitkus (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Helen is Stephen's estranged wife, Jennifer is Brian's ex-girlfriend and works in the office of Martin Swayzak. Her loyalties are torn between her job with the alderman (who is making financial cuts in the fire department) and Brian who is obviously concerned about the damage that the cuts are doing to the firefighters, eventually choosing Brian's side. Rebecca De Mornay (born Rebecca J. Pearch on August 29, 1959)[1] is an American film and television actress. ... Jennifer Jason Leigh (born February 5, 1962) is an American actress who has appeared in numerous films. ...


Near the end of the film, it is revealed that Adcox is behind the backdraft fires; he set the fires to kill associates of Swayzak because he is angered that Swayzak was making money off the deaths of firefighters.


In the climactic scene, Stephen is fatally injured trying to save a falling Adcox after confronting him about the deadly backdrafts during a multiple alarm fire at a chemical plant. Stephen dies in the ambulance on the way to the hospital with Brian at his side, his final request being that Brian not reveal that Adcox was behind the series of arson fires. After the funeral of Stephen and Adcox, Donald and Brian, with the help of the police, interrupt a press conference Swayzak has hosted saying that detective would like to ask him questions about a fake manpower study which led to the deaths of several firemen, including Stephen and Adcox, effectively killing off his campaign as mayor. It is implied in the final scene that Brian continues on with his firefighting career despite the losses of both his father and brother.


Trivia

  • Prior to writing the script for Backdraft, Gregory Widen worked as a firefighter for three years. He got this basis for the film after witnessing a friend of his being killed in an explosive backdraft.
  • Ron Howard's first choice for Brian McCaffrey was Brad Pitt. William Baldwin was his second choice but preferred by the studio because he was more experienced and they felt that he was a bigger name that would attract more of an audience. When Baldwin was offered the lead in Backdraft he had to back out of a smaller part in another film. The film was Ridley Scott's Thelma & Louise and the part of JD went to Brad Pitt. This story is from the DVD commentary for Thelma & Louise.
  • Many of the extras in the film are actual Chicago firefighters. A casting call was put out in a Department memo prior to the start of shooting. In addition, many suburban firemen participated in the funeral procession.
  • Robert De Niro's character, Don Rimgale, is a real arson investigator with the Chicago Fire Dept's Office of Fire Investigation. Don Rimgale also appears in the movie.
  • The two arson victim names are Cosgrove and Seagrave. Cosgrove's namesake is real-life Chicago fireman and author William Cosgrove, who served as Robert De Niro's technical advisor for the movie. Seagrave is the name of a fire apparatus (fire and ladder truck) manufacturer. The firehouse where Engine 17 and Truck 46 were quartered is the real, in-service firehouse of the Chicago Fire dept's Engine 65 and Truck 52.
  • 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.
  • The production company totally refurbished 6 pieces of fire apparatus, and upon completion of filming, donated 5 of them to the Chicago Fire Dept., who used 4 of them as front line equipment for several years, and one as a spare. The only one that was not donated to the city was the truck that was flipped over, which was totaled for that shot.
  • Kurt Russell, Scott Glenn, and William Baldwin did a lot of their own stunts, and stunt coordinator Walter Scott was so impressed by their performances that they are listed as stunt performers in the credits.
  • Ron Howard once again cast his brother Clint Howard in this movie. Following the tradition of playing obnoxious, unlikable characters in his brother's films, Clint plays Ricco, a pathologist who sneers at Brian McCaffrey's squeamishness at handling a badly burned corpse: "Jesus Christ, he's not going to sell you insurance...pick him up!"
  • At the party on the boat, Jennifer Jason Leigh mentions that she has to talk to one of the guests, Larry DeWaay, a producer of the movie.
  • The photos of firefighters seen on the walls of the investigator's office are of the Los Angeles County fire fighters, who were on scene during the filming of the fire scenes as a precautionary measure.
  • After reading the film's script, Jennifer Jason Leigh reportedly told director Ron Howard that she wished she was the fire because it has the best part.
  • To draw audiences into the intensity of real fire, a cameraman was outfitted in fire-proof suit and wandered through the flames with a hand-held camera.

A backdraft is a situation which can occur when a fire is starved of oxygen; consequently combustion ceases but the fuel gases and smoke remain at high temperature. ... Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American actor. ... Daniel Bruce Butler (born December 2, 1954 in Fort Wayne, Indiana) is an American actor who is known for his role as Bob Bulldog Briscoe on the long-running TV series Frasier as well as D-pop on the television show Handsworth High Openly gay, he starred in Terrence McNally... The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 Academy Award-winning film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. ... A backdraft is a situation which can occur when a fire is starved of oxygen; consequently combustion ceases but the fuel gases and smoke remain at high temperature. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 Academy Award-winning film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. ... Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins CBE (IPA: ) (born 31 December 1937) is an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning film, stage and television actor. ... The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 Academy Award-winning film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. ... For other people named Ron Howard, see Ronald Howard. ... William Bradley Brad Pitt(born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and film producer. ... William Billy Baldwin (born February 21, 1963 in Massapequa, New York) is an American actor best known for his early starring roles in such films as Backdraft (1991) and Flatliners (1990). ... A backdraft is a situation which can occur when a fire is starved of oxygen; consequently combustion ceases but the fuel gases and smoke remain at high temperature. ... Sir Ridley Scott (born November 30, 1937 in South Shields, County Durham) is an influential Academy Award-nominated English film director, and producer. ... Thelma & Louise is a road movie from 1991 conceived and written by Callie Khouri, co-produced and directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Geena Davis as Thelma, Susan Sarandon as Louise, and Harvey Keitel as a sympathetic detective trying to solve crimes that the two women find easier and easier... William Bradley Brad Pitt(born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and film producer. ... Thelma & Louise is a road movie from 1991 conceived and written by Callie Khouri, co-produced and directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Geena Davis as Thelma, Susan Sarandon as Louise, and Harvey Keitel as a sympathetic detective trying to solve crimes that the two women find easier and easier...

Crew

  • Directed by: Ron Howard
  • Written by: Gregory Widen
  • Produced by: Richard Barton Lewis, Pen Densham, John Watson
  • Executive Producers: Brian Grazer, Raffaella DeLaurentiis
  • Cinematography: Mikael Salomon
  • Production Designer: Albert Brenner
  • Editors: Daniel Hanley & Michael Hill
  • Music: Hans Zimmer and Bruce Hornsby
  • Costume Design: Jodie Lynn Tillen
  • Casting: Jane Jenkins & Janet Hirshenson
  • Stunt Coordinator: Walter Scott
  • Assistant Directors: Aldric La'Auli Porter, Ian Foster Woolf and Jeff Okabayashi

Critical reaction

Backdraft has been criticized for its lack of realism regarding firefighting techniques. Among other things, self-contained breathing apparatuses are rarely used in this film, the huge lack of smoke (which is present in any fire), a large amount of furniture is destroyed by the firefighters for no apparent reason, inexperienced firefighters are sent into burning halls all alone, and the film repeatedly attributes mystic, animalistic consciousness to fire itself (though the latter could be considered as less than a statement of fact than a cinematic technique by which "expert" firefighters are distinguished from less successful firefighters by their "understanding" of the "bestial" characteristics of fire; in the world of the film, those who view fire as an animal have an edge against it). A self contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA is a device worn by rescue workers, firefighters, and others to provide breathable air in a hostile environment. ... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ... A forest fire Fire is a rapid oxidation process that releases energy in varying intensities in form of light (with wavelength not also in the visual part of the spectrum) and heat and often creates smoke. ...


The 2004 movie Ladder 49 is reported to present the subject of firefighting more realistically. Ladder 49 is a 2004 drama movie about firefighters. ...


Influences

DVD cover

The Japanese cooking TV show, Iron Chef, used Backdraft's music (composed by Hans Zimmer). The film is the basis of an attraction at Universal Studios Theme Parks where visitors can learn how the pyrotechnic effects were created and experience some of them first hand. Image File history File links Backdraft. ... Image File history File links Backdraft. ... Cooking is the act of preparing food. ... Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai With the above words begins each edition of Iron Chef, a Japanese television program produced by FujiTV. The original Japanese title is Ironmen of Cooking ). It began airing on October 10, 1993 as a half-hour show and after 23 episodes, it was expanded to a... Hans Florian Zimmer (born September 12, 1957) is an Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe award-winning film score composer from Germany. ... Universal Studios (sometimes called Universal Pictures or Universal City Studios), a subsidiary of NBC Universal, is one of the major American film studios. ...


See also

The following criteria qualify a film for inclusion on this list: Primary plot of film regards firefighting or related fire/rescue service work in general. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Backdraft (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (248 words)
Backdraft is an American movie released in 1991, directed by Ron Howard and written by Gregory Widen.
While there are not many movies devoted to firefighters, Backdraft has been criticised for some unrealistic elements, especially for depicting fire as sentient and for the firefighting tactics and improper use of safety equipment and procedures.
The film is the basis of an attraction at Universal Studios Theme Parks where visitors can learn how the pyrotechnic effects were created and experience some of them first hand.
b (2460 words)
The film is a large spectacle that won a record setting 11 Academy awards, the most impressive sequences of the film are the sea battle and the chariot race.
Holliday’s first film as the "dumb" blonde, a character she was to repeat in almost all films of her short career.
British film taking place in a small town where most men work in the coal mine, which is about to close, so they’ll all lose their jobs.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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