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Backdraft is 1991 American action-drama film directed by Ron Howard and written by Gregory Widen. The film stars Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro and Scott Glenn. Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca De Mornay, Jason Gedrick, Brian Jaramillo and JT Walsh co-star in the film.
In The Windy City, young Brian McCaffery (William Baldwin) is a man going from one dead-end job to another, until he gets it in his head to be a firefighter alongside his brother, Stephen "Bull" McCaffery (Kurt Russell), and the men of the 17-engine crew. Also, Brian's past follows him, as he was photographed at the scene of his father's death by arson, as he watched from the ground, holding his father's helmet in his hands. Now, a dangerous arsonist has torched two city officials, and after Brian is transfered, it is up to him and arson investigator Donald "Shadow" Rimgale to sniff out the arsonist before anyone else is torched.
Not to be confused with Internet Backdraft.
This movie contains examples of:
- All-Star Cast: De Niro, Russel, Sutherland, a Baldwin brother.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Trychtichlorate.
- Arson Crazy: Ronald Bartel
- Benevolent Architecture: While chemical factories would have pipes, pretty sure none of them are greased for sliding.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted with Tim after he is burned.
- Big No: Brian when he sees Bull and Axe fall to their deaths(Bull, survived the fall until he died later on in an ambulance while Brian is pleading for him not to die.
- Bittersweet Ending: Swayzak’s career is over, Brian is now a firefighter, and Adcox is dead. Adcox had, however, given himself up before dying, leaving it impossible to feel good about it. Stephen is also dead, Brian’s girlfriend left him because he used her in his investigation on Swayzak, and there’s always another fire and arsonist out there.
- The Cameo: Clint Howard as a coroner.
- Cosmic Plaything: Brian and Stephen.
- Consulting A Convicted Arsonist: Brian approaches an imprisoned serial arsonist, Ronald Bartel, when in need of assistance in finding the missing links between a string of recent fires that seem to be connected.
- The Coroner: Ricco.
- Emergency Services
- Empathy Helmet Shot: Dennis’ helmet being held by Brian after his death.
- Energy Beings: Sorta. Both Bartel and Rimgale describe fire as an animal and as a sentient predator as a way to understand how it behaves.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Tim is left severely burnt from a backdraft and is last seen hospitalized in critical condition.
- Firemen Are Hot
- Government Conspiracy: A local one; Swayzak made several backdoor deals with local businessmen (included a forged manpower study) to shut down firehouses across the city and convert them into community centers, with lucrative construction contracts awarded to the conspirators.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Tim’s burns are only seen briefly, and you only get a good look at them via a Freeze-Frame Bonus. They are not pretty.
- Hannibal Lecture: Donald Sutherland's movie-stealing scene.
- Heroic Fire Rescue: Several.
- Heroic Sacrifice: "Bull", both for his brother and for the Chicago FD
- Hollywood Fire: Played straight and averted to varying degrees through the movie.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Stephen.
- Knight Templar: Adcox.
- Large Ham: Tim.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: The arsonist’s M.O.
- Meaningful Echo : 'You go, we go.'
- "You see that glow flashing in the corner of your eye?"
- "You're doing it wrong!"
- Meaningful Funeral: Bull's funeral at the end
- Naive Newcomer: Both Brian and Tim Krimziski.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Part of the firefighters' code. "You go, we go."
- Old Shame: The picture of Brian at his father's death continues to follow him years later.
- One-Scene Wonder: Donald Sutherland is probably in the movie for all of fifteen minutes, but man does he make it work for him!
- Oh Crap: Cosgrove before being killed by a backdraft.
- Parking Payback: A car is parked in front of a fire hydrant. The firefighters take a certain glee in smashing the car's windows so they can thread the hose through to the hydrant.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Tim.
- Pyromaniac: Ronald Bartel (Donald Sutherland)
- Redemption Equals Death: "Axe" Adcox.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Tim is subject to a brutal example of this trope.
- Sleazy Politician: Alderman Swayzak
- Sympathetic Murderer: Adcox murdered Swayzak's cronies out of anger that the alderman was gambling with firefighter's lives for monetary and political gain
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Tim’s ultimate fate after he is burned is never shown.
- Write What You Know: The film was based partly on writer Gregory Widen's experiences as a Chicago firefighter (leaving the position after one of his best friends died on the job).