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216 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

All roads lead to excitement with Kurt Russell in Breakdown, the non-stop thrill ride that's "a movie of nerve-frying intensity...Kurt Russell's best performance yet" (Rex Reed, New York Observer). Jeff Taylor (Russell) and his wife Amy (Kathleen Quinlan) are headed toward a new life in California when their car's engine dies on a remote highway. Amy accepts a ride from a helpful trucker (J.T. Walsh) while Jeff waits with the car. But when Jeff shows up at the agreed rendezvous, he finds his wife's not there. The locals aren't talking; the police aren't much help. With no one to turn to, Jeff battles his worst fears and begins a desperate, danger-ridden search to find Amy - Before it's too late!

Tautly directed and superbly photographed, this crowd-pleasing thriller from 1997 is indebted to Steven Spielberg's Duel, but more closely resembles Dead Calm in its strengths and weaknesses. Kurt Russell plays a stressed-out husband whose wife (Kathleen Quinlan) disappears after their car breaks down in the desert. Tracking her whereabouts leads to an interstate theft and kidnapping ring, and as Russell pursues--and is pursued by--a vicious redneck played to perfection by J.T. Walsh (in one of his final film roles), the movie succumbs to several tense, but utterly conventional action sequences. That doesn't stop the movie from being an above-average nail-biter. It is so effectively directed by co-writer Jonathan Mostow that even the more surreal situations seem plausible and altogether unsettling. Russell's performance is key to the film's success--he's smart enough to be admirable, and we can readily identify with his frustration, confusion, and torment. Through him, Breakdown takes on the edgy quality of a wide-awake nightmare. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kurt Russell, J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan, M.C. Gainey, Jack Noseworthy
  • Directors: Jonathan Mostow
  • Writers: Jonathan Mostow, Sam Montgomery
  • Producers: Artist W. Robinson, Dino De Laurentiis, Harry Colomby, Jeffrey Sudzin, Jonathan Fernandez
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305182086
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,318 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Breakdown" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By S. Sigel on July 29, 2006
Format: DVD
I'll make this review short and sweet: This is one of the most under-rated suspense thrillers ever released. The acting is superb...the plot line is very believable. From this writer's perspective, this is arguably one of the best movies Kurt Russell has ever acted in.
Just one question, why didn't this film get the recognition that it deserved when it was first released???

This movie is a classic nail-biter. Hitchcock would be proud. This is highly recommended. It easily earns five stars out of five...
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By - Kasia S. VINE VOICE on September 17, 2005
Format: DVD
This movie was just like one of my favorite Dean Koontz or Richard Laymon books.

Besides the non stop action and my level of interest not dropping even once, it was nice to see a movie that did not make my cry for two hours lost in my life, because many movies I have seen lately new or old did just that.

What makes this story so gripping is the fact that Kurt Russell's character is someone you begin to like really fast and you don't want anything happening to him. Also the action begins on a desert road, with no people around, so this reminds me of those " lost in the woods" story, where someone is escaping and there's not many places to hide, besides being all alone and in trouble.

When Russell's car breaks down and his wife hitches a ride with someone from around there to get help, and never comes back, he decides to take the matter into his own terms, and let me tell you, I yelled at the TV a few times, and I never do that, because he gets on a bumpy ride to discover the towns little dirty secret, and he doesn't stop.

Excellent move for any time of the day can't wait to watch it again soon.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Wuchak on July 12, 2007
Format: DVD
"Breakdown" is a 1997 film starring Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan as a couple moving from Boston to San Diego. Somewhere in Arizona -- in the middle of nowhere -- their SUV breaks down. They are beset by a team of guys that make money on the side by robbing/killing innocent travelers. Their breakdown devolves into an utter nightmare.

"Breakdown" brings to mind three pictures:

-- Spielberg's first TV film "Duel" (1971) Starring Dennis Weaver, which was perhaps the first film addressing the subject of road rage.

-- The 1975 film "Race with the Devil" starring Peter Fonda, which was a car chase thriller about four vacationers and their accidental run-in with a gaggle of Satanists.

-- And, lastly, the 1988/1993 film "The Vanishing." There are two versions with different actors (but the same director); the first taking place in Europe, the other in America. The story involves a man's obsessive search for his girlfriend who was apparently kidnapped while they were parked at a rest stop.

"Breakdown" successfully combines elements of all three of these pictures, while remaining unique. In fact, "Breakdown" is arguably the best of the batch. So, if you liked any of these films, chances are you'll appreciate "Breakdown."

It should also be noted that the film is great for people who like desert stories or enjoy Southwest scenery.

BOTTOM LINE: "Breakdown" is nothing deep, but it's an intense, engaging, realistic thriller along the lines of "Duel," albeit more eventful. It will definitely grab and hold your attention its entire 90 minute length.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Moven on July 10, 2006
Format: DVD
This is one of the most exciting thrillers I saw in the 90's. Kurt Russell's performance is great! The cinematography and direction are excellent.

The movie works because it doesn't try to be TOO serious. This is a Hollywood thriller, so the action certainly gets extravagant at points. The premise of the film is a fantastic setup.

I love films like this where the editing is paced, rather than sporadic and choppy. For instance, the scene with Kurt Russell climbing on the outside of the semi is shot masterfully. The tension is real. The supporting roles played by Kathleen Quinlan and J.T. Walsh are convincing.

This movie, considering the low price it's at these days, must be owned. It's one of Kurt Russell's best films.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Inspector Gadget on March 6, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Breakdown seems to have slipped through the cracks over the years. It was a Number 1 hit when released in theatres in May 1997, though, bizarrely, it took a whole year to reach the UK when I saw it in May 1998. Kind of odd for a successful film with a big-name star. Produced and financed by Dino DeLaurentis, Breakdown was released by Paramount in the US and Fox in the UK. I guess the rights are stuck in a loophole, it's the only reason I can think of as to why it's currently out-of-print.

Kurt Russell is Jeff Taylor, a man traveling across America with his hot wife. In the last leg of their Boston-San Diego move, their car freezes-up and stops dead by the road. A friendly trucker offers them help. Hot wife goes off with him to get a tow-truck. She doesn't return. Jeff, panic increasing by the second, tracks down the trucker, Warren 'Red' Barr (played by the late JT Walsh), but the man denies ever meeting him or his wife. Panic turns to anger, and anger turns to terror, as Jeff is hurled into a kidnap/ransom plot. With no one to turn to for help he has to use his wits and rely on chance to turn the tables on the bad guys.

At a stripped-down, incredibly terse 93 minutes, Breakdown wastes no time with long set-ups. There are no long speeches, no unnecessary deviations, just action and suspense. Kurt Russell carries much of the film with facial expressions. Though I have to say I wish Jonathan Mostow kept a tighter reign on his acting, as he tend to overdo it a bit. Plus some of his dialogue is repetitive and cliched. Yes, there are a few plot holes and gaps in the logic (the useless cop cliche really gets on my nerves) but at such a brisk pace the film doesn't have time to dwell on them.
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