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Breaking Away

416 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jan 29, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

This charming, Academy Award winner (1979, Screenplay) cycles high on comedy as four friends come to terms with life after high school. When top-notch cyclist Dave (Dennis Christopher) learns that the world's bicycling champions are always Italian, he attempts to turn himself into an Italian, driving his parents (Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley) crazy. But everything changes after he meets the Italian racing team-an encounter that ultimately leads him and his friends (Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley) to challenge the local college boys in the town's annual bike race.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Jackie Earle Haley, Barbara Barrie, Hart Bockner
  • Directors: Peter Yates
  • Writers: Steve Tesich
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: January 29, 2002
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (416 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CX96
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,789 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Breaking Away" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By George on March 1, 2002
Format: DVD
This is a fabulous film, one of my all-time favorites: a funny, bittersweet, character-driven masterpiece of small-budget filmmaking, shot in a town I lived in for five years.
Obviously, this was a cheaply done DVD release by Fox of a film that deserves a deluxe special edition. Besides the lack of extras, interviews, and audio commentary, I could not believe the poor sound quality of the DVD digital transfer: street scenes, crowd scenes, etc. sounded like they were recorded in a digital bucket! We had to turn down the sound during the pivotal Little 500 scene, because the digital garbage was so annoying.
Having seen this many times on tape, I know that the sound of this low-budget film was not always good, but it was never horrible until this cheap digital mastering. Fortunately it does not completely ruin the experience of this wonderful film, but I wouldn't be in any hurry to replace a VHS tape with this DVD!
Fox, fix your mistake and treat this film properly!
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Lyman on June 5, 2004
Format: DVD
I don't want to make a bigger deal out of this movie than it deserves. It's not a world-changer and the ending is a bit predictable, but it is a wonderful and charming coming of age story and an honest look at small-town America. And cycling and Italians play central roles -- a plus for an American cyclist living in Italy, like me.
But having an affinity for things Italian or for bike racing is not necessary in order to enjoy this 25-year-old classic. What is necessary is an appreciation for small things and memories about the mysterious period between adolescence and adulthood. If that describes you, then chances are you'll enjoy this touching film.
Amid the praise I should say that the DVD package is only average: the original trailer and teaser are there, but it would have been nice to have some commentary from director Peter Yates, some of the actors, or from critics who were fans of the film. A "Making of Breaking Away" mini feature would have also been a welcome addition.
One note: Breaking Away is a very American film, and so I'm not so sure how much of it will hit home with foreign viewers.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By B. Hendry on June 2, 2006
Format: DVD
This is an excellent movie with several themes woven together. The main theme is a how a clique of four boys, principally Dave, feel like outsiders in their hometown of Bloomington Indiana as they search for an identity after high school. They are starting to realize that their search will inexorably pull them apart. None of the four are in college, and Bloomington's local economy, especially the fading quarries, seems to hold little promise aside from serving the Indiana University (IU) college students. The IU students derisively call local kids "cutters" in reference to the quarries the local kids' fathers worked in. The four in fact have a favorite closed quarry as their hangout and swimming pool, and they resent it when the IU kids want them to stay off the IU campus but feel free to invade this quarry.

Two of the four had ideas for college athletics, but are aimless now that their high school careers are over and do not provide structure. There are several excellent scenes depicting their confusion and disappointment over what to do next. My favorite is when the four are watching Indiana football practice. Ex-football player Dennis Quaid still keeps in shape, and he says that he can't bring himself to light the cigarettes he keeps in his mouth because he can't get give up his opinion that he was a pretty good high school quarterback and should be on the college gridiron. Now he's just "20-yr old Mike". Eventually he will be just "30-yr old Mike" and then just "40-yr old Mike". Every year there will be new contenders for starting quarterback, and "every year it's not gonna be me." Daniel Stern, as Cyril, has to overcome his dad's low expectations and too-willing acceptance of failure even though Cyril is a talented person.
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89 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Unlucky Frank on February 4, 2002
Format: DVD
It's about time they released this Masterpiece on DVD. In 1979, I was a 19 year old boy. My MAMA had just come home crying from the movie theatre, having seen this FILM. She said to me, "I just saw a movie you have to see. It made me weep because it reminded me of you." Then she hugged me and I thought, God, I gotta see this movie! Then I did, and it had the exact same effect on me, and still does to this day.
This is not just a "feel-good-coming-of-age" story. This FILM is a profound and intelligent comedy of an inner search for an identity. What self-aware human being hasn't confronted the blinding journey of the Self? Should I go to college and major in Business? Or should I become an Italian and race bicycles? Heck, I'm in my forties and sometimes I still don't know who I am.
PAPA (WORRYING ABOUT DAVE)-played hilariously by Paul Dooley.
"He's gonna be a bum, Evelyn... An Italian bum."
Everyone in this FILM is searching. Except for maybe Moocher. Socrates would have loved this movie.

MAMA (WAXING PHILOSOPHICAL)-played brilliantly by Barbara Barrie.
"I think you should come home singing... with a trophy. Do all those things while you can."
Everytime I see this FILM, the tears well because I knew every single one of these guys growing up and I always fell in love with the girl I couldn't have.

DAVE (IN THE PANGS OF AMORE)-impeccably played by Dennis Christopher.
"I have such a pain in my heart, mama. I'm in love."

I have a great sentiment for this FILM and as soon as I get my copy I'm heading straight to MAMA's house to watch it with her. This FILM is to AMERICAN CINEMA, as THE BEACHBOYS are to AMERICAN ROCK AND ROLL. Good vibrations, bambina!!
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