|Tagline||The movie that tells you exactly what you can do with your high school diploma!|
|Genres||Comedy Drama Sport|
|Writers||Steve Tesich (written by)
|Cast||Dennis Christopher Dennis Quaid Daniel Stern Jackie Earle Haley Barbara Barrie Paul Dooley Robyn Douglass Hart Bochner Amy Wright Peter Maloney John Ashton Lisa Shure Jennifer K. Mickel P.J. Soles David K. Blase William S. Armstrong Howard S. Wilcox J.F. Brière Carlos Sintes Eddy Van Guyse|
|Language||English, Italian, French|
|Plot||Best friends Dave, Mike, Cyril and Moocher have just graduated from high school. Living in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, they are considered "cutters": the working class of the town so named since most of the middle aged generation, such as their parents, worked at the local limestone quarry, which is now a swimming hole. There is great animosity between the cutters and the generally wealthy Indiana University students, each group who have their own turf in town. The dichotomy is that the limestone was used to build the university, which is now seen as being too good for the locals who built it. Although each of the four is a totally different personality from the other three, they also have in common the fact of being unfocused and unmotivated in life. The one slight exception is Dave. Although he has no job and doesn't know what to do with his life, he is a champion bicycle racer. He idolizes the Italian cycling team so much he pretends to be Italian, much to the chagrin of his parents, especially his used car salesman father, Ray Stoller, who just doesn't understand his son. Dave crosses the unofficial line when he meets and wants to date a IU co-ed named Katherine Bennett, who, intrigued by Dave, in turn is already dating Rod, one of the big men on campus. Dave passes himself off to her as an Italian exchange student named Enrico Gismondi. Beyond Katarina as he calls her, Dave's main immediate focus is that the Italian cycling team have announced that they will be in Indianapolis for an upcoming race, which he intends to enter to be able to race his idols. After an incident at the race, Dave, with a little help from his parents and unwittingly by actions of his friends, has to reexamine his life, what he really wants to get out of it and how best to start achieving it.... see Breaking Away on IMDb|
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|Peter Yates's flag-waving film stands with To Kill a Mockingbird and American Graffiti as one of the best films about small-town Americana. Steve Tesich won an Oscar for his semi-biographical screenplay about four 19-year-olds who don't know what to do after high school. Dave Stohler (Dennis Christopher) and his three friends--ex-football star Mike (Dennis Quaid), wily comedian Cyril (Daniel Stern), and tough kid Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley)--are doomed to live in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, where the local kids (nicknamed "Cutters"--a derogatory reference to quarry workers and their blue-collar families) are looked down on by the uppity students of nearby Indiana University. |
Stohler escapes into a world of Italian bicycling, picking up the lingo, the accent, and a good share of the talent of his heroes. He is also the scourge of his father's life. The used-car salesman (Paul Dooley) doesn't understand his son's affection for bicycling or, for that matter, his pride in being a "Cutter."
Breaking Away rehabilitates the word heartwarming as Tesich's uncommonly intelligent script gives us well-rounded characters and a potent sense of place. The grandstanding finale--the real life "Little 500" bike race--gives the film a perfect, crowd-pleasing end. However, the film never sacrifices the development of characters for the action. Dooley is especially effective in one of those once-in-a-lifetime roles. The lifelong character actor's place in film history is established with this indispensable performance. --Doug Thomas
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