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Parents' Guide to


By Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

'90s firefighter tale has strong language, violence.

Movie R 1991 138 minutes
Backdraft Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Good movie, but anguage is 3 star in review, but its 5 star, bad role modeling

I saw the review from Common Sense on directv's 'parental info' tab. Whoever wrote that review either didn't see the movie, or watched one that had been seriously edited. In particular, the review says the language is 'pretty mild for the rating'. It sounded like it might be something okay for me to watch with my 8 year old in another room, but I couldn't even count the number of F-bombs in the first 30 minutes, and almost nothing was said without a curse in it. I'm far from a happy language person, but this is totally inappropriate for any child to see or listen to. Besides the horrible language, the characters routinely threaten violence on each other, there is a lot of fighting or nesar fighting and in one scene (briefly touched on in the CS review) a character gets drop-your-glass drunk and punches out his ex wifes boyfriend, starting a major brawl. This is in the first 30-40 minutes. I decided to watch the rest after he went to bed. Good movie though, I saw it back when it first came out and maybe once again before my son was born. Just absolutely not for kids, even if they can't see it and are just listening.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (4 ):

If you can block out memories of Sept. 11, 2001, you'll probably still find this film overly long and cheesy -- but you might enjoy it more. Since 9/11, it's hard to imagine a movie that can stand up to the real-life heroism that New York firefighters displayed on that horrible day. Seen through that lens, 1991's summer blockbuster Backdraft seems schmaltzy and overly precious. Ron Howard's sentimental direction is buoyed by the work of some great actors, though, notably Donald Sutherland as creepy firestarter Ronald and Robert DeNiro as investigator Donald "Shadow" Rimgale. Modern lovers of the gory CSI TV franchise will also appreciate the up-close-and-personal looks at bodies burned beyond recognition and the visits to the police lab and the scene of the crime.

But savvy movie buffs will also recognize set pieces that may work for the film but have cliché written all over them: Brian visits Ronald in the psychiatric hospital, echoing Silence of the Lambs, which was produced the same year. Viewers may also recognize the music-video montage scenes, a la Baywatch. Unfortunately for Backdraft, those other broadcasts do it better.

Movie Details

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