Parents' Guide to

Breaking Away

By Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Rousing bicycle-race tale has some profanity, mild violence.

Movie PG 1979 100 minutes
Breaking Away Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 14+

Great movie

This movie was out in 1979 and I was born in 1972. Honestly it's a very wonderful breath of fresh air to return to those times. This movie is like a trip to Disneyland in comparison to some of the garbage they put out today. A very lovely film about family, endurance, being a teenager, and small town America. A few swear words , no sex or nudity (brief mention of female breasts), and shows a more rough and tumble world but perhaps in some ways a more honest one. Can foster interesting discussions about cheating, honesty, class/status, etc. One big fight scene in the film.
age 14+

Worth seeing at least once but NOT a film for families or small children

I am surprised at the reviews here on CSM saying this is a family movie. Even the DVD cover said so. This is not a family movie by any means and it is absolutely inappropriate for smaller children and in my opinion for pre-teenagers. Keeping in mind this was released before the creation of the PG-13 rating this film has a family-oriented PG rating. But the language in this alone would merit a PG-13 easily today. Lots of GD said and "s---", bastard, bitch hell damn, every profanity you can think of except the f word and rather frequently at that. The main characters father is bigoted especially towards Italians. Additionally he is a car salesman who is dishonest and teaches his son that it is ok to be dishonest to succeed in that business. He also insults and belittles his son out of frustration for not knowing how to relate to him. Daniel Stern's character makes a very inappropriate comment about women's breasts. The main character also lies as his father does and deceives a girl he is interested in. There is also some fist-fighting in a school cafeteria although it is brief and nobody is seriously injured. I found the movie somewhat entertaining. Definitely watchable albeit a bit slower than what I thought it would be. It picked up and got better towards the end. It was neat to see a 21 year old Daniel Stern before he starred in huge hits like Home Alone and City Slickers. It was also cool to see a 24 year old Dennis Quaid as well. The movie on the whole is worth at least one watch for sure but I cannot stress enough to you, do not let CSM or the "family feature" label of the DVD fool you. This is NOT an appropriate film for children and families and should not be viewed by anyone under the age of 14 in my opinion.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (2 ):

There are some wonderfully realistic touches to BREAKING AWAY. Anyone who's spent any time with teens knows they try on new identities like new outfits. But it's rare to see a film that shows a teen so deeply in the thrall of his latest obsession -- without it becoming something sinister or dangerous. Similar to the fact that there's no gratuitous sex or nudity in the film, Dave's love of cycling is innocent and pure. He's a character you can root for who still seems real. It makes this cycling movie much more than a good sports movie -- though it's that, as well. It's no surprise that Breaking Away won the Oscar for Best Writing and was nominated for four more, including Best Director and Best Picture.

Movie Details

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