Still of Kurt Russell in BackdraftBackdraftStill of William Baldwin and Kurt Russell in Backdraft


Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don't get along have to work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

Release Year: 1991

Rating: 6.6/10 (34,403 voted)

Critic's Score: 38/100

Ron Howard

Stars: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro

A rookie firefighter tries to earn the respect of his older brother and other firefighters while taking part in an investigation of a string of arson/murders. This detailed look into the duties and private lives of firemen naturally features widespread pyrotechnics and special effects.


Kurt Russell

Stephen 'Bull' McCaffrey
Dennis McCaffrey

William Baldwin

Brian McCaffrey

Robert De Niro

Donald 'Shadow' Rimgale

Donald Sutherland

Ronald Bartel

Jennifer Jason Leigh

Jennifer Vaitkus

Scott Glenn

John 'Axe' Adcox

Rebecca De Mornay

Helen McCaffrey

Jason Gedrick

Tim Krizminski

J.T. Walsh

Alderman Marty Swayzak

Anthony Mockus Sr.

Chief John Fitzgerald

(as Tony Mockus Sr.)

Cedric Young


Juan Ramírez

Ray Santos

Kevin Casey


Jack McGee


Mark Wheeler


In that instant it can create a hero… or cover a secret.

Release Date: 24 May 1991

Filming Locations: 2834 N Merrimac Ave, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Opening Weekend: $15,723,480
(26 May 1991)

Gross: $77,868,585

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The numbers of the fire companies are all "dead" numbers in the Chicago Fire Dept. Engine 17, Truck 46, Engine 24, Truck 6 (now back in service as of March of 2004), & Engine 33, (referred to, not actually seen in the movie), are all out of service. The Chicago Fire Dept. has 24 battalions, battalion 25 was created for the movie.


When Brian is talking to the Alderman during the retirement party, his fork alternates between the plate and his mouth between shots.


[In high rise elevator]

Tim Kizminski:
How are we supposed to know if the floor is on fire in one of these?

Lt. Steven McCaffrey:
When the doors open, if it's hot, don't get out.

User Review

Excellent portrayal of actual events


Ron Howard did a wonderful job of bringing some of the real-life problems
that firefighters face everyday in Backdraft. I'm kind of tired of
the Monday morning quarterbacks on this site trying to talk about how bad
was and that it wasn't realistic, etc. Take it from a REAL firefighter
has lost brothers in REAL fires and has lived through a REAL backdraft,
NOT all fun and games, and it's far from glamourous. This movie did an
excellent job capturing some of the emotions that flow through every
firehouse in America today, particularly after 9/11, we are a brotherhood
which the "I go—we go" mentality is a very REAL concept that most of us
live by everyday. And the corruption part of the story, well that's
Hollywood for ya, if it doesn't have death, destruction, and
corruption…then it doesn't sell very well. Yes there are corrupt
politicians and it wouldn't surprise me if things like that did happen,
it's far from commonplace and was just to enhance the film and give you a
person to "hate" in the film (JT Walsh, God rest his soul).

So I give it 4 out of 4 stars, very realistic, well directed, EXCELLENT
acting on Kurt Russell and Robert DiNiro's parts, and can't wait til I
it on DVD to buy it.