Breaking Away (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

Breaking Away1979

Breaking Away (1979)



Critic Consensus: At once a touching, funny coming-of-age story and a compelling sports film, Breaking Away is a delightful treat.

Breaking Away Photos

Movie Info

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.

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Dennis Christopher
as Dave Stohler
Barbara Barrie
as Mrs. Stohler
Paul Dooley
as Mr. Stohler
Robyn Douglass
as Katherine
John Ashton
as Mike's Brother
Lisa Shure
as French Girl
David K. Blace
as Race Announcer
William S. Armstrong
as Race Official
Howard S. Wilcox
as Race Official
J.F. Briere
as Mr. York
Eddy Van Guyse
as Italian Rider
Carlos Saintes
as Italian Rider
Jimmy Grant
as Black Student Leader
Gail L. Horton
as Fight Spectator
Woody Hueston
as Owner of Car Wash
Jennifer F. Nolan
as Anthem Singer
Nora Ringgenberry
as Race Starter
John W. Ryan
as University President
Morris Salzman
as Blond Guy
Tom Schwoegler
as Team Captain
Mike Silveus
as Homecoming Car Kid
Alvin E. Bailey
as Stonecutter
Harold Elgar
as Stonecutter
Robert Woolery
as Stonecutter
Russell E. Freeman
as Stonecutter
Floyd E. Todd
as Stonecutter
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Critic Reviews for Breaking Away

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (8)

I seriously can't imagine anyone not liking it.

March 14, 2021 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

It's very, very much worth seeing.

March 14, 2021 | Full Review…
Top Critic

There are a few moments when the picture's easygoing pace turns into wobbliness, but these are insignificant compared with its many moments of shrewd insight into the lives of amusingly shaded but very recognizable human beings.

August 3, 2008 | Full Review…

Though its plot wins no points for originality, Breaking Away is a thoroughly delightful light comedy.

March 21, 2007 | Full Review…

Peter Yates, previously typed as an action director, lends the film a fine, unexpected limpidity, and the principals are mostly excellent.

March 21, 2007

Displays the kind of unsentimental optimism that went out of fashion with Hawks.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Breaking Away


A feel-good, inspirational story concerning an offbeat teenager who discovers his love for biking, despite his non-supportive father (Paul Dooley) wanting him to grow up and accept adulthood as a member of the "cutter" class. While it suffers from a couple scenes that come across as over dramatic and one of the plot points is just downright awful, this movie is still hard not to love given the energetic lead performance by Dennis Christopher, as well as the fact that this is a great coming of age story. Sure, it's absolutely corny at times, but if you really don't fall in love with this movie, especially the last big race scene - something is wrong with you.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer


The essential biking film! If you're into sports movies, love riding bikes, or compete in bike racing yourself, you will love this movie. It's a great sports drama about both bikes and growing up.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

This film really impressed me the first time around. But since I haven't seen it since then (about 1984 or so), my rating is based on fond memories. If I see it again and it doesn't hold up, I'll re-evaluate.

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

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