Breaking Away (1979) (mini-review++)


(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

The mini-review:

Breaking Away (1979)

acting 8

directing 8

writing 8

effects 7

editing 8

SW score: 39

4 out of 5 octopi

++  This is basically Hoosiers but set in the 1970s and focusing on cycling instead of basketball. That’s not a slam. I love Hoosiers. Hoosiers has heart. Hoosiers has excellent acting. Hoosiers is uplifting. Hoosiers is feel good. Breaking Away has all of those things. While both end in a similar fashion, Breaking Away delves more into class distinctions and adds a surprising romantic subplot that ends in a very surprising way. I know I could say more because I provided a spoiler warning but I just don’t want to ruin it. Dennis Christopher plays the Italy obsessed cycling wunderkind with dreams of emigrating to Europe. His band of close friends is highlighted by Dennis Quaid’s fuming (he fumes a LOT but he’s all loyalty and no fear) and Dennis Sterling’s Cyril who has the funniest and best and most inciteful lines in the film. He steals every scene. Barbara Barrie and Paul Dooley steal scenes of their own as Dave’s confused but ultimately supportive parents. Do you want to feel good? Breakaway from your standard sports triumph movies and check out this singular 70s offering. You will win.




(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

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