A brilliantly expressed coming of age depiction that follows our off-beat subject through a time of confusion and becoming self-aware. Dave finds himself in an utterly normal town living an utterly normal life. As a form of teenage "escapism" he dreams of cycling and becoming an Italian. Dave wishes for a bigger family, being the only son of a used car salesman he replaces a big brother with the Italian Cycling team as a role model and finds out that sometimes our heroes aren't all they are cracked up to be. In spite of coming across one of the sometimes painful truths of growing up he finds strength in his friends and he defies odds as well as class systems.
Lying in the underbelly of the film is a poignant juxtaposition of the "rich" college students versus the poor hometown "cutters". Reflecting a timeless theme of socioeconomic societal friction. More timely now in an era of fat Republicans and corporate uber-greed then even back in the freshly post-Watergate era in which it was filmed.
Along the route of Dave's bumpy ride to becoming an adult, he finds forbidden love, athletic prowess, his father's acceptance and direction.
If you ever been looked-over, passed by, felt different, or not fit in, this movie is bound to light a fire in your spirit. Breaking Away is the quintessential cycling movie.
If you visit this site often, you must add this to your DVD library.
The Bicycle is a device that influences its users far beyond its utilitarian nature as a means of transportation. As a child your first bike extends your horizons well beyond the visual limits of your home and block. As an early teen it delivers you to the door of your current heart throb. As a young adult for some of us it is our expression of our refusal to follow the pack, our desire and intent to begin Breaking Away. This is precisely what Breaking Away the movie is about.
The elderly neighbor exclaimed as he rode on by, "He was as normal as pumpkin pie and now look at him." but his mother countered his dad's concerns with, "He was very sickly until he started riding around on that bike." His father said, "He's never tired. He's never miserable. When I was young I was tired and miserable!"
Our Hero or Heroes are Cutters, local Townies living in the shadow of the University and its students in the Indiana city of Bloomington. Of course the movie is about so many more of us, breaking out of casts, stereotypes and ultimately prejudices. But most importantly it is about breaking out of sameness and the despair of that sameness. At the Quarry, the allegorical prison of their lives Cyril exclaims, "You made me lose all interest in life and I am grateful."
Dave's Masi bike and his ultimately imperishable optimism ultimately Break all of them out of their doldrums into embracing life and pursuing their trophies.
Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, are the principal actors you will recognize as well as a cast of character actors who are as familiar to you as their inexorable tedium. The film is incredibly tightly woven on symbolic levels and it is a terrific life lesson, but it is flawed by what we now see as simply immature acting skills.
If however you move past the acting and onto the story line and message the movie is a terrific vacation in place, and it will motivate you to get up on that trainer during the winter and onto the bike in the summer. The race scenes are fun, but the real biking grabber is Dave drafting an 18 wheeler up to 60 miles an hour and breaking away as the trucker gets pulled over for speeding.
This is a classic, if not one of "The" classic bike movies.