[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Backdraft_poster_725.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:"Is it hot in here to anyone else?"]]


->'''Donald "Shadow" Rimgale:''' In a word, Brian, what is this job all about?\\
'''Brian [=McCaffery=]:''' Fire.\\
'''Donald "Shadow" Rimgale''': It's a living thing, Brian. It breathes, it eats, and it hates.


''Backdraft'' is 1991 American action-drama film directed by Creator/RonHoward and written by Creator/GregoryWiden. The film stars Creator/KurtRussell, Creator/WilliamBaldwin, Creator/RobertDeNiro and Creator/ScottGlenn. Creator/DonaldSutherland, Creator/JenniferJasonLeigh, Creator/RebeccaDeMornay, Creator/JasonGedrick, Creator/HardyPatel, Creator/BrianJaramillo and Creator/JTWalsh co-star in the film.

In [[UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}} The Windy City]], young Brian [=McCaffery=] (William Baldwin) is a man going from one dead-end job to another, until he gets it in his head to be a firefighter alongside his brother, Stephen "Bull" [=McCaffery=] (Creator/KurtRussell), and the men of the Engine 17 crew. Brian's past precedes him; he was photographed at the scene of his firefighter father's death by arson, as he watched from the ground. Now, in the present day, another arsonist has killed two city officials, and after Brian is transferred to the investigative division of the Fire Department, it is up to him and arson investigator Donald "Shadow" Rimgale (Robert De Niro) to sniff out the arsonist before anyone else is torched.

Not to be confused with InternetBackdraft.
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!!This movie contains examples of:

* AluminumChristmasTrees: None of the firefighters wear turnout trousers to protect their legs, which may look like an error, but it's actually because Chicago didn't wear Bunker Gear until 2006. Until then, they wore [[http://www.firecompanies.com/MFC/public/news_images/10066/171492/391166_orig.jpg this.]] It's called a long coat and pull-up hip boots. Most cities switched in the 1990s, such as New York City, which switched in 1994. If you were to look up videos of the FDNY before then on Website/YouTube, you would see them wearing this kind of gear. Chicago was the last to switch.
** Due to the Chicago Fire Department's stubborn adherence to this type of protective equipment, firefighters colloquially refer to these boots as "Chicago Boots."
* AndTheAdventureContinues: The crew are seen to be taking another call just before the credits roll.
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Trychtichlorate.
* ArtisticLicense:
** Real fires tend to involve blinding amounts of smoke that force firefighters to feel around for objects and people with their hands and feet. RealLife firefighters gave this film a pass, though, admitting that a screen full of dark billowing smoke doesn't really make for a visually exciting experience. However, you can safely assume that nothing you see a fire do in this movie could/would ever happen in RealLife.
** Real firefighters roll their eyes during Robert De Niro's "It's a Living Thing" monologue, because fire is definitely ''not''. The monologue does make some cool drama, though.
* AxCrazy: Ronald Bartel
-->'''Shadow:''' What do you want to do to the world, Ronald?
-->'''Ronald:''' Burn it, burn it all.
* BenevolentArchitecture: While chemical factories would have pipes, none of them are greased for sliding.
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: Averted with the second probie, Krizminski. [[spoiler:He ignores Bull's orders and punches directly into a hot room, triggering another backdraft right in his face. He barely survives, but ends up horribly burned and disfigured.]]
* BigNo: [[spoiler: Brian when he sees Bull and "Axe" Adcox fall. Adcox hits a barrel on the way down and dies instantly. Bull ends up half-impaled on wreckage; he survives the fall but dies on the way to the hospital.]]
* BreakThemByTalking: Donald Sutherland's movie-stealing scene.
* CaliforniaDoubling: Mostly averted. All the scenes at Bull's boat were shot on the bank of the Chicago River; the big drawbridge in the background still exists, and operates, in Chicago as of 2013.
* ConsultingAConvictedKiller: Brian approaches an imprisoned serial arsonist, Ronald Bartel, when in need of assistance in finding the missing links between a string of recent fires that seem to be connected.
* CuttingCorners: [[spoiler:Swayzak's plan to get more money for him and his businessmen allies (who are also helping him with his election) involves getting rid of firehouses that, according (falsely) to him, are superfluous for what a city like Chicago needs and would be more useful as community services. The fact that he's gambling with people's lives (and fellow firemen's lives in specific) because of the severe cut-down on response capabilities that this creates is the main reason why "Ax" Adcox goes into his KillItWithFire RoaringRampageOfRevenge.]]
** The consequences are shown in a deleted scene in which Engine 17 visits the widow and children of a firefighter who died in the line of duty.
* EmergencyServices
* EmpathyDollShot: Helmet variant - Stephen and Brian's father's helmet is blown clear of the explosion that kills him; a LIFE magazine photographer gets a picture of Brian holding the helmet, right after his father's death.
* EnergyBeings: Sorta. Both Bartel and Rimgale describe fire as an animal and as a sentient predator as a way to understand how it behaves.
* FiremenAreHot
* GovernmentConspiracy: [[spoiler: A local one; Swayzak made several backdoor deals with local businessmen (included a forged manpower study) to shut down firehouses across the city and convert them into community centers, with lucrative construction contracts awarded to the conspirators.]]
* HeroicFireRescue: Several.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Stephen and Brian's father sacrifices himself throwing Adcox clear of a gas explosion, setting the plot in motion. Bull's death in a chemical plant, confronting Adcox, is ultimately [[SenselessSacrifice pointless]]...but rescuing the mortally wounded Bull finally forces his brother to [[GrowingTheBeard grow the beard]] and become a full-fledged firefighter.]]
** [[spoiler: Adcox telling Bull to let him fall in so that Bull might save himself. Bull's answer: [[CallBack "You go, we go!"]]]]
* HollywoodFire: Played straight and averted to varying degrees through the movie.
* ItCanThink: Bull, Bartel, Shadow and Brian all believe that fire is a living thing and has a mind of its own. Slightly averted in that they also know that a fire needs a variety of elements to be put in place by its initiator if it's to be used as an assassination weapon, so the place doesn't burn to the ground before it kills the target.
* KnightTemplar: [[spoiler: Adcox. He specifically goes after Swayzak's cronies in the firehouse closing scheme, and sets the fires up so the victims trigger backdrafts; once they explode, they blow themselves out, minimizing risk to firefighters. Unfortunately, in a high rise fire, there was another set of doors that held his backdraft in, and Bull's probie didn't listen...]]
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: The barrage of assassinations via backdraft fires, ironic in context, with a high chance of being fatal, evidence is mostly destroyed and need a good arson investigator for it to be found, and self-contained as long as firefighters arrive in time.
* MeaningfulEcho : 'You go, we go.'
** "You see that glow flashing in the corner of your eye?"
** "You're doing it wrong!"
* MeaningfulFuneral: [[spoiler: Axe and Bull's funeral at the end.]]
* MoodWhiplash: The opening; Brian as a child goes along to one of his father's responses, an apartment fire that seems mostly smouldering (all smoke). Everything is all upbeat and routine, until his father realizes there's a [[OhCrap leaking gas line, and Adcox just accidentally exposed it to the fire]]. He throws Adcox out of the room just before the explosion consumes him, with Brian watching it all. The photo of him holding his father's burned helmet, looking up at the inferno, follows him right through adulthood (see OldShame below).
* NaiveNewcomer: Both Brian and the second probie.
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Part of the firefighters' code. "You go, we go."
* OldShame: In-universe example - the picture of Brian at his father's death continues to follow him years later.
* ParkingPayback: A car is parked in front of a fire hydrant. The firefighters take a certain glee in smashing the car's windows so they can thread the hose through to the hydrant.
** Truth in television: Fire fighters have every legal right to do that in real life.
* PyroManiac: Ronald Bartel (Donald Sutherland)
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: [[spoiler: Firefighter John "Axe" Adcox.]]
* RevealingInjury: Brian ends up confronting the masked arsonist as he's attempting to flee the scene of a fire that he's set, and in the scuffle, the arsonist suffers an electrical burn. Later on, Brian is able to identify the unmasked arsonist through the same burn mark.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: Stephen is an excellent firefighter, but he has a rather reckless and lax attitude to procedure and the rules, never wearing his mask, never waiting for his hose teams, always going head-on into even the worst blazes, etc.
** His reckless attitude rubs off on one of his probationary firefighters with disastrous consequences; [[spoiler: the probie is horrifically injured by a backdraft after not checking a door properly, and Adcox and Brian (not unfairly) blame Stephen. Although in light of Adcox being the one who actually set the fire, his condemnation is more than a little hypocritical.]]
* SleazyPolitician: Alderman Swayzak, following a great Chicago tradition; he's preparing to run for mayor, and using firefighters as a political hobbyhorse to ride into higher office.
* SympatheticMurderer: [[spoiler: Adcox murdered Swayzak's cronies out of anger that the alderman was gambling with firefighter's lives for monetary and political gain, and to try and save firefighter lives by stopping further closings.]]
* StuntDouble: Partly averted; the end credits actually include the stars among the stunt team.
* TenMinuteRetirement: [[spoiler:Brian, finally driven from Engine 17 into a desk job, rejoins it as a full fledged firefighter after Stephen is killed.]]
* TreacheryCoverUp: [[spoiler:Adcox.]]
* TrainingFromHell: Stephen singles Brian out through putting him through one of these, and it's implied that he's trying to force Brian to quit. [[spoiler:He succeeds at first, as Brian moves to Shadow's investigative office and a desk job. Ultimately, though, Brian [[GrowingTheBeard grows the beard]] and rejoins Engine 17 after his brother's death.]]
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