Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
New York Times:
The spectacular fire sequences, which must have been hellish to film, are powerfully enveloping on screen, thanks especially to the eerie effect of the title.
Visually speaking, the film does pretty well with fire-as-spectacle, less well with everything else (Howard tends to trot out fuzzy-toned Spielbergian backlighting on any pretext).
Backdraft has some of the raw filmmaking excitement that has been missing from Howard's recent work.
[The scenes involving fire] are so good they make me recommend the movie anyway, despite its brain-damaged screenplay.
The fire sequences are stunning, and the build-up to them, complete with blaring sirens and bellowed conversations, has an aggressive immediacy.
Visually, pic often is exhilarating, but it's shapeless and dragged down by corny, melodramatic characters and situations.
Director Howard is so mesmerized by the flames, he squirts formulaic lighter fluid over everything.