Backdraft 1991

Critics score:
71 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Janet Maslin, 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. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: 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). Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Backdraft has some of the raw filmmaking excitement that has been missing from Howard's recent work. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: [The scenes involving fire] are so good they make me recommend the movie anyway, despite its brain-damaged screenplay. Read more

Time Out: The fire sequences are stunning, and the build-up to them, complete with blaring sirens and bellowed conversations, has an aggressive immediacy. Read more

Variety Staff, Variety: Visually, pic often is exhilarating, but it's shapeless and dragged down by corny, melodramatic characters and situations. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Director Howard is so mesmerized by the flames, he squirts formulaic lighter fluid over everything. Read more

Rita Kempley, Washington Post: Backdraft is sure to do for fire what The Poseidon Adventure did for water. Read more