Backdraft (film)

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Backdraft is a 1991 American film about firefighters in Chicago on the trail of a serial arsonist. The film is directed by Ron Howard and written by Gregory Widen and stars Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca De Mornay, Donald Sutherland and Robert De Niro.

Stephen "Bull" McCaffrey[edit]

  • Look at him. That's my brother, Goddamn it.
  • You go, we go.
  • I told you to stay right be-fucking-side me, Brian!
  • Well, I thinks its union bylaw that if you get your picture in the paper, even if it's bullshit, that you gotta buy the whole company a drink.
  • You got anything else you want to say about my brother?
  • [To Brian] Run, damn you!
  • The only problem is that in this job is there's just no place to hide. It's not like having a bad day selling log cabins. You have a bad day here and somebody dies... and that's just not fucking good enough.
  • How do you do it, man? How do you come up with new and amazing ways to fuck up? I mean, that Scotch bullshit? Am I really supposed to believe you came crawlin' home...because you felt heartstrings moan for the family biz? You were bankrupt, man! The scary thing probably coulda got away with it for awhile.
  • One case of scotch, Brian? Man, you're getting cheap in your old age,
  • You're doin it wrong.

Brian McCaffrey[edit]

  • I'm not gonna quit, Stephen. You hear me?

John "Axe" Adcox[edit]

  • Jesus, Stevie, you never know when to quit, do you? Do you ever wonder why you're stuck a fucking lieutenant for life?
  • Your dad died saving my life and these people were killing firemen for money!
  • You know, when I learned that both McCaffrey brothers would be assigned at the same station together at the same time, my heart was filled with... a sudden desire to transfer. So raise a glass, gents. To funny-looking Tim, and the McCaffrey brothers, who have gotten on each other's nerves and still managed after all these years to still be pissed off at each other.
  • Who called out the box when 17's on the job?

Donald 'Shadow' Rimgale[edit]

  • [Rimgale and Brian crash Alderman Swayzak's press conference] These detectives would like to question you on how come you paid Donald Cosgrove, Jeffrey Holcomb and Alan Seagrave to create a phony manpower study! Ask him who made money off firemen dying!
  • So you punched out a window for ventilation. Was that before or after you noticed you were standing in a lake of gasoline? Was that before or after you noticed you were standing in a lake of gasoline, you idiot!?


Brian McCaffrey: [Tim Krizminski, a candidate, was severely burned by a backdraft] You had to do it, didn't you? You had to be myth man again, taking on another fire bare-handed instead of looking out for your probie?
Stephen McCaffrey: I had that fire! He just didn't listen to me!
Brian: He's a candidate! Your responsibility! You shouldn't have had him up there in the first place! You burned him, Stephen!
Stephen: Fuck you!
Brian: Don't you walk away from me!

Stephen: Who's your brother, Brian?
Brian: You are, Stephen.

Schmidt: Hey, Axe, you know this rug rat?
Axe: Know him? I practically raised him. He never calls. He never writes.
Brian: [introducing himself] I'm Brian.
Grindle: I'm sorry.

Schmidt: Yeah, it's jumping floors, Lieutenant!
Stephen: Well, where's the second-in companies, huh?
Schmidt: Sorry, man, John Wayne time. You're on your own, boss.

Tim Kizminski: How do we know if the floor’s gonna be on fire on one of these?
Stephen: Well, when the doors open, if it's hot, don't get out.

Ronald: I sent away for the copy of Life magazine. The one with your picture on the front. It's a collectible.
Brian McCaffrey: Who's doing this, Ronald?
Ronald: Wrong question. Who isn't? It's not a spark because there's not enough damage. He wouldn't have had any fun. It's not an insurance scam because there isn't any profit.
Brian: Do you know who's doing this?
Ronald: Yes.
Brian: Then tell me.
Ronald: You want to know who? I want to know if this kid really wanted to be just like his dad.
Brian: I wanted to be him. I wanted to be him more than anything else in the world.
Ronald: And you loved him?
Brian: Yeah.
Ronald: And you watched him dance with the animal. You saw your dad burn.
Brian: Fuck you, Ronald. Who's doing this, huh?
Ronald: Did it look at you? Did the fire look at you? It did. Whoa. Wow! Our worlds aren't that far apart after all, are they? So, whoever did this this knows the animal well, doesn't he? He knows him real well, but he won't let him loose. He won't let him have any fun, so he does not love him. Now who doesn't love fire? And is around trychtichlorate all day long?
Brian: Oh, my God!
Ronald: See... that wasn't such a long walk after all.

Donald: What about the world, Ronald? What would you like to do to the whole world?
Ronald Bartel: Burn it all.
Donald: See you next year, Ronald.

Axe: Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen. As 17's official toastmaster...
Ray Santos: ...and bullshitter.
Axe: Thank you, Santos. Did I happen to mention you're cut out of my will? I think it appropriate that we recognize the two asswipes... Probationary Firemen... among us today who were officially baptized into the world of Old Man Fire. First, to Tim. Despite the fact that he was born with a rather dull expression, and a really hideous pair of ears, he not only took on the beast but pulled from its clutches, assisted by a more famous and brilliant firefighter, me, a kicking and screaming civilian who will probably wind up suing us for breaking her fingernails. And to Brian... [reveals mannequin] ...whose own contribution was both more beautiful and less likely to sue. You know, when I learned that both McCaffrey brothers would be assigned here at this station together at the same time, my heart was filled with... a sudden desire to transfer. So raise a glass, lads. To funny-looking Tim, and the McCaffrey brothers, who, despite the fact that they have gotten on each other's nerves for years, have managed with great effort to still be pissed off at each other... Gentlemen.
All men in the firehouse: Fuck you! (laughter)

Jennifer Vaitkus: We believe you're holding back on us, to embarrass the Alderman because of his fire department cutbacks.
Donald: Alderman, I have an uncomplicated job: To determine if a fire is arson or not, and if so, to catch the son of a bitch doing it. And if my investigative methods happen to muck up the campaign of certain mayor wannabes, I gotta tell ya... I'm not gonna go losing any sleep over it.

Donald: In a word, Brian, what is this job all about?
Brian: Fire.
Donald: It's a living thing, Brian. It breathes, it eats, and it hates. The only way to beat it is to think like it. To know that this flame will spread this way across the door and up across the ceiling, not because of the physics of flammable liquids, but because it wants to. Some guys on this job, the fire owns them, makes 'em fight it on it's level, but the only way to truly kill it is to love it a little. Just like Ronald.

Stephen: Jesus Christ, Axe!
Axe: You don't understand. My cousin, my cousin, Sally, used to work at Swayzak's office. She saw the files, Stephen. She saw what he did!
Stephen: You set me up with those chemicals on the boat?
Axe: I'm trying to explain.
Brian: Stephen!
Axe: You back off!
Stephen: Axe...
Axe: Somebody had to stop these pricks, Stephen!
Stephen: Would you look at me, Axe?
Axe: Would you please listen to me?
Stephen: What were you thinking? You burned people!
Axe: You didn't see.
Stephen: You're a fireman!
Axe: When Sally showed me what was in Swayzak's files...
Brian: You saw Swayzak's files?
Axe: I should've told you. I should've let you on it.
Brian: Let him in on what, John? Murder?
Axe: Let you in on it while Swayzak and those assholes were closing firehouses. They were getting our friends killed for money! I had to, Stephen! I had to do it for the department!
Brian: Did you do it for Tim, John?
Axe: That was an accident!
Stephen: Did you start that fire?
Axe: Jesus Christ! Why'd you have to go in there so fucking early?
Stephen: That's why you wanted me to wait.
Axe: Let me finish Swayzak!
Brian: No, John! It's over!
Axe: You shut up! Your dad would fucking puke if he saw how you shit on his department!
Brian: What would he say about what you're doing, John?!
Axe: Your dad died saving my life. Died saving my life, and these people were killing firemen for money.
Stephen: Swayzak?
Axe: He killed our friends for money! What the fuck would you do?
Brian: Look, you're his lieutenant, Stephen! You've gotta handle this!

Swayzak: You know that little glow that starting to blink in the corner of your eye? That's your career dissapation light. It just went into overtime.
Stephen: If anybody's lights are about to go out, believe me they're yours.

Brian: You're doing it wrong!
Candidate: Thanks!
Brian: Alright!


  • Ricco, Pathologist: [to Brian about picking up the burned body] Jesus Christ! He's not going to sell you insurance, pick him up!
  • Ronald Bartel: The funny thing about firemen is... Night and day they are always firemen.
  • Dennis McCaffrey (Stephen and Brian's father): Okay, boys let's drop two lines and hold the squad.


External links[edit]

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