Cutters, College and Cycling
Dave (Dennis Christopher) has one dream, to become a champion bicycle racer and because the best cyclists are Italian does his best to live like an Italian much to the annoyance of his father. But for Dave and his friends they have another issue to deal with as having graduated high school they have no real motivation to move on with their lives which in a university town often sees them locking horns with the outsiders who attend the college and who look down their noses at Dave and his friends. But opportunity arises to compete not only against the college kids in a cycling event but also against an Italian racing team.
I reckon if I had watched "Breaking Away" back in the 80s I would have loved it as not only did it have a humorous, laid back style but as a kid in the 80s I loved nothing more than cycling, clocking up the miles on one of those counters which were connected next to my front wheel and imagining I was racing against professionals as I pelted around the local area. But I cam to "Breaking Away" far too late, 35 years after it was released and as such I don't have those nostalgic memories of it to make it more entertaining than it is.
Now in that synopsis I mentioned the character Dave whose love of all things Italian ends up getting under his father's skin. But whilst we have the side of the movie which focuses on him, his attempt at pulling a college student and racing around on his bike the movie is just as much about his friend Mike who whilst not knowing what he wants he knows what he doesn't which is to end up in a dead end job in the town. It leads to him not only becoming angry at his friends who seem to let him down but also getting angry with the college kids.
In truth much of the appeal of "Breaking Away" now comes from the recognizable actors who went on to bigger things as such you have Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Jackie Earle Haley all doing a nice job of playing friends but all with their distinct personalities.
What this all boils down to is that "Breaking Away" was just an okay movie for me, an entertaining reminder of what movies were like back in the late 70s, early 80s. But this is one of those movies which I am sure if you watched when you were younger back in the late 70s, early 80s you are likely to get more of a kick out of watching it now.