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, Robert De Niro and Scott Glenn. Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca De Mornay, Jason Gedrick and J.T. Walsh co-star

Stephen "Bull" McCaffrey

  • 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? Only one case of scotch? You're getting cheap in your old age, Bri.

John "Axe" Adcox

  • 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.

Donald 'Shadow' Rimgale

  • [Rimgale and Brian crash Alderman Swayzak's press conference] These detectives would like to question you on how come you paid Donald Cosgrove, Jeffrey Holcum and Allan 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: You had to do it, didn't you? Had to be the big Mick Man, taking on the fire bare-handed instead of protecting your probe?
  • Stephen McCaffrey: I had it under control! He just wouldn'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 are we supposed to know if the floor is on fire in one of these?
  • Stephen: 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 is doing 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 trip 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 has 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 not only more beautiful but less likely to sue.

  • Jennifer Vaitkus: We believe you're holding back on us, to embarass 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.

  • Swayzak: You see that glow in the corner of your eye. It's your career dissapation light and it's going into overtime.
  • Stephen: If anyone's lights are about to go out, believe me they are yours.


  • 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.

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