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Refund'' Refund'' DuPONT Rides The BREAKING AWAY DVD!!

I am – Hercules!!

Alexandra DuPont is both between “Fear Factor” challenges and busily advising the U.S. Geological Survey on the recent Simi Valley quakes, but she didn’t want the DVD release of “Breaking Away” to transpire without mention.

Thanks as always to The DVD Journal for the regular loan of the dreamy and versatile Ms. DuPont’s fabulous reviews!


Dave Stoller (Dennis Christopher) is just out of high school - and stuck in a fantasy limbo. When he's not lounging around jobless with his three high-school buddies (Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley) and wondering what to do with his life, he's fantasizing about bicycling with Italy's Cinzano racing team. He's so obsessed with Italian bike-racing, in fact, that he rides for hours each day, shaves his legs, adopts a phony "mama mia" accent, plasters his walls with cycling posters, re-names his cat "Fellini," and woos a college co-ed (Robyn Douglass) by pretending to be an Italian exchange student.

The juxtaposition of Stoller's Old World delusions and his blue-collar, Indiana-stonecutter roots makes the 1979 sleeper hit "Breaking Away" one of the funniest, most poignant sports movies ever made - a minor classic. However, one uses the term "sports movie" loosely here because, while "Breaking Away" is fondly remembered as a bike-racing flick — complete with scrappy underdogs teaming up to face upper-class jock snobs on the track during its climax - Steve Tesich's screenplay can't be reduced to mere sports-movie clichés.

As in the original "Rocky," characters drive Tesich's story, and the concept of "winning" is largely defined by moral and spiritual victories, not necessarily by whether our heroes "win" or lose." (Stoller's lowest point comes, in fact, when he races against his fabled Italian heroes and discovers - painfully - that being a scrappy, good-hearted underdog is no match for a bike pump in the spokes.)

In the confident hands of director Peter Yates, "Breaking Away" neatly balances comedy, class warfare and the painful self-awareness associated with coming of age - particularly in its scenes with Dave's hilariously befuddled blue-collar parents (Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley).

Fox's DVD isn't much to write home about - it's barely a step up from a solid VHS copy, save that it's in widescreen - but it features a good anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) from a not-too-flecky source print, with a pan-and-scan option on the flip-side. Audio is in a new Dolby 2.0 Surround mix, as well as the original mono (a French track is also on board, along with English and Spanish subtitles). Trailer, keep-case. While it's not an extras-packed "Special Edition" or anything, it's well worth a spin.

— Alexandra DuPont

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 29, 2002, 1:57 a.m. CST

    I love you

    by Cutter20

    Alexandra, marry me. We shall be loquacious lovers, we'll watch DVDs and grow fat and witty together. Please, be my cunning linguist? As for the movie... uh, I'll get around to that.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 2:03 a.m. CST

    I have GOT to do an Easter Egg mod of this drawing!! (n/t)

    by tbrosz

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 8:06 a.m. CST


    by jimmythesaint

    It was one of the biggest hits of 1979, it was nominated for many Oscars including Best Picture, and the late Steve Tesich won Best Original Screenplay. It's one of the funniest, warmest films ever made and shouldn't be dismissed. So shut up. :)

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 9:14 a.m. CST

    a simple question

    by bosshogg

    would it be too much to ask that purported dvd reviews posted on AICN actually have some sort of dvd review aspect to them? this is less a dvd review than a summary of the back cover of the movie box, which i could've pretty easily read at imdb. i mean, should i expect a half-page blurb about why "the bad news bears" is a funny movie when it comes out on dvd in 2 weeks? seriously...

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Just to be picky

    by bongjuice

    Wkat is Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround?

  • Sorry. That comment was uncalled for.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Typos and OT

    by bongjuice

    Wkat? Blue Planet is one of the most beautifully filmed documentaries I have ever seen. That being said, 4 hours of the food chain is an a lot to swallow

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Oh, Monterey Jack...

    by freshmattyp

    Because Breaking Away is an actual classic film, as opposed to that POS The Goonies.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 10:23 a.m. CST


    by Toby O Notoby

    Dolby Surround basically plays the soundtrack in stereo, but will piggyback a signal to the rear speakers if you have any. It's one below Dolby Pro Logic, which also includes a center channel piggyback. It's not as good as 5.1, but decent in it's own way. They've also recently come out with Dolby Pro Logic II which tries to create more of a 3D environment (although still not as good as 5.1). Hit for a better explanation of this or any other DVD questions.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 11:21 a.m. CST

    "Breaking Away" was okay...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...but the late '70's coming of age picture _I_ want to see on a deluxe dvd is "Over the Edge." sk

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Wasn't "Dolby Pro Logic" just the name for the decoder?

    by JTylor

    Dolby surround can als be called a "matrix surround" process and gets processed in such a way to produce a center channel, right and left, and mono sorround channel. The center channel is made by sending any signal that is in both right and left channels on the recording, and the rear channel is made by sending any sound that is out of phase with the rest of the recording to the rear. Nothing to do with the recording itself (except how you decide to mix something), but everything to do with the processor.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Hey, I LOVED this movie....

    by Smugbug

    especially since it has that famous sly grin of Dennis Quaid.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 12:17 p.m. CST

    What they REALLY need to review is the NINE INCH NAILS dvd

    by Vegas

    fucking groundbreaking, and the best concert film ever in my opinion

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 12:41 p.m. CST

    I've been meaning to rent this for a long time...

    by BigW

    ...ever since ESPN rated it the best sports movie ever. Better than all the movies about the sports that ESPN makes all it's money off of? YUP! So, perhaps some of the naysayers here should pony up their $1 and go to their local DVD rent house and check it out for themselves, like I'm going to. Just a suggestion.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 1:22 p.m. CST


    by bongjuice

    I actually know what the different Dolby sound decoders do. Technically there is no Dolby Digital 2.0. There is Dolby Digital 5.1 and Surround EX. There is also Dolby Surround and Pro-Logic.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Anybody else have movies shot in their home town...?

    by Mooseboy

    ...and then watch the movie years later to see how the town has changed? It probably only works with towns, as opposed to cities. I was in high school when they shot Breaking Away. At the time Bloomington was around 50,000 people, including students. It's grown a bit, but not much - still under 70K, I think.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 2:40 p.m. CST

    I live in the the town where "Breaking Away" was shot, so it has

    by Mr. Anderson

    People in Bloomington have special connection with this movie. Not only is it a classic, but it's a lot of fun to go back and try to find where different scenes were filmed. Some parts are harder than others, since Bloomington has changes A LOT in the past 20 years. The most classic example is visible at IU Memorial Union bowling alley. There's a scene in the movie where Daniel Stern accidentally throws a bowling ball through a stained-glass window, and that window STILL looks different from the rest. Mooseboy, since you're also from Bloomington, I'd be interested in talking to you about your thoughts on the town and the movie, and how much of a jack-ass Bob Knight is.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 2:44 p.m. CST

    love this movie

    by ol' painless

    Back in my teenage school years, they forced us to watch this in English class. Slouching, scowling, and zits erupting like Mt Pinatubo, we did so. And it was fucking GREAT. This film hit the mark in every possible way, and I still reckon "Refund? Refund? . . . . REFUND? . . . .. REFUND?" is still one of the funniest lines in movie history. OK, so you had to be there . . .

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 3:34 p.m. CST

    To Mr. Anderson:

    by Mooseboy

    Feel free to email me - the user ID link on my post has a valid email address.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 5:36 p.m. CST

    For shame

    by Darth Brooks

    So, you're recommending buying a bare-bones DVD of Breaking Away, knowing that a chock-filled DVD of the same film is probably only 12-18 months away? Screw that! I'm still trying to figure out where to ditch my bare-bones Dogma DVD now that the REAL one's come out. Thanks for the non-advice. Lately, I think I've been getting better advice from Amazon. This little news bit smells like a shill piece.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 5:39 p.m. CST

    Fox DVD blows the subtitles on the STEALING BEAUTY DVD

    by Charles Grady

    Like MGM before them, Fox is now letting movies slip thru the cracks without burning in the subtitles for foreign language segments. STEALING BEAUTY (it stars Liv Tyler, aka Arwen, in case any of you are familiar with LOTR, ha ha) just came out on FOX DVD, and the scenes in Italian- oh, just about 40% of the movie- are missing the subtitles that have been in every other incarnation of the film! MGM blew this with some Bond titles, Delta Force, and Spinal Tap, and now Fox follows in the proud tradition. Has nothing to do with BREAKING AWAY, but needed to vent about FOX.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Great movie!!!!

    by cooper2000

    I have been waiting years for this to come out and finally it did but why not Special Edition or commentary with the cast now? Why do films like this get bare bones and Big action flicks get the 5 Star???? As much as I love action movies, movies like this are about People and they dont make many movies like that anymore, ya know. This is a classic in my book and it won an Academy Award so even though I am finally glad to get it, I am still a little bitter about it not getting the full treatment it deserves.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 7:38 p.m. CST

    I know a guy...

    by TIMtv

    I know I a guy who is in this flick. His name is Doug Raferty (sp?) He was the race annoucer at "the big race". It's his voice on the PA system and he can be seen breafly in one shot. He is now a news anchor on WGME Channel 13 here in Portland ME. My wife works with him. Even though I've been reading this sight since '97, this is my first Talk Back post. I know it's lame, but I just wanted to share.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 9:51 p.m. CST

    breaking wind

    by jeff bailey

    Yes, we have a movie that chronicles my adaopted hometown, Austin's change: Slacker. So much in that area of West campus is demolished. I guess it has been a long time since I got here but it's still strange. Not that I am nostalgic. I hate when people lament the "death" of the old Austin which is still very much alive. Anyhow, this was a good flick. I wish more coming of age movies were like this. Bittersweet, thoughtful, reflective, and universal. Instead those damn John Hughes monstrosities pass as relaistic depictions and worse, the gold standard. I feel sorry for these TRL kids who think Dawson's Creek and Neil Moritz junk is the way the teen years are. Maybe it is (was) for them. But I'm not that far removed from it to know it wasn't just a short while ago. I guess we got stuck with Saved by the Bell and 90210. Maybe we'll get one sometime. Or maybe I better go write one. I'd probably need a damn Pie fucking scene. Oh and Christopher, nice turn of phrase. I'm gonna steal it!

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 1:49 p.m. CST

    This is a geek site

    by durhay

    It's for people who like movies. It's for *all* movies, even P.O.S ones like The Goonies.