Breaking Away

  • Directors: Peter Yates
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Steve Tesich
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Sport
  • Actors: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley

Dave (Dennis Christopher), Mike (Dennis Quaid), Cyril (Daniel Stern) and Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) are adolescent working-class Americans living in a midwestern college town, who often clash with the more affluent college students. The four have just graduated from high school.

Dave is obsessed with bicycle road racing. His down-to-earth, blue-collar father Raymond (Paul Dooley) is puzzled and exasperated by his son’s love of Italian music and culture, which the son associates with bicycling, and his precious Italian Masi road racing bicycle. However, his mother Evelyn (Barbara Barrie) is more understanding. Dave masquerades as an Italian exchange student to romance a university co-ed (Robyn Douglass), even serenading her one evening outside her sorority house window.

When a professional Italian bicycling team comes to town for a race, Dave is thrilled to be competing with them. However, the Italians become irked when Dave is able to keep up with them. One of them jams a bike pump in Dave’s wheel, causing him to crash. Such behavior by his erstwhile heroes leaves Dave disillusioned and depressed.

Dave’s friends soon persuade him to form a cycling team for the annual Indiana University Little 500 bicycle race. Using identical AMF Roadmaster track bicycles, the competition promises to be a battle between the wealthy male fraternity members of the university and Dave’s group, a classic town and gown confrontation. The latter race under the name Cutters (a euphemism for stoners, the industrial stonecutters who worked the Indiana Limestone quarries of southern Indiana) against university intramural teams.

In the race, Dave is so much better than the other competitors, he rides without a break and builds up a large lead, while the other teams have to switch cyclists every few laps. However, he is injured and has to stop. After some hesitation, his friends take turns pedaling, but soon their lead is gone. Finally, Dave has himself taped into his bike and starts making up ground, winning on the last lap. Afterwards, his father shows Dave how proud he is of his son.

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