Breaking Away is a 1979 American film. A coming of age story, it follows a group of four male teenagers in Bloomington, Indiana, who have recently graduated from high school. It stars Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern (in his first film role), Jackie Earle Haley, Barbara Barrie and Paul Dooley. The film was written by Steve Tesich (an alumnus of Indiana University) and directed by Peter Yates. The film was shot in and around Bloomington, Indiana and on the scenic campus of Indiana University. The film won the 1979 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Tesich, and also received nominations in four other categories (including Best Picture). It also won the 1979 Golden Globe Award for Best Film (Comedy or Musical), and received nominations in two other Golden Globe categories. The film is ranked eighth on the List of America's 100 Most Inspiring Movies compiled by the American Film Institute (AFI) in 2006. In June 2008, AFI announced its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Breaking Away was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the sports genre.
27 years after its release, my memory had managed to turn Breaking Away into ‘a movie about cycling,’ all its other details lost to time. Upon rewatching it, I realize now why that happened: Breaking Away isn’t about much at all. It’s a small, almost silly little movie that takes the setup of The Outsiders — rich kids vs. working class — and throws in some bikes. Despite a reasonably fun performance from Daniel Stern, Dennis Quaid earnest overacting sinks what could have been a quaint film about middle America.