Set in Bloomington, Ind., Peter Yates’ (Bullitt) Breaking Away stars Dennis Christopher as Dave Stoller, a local high school grad obsessed with all things Italian, most important, bike racing. He and his pals, played by Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Jackie Earle Haley, are all trying to figure out what to do with their lives. In the short term, they set out to win the annual “Little Indy” team cycle race, as much to stick it to the rich college boys (who call them cutters, a literal reference to their blue-collar fathers who cut the stones that make up the university buildings) as to feel a sense of achievement. Optimism abounds in Steve Tesich’s script, which won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. And, as with all the best sports movies, you don’t have to think too hard to figure out the metaphor on display: the smoothness (or roughness) of the ride relates to both cycling and life.
Next Breaking Away (1979)