Sunday, April 15, 2012

Favorite Fireman Movies

If firemen make good heroes in books, it stands to reason the same would be true on the big screen. I watch movies about firemen whenever I come across them. The three that stand out in my mind are all excellent, but one looms far above the others -- and I bet my top choice will surprise you! Let's kick things off with:

BACKDRAFT, released in 1991.

Kurt Russell and William Baldwin star as two Chicago firefighters battling a dangerous arsonist. I'd guess this is the most famous fireman movie of all. Ron Howard directed and he did a great job with the personal drama (the two brothers don't get along) and the fire scenes. Did anyone except firefighters know what a backdraft was before this movie came out? I doubt it. This movie achieved iconic status and really put firemen on the map. I mean, look at Kurt Russell here. Sigh.

Then there's LADDER 49, released in 2004. Joachim Phoenix plays a rookie fireman to John Travolta's veteran Captain. The film tells the story of his career in flashbacks while he's trapped inside a collapsing building. It shows how tough it is to be married to a firefighter and constantly worrying about the risks. Fair warning: this movie does not have a happy ending, but it's gripping and intense and well worth watching.

And now for my favorite fireman movie of all time:

ROXANNE, from 1987.

Surprised? Steve Martin plays the Fire Chief of a tiny little Colorado town. But that's not his most outstanding feature. No, that would be his nose. And his quick, witty sense of humor. (It's a retelling of the play, Cyrano de Bergerac.)  He falls in love with an astronomer played by Darryl Hannah, but she likes the cute, normal-nosed visiting fireman. A touching, comical series of events follows from there.

The film focuses on the romantic comedy, while the fire station provides an endearing, occasionally goofy backdrop. (I'll never forget the scene in which the crew learns to haul a hose to the tune of a waltz.)

Maybe that's why I love this movie the most -- because I write romance, not gritty reality. I want to see characters falling in love, learning to see the true beauty in each other, allowing themselves to surrender to the magic. Hot firemen are a bonus.

So there you have it ... my favorite fireman movie of all time. What's yours? What have I left out? Any other other recommendations? 


  1. Funny, I thought about Roxanne a lot while reading "Hot for Fireman"! Love that one. :)

  2. Hi Kerrie - I'm really happy to hear that! I just adore that movie -- love its whimsical spirit. I've had a crush on Steve Martin ever since that movie. :)

  3. do you know where it was was filmed