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Breakdown [DVD] [1998]

Price: £5.21 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Breakdown [DVD] [1998] + The Vanishing aka Spoorloos [DVD] [1988] + Arlington Road [DVD] [1999]
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Product details

  • Actors: Kurt Russell, J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan, M.C. Gainey, Jack Noseworthy
  • Directors: Jonathan Mostow
  • Writers: Jonathan Mostow, Sam Montgomery
  • Producers: Artist W. Robinson, Dino De Laurentiis, Harry Colomby, Jeffrey Sudzin, Jonathan Fernandez
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch, French, English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jun 2003
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007LZ6F
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,502 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Husband and wife Jeff (Kurt Russell) and Amy (Kathleen Quinlan) are driving from Boston to San Diego to make a fresh start when their car breaks down on a remote road. When truck driver 'Red' stops by he seems like a Godsend, offering to give Amy a lift to the nearest diner so that she can telephone for help. However, when Jeff manages to fix the car and drive to the diner, no-one has seen Red or Amy. He now embarks on a frantic search for his missing wife.


The sinister side of the divide between urban and rural America has inspired countless film makers and, although by no means original, Breakdown is a tense and at times dark example of the genre. Travelling to California to start a new life, Jeff and Amy Taylor are the perfect American couple, young, prosperous and devoted to each other. When they find themselves stranded in the desert following the breakdown of their car their dream descends into a vicious nightmare. With his wife disappearing into what seems like thin air, Taylor becomes embroiled in an increasingly desperate to rescue her: repeatedly facing a wall of silence from the local community.

Kurt Russell handles the role well, comfortable with the numerous action sequences but also adept at portraying Taylor’s increasing mental anxiety in the kind of role perhaps more associated with the likes of Harrison Ford (a man who loses his wife more often than you or I might lose our car keys). The locals, led in suitably sinister form by the excellent JT Walsh, are a straight out of Deliverance--presented as dumb hicks but also capable of organising a complex kidnap. The film zips by at a pace, dwelling briefly but effectively on the astonishing number of people who go missing each year before culminating in a high-action, edge-of-the-seat climax. Not rocket science but fun all the same.

On the DVD: Breakdown has a suitably epic feel thanks to the vast expanses of desert, and the picture quality on the DVD and the soundtrack’s clear effects do much to enhance this perception. Extras are kept to the bare minimum, with the standard chapter and subtitle selection all that is on offer. --Phil Udell

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Jan 2003
Format: DVD
Breakdown is a cleverly plotted and well acted masterpiece of suspense that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Jeff Taylor (Kurt Russell) and his wife Amy (Kathleen Quinlan) are moving to California when suddenly their jeep stalls and breaks down in a remote area of Nevada and things go downhill from there. The movie works so well because the the story is so believable, with the lead characters accordingly empathetic. Kurt Russell gives an excellent performance as the husband torn between the terror of losing his wife and the murderous rage he feels towards her abductors. However, the show is stolen by the late J.T. Walsh who does a great job going from kind, helpful passerby to cold blooded kidnapper. Also, the supporting cast in this film are excellent. Breakdown is a thrilling movie with some great, slightly over the top, action scenes that manages to maintain a steady and exciting pace. Overall, if you want a good entertaining action movie with brilliant acting and genuine suspence, then get this now.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon on 7 Jan 2005
Format: DVD
This is a small film that packs a big punch, with a brilliant performance from Kurt Russell that holds our attention from start to finish.
There is a tense, ominous feeling from the start, as Russell and his wife, Kathleen Quinlan, end up stuck in the middle of nowhere, at the mercy of some menacing characters. The great J.T. Walsh plays the leader of the gang, with that perfect mixture of deviousness and cool evil he mastered in so many roles, and writer/director Jonathan Mostow has crafted a tight, well written script from his story, that though it has the occasional improbability, is plausible enough to be intelligent as well as edge-of-the-seat entertainment...because we know this kind of thing has happened to people...and it could happen to you !
Russell, as the helpless pawn of Walsh, is superb, and you see him becoming half-crazed, as he finds himself in a desert twilight zone, unable to get answers to his dilemma...the look in his eyes when Walsh tells him "time to get the show on the road" is a memorable moment in the film.
Quinlan looks stunning, with a natural sensuality that is a rare thing to see these days, and though her screen-time is relatively short, she is one of the ingredients that help make this film believable.
Beautiful cinematography by Doug Milstone of locations in California, Nevada and Utah, and a wonderful score Basil Poledouris add a lot to the film.
Strangely, knowing the ending doesn't diminish the tension of this's a gem that doesn't lose its luster even after several viewings.
Total running time is 93 minutes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr Baz #1 REVIEWER#1 HALL OF FAME on 14 Sep 2014
Format: DVD
This is one of the better films from Director Jonathan Mostow, featuring some good cast performances and a strong story line on what could have been a run of the mill production, fortunately is well worth the viewing time.

Story wise we have Jeff Taylor (Kurt Russell) and his wife Amy Taylor (Kathleen Quinlan) who are driving their Jeep on an apparent break, but unwittingly encounter an bad driving Ford pick up truck which pushes them off the road, later meeting the driver at a petrol station Jeff loses his cool a bit and narrowly avoids a fight. Shortly afterwards Jeff and Amy resume their journey their Jeep breaks down, trucker Warren "Red" Barr (J. T. Walsh) offers to drive her to the nearest town, but when Jeff arrives (after discovering the Jeep has been tampered with) there is no sign of his wife.

At first glance this doesn't sound too riveting or original, however the first scenes do hint at where the story goes (kidnapping and a gang operation rather than a lone "nut" abduction) What keeps this offering fresh and interesting are..

Firstly the performance are good, Russell is well cast and able to demonstrate the angst and desperation as he tries to find his wife and J. T. Walsh is every bit the quiet but dodgy truck driver and slots into that role rather nicely (sadly one of his later performances due to his untimely death not long after the film was released) Quinlan's screen time is more limited (mostly in the first scenes due to her disappearance) but again nothing to complain about she's an experienced actress and plays the part well.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. P. Venables on 23 Jun 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Breakdown is a thriller that really gets under my skin. It is very simple and the film does nothing that you haven't seen before. I saw it because famous British film Barry Norman critic says he liked it and he rarely likes anything (well, nothing I find interesting).
Before I go into the film I would like to ask you this. Have you ever broken down on a road and as a car pulls up to help, a tiny thought triggers in your brain that maybe they could mean you harm as you sit stranded? Breakdown amplifies that fear. The reason why the film works, for me, is that the tag line "It could happen to you" rings true. The Exorcist didn't scare me but this did. However, if you do prefer supernatural thrillers you are not going to be happy with this.
Before I saw it I remember Barry Norman commenting "The reason why the film works is that the hero is not superhuman and does nothing superhuman." or something like that. And it is true, Kurt Russell's hero runs around like a rabbit stuck in headlights. Suffice to say Kurt Russell is wonderfully as the unfortunate Jeff.
The tension is thick in this film and not one setup is badly handled. The villain is an utterly terrifying truck driver, a man whose every twitch oozes icy malice. When Kurt Russell final turns the tables it is wonderfully satisfying.
Breakdown offers nothing really that new but it wonderfully succeeds on its own terms.
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