Breaking Away Movie Essay A

Best friends Dave, Mike, Cyril and Moocher have just graduated from high school. Living in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, they are considered "cutters": the working class of the town so named since most of the middle aged generation, such as their parents, worked at the local limestone quarry, which is now a swimming hole. There is great animosity between the cutters and the generally wealthy Indiana University students, each group who have their own turf in town. The dichotomy is that the limestone was used to build the university, which is now seen as being too good for the locals who built it. Although each of the four is a totally different personality from the other three, they also have in common the fact of being unfocused and unmotivated in life. The one slight exception is Dave. Although he has no job and doesn't know what to do with his life, he is a champion bicycle racer. He idolizes the Italian cycling team so much he pretends to be Italian, much to the chagrin of his parents, especially his used car salesman father, Ray Stoller, who just doesn't understand his son. Dave crosses the unofficial line when he meets and wants to date a IU co-ed named Katherine Bennett, who, intrigued by Dave, in turn is already dating Rod, one of the big men on campus. Dave passes himself off to her as an Italian exchange student named Enrico Gismondi. Beyond Katarina as he calls her, Dave's main immediate focus is that the Italian cycling team have announced that they will be in Indianapolis for an upcoming race, which he intends to enter to be able to race his idols. After an incident at the race, Dave, with a little help from his parents and unwittingly by actions of his friends, has to reexamine his life, what he really wants to get out of it and how best to start achieving it.


Dave and his working-class friends Cyril, Moocher and Mike spend their post-high school days in Bloomington, Indiana, sparring with snooty students from the local university, chasing girls and--in Dave's case--dreaming of competitive bicycle racing. The four friends face opposition from all corners as they decide to make Dave's dreams come true in the university's annual bicycle endurance race.


Dave, nineteen, has just graduated high school, with his 3 friends, the comical Cyril, the warm hearted but short-tempered Moocher, and the athletic, spiteful but good-hearted Mike. Now, Dave enjoys racing bikes and hopes to race the Italians one day, and even takes up the Italian culture, much to his friends and parents annoyance. Meanwhile, the 4 friends try to break away from their townie, Indiana reputation while fighting with nearby college snobs.

—Carrie W. (

breaking away Essay

749 Words3 Pages

The movie “Breaking Away” presents the story of a young man from working class origins who seeks to better himself by creating a persona through which he almost, but not quite, wins the girl. The rivalry between the townies and the college students sets the scene for the story of four friends who learn to accept themselves as they "break away" from childhood and from their underdog self-images.
Dave Stoller, the main character, is a young man completely obsessed with cycling and Italy. His fantasies are so well fabricated that he drives his family crazy by behaving and speaking as if he were an Italian cyclist. Dave aspires to be one of the best cyclists yet the best racers are Italian. He feels that in order to be the best, he…show more content…

Dave is made aware of his father’s feelings several times throughout the movie. He realizes when his parents are discussing Dave’s future loudly and when Dave’s father does not acknowledge Dave when giving a customer a test-drive.
The race in which Dave competes with his heroes the Italian racing team, the Cinzanos, serves as an important scene for Dave’s self-actualization. Dave is working hard to be at the same level as the famed cyclists. He tries to converse with them during the race to find that they only ignore him. As Dave is catching up to them, he is humiliated when the Cinzanos sabotage the race causing Dave to fall off his bike. Here, Dave discovers that they are meaner, shallower, and more class-conscious than the hated university students. Dave realizes that he is not an Italian nor wants to be one as he takes down the posters of the famed Italians from his bedroom walls. He lost his hopes and ideals that he found in his heroes.
After the race, Dave is convinced to enter the cycling race against the college students by his friends. Yet, his friend Mike is hesitant about the competition commenting that maybe the university students are better. However, this comment is made because Mike became timid after he had challenged the college student to a race swimming in the quarry and lost because he had hit his head on a rock. During the race at the university, Dave becomes hurt. This scene shows how Dave and his friends try to overcome the stereotypes about

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