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Peter Yates, Director of Breaking Away, dies at 81

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Very sad news that Peter Yates, the English-born film director, died on Sunday at the age of 81.

Yates graduated from RADA, and in the ’60s began working in Hollywood. Outside the cycling world he will be best remembered for Bullit, starring Steve McQueen and a legendary car chase. However, many cyclists will cherish the memories of Breaking Away, the story of a cycling-obsessed teenager in small-town Indiana, who falls in love with a student at the university. He, however, is a ‘cutter’ – one of the local townsfolk who are looked down upon on campus; so, to win her affections, he pretends to be an Italian exchange student.

The film, which won the Oscar for best original screenplay in 1980, culminates in the Cutters taking on the students at the Little 500 annual track race and… well, you should just go and watch.

Here’s the trailer, to whet your appetite, but the film is awesome, so go and buy it.

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uglyyeti
uglyyeti
12 years ago

Oscar in 1980 maybe? Breaking Away is the movie that made me want to ride a bike (American Flyers gets some credit, too). Still love that movie – it’s one of the classics I keep on my iPod for boring flights.

Great cast. Jackie Earle Haley who played Moocher is the new Freddy Krueger.

stratosrally
stratosrally
12 years ago

While I confess to being a BMX freak when this came out, I did still love the movie – and there was a kid just like the main character in our neighborhood. He wore the Campy beanies & jersies, had gone to an Olympic training camp, and used to blow our minds doing trackstands and outrunning our schoolbuses…

BTW – Jackie Earle Haley was unbelievably great as Rorschach in Watchmen. I hope that his doing Freddie was a fluke and he makes better career choices in the future. Watchmen may have had its flaws, but no one needed another Nightmare flick.

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