In a previous blog, we covered the Best Firefighting TV Shows. Now, we will be discussing the top five firefighter movies. As with the TV shows, there are not that many to pick from (especially those of quality), however, there are enough to make a list of the ones we deem to be the five best. These are the movies that have such intense firefighting scenes that not only will you sweat due to the sheer feeling of anxiety about whether or not the main character will survive, you will also sweat due to almost being able to feel the heat of the fire coming through the screen. You can feel the tension throughout and breath a sigh of relief when the movie is over. Some of these movies even give you a small glimpse of what it’s like for firefighters in the (literal) heat of the moment, risking their lives for people they’ve never even met. Here are the five best firefighter movies of all time (in no particular order).

  • Frequency (2000) - With a new TV show based off this movie coming out this winter, this is a perfect opportunity to look back on this very underrated Jim Caviezel/Dennis Quaid starring movie. It is a highly original story about a father (Quaid) and son (Caviezel) that are able to communicate through time via an old radio (with some help from aurora borealis). The father died years earlier on the job (as a firefighter) and the son uses the radio link and his knowledge of the future to try and change the past. It is an intense movie with twists and turns and should definitely be on your watch list if you haven’t seen it. It can be purchased on Amazon Prime.

  • Ladder 49 (2004) - This Jay Russell directed movie stars Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta. It is about a firefighter getting trapped inside a 20-story building and efforts being coordinated to save him. He uses this time to reflect on his life, as he has begun maturing into a veteran firefighter at a Baltimore fire station. A lot of realism went into the making of this film, as many real firefighters were used as extras, the major fire in the film was called in by citizens in Baltimore because they thought it was real, and Joaquin Phoenix trained for a month at a fire academy and became an honorary member of Baltimore’s Truck 10. For the realism alone, this movie is worth watching. It can be purchased through Google Play.

  • Fireproof (2008) - This 2008 film, starring Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea is about a firefighter using a 40-day experiment known as “The Love Dare” to save his marriage. It was the highest-grossing independent film of 2008 with over $33 million (on just a $500,000 dollar budget) and received many awards from evangelical Christian organizations. It can be purchased on Amazon Prime.

  • The Towering Inferno (1974) - One of the more intense movies on this list, The Towering Inferno stars film legends Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. In this film, a massive fire breaks out in a poorly constructed office building at its opening party. It won the Oscars for best cinematography, best film editing, best original song, and was nominated for best picture, best actor in a supporting role, best set decoration, best sound, and best original dramatic score (composed by legendary composer, John Williams). This film was the highest grossing in 1974 with $139.7 million, and is by far the most well-received movie on this list. It was also nominated for 5 Golden Globes, winning one. Make sure you clear up enough time to see this one, as it comes in at a whopping two hours and forty-five minutes. It can be purchased on Amazon Prime.

  • Backdraft (1991) - See our blog post on rollovers, flashover, and backdrafts, for more information on the subject of backdrafts. This movie is about 2 brothers in Chicago who are both firefighters. They don’t get along, however they must work together, to catch a serial-arsonist. This movie stars Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, and Robert De Niro and was nominated for three Oscars (best sound effects editing, best visual effects, and best sound). It was directed by famed director Ron Howard, in the early days of his directing career. It grossed $152.3 million, making it the highest-grossing film ever about firefighters. It can be streamed on Starz.

Have you seen any movies that you would add to this list? Sound off in the comments section down below and let us know which firefighter movie you think is the best of all time.


Barak Bacharach, SkySaver Content Manager