Breakfast of Champions (film)

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Breakfast of Champions
Breakfast of Champions (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alan Rudolph
Produced by David Blocker
David Willis
Screenplay by Alan Rudolph
Story by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (Novel)
Starring Bruce Willis
Albert Finney
Nick Nolte
Barbara Hershey
Glenne Headly
Lukas Haas
Omar Epps
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography Elliot Davis
Edited by Suzy Elmiger
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • September 17, 1999 (1999-09-17)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million
Box office $178,278

Breakfast of Champions is a 1999 American comedy film adapted and directed by Alan Rudolph from the novel of the same name by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It was entered into the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]




Lukas Haas makes a cameo as Bunny, Dwayne's son, who, in the novel, plays piano in the lounge at the Holiday Inn. For legal reasons, in the film Bunny instead plays at the AmeriTel Inn.

Much of the film was shot in and around Twin Falls, Idaho.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. makes a one-line cameo as a TV commercial director.

Vonnegut's reaction[edit]

At the close of the Harper Audiobook edition of Breakfast of Champions, there is brief conversation between Vonnegut and long-time friend and attorney, Donald C. Farber in which the two, among jokes, disparage this loose film adaptation of the book as "painful to watch."[2]


Critical response[edit]

Breakfast of Champions received negative reviews, scoring a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. In his review for The New York Times, Stephen Holden wrote, "In many ways, Breakfast of Champions is an incoherent mess. But it never compromises its zany vision of the country as a demented junkyard wonderland in which we are all strangers groping for a hand to guide us through the looking glass into an unsullied tropical paradise of eternal bliss."[3] Entertainment Weekly gave the film an "F" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Rudolph, in an act of insane folly, seems to think that what matters is the story. The result could almost be his version of a Robert Altman disaster — a movie so unhinged it practically dares you not to hate it."[4] In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Stack wrote, "Rudolph botches the material big time. Relying on lame visual gimmicks that fall flat, and insisting on pushing almost every scene as frantic comedy weighted by social commentary, he forces his actors to become hams rather than believable characters."[5] Sight and Sound magazine's Edward Lawrenson wrote, "Willis' performance, all madness, no method, soon feels embarrassingly indulgent."[6] In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Thomas wrote, "As it is, Breakfast of Champions is too in-your-face, too heavily satirical in its look, and its ideas not as fresh as they should be. For the film to have grabbed us from the start, Rudolph needed to make a sharper differentiation between the everyday world his people live in and the vivid world of their tormented imaginations."[7] In her review for the Village Voice, Amy Taubin wrote, "Another middle-aged male-crisis opus, it begins on a note of total migraine-inducing hysteria, which continues unabated throughout."[8] The French filmmaker and critic Luc Moullet, on the other hand, regarded it as one of the greatest films of the 1990s.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Berlinale: 1999 Programme". Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  2. ^ Breakfast of Champions CD Unabridged by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen (September 17, 1999). "The Affluent Society? Welcome to the Fun House". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  4. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (September 24, 1999). "Breakfast of Champions". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  5. ^ Stack, Peter (December 10, 1999). "Way Too Much Ham In Overdone Breakfast". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  6. ^ Lawrenson, Edward (September 2000). "Breakfast of Champions". Sight and Sound. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  7. ^ Thomas, Kevin (September 17, 1999). "Breakfast of Champions". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  8. ^ Taubin, Amy (September 21, 1999). "Sticky-Sweet Hereafters". Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]