El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

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El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
El camino bb film poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byVince Gilligan
Produced by
Written byVince Gilligan
Based onBreaking Bad
by Vince Gilligan
StarringAaron Paul
Music byDave Porter
CinematographyMarshall Adams
Edited bySkip Macdonald
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • October 11, 2019 (2019-10-11)
Running time
122 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget>$6 million[2]
Box office~$40,000[3]

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (or simply El Camino) is a 2019 American neo-Western crime thriller film that serves as an epilogue to the television series Breaking Bad. Series creator Vince Gilligan wrote, directed, and produced the film, while Aaron Paul reprised his role as Jesse Pinkman. The plot follows what happens to Pinkman following the events of the series finale. Several actors, including Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, Jonathan Banks, Charles Baker, Matt Jones, and Bryan Cranston, reprise their original roles from the series. El Camino was also the final film to feature Robert Forster, who died on the day of its release.

A Breaking Bad feature film was rumored ever since the series' finale in September 2013. Gilligan approached Paul with the idea in 2017, near the tenth anniversary of Breaking Bad, and filming began in secret in New Mexico and Arizona in November 2018, lasting nearly 50 days. The project remained unconfirmed until August 2019, when Netflix released a trailer.

El Camino was released digitally on Netflix and limited theatrically on October 11, 2019, with a television broadcast set for February 16, 2020, on AMC. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised Paul's performance and Gilligan's direction, and noted the film as closure for fans of the series.


In a flashback, Jesse Pinkman and Mike Ehrmantraut discuss their departure from Walter White's meth business.[N 1] Jesse asks Mike where he would go to start over and Mike says if he was younger he would go to Alaska, an idea Jesse finds appealing. Jesse expresses a desire to make amends for past wrongdoing, but Mike cautions that starting over will make it impossible.

In the present, Jesse flees the Brotherhood compound in Todd Alquist's El Camino.[N 2] He goes to the home of Skinny Pete and Badger, who hide the car and give Jesse a place to sleep. The next morning, Jesse calls Old Joe to dispose of the El Camino but Joe leaves after finding its LoJack. Pete and Badger give Jesse the money they got from Walt.[N 2] Pete stays home and awaits police, intending to cover for Jesse by claiming he traded his Ford Thunderbird for the El Camino. Badger gives Jesse his Pontiac Fiero, then drives the Thunderbird several hours south to make it appear Jesse fled to Mexico. Jesse learns from the news that Walt died at the compound and Lydia Rodarte-Quayle is critically ill from being poisoned.[N 2]

In a flashback to Jesse's captivity, Todd takes Jesse to Todd's apartment to help dispose of his cleaning lady, whom he killed after she discovered his hidden money.[N 3] They sidestep Lou, Todd's busybody neighbor and bury the corpse in the desert. In the present, Jesse sneaks into Todd's apartment and searches for the cash. After seeing a news report with his parents begging him to surrender, he falls back against Todd's refrigerator in frustration and hears something shift, leading him to the new hiding place inside its door. Neil and Casey identify themselves as police to Lou and enter the apartment to search. Jesse hides but holds Casey at gunpoint after Casey finds him. Neil disarms Jesse, who then realizes they are not police but thugs also looking for Todd's money. To save himself, Jesse reveals he found the cash, and Casey distracts Lou while Jesse and Neil bargain over dividing it. As they depart, Jesse recognizes Neil as the welder who built the tether he was fastened to while forced to cook meth for the Brotherhood.

Jesse finds Saul Goodman's "disappearer," Ed Galbraith, who wants $125,000 to aid Jesse plus $125,000 for the previous occasion when Jesse arranged for his services but failed to commit.[N 4] Jesse is $1,800 short, and Ed refuses to help. Knowing they are being surveilled, Jesse calls his parents and feigns willingness to surrender, drawing them and police away from the Pinkman house. Jesse enters unseen and takes two pistols from his father's safe, a Colt Woodsman and an Iver Johnson Hammerless.[7]

Jesse drives to Neil's shop, where Neil, Casey, and three friends are celebrating with escorts and cocaine. He asks for $1,800, and Neil refuses. Seeing the Woodsman in Jesse's waistband, Neil challenges Jesse to a duel for his share of the cash. Jesse agrees and Neil reaches for his gun but Jesse shoots him with the Hammerless, which was concealed in his coat pocket and already aimed at Neil. Casey fires at Jesse, but Jesse kills him. Jesse collects the driver's licenses of the remaining men and lets them leave after threatening to return and kill them if they tell the police. He recovers Neil's cash and departs after setting an explosion to cover his tracks.

In a flashback, Walt and Jesse have breakfast after a multi-day meth cook.[N 5] Estimating they will make more than $1 million, Walt laments having waited his entire life to do something "special" and says Jesse is "lucky" because he will not have to wait.

Ed provides Jesse a new identity and smuggles him to Haines, Alaska. Jesse hands Ed a letter for Brock Cantillo and says there is no one else he wants to say goodbye to. As Jesse drives off, he has a flashback to his time with Jane Margolis.[N 6] He tells her he admires what she said about going wherever the universe takes her, but she dismisses it as "metaphorical" and encourages him to make his own decisions. Jesse drives on, smiling at the prospect of a new life.


Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, and Jonathan Banks reprised their roles as Todd Alquist, Jane Margolis, and Mike Ehrmantraut, respectively.



The film follows Jesse Pinkman, portrayed by Aaron Paul, after the events of Breaking Bad.

Vince Gilligan had the idea for El Camino during the final stages of filming the last season of Breaking Bad; he asked himself what would happen to Jesse Pinkman after the Breaking Bad finale "Felina", when Jesse escaped from the neo-Nazis' compound after being rescued by Walter White. At the time of the conclusion of Breaking Bad, Gilligan offered two possible fates for Jesse, a more realistic one where he was caught by police a few miles from the compound and a second, more optimistic one where "[Jesse] got away, and he's got a long road to recovery ahead… All these terrible things he's witnessed are going to scar him as well, but the romantic in me wants to believe that he gets away with it and moves to Alaska and has a peaceful life communing with nature".[9]

In the intervening years, Gilligan toyed with both approaches. Of the first, he considered the idea of Jesse hiding close to the Canadian border, getting lured back into crime to help a young woman in the town. This version would end with Jesse in a jail cell in the concluding scene, imprisoned yet at peace for the first time.[10] Gilligan's girlfriend Holly Rice told him that would be a terrible ending, as fans would not appreciate seeing Jesse getting incarcerated after all he had been through. Gilligan then scrapped the concept, sticking to the idea of Jesse escaping to Alaska.[11]

While he had considered the concept of a film for an extended period after Breaking Bad's conclusion, one aspect that allowed Gilligan to work with the idea was the success of spinoff Better Call Saul, which he co-created.[12] Though he still would have wanted to make the film, Gilligan admitted that he likely would not have been able to had Saul been a flop.[12] It was not until near the tenth anniversary of Breaking Bad that Gilligan started sharing the idea with former cast and crew members as a means to celebrate the milestone.[2]

Aaron Paul, who played Jesse, affirmed that around 2017, while he was starring in The Path, Gilligan had contacted him hinting at something big for celebrating the tenth anniversary of Breaking Bad.[13] Though he felt the show had concluded satisfyingly, Paul still felt attached to the character and admitted that fans were still asking him regularly of Jesse's fate after the events of the series.[14] Paul vowed that he would be eager to be involved with any idea Gilligan had to continue Jesse's character.[2] Seven months after proposing his idea, Gilligan presented Paul with a completed script.[15]


Vince Gilligan wrote and directed the film.

The original idea for continuing Jesse Pinkman's story began as a "mini-episode" or a short film of about 15–20 minutes. The script quickly grew to the length of an hour-long episode and eventually to two hours.[16] Realizing that it would be more cost-effective than shooting a short episode, Gilligan decided to make his script a full-length film.[10]

One early suggestion Gilligan received was altering his proposed title – Gilligan originally had the idea of calling the project '63, referring to its unofficial status as the 63rd episode of Breaking Bad.[16] When pitching story ideas with the Better Call Saul staff, he was advised by executive producer Thomas Schnauz to change it in order to let it stand on its own from the original series. Schnauz reasoned with Gilligan that Breaking Bad was in essence Walter White's story, whereas the film and its title should be unique in order to reflect that they were about Jesse Pinkman. Gilligan agreed and eventually settled on the title El Camino, referring to Todd's car that Jesse drives away with in "Felina".[10]

Gilligan believed that, because El Camino was a coda to Breaking Bad, it would primarily appeal to fans and would not be as enjoyable to those who had not watched the series. This influenced his decision to write the film as a direct continuation rather than inserting exposition scenes to try to attract new audiences.[2] He later stated that the film could be viewed independently from both Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, similarly to how the two series could be viewed independently from one another. He clarified that the three works "all exist together in a bigger framework" and that viewers would need to watch all of them together to receive the full experience.[16]

Peter Gould and the Better Call Saul writing staff were consulted after Gilligan finished the script's first draft.

Unlike most of his work from The X-Files and Breaking Bad, when he worked with one or more co-writers, Gilligan wrote the El Camino screenplay alone until he was ready to present it.[2] When thinking of which Breaking Bad characters to use for the film, Gilligan considered bringing back Skyler White, Walter Jr., Hank and Marie Schrader, Gus Fring, and Saul Goodman but could not find a way to incorporate them into Jesse's story.[17] Of the characters that he was able to use, Gilligan was most excited to bring back Todd Alquist, admitting he was still "fascinated" by the character and wished he could have been further explored on the series.[10]

Upon completion of the script's first draft, Gilligan met with the writing staff of Better Call Saul, which was still airing at the time. The purpose of the meeting was to not only ensure that the two projects' continuity would not interfere with one another but to also take in suggestions to improve his script.[18] One change from this meeting was the decision to include Jane Margolis. The character was not in the story but after Saul showrunner Peter Gould read the first draft, he suggested that she could appear in the ending, "where it would mean the most to the audience". After thinking about the suggestion for a couple of weeks, Gilligan incorporated the idea into his script.[10]

Gilligan wrote the scene of Walter White and Jesse sitting in the diner in a light-hearted tone, with the intention of providing one last chance to see the two characters together as a final treat for the fans. Producer Melissa Bernstein suggested adding a bit more gravitas to the scene in order to let it resonate further with the audiences. Gilligan left most of the scene from the original script intact, but he and Bernstein were able to come up with the line "You're really lucky, you know that? That you didn’t have to wait your whole life to do something special", tying the scene to the film's theme of Jesse finally taking control of his life.[10]


While Gilligan had been involved with feature-length films before, El Camino is the first that he directed and produced. Upon pitching his idea to Sony Pictures Television, the studio behind both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, the executives in the room "fell silent" and quickly agreed to come on board. The unspecified budget provided was stated to be more than the US$6 million that "Felina" cost to produce. Gilligan then selectively shopped the film to a few potential distributors, settling on Netflix and AMC due to their history with the show. Gilligan intended the film to have a theatrical release, a goal he had sought while filming Breaking Bad, which Netflix had been able to do with some of the show's season premieres in limited theatrical engagements.[2]

The film was held in great secrecy from the pre-production stages, with cast and crew under tight restrictions about what they could say about their project.[2] Certain cast members were approached for the film without knowing that it was for a Breaking Bad continuation, and some kept that fact secret from their families when production began.[19][20]

It was only near the start of filming that rumors floated that a film continuation of Breaking Bad was in development, with Paul returning as Jesse.[21][22][23] Bryan Cranston, who starred as Walter White, confirmed in an interview during this time that a film was indeed in the works but said he had not seen a script, although he was interested in participating if Gilligan called for it.[24]

Principal photography[edit]

The film was shot at a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio using the Arri Alexa 65 camera to capture the work in a cinematic manner.[2] Under the working title Greenbrier, a majority of the filming occurred in Albuquerque from November 2018 to February 2019, with the overall shoot lasting 50 days.[2][25][26]

On the set, the film was able to use many of the same crew members who had been with the show since the pilot of Breaking Bad, as several were able to carry their roles over to Better Call Saul when the show concluded.[15] Compared to the pace used during Breaking Bad, where six to eight pages of script were shot a day, the pace for El Camino was more relaxed, with only one-and-a-half to three pages filmed per day.[2] This less-pressured schedule allowed actors more opportunities to improvise on the set.[19] Gilligan later stated that the slower pace allowed him to reflect and feel a greater sense of finality for his creation whilst he was filming, unlike the pace of producing the show when it was on air, which he described as a "marathon."[16]

In addition to Albuquerque, filming locations included the Painted Desert in Arizona.

The larger budget and longer schedule also provided Gilligan a chance to capture scenes outside of Albuquerque, something he wanted but was unable to do during Breaking Bad.[2] One outside filming location included the Painted Desert in Arizona, which was used for the scene where Jesse and Todd bury Todd's housekeeper.[10] Gilligan had the idea of shooting in that region through multiple helicopter trips from California to Albuquerque, noting the landscape for its natural beauty. As backroad travel in the Painted Desert requires a permit, Gilligan received special permission from the Navajo Nation for filming.[17] Cast members were able to reach the Painted Desert set by a helicopter flown by Gilligan himself, who is a licensed pilot.[27] Additionally, the scene where Todd sings "Sharing the Night Together" in his El Camino was filmed in the area; Gilligan noted the gesture that Todd gives to the truck driver to honk was improvised.[17]

Bryan Cranston's cameo as Walter White was filmed in absolute secrecy.

To shoot his scenes for the film, Bryan Cranston flew to Albuquerque in a private jet during a January two-day break from his performance in the Broadway play Network.[28] As Cranston had grown his hair out since the series ended, a bald cap and fake moustache were used to help him achieve the look of Walter White.[29] The diner scene was filmed first, with the set containing only crew members and their families serving as extras in order to keep the shot confidential.[28] Despite the enclosed filming location, numerous locals spotted the show's iconic RV in the parking lot of the diner, but the crew used the excuse that they were shooting a commercial for a Breaking Bad tour to deflect attention.[10] The hallway scene was filmed the next day; afterward Cranston immediately returned to the airport. To ensure that there were no paparazzi photos, Cranston was heavily disguised when he was escorted from and throughout the set, while off the set he and Paul were told to avoid seeing each other.[8][28]

Similar measures were taken to ensure that news of filming would not reach the locals. Cast members wore large cloaks to disguise their identities when heading to the set.[30] When actors were recognized in the area, they would lie about the project they were working on.[14][31] By the time local media made a connection between Greenbrier and Breaking Bad, filming had been mostly completed, according to Paul.[13] Bob Odenkirk, who portrays Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, but was not involved with El Camino, stated about the project's secrecy: "I don't know what people know and don't know. I find it hard to believe you don't know it was shot. They did it. You know what I mean? How is that a secret? But it is. They've done an amazing job of keeping it a secret."[32]


Aaron Paul claimed that the initial cut of the film was nearly three hours long, estimating that Gilligan left 30% of the footage on the cutting room floor.[33] One of the biggest elements removed was one of the first things that Gilligan wrote for the script: the contents of Jesse's letter to Brock. Gilligan had planned on having it read in voice-over while Jesse drove through Alaska in the final scene; Paul described it as "the most honest, beautiful, caring letter imaginable — really, just pouring his heart out and saying he's sorry."[34] However, during editing, Gilligan felt it was better for the contents of the letter to remain a mystery and was not needed to conclude Jesse's story, and subsequently went with the alternate ending featuring Jane. While Paul agreed with Gilligan's decision, he mentioned that he was "crushed" that it did not appear in the film.[11] Paul shared his hopes that the letter's contents will be revealed some day, and that he has been "begging" Gilligan to release it.[34]

Another big development removed during post-production was Jesse getting shot in the side during his final showdown with Neil and Casey.[16] This would have been followed with a wounded Jesse getting found by Ed Galbraith at the vacuum store the following morning, popping open his car's trunk to reveal the cash he acquired to fulfill his end of the bargain. However, Gilligan felt that these scenes created a sense of "false jeopardy" and would provide little payoff for the viewers, so he removed them to let the film reach its conclusion quicker.[35] Gilligan stated that he hoped these scenes, along with an extended sequence with Jesse and Jane during their road trip, would be available as bonus features when the film was released on home video.[16]


"The Breaking Bad [score] is, at times, very, very spare and I think the El Camino score remains true to that, but there is complexity and a depth to the music that is fuller and greater in order to fill more sonic space in a theater. That was something we were definitely after."

Dave Porter, El Camino composer[36]

For the film's music, the production retained the use of Dave Porter, who composed the score for all five seasons of Breaking Bad, as well as every season of Better Call Saul up to that point.[37] To prepare his score, Porter rewatched the series in order to select musical cues that he could revisit for the film.[36] Many of the returning locations and characters were given updated themes, with Porter citing the scenes in the compound and with Ed Galbraith as examples. However, to differentiate the flashback scenes, Porter tried to replicate the "less cinematic" sounds from the original series as closely as possible. He described his main goal in designing the film's sound: "we want to link back to a score that we used in the series and it wouldn’t feel jarring or strangely out of place."[37]

Given the film's longer production schedule, Gilligan was able to be present in the studio to listen to Porter's score and exchange ideas, something he had never done during Breaking Bad.[38] Porter in turn felt he had more time and resources to add nuance to the film's music, working with Gilligan to achieve a cinematic sound that could also establish its own identity. He described the resulting score, as well as the film's contents, as more "cerebral" and "psychological," rather than relying on "fast-paced adrenaline."[37]

Licensed tracks were used sparingly in the film; two that were in the final cut include "Sharing the Night Together" by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, which Todd sings in the car during his and Jesse's road trip, and "Static on the Radio" by Jim White, which was used in the end credits.[36]


Netflix officially announced El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie on August 24, 2019, unveiling the title, description, poster, logo, teaser trailer and release date for the film.[39] Days prior, Netflix accidentally listed the film on its website, which was quickly noticed by users before it was pulled.[40] Due to the secrecy of the project, fans and critics alike were taken aback by the sudden announcement, as well as learning that the release date would come sooner than expected.[41][42][43]


The first teaser released during the film's announcement featured a scene where the DEA interrogated Skinny Pete on Jesse Pinkman's whereabouts.[42] Though it was not used in the final cut, some critics noted after the premiere of the scene's significance in the film's chronology, speculating that it likely took place shortly after Jesse and Skinny Pete parted ways.[6][44]

Netflix released its first trailer, which consisted solely of clips from Breaking Bad set to "Enchanted" by Chloe X Halle, on September 10, 2019.[45] A second teaser, which featured Jesse sitting in the El Camino and listening to news reports of the prior events of the series on the radio, premiered during the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony on September 22, 2019. Like the previous teaser, the footage was not used in the final cut.[46] A full trailer was released on September 24, 2019, which gave audiences their first full look of clips from the film.[47] Before the film's premiere, three additional promotional videos were released: a teaser clip of Old Joe speaking with Jesse on the phone, a video of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul cast members reacting to comments on the trailer, as well as a two-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.[48][49][50]

The Countdown to El Camino[edit]

Sixty-two hours before the release of the film, the social media channels of Breaking Bad and Samsung US shared a countdown.[51] Titled The Countdown to El Camino, the promotion was done as part of Samsung's partnership with Netflix.[52]

The campaign saw the return of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul character Huell Babineaux.[51] Followers were encouraged to share the countdown with the hashtag #WaitingWithHuell, in reference to the character.[52] Throughout the countdown, Huell appeared in several short video interludes of him sitting impatiently in a safe house,[N 7] loafing around or watching news reports of the events of "Felina."[53] Upon the countdown's conclusion, a video was shown of Huell leaving the safe house, with the title credits of El Camino appearing on his television.[53] The character ultimately did not appear in the film, but many noted that the promotion answered a question long posed by fans of Huell's fate after the series ended.[51][53][54]


El Camino was the final film to feature Robert Forster, who died on the same day the film was released.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie had its world premiere on October 7, 2019, at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, with multiple cast members from the film, Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul in attendance.[12][55] It was released on October 11, 2019, on Netflix.[56][13] The film also had a limited theatrical release from October 11 to 13 in the United States, with 12 of the 125 theaters that screened the film reporting a combined gross of $40,000.[3][57] A television broadcast premiere on AMC was announced for February 16, 2020, following a complete marathon of the series on the network.[58]

On the day of El Camino's release, Robert Forster, who played Ed in both the series and film, died of complications from brain cancer, at the age of 78.[59] Among other Hollywood tributes, the cast and crew of Breaking Bad paid tribute to him.[35][60][61] According to Paul, Forster had watched the film before dying: "... he was so proud of it and of me. He called to tell me that he loved me. I sensed something was wrong, but I got on a plane and, when I landed, he’d died. It was incredibly sad to hear."[62]

A 13-minute behind-the-scenes featurette titled The Road to El Camino was released on Netflix on October 29, 2019.[63]

Audience viewership[edit]

Nielsen reported that El Camino drew 2.65 million viewers within a day of its release, with an overall 6.54 million total viewers during opening weekend.[64][65] It was also reported that at least 8.2 million viewers watched at least a few minutes of the film during its first three days of availability, accounting for the ones that did not finish watching the entire movie.[64] This compared well to Breaking Bad's fifth-season premiere with 5.9 million viewers[66] and finale with 10.3 million when they first aired on AMC.[67] TheWrap calculated that if the film had a proper wide theatrical release, and that every reported viewer had bought a ticket for the average price to see it, then it likely could have topped the box office that weekend.[68] After the first week of its release, Netflix announced that over 25 million households had seen the film.[69]


Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 119 reviews, with an average rating of 7.24/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Entertaining if not essential, El Camino adds a satisfying belated coda to the Breaking Bad story – led by a career-best performance from Aaron Paul."[70] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 72 out of 100 based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[71]

Aaron Paul's performance as Jesse Pinkman received near-unanimous acclaim. Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone declared the film as proof that "Paul is more than capable of carrying a story in this world where Jesse is the solo protagonist."[72] Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter said "it's hard not to watch the movie and be amazed anew at all of the shadings of immaturity, maturity and damage Paul got to play, focusing mainly on his ability to be wounded and wonderfully funny."[73] Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club wrote that "as Jesse grinds out the hard road he’s chosen, Aaron Paul emerges as an even more magnificent performer than his multiple Emmys attest."[74] Jesse Plemons' reprisal of Todd Alquist also drew strong reviews, with Fienberg stating that "Plemons never got the respect he deserved...and this might be a good time to properly relish what an odd and awful guy Todd was."[73]

Vince Gilligan's direction similarly received praise. Fienberg called Gilligan "a precise and complicated visual stylist...the conception of Breaking Bad as a modern Western has never been so clearly articulated and executed." He also credited cinematographer Marshall Adams, editor Skip Macdonald and composer Dave Porter, all of whom worked on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, for helping the film "return to the original show's grammar."[73] Dan Jolin of Empire noted that "Gilligan keeps the same steady, detail-oriented pace and maintains the vivid, slightly askew visual style which distinguished the show throughout its five seasons."[75] Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly called Gilligan's style "energetic" and lauded the larger budget being applied "more for high anxiety than flashy pyrotechnics," citing the film's cinematography, editing and montages as examples.[76] Erik Adams of The A.V. Club, while finding the film's Western imagery a bit "clumsily deployed," commended the scale of the film.[77]

The BBC's Hugh Montgomery was less complimentary, accusing the film of devolving into fan service and leaning too heavily on its cameos. Giving the film a 1-star review, he wrote: "What we get is a fugitive thriller without the thrills, and a character study without any character...And if television has recently been characterised as the ‘new cinema’ while cinema apparently infantilises itself with superhero movies and Disney remakes, then this gives lie to that narrative: certainly, it's a franchise extension as lazy and vacuous as anything dreamt up on the big-screen."[78]

Comparisons to Breaking Bad[edit]

From a narrative perspective, several critics praised the film as a continuation of Breaking Bad. Sepinwall stated that "if the [Breaking Bad] conclusion had a flaw...it’s that Jesse got left behind a bit. By the end of El Camino, that’s no longer the case."[72] Allegra Frank of Vox Media wrote that "there’s always a risk, whenever a beloved, long-gone TV series is resurrected through this type of continuation project, that it will lean too far into fan service and lose sight of what made the original so good in the first place. Thankfully, El Camino preserves Breaking Bad's legacy, rather than tainting it."[79] Steve Greene of IndieWire gave the film a "A–", saying: "The core of El Camino is made up of those returning players, but there are a few new faces to wrestle with as well. Through them, Gilligan asks the audience to once again set aside expectations and follow where they cross Jesse's journey. Though the specter of Jesse's former partners haunt El Camino, Gilligan effectively holds the audience's attention to keep them focused on the present."[80]

However, others critics felt differently: finding the film enjoyable, yet inessential to the overall arc of the series. Fienberg mentioned that the film felt "largely unnecessary as it pertains to the larger Breaking Bad narrative. At least it's unnecessary in an innocuous and entertaining way. It doesn't do any harm. It just gives answers I'm not sure I cared about to questions I'm not sure I asked."[73] Franich compared the film to a television reunion special, calling it "a playful project, very fun, not always necessary."[76] Alissa Wilkinson of Vox Media reasoned that the enjoyment of the film "comes from seeing your favorite characters again, not finally resolving missing pieces that have tortured your sleep for six years."[81]


Award Category Nominees Result Refs
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Movie/Miniseries El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Won [82]
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Jesse Plemons Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing – Movies for Television and Limited Series Vince Gilligan Pending [83]
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Streamed or Televised Motion Pictures Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Vince Gilligan, Aaron Paul and Diane Mercer Nominated [84]
Satellite Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Won [85]
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Aaron Paul Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form – Adapted Vince Gilligan Pending [86]


  1. ^ During the events of "Buyout" and "Say My Name".[4][5]
  2. ^ a b c As depicted in "Felina".[6]
  3. ^ After the events of "Granite State".[6]
  4. ^ As depicted in "Confessions".[6]
  5. ^ During the events of "4 Days Out".[8]
  6. ^ Set around the events of the cold open flashback in "Abiquiu".[4]
  7. ^ Where he supposedly had resided since "To'hajiilee".[51]


  1. ^ "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie". Netflix. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
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  3. ^ a b Brueggemann, Tom (October 13, 2017). "Record-Breaking 'Parasite' Scores the Best Platform Opening Since 'La La Land'". IndieWire. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Wigler, Josh (October 11, 2019). "How 'El Camino' Honors and Moves Beyond 'Breaking Bad'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Halterman, Jim (October 23, 2019). "Vince Gilligan on the Possibility of More 'Breaking Bad'-Inspired Movies". TV Insider. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Sepinwall, Alan (October 12, 2019). "'El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie' Recap: Jesse Pinkman Is Born Again". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  7. ^ Eger, Chris (October 14, 2019). "Jesse Pinkman is Back: The Curious Guns of El Camino". Guns.com. Burnsville, MN.
  8. ^ a b Snierson, Dan (October 11, 2019). "Breaking Bad: Aaron Paul on that top secret scene in El Camino". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  9. ^ Snierson, Dan (September 30, 2013). "'Breaking Bad': Creator Vince Gilligan explains series finale". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Snierson, Dan (October 15, 2013). "Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan breaks down El Camino — and how he decided which characters to revive". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Snierson, Dan (October 14, 2019). "Aaron Paul and Vince Gilligan reveal two alternate endings to El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Couch, Aaron (October 8, 2019). "'Breaking Bad' Universe Collides at 'El Camino' Premiere". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Itzkoff, Dave (August 24, 2019). "'Breaking Bad' Movie, Starring Aaron Paul, Coming to Netflix in October". The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
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