GenreComedy Story byKurt Vonnegut CountryUnited States
Release dateSeptember 17, 1999 (1999-09-17) WriterKurt Vonnegut Jr. (book), Alan Rudolph (screenplay) CastBruce Willis (Dwayne Hoover), Albert Finney (Kilgore Trout), Nick Nolte (Harry Le Sabre), Barbara Hershey (Celia Hoover), Glenne Headly (Francine Pefko), Lukas Haas (George 'Bunny' Hoover) Similar moviesIn the Mood for Love, Gone Girl, Heartbreakers, The Wolf of Wall Street, Bed and Board, 2012
Breakfast of champions trailer 1999
Breakfast of Champions is a 1999 American black comedy film adapted and directed by Alan Rudolph, from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s 1973 novel of the same name. It was entered into the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.
Dwayne Hoover (Bruce Willis), a car salesman who is the most respected businessman in Midland City, Indiana, is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, even attempting suicide daily. His wife, Celia, is addicted to pills, and his sales manager and best friend, Harry Le Sabre, is preoccupied with worry that his—Le Sabre's -- secret fondness for wearing lingerie will be discovered. Meanwhile, a little-known science fiction author, Kilgore Trout (Albert Finney), is hitchhiking across the United States to speak at Midland City's arts festival. In search of answers for his identity quest, Hoover decides to attend the festival.
Bruce Willis as Dwayne Hoover
Albert Finney as Kilgore Trout
Nick Nolte as Harry LeSabre
Barbara Hershey as Celia Hoover
Glenne Headly as Francine Pefko
Lukas Haas as George "Bunny" Hoover
Omar Epps as Wayne Hoobler
Vicki Lewis as Grace LeSabre
Buck Henry as Fred T. Barry
Ken Campbell as Eliot Rosewater / Gilbert
Jake Johanssen as Bill Bailey
Will Patton as Moe the truck driver
Chip Zien as Andy Wojeckowzski
Owen Wilson as Monte Rapid
Alison Eastwood as Maria Maritimo
Shawnee Smith as Bonnie McMahon
Michael Jai White as Howell
Michael Duncan as Eli
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. as Commercial director
Doug Maughan (voice) as TV/radio announcer (uncredited)
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.
At the close of the Harper Audiobook edition of Breakfast of Champions, there is brief conversation between Vonnegut and his long-time friend and attorney, Donald C. Farber, in which the two, among making jokes, disparage this loose film adaptation of the book as "painful to watch."
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." 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." 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." Sight and Sound magazine's Edward Lawrenson wrote, "Willis' performance, all madness, no method, soon feels embarrassingly indulgent." 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." 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." The French filmmaker and critic Luc Moullet, on the other hand, regarded it as one of the greatest films of the 1990s.