Director Peter Yates did wonders with Steve McQueen and a car in Bullitt back in 1968, and 11 years later he did the same (well, sort of) with Dennis Christopher and a bike in this terrific little coming-of-age tale that deserves to be considered at least a first cousin to the likes of Diner, Stand by Me and American Graffiti (if not a brother). Dave (Christopher) is a teenager in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana who, along with his friends Mike (Dennis Quaid), Cyril (Daniel Stern) and Moocher (Jackie Earl Haley), isn’t quite sure what to do with the rest of his life, even though high school graduation was over a year ago. He gets to indulge in two of his obsessions — bicycle racing and Italian culture — when he competes with some actual Italian racers in town for Indiana University’s Little 500 race, an event that makes him come to terms with who he is, what he wants and what he’s made of. While it might not be as clever or existentially insightful as some of its aforementioned kin, Breaking Away is a warm and humorous portrait of young Americans with dreams of something more than what the town they grew up in has to offer them but who really don’t have any idea what it is or how to go about getting it. Christopher is excellent in the lead role, but Haley steals the show as Moocher, a scrappy kid who isn’t afraid to really “punch the clock” on the first day of his new job at the car wash.