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Days of Thunder (1990)

PG-13 | | Action, Drama, Sport | 27 June 1990 (USA)
A young hot-shot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level.

Director:

Tony Scott

Writers:

Robert Towne (story), Tom Cruise (story) | 1 more credit »
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3,348 ( 1,360)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Cruise ... Cole Trickle
Nicole Kidman ... Dr. Claire Lewicki
Robert Duvall ... Harry Hogge
Randy Quaid ... Tim Daland
Cary Elwes ... Russ Wheeler
Michael Rooker ... Rowdy Burns
Fred Dalton Thompson ... Big John
John C. Reilly ... Buck Bretherton
J.C. Quinn ... Waddell
Don Simpson ... Aldo Bennedetti
Caroline Williams ... Jennie Burns
Donna W. Scott ... Darlene (as Donna Wilson)
Chris Ellis ... Harlem Hoogerhyde
Peter Appel ... Cole's Crew
Stephen Michael Ayers ... Cole's Crew
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Storyline

Cole Trickle enters the high-pressure world of Nascar racing. He's a hot driver with a hot temper, and this attitude gets him into trouble not only with other drivers, but members of his own team as well. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You can't outrun the thunder. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

27 June 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Days of Thunder See more »

Filming Locations:

Bristol, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,490,445, 1 July 1990

Gross USA:

$82,670,733

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$157,920,733
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (analog 70 mm prints)| CDS (digital 35 mm and 70 mm prints)| Dolby SR (analog 35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tom Cruise had a meeting with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. prior to the production of the film. It was rumored that Earnhardt was offered the role of Rowdy Burns, but he turned it down because he did not want to play the bad guy. See more »

Goofs

When the tractor trailer is pulled over, the shot of the cop car behind the trailer shows the sun setting but still plenty of light. When the trailer and cop car are both on the side of the road the shot with the crew all getting lined up against the trailer the sun is completely down and it is completely dark outside. See more »

Quotes

Harry Hogge: What do you know about stock car racing?
Cole Trickle: Well... watched it on television, of course.
Harry Hogge: You've seen it on television?
Cole Trickle: ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.
Harry Hogge: I'm sure I would.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Space Mutiny (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Thunderbox
Written and Produced by Miss Apollo Smile and The Groove Commander
Performed by Apollo Smile
Apollo Smile courtesy of DGC
See more »

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User Reviews

 
some good Towne-script moments and a superb cast, but...
26 July 2015 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Yeah, Top Gun is the one that made all the very BIG bucks back in 1986 and put Tony Scott and Tom Cruise on the map in bigger ways then they had been before (not to mention producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer), but somehow, much as with De Palma/Pacino with Scarface and Carlito's Way, the follow-up seemed to probably be the actual better film of the two. Does this mean that Days of Thunder, following the travails of an up-and-comer racecar star (Cruise), is a really good movie? Well, in some ways yes, and in other ways not so much.

I give the production this: it moves fast and slick, and whenever cars are on the track it's visually compelling and exciting as the filmmakers know how to cut stuff together for Fast Impact (lest not forget the camera-work, filled with colors and smoke and cool contours, even a shot with Nicole Kidman standing at one point on the side of the frame is great to look at). And the casting here is fantastic; and forget Cruise, how about Robert Duvall (has he ever been anything less than solid, and here he's actually giving this conventional Trainer-cum-Mentor some soul), or Nicole Kidman (who gets really some of the best lines in the film), or Michael Rooker (by now something of an underrated character actor national treasure, and here imbuing an a-hole with a lot of sympathy and pathos)? Why not throw in John C. Reilly in there too, he has a couple of memorable moments too.

Where it flails? Sadly, and I'm not sure if this is really on Towne's end - and one should note that Cruise has his only (?) writing credit here as co-story author - or the producers, but this all the same is light-weight stuff. There's not much conflict to the proceedings, or much that sticks to the gravel, no pun intended (OK, some). This is the kind of movie that gives people like Duvall some excellent scenes to at least try to overcome the clichés of the sports movie (and make no mistake, that's what this is deep down, and a "programmer" of the old-time-studio variety, not a terrible thing inherently)... and then you got Cary Elwes as "Russ Wheeler". The last time one saw a motorist with the last name Wheeler was in a Disney Goofy cartoon about Motor Madness. And Randy Quaid, who is OK, also is saddled with some very basic material to work with here as the businessman who turns on a dime. There may be some stakes, like for Rooker's character, yet for Cruise there's not much there that makes it feel like 'Oh no, s***'s getting real here!'

In other words, Days of Thunder has some genuinely good stuff to it, and it has some personality and verve and, for a couple of moments, sex appeal in that, uh, late 80's/early 90's style (and hey, this was the movie Cruise and Kidman met after all, so you can see the chemistry as white hot as they come). But it's hard not to eye-roll at some of the story choices and character motivations, or things like, say, the movie ending on an unironic freeze frame at a very silly moment.

It's one of those things where I give it a tepid recommendation and/or a very strong put-down, if that makes sense. Quality, dumb-studio filmmaking for the masses - and, for sure, a step up from the waste of Top Gun. 6.5/10


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