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3: The Dale Earnhardt Story (2004)

Barry Pepper portrays legendary race car drive Dale Earnhardt, who died in 2001 during the last lap of the Daytona 500.

Director:

Russell Mulcahy

Writer:

Robert Eisele
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Barry Pepper ... Dale Earnhardt
Elizabeth Mitchell ... Teresa Earnhardt
Ernest Whitted ... Pit Crowd
Andrea Powell ... Martha Earnhardt
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sean Bridgers ... Neil Bonnett
David Lewis Brooks David Lewis Brooks ... Earnhardt Pit Crew
Russell Brooks Russell Brooks ... Earnhardt Pit Crew (as Russell Dean Brooks Jr.)
Joe Chrest ... Jake Elder
Russell Cook ... Press Conference VIP
Teresa Delgado ... Kelly Earnhardt
Tony Devon ... Will
Thunderbird Dinwiddie ... Connie (as Traci Dinwiddie)
Tricia Dyar ... Daisy (as Tricia Quattlebaum)
Corri English ... Kelly Earnhardt
Michael Flippo Michael Flippo ... Wayne Robertson
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Storyline

Biographical story of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. starts with his young life and growing up with his father, Ralph, who raced for a living, but initially wanted more for his son. When Dale quits high school to start driving full time, his father aids him and shows a reluctant pride when he is initially successful. Armed with many of his father's philosophies, Dale pushed himself to be the best. His aggressive track mannerisms earned himself fans and detractors. Fellow racer Neil Bonnett was one of those long time friends and whose death deeply affected Dale. Darrell Waltrip clearly was a detractor and the two men's rivalry is clearly depicted. Off the track, Dale's determination to make it impacts two marriages. Third wife Theresa was closer to racing and met Dale when he had started his rise into the Winston Cup circuit. The story also looks at his relationship with his children, particularly son Kerry from his first marriage and whom he did not see again after age 5 until Kerry in his late ... Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One man, One sport. One nation.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

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Details

Official Sites:

ESPN Original Entertainment

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 December 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

3 See more »

Filming Locations:

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song Kryptonite is playing on Little Dale's boom box when Dale visits him on the boat dock. Racing is his kryptonite, or weakness. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, where Dale Earnheardt is shown at his last race at Daytona, Bobby Labonte is shown driving a Cheverolet Monte Carlo. Labonte was, in fact, driving a Pontiac Grand Prix in that race, and did not drive the Monte Carlo until after Earnheardt's death. See more »

Quotes

Neil Bonnett: You pissed off a lot of people out there today, Earnhardt. You almost ran me over a couple times.
Dale Earnhardt: So I suppose you're pissed off at me, too, then?
Neil Bonnett: What the hell do you care? We ain't out there to make friends.
See more »

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User Reviews

Earnhardt Film Flawed, but Well-Made...
15 December 2004 | by cariartSee all my reviews

"3: The Dale Earnhardt Story" isn't going to win a lot of non-Nascar fans over to the sport, but as a biography, it is well-made, offers some believable insights on what made Earnhardt the often enigmatic person he was, and, in Barry Pepper, provides an eerily close approximation to the 'look' and 'feel' of the racing legend. Pepper will certainly receive an Emmy nomination for the role, and delivers such a powerful portrayal that you nearly forget how good the rest of the cast is.

While Elizabeth Mitchell is more glamorous than the real Teresa Earnhardt, she is quite solid and believable in the role; to truly appreciate how important Teresa's intelligence and business acumen were to Dale, it would have required a much longer movie, and might have seriously tilted the story away from Dale's other relationships, and the balance that Pepper and director Russell Mulcahy achieved.

Dale's early years come off best in the film, with a wonderful performance by J.K. Simmons as the inspirational Ralph Earnhardt. The grittiness and 'backwoods blue-collar' feel of Earnhardt's upbringing is well-conveyed, and reminiscent of "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "The River". The film loses a bit of steam when Dale begins racing, and as he achieves success, a lot of memorable moments had to be edited out, or telescoped down, which has disappointed some Earnhardt fans. Considering the time and budget constraints, however, I found the story to be remarkably accurate.

The young actors who portrayed Dale's children as adults should be singled out for recognition; race car driver/first-time actor Chad Mcumbee, while low-key, is pretty impressive as Dale Jr., conveying both a pride in his father, and frustration in being 'held back' so he could complete his education before being permitted to race; Corri English, while too cute, has an infectious smile and manner, and exhibits the Earnhardt joy of fast cars; best of all is newcomer Frank Glidden as oldest son Kerry, who, in a few brief scenes, offers a balanced, sensitive interpretation of the son Dale abandoned, finally winning his father's attention and respect, even as he sees Dale Jr. outshining him on the track. I look forward to seeing more of Glidden's work in future!

While there will certainly be a more detailed and polished feature film about Earnhardt in the future, this ESPN production is not without it's own merits, and provides an entertaining, dramatic overview of the racing legend's life.


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