5.7/10
337
17 user 1 critic

The Big Wheel (1949)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 4 November 1949 (USA)
A brash young midget car race driver lives in the shadow of his famous father, a drunken womanizer, who was killed in an accident years earlier.

Director:

Writer:

(original screenplay)
Reviews

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

IMDb at Comic-Con 2016

Visit our Comic-Con section to see what's trending, watch celebrity interviews, follow event coverage, browse cosplay photos, take our Fan IQ quizzes, and more.

Browse IMDb's Guide to Comic-Con

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Action | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A former war hero and midget car racer meets his match in a feisty reporter who blames his reckless tactics for an accidental racing death.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou
Hot Rod Girl (1956)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

After his kid brother is killed in a street race, a champion drag-racer quits racing. However, a new kid comes to town determined to force him back into racing so he can take his title--and he's already taken his girlfriend.

Director: Leslie H. Martinson
Stars: Lori Nelson, Chuck Connors, John Smith
The Choppers (1961)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A gang of teenage delinquents terrorize a small community by stealing cars and stripping them for parts, then selling the parts to a crooked junkyard owner. The police and an insurance company investigator set out to break up the gang.

Director: Leigh Jason
Stars: Arch Hall Jr., Robert Paget, Burr Middleton
Carter's Army (TV Movie 1970)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

A redneck officer is put in charge of a squad of black troops charged with taking an important bridge from the Nazis.

Director: George McCowan
Stars: Stephen Boyd, Robert Hooks, Susan Oliver
Beulah (1950–1953)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A comedy series of a family with the central role pointed to their Negro domestic who pulls the weekly family situations together with more common sense than all of the other family members.

Stars: Ethel Waters, Louise Beavers, Ernest Whitman
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.3/10 X  

A giant lizard terrorizes a rural Texas community with a heroic teenager attempting to destroy the creature.

Director: Ray Kellogg
Stars: Don Sullivan, Fred Graham, Lisa Simone
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A bachelor marries a widow and her three kids join the honeymoon.

Director: Claude Binyon
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, Rita Johnson
Comedy | Music | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After one member of their group is murdered, the performers at a burlesque house must work together to find out who the killer is before they strike again.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Michael O'Shea, J. Edward Bromberg
The Wild Ride (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A rebellious punk of the beat generation spends his days as an amateur dirt track driver in between partying and troublemaking. He eventually kidnaps his buddy's girlfriend, kills a few ... See full summary »

Director: Harvey Berman
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Georgianna Carter, Robert Bean
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

South African secret agents attempt to save confidential microfilm before it falls into the hands of Communists.

Director: Robert D. Webb
Stars: James Brolin, Jacqueline Bisset, Claire Trevor
The Fireball (1950)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Johnny runs away from Father O'Hara's orphanage and becomes a roller skating star with the help of Mary Reeves. He becomes involved with women, including Polly, who only love him because he... See full summary »

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Mickey Rooney, Pat O'Brien, Beverly Tyler
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Matt Stevens is the big man at high school. He sweats the students for protection money, acquires copies of tests for a fee, and has rigged the votes so he can beat Kelly in the election ... See full summary »

Director: O'Dale Ireland
Stars: John Ashley, Gary Vinson, Steve Stevens
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Minnie (as Hattie McDaniels)
...
Lina Romay ...
...
Richard Lane ...
Reno Riley (as Dick Lane)
Edit

Storyline

Billy Coy comes to Carrell. His late father's mechanic Red hires Billy as a mechanic. Soon, Billy gets a job as a driver. Written by Daniel Ljungberg <meen@df.lth.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 November 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Thundering Wheels  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Home video versions of the film run under 89 minutes. See more »

Goofs

When Billy chases Happy Lee to tell him that his wheel is coming loose, Happy's car dies and Billy crashes into him. Both men are driving midgets, but the cutaway to stock footage of the wreck shows a roadster rolling over in flames. See more »

Quotes

[Reno gives his tomboy daughter a wad of cash to buy her first dress]
Vic Sullivan: I wish you'd be that generous with me!
Reno Riley: You'd look good in a dress.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Pickers: What Happens in Sturgis... (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Que Bueno
Written by Kermit Goell and Fred Spielman
Sung by Lina Romay at nightclub
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Good Character For Rooney, Good Atmosphere
28 November 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Mickey Rooney gets a character well-suited to his abilities, and the good atmosphere at garages and auto racing tracks also helps make this a solid B-melodrama. The story follows a familiar pattern, but the setting is different enough to make it interesting.

Rooney plays the son of a race driver who wants to establish a racing career of his own. The character goes through a number of changes as his fortunes ebb and flow, and Rooney makes him believable at each stage. He had the ability to be sympathetic when necessary, and he also had the knack of making a character turn abrasive in a believable fashion. Here, it helps to flesh out a familiar plot.

Most of the other characters are one-dimensional, and are only there to give Rooney something to play off of. An exception is Thomas Mitchell, whose skill at playing seemingly simple roles makes the garage owner into a believable character in his own right.

The auto racing settings are interesting, and although the racing sequences rely on stock footage, they are still enjoyable. The story takes Rooney's character from hot rods to midget racers to the Indianapolis-style cars. It was set in what was then the present, and race fans in its audiences probably could have spotted some familiar cars. Now, it is also of interest as a decent recreation of the Indy racers of its day.


14 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Rear-engine racecar amesk
Not Bad sipowicz
Nice watch for race fans folkepalm
american pickers dsartison50
Discuss The Big Wheel (1949) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page