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The Big Wheel (1949)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, Romance  |  4 November 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 331 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 1 critic

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.



(original screenplay)
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Complete credited cast:
Minnie (as Hattie McDaniels)
Steve Brodie ...
Lina Romay ...
Richard Lane ...
Reno Riley (as Dick Lane)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama | Romance | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 November 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Thundering Wheels  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the 33rd running of the Indianapolis 500, Wilbur Shaw, the President of the Speedway, actually did drive the Pace car, as the movie announcer had noted. See more »


When Mickey Rooney runs out of his burning car near the end, we hear the gas tank exploding, but the car clearly hasn't exploded yet. See more »


Arthur 'Red' Stanley: The way I figure it, another $1000 and she'll be ready for Indianapolis.
Reno Riley: I wouldn't give you another buck and a half.
Arthur 'Red' Stanley: Reno, this is the fastest rod in the business!
Reno Riley: How many years have you been takin' this pile of junk to the race, Red? Six? Seven?
Arthur 'Red' Stanley: Eight.
Reno Riley: And you never even qualified.
See more »


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


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

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User Reviews

Great old movie!
8 January 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This movie screened today on BRIZ31 (Brisbane Community Television)

1949, Indianapolis 500 was in it's 33rd year. Mickey Rooney played the hard ass carby engine driver to a T! Sure, the backdrop of the great race track was exactly that, with Rooney walking around as if he was actually there, but let's face it, SFX was still 5-6 years away. :-) The story was fast paced and believable. Tough nut owners and their equally tough nut drivers. Punch ups were the way to settle an argument. Never mind a quiet talk.

An enjoyable yarn, with typical Rooney happy ending. 8 stars of of 10 from me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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