16 user 3 critic

Heart Like a Wheel (1983)

Shirley Muldowney is determined to be a top-fuel drag racer, although no woman has ever raced them before. Despite the high risks of this kind of racing and the burden it places on her ... See full summary »



Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Barlow ...
Bass Player, Tex's Band
Jack Muldowney
John Muldowney (age 15-23)
Tex Roque
Chef Paul
Missy Basile ...
Jesse Aragon ...
Little Shirley
Matt, Card Player
Guitar Player, Tex's Band
Martin Casella ...
Repoter #1


Shirley Muldowney is determined to be a top-fuel drag racer, although no woman has ever raced them before. Despite the high risks of this kind of racing and the burden it places on her family life, she perseveres in her dream. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She did something, women were forbidden to do and, become a World Champion.


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 April 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Corazón sobre ruedas  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Candy Clark, Kathryn Harrold, Susan Lucci, and Jamie Lee Curtis were all considered for the role of Shirley Muldowney. Curtis was Shirley Muldowney's personal choice to play her, but the part eventually went to Bonnie Bedelia. See more »


A sign for Pepsi's famous "Be Sociable/Have a Pepsi" campaign is visible in barroom scene set in 1956, two years earlier than that slogan was actually launched. See more »


Connie Kalitta: UNBECOMING, MY ASS!
[after storming out, of the press room while the NHRA, revoked his racing license]
Shirley Muldowney: How long?
Connie Kalitta: Indefinite suspension.
See more »


Featured in Shirley Muldowney: Behind the Wheel (2006) See more »


Louie Louie
Written by Richard Berry
Performed by Jack Ely
Played on the radio at the garage
See more »

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User Reviews

Cha Cha
15 May 2016 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Bonnie Bedelia got her career role in this biographical study of Shirley Ann Muldowney aka Cha Cha who became the first female drag racing champion. She cracked a lot of glass ceilings and this film is particularly good viewing as another woman is poised to crack the biggest glass ceiling of them all this year.

There were a lot of heartaches on the way for Muldowney, the break up of her marriage where her husband Leo Rossi felt relegated to the sidelines in his role reversal as her mechanic. There was also an affair with another drag racing champion played by Beau Bridges.

Bedelia is just wonderful in a role where she gradually ages almost 20 years and she's convincing at all stages of her life. She gets good support from her supporting cast. Special mention should go out to Leo Rossi who has a complex role as the husband who is never made a stereotypical alpha male. No trace of a Donald Trump like character is found in his performance. Also country singer Hoyt Axton does well as Bedelia's father.

I think more than drag racing fans will like Heart Like A Wheel which got an Oscar nomination for costume design.

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