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Days of Thunder (1990)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Drama, Sport  |  27 June 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 57,187 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 95 user | 58 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

A young hot-shot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level.



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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Russ Wheeler
Big John
Buck Bretherton
J.C. Quinn ...
Jennie Burns
Darlene (as Donna Wilson)
Harlem Hoogerhyde
Cole's Crew
Cole's Crew


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


Cruise like Thunder. See more »


Action | Drama | Sport


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 June 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Días de trueno  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)


$82,670,733 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(analog 70 mm prints)| (digital 35 mm and 70 mm prints)| (analog 35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Pickup shots for the film were being done less than a week before the release prints were scheduled to be made. See more »


Many shots of the first race that Cole wins at a non-Daytona race clearly show the word Daytona on the walls of the track and the flagman's booth has it emblazoned on its side. See more »


Harry Hogge: Tim, take a look at that hound. That's the best coon-dog I ever seen or heard about and I didn't to teach him a damn thing.
See more »


Spoofed in Scary Movie 2 (2001) See more »


You Gotta Love Someone
Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Performed by Elton John
Produced by Don Was
Elton John courtesy of MCA Records and Phonogram U.K. Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Painting by numbers produces an average film despite the cast
23 August 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Eager for a winning formula, team owner Tim Daland puts together the inexperienced but naturally talented Cole Trickle and the retired but skilled mechanic Harry Hogge to hopefully bounce off each other to create a winning combination. After the expected bumps and friction between the two, they seem to blend well and start winning races. However, a major accident between Cole and his main rival, Rowdy Burns, puts them both in the hospital under the care of the professional and leggy Dr Lewicki. But will Cole be able to overcome the physical and mental scars that he got.

The comedian Rich Hall did a great routine once where he summed up the films of Tom Cruise by basically saying that each of them involves him being great at his job (pilot, bartender, driver) before suffering a crisis of confidence but meeting a beautiful lady who helps him over it in time to come good – hilarious in the telling because he was right and, true to form, Days of Thunder sets its stall out in the same way. That the plot is formulaic (father/son stuff, macho posturing, love interest, final big race etc) and it is a bit tiring at times because it is nothing new and it produces large sags during the film. The father/son stuff is OK if hackneyed but the romance is so sudden and fake that it left me cool and never engaged once. The racing stuff is fun, noisy and fast which I suppose is what most of its audience want; but this is still not a great action movie but kudos to Scott for managing to make a load of cars going round a circular track appear exciting.

The cast is more impressive on paper than they are in reality. Cruise plays his usual character and does it with no real charm or ability. He is trading off his fame here and his macho nonsense is rather tiresome. Kidman may have been Cruise's offscreen partner but viewers of this film will have seen their divorce coming because they have zero chemistry and she is poor throughout. It's not all her fault though, the script gives her nothing to work with. Thank god then, for Robert Duvall; he may be playing a fairly clichéd character but he does it well and steals every scene from his pretty but empty co-star. Support is good from Quaid and Rooker but Ewles is given too little time to make anything but a negative impression and Reilly had yet to prove his versatility and doesn't do it here.

Overall this is very much painting by the numbers in many regards. The plot is easy and lacks any sort of spark or innovation meaning that, when the cars are off the screen, it is easy for the film to get dull. The action scenes are OK but, as with F1, I find many motor sports to be dull and didn't get drawn into the predictable races as much as I wanted to. The script gives the cast nothing to really work with, and only Duvall comes out with any real dignity even if he has a cliché as opposed to a real person to play. This has all the failings you would expect and the end result of so little imagination is an average film that is watchable but no more than that.

19 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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