27 user 15 critic

Race the Sun (1996)

A bunch of high school misfits in Hawaii, introduced by their new teacher, attend a science fair in which they draw up inspiration to build their own solar car and win a trip to compete in the 1990 World Solar Challenge in Australia.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Machi (as James Belushi)
Commissioner Hawkes
Jack Fryman
Sara Tanaka ...
Uni Kakamura
Oni Nagano
Adriane Napualani Uganiza ...
Luana Kanahele
Robert Hughes ...
Judd Potter
Ed Webster


Idealistic Sandra Beecher has just started working as a Science teacher at Kona-Pali High School in Hawaii, being hired for this job despite her teaching background being English. Her reason for taking the job is largely to run away from the mainland and a failed marriage. She finds that her students are an unmotivated lot, largely because there are low societal expectations of them, including from their parents and the school faculty. As such, she directs a handful of her most unmotivated students to attend a regional science fair at which there are no Kona-Pali displays to come up with their own science fair projects. An incident at the fair does spur one of her students, Daniel Webster, self-professed as not being good at most things but believing he is a good designer, to announce, with the support of his fellow students, that they want to build a solar powered car of his design as their project, and to enter that car in the upcoming Inter-island Race. American Corporate giant, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A dream can make all the difference under the sun.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language and a brief incident of teen drinking | See all certifications »




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Release Date:

22 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La compétition  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,116,504, 24 March 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(8 channels)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on the true story of the 1989 - 1993 Konawaena High School Solarcar Team. See more »


When introducing herself to the students, Ms. Beecher prints her name on the blackboard. It repeatedly changes between printed and cursive throughout the scene. See more »


Send Me On My Way
Written by Michael Glabicki, Liz Berlin, John Buynak, Jim DiSpirito (as James Dispirito),
Jim Donovan (as James Donovan), Patrick Norman & Jenn Wertz
Performed by Rusted Root
Courtesy of Mercury Records
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Not so much Halle's movie
19 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

The opening begins with Halle as Sandra Beecher fleeing from a broken marriage and setting up new in a working class section of Hawaii.

The English teacher takes a job as a Science teacher and at this point I'm thinking "Dangerous Minds: Hawaiian Style." The classroom is similar a working class neighbourhood, run down school and disruptive kids. But Ms Beecher, who takes the lead in the first quarter of the movie tries to inspire the kids and butts heads with James Belushi's Frank Machi. The experienced engineering teacher.

The rest of the movie really belongs to the kids. After a clash between a rich school at a science fair Ms Beecher makes the kids go to they are inspired to build a solar power car to race in and earn their school a better rep. Leading this pack is outcasted, because he's white, ambitious Daniel Webster superbly played by Casey Affleck and the heartwarming, Gilbert a standout character played by J. Moki Cho (who unfortunatley does not have much of a filmography at this point). Roped in is the troubled sister of Daniel, Cindy with a solid peformance by Eliza Dushku and a whole host of other characters each one memorable and stand out. Together they build their hopes, learn from each other and not too sound cheesy but they really do race the sun.

This would have been a great family film had it not been for the language. But if that doesn't put you off then I would suggest watching it with them. It really is a a good solid movie. I watched it over a week ago at 3am because i couldn't sleep but it still has stuck with me.

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