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3: The Dale Earnhardt Story (2004)

Barry Pepper portrays legendary race car drive Dale Earnhardt, who died in 2001 during the last lap of the Daytona 500.




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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Teresa Earnhardt
Pit Crowd
Martha Earnhardt
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Neil Bonnett
Jake Elder
Press Conference VIP
Kelly Earnhardt
Daisy (as Tricia Quattlebaum)
Kelly Earnhardt
Michael Flippo ...
Wayne Robertson
Daniel Freeze ...
Dale Pit Crew
Craig S. Harper ...
Kenny Schrader


Biographical story of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. starts with his young life and growing up with his father, Ralph, who raced for a living, but initially wanted more for his son. When Dale quits high school to start driving full time, his father aids him and shows a reluctant pride when he is initially successful. Armed with many of his father's philosophies, Dale pushed himself to be the best. His aggressive track mannerisms earned himself fans and detractors. Fellow racer Neil Bonnett was one of those long time friends and whose death deeply affected Dale. Darrell Waltrip clearly was a detractor and the two men's rivalry is clearly depicted. Off the track, Dale's determination to make it impacts two marriages. Third wife Theresa was closer to racing and met Dale when he had started his rise into the Winston Cup circuit. The story also looks at his relationship with his children, particularly son Kerry from his first marriage and whom he did not see again after age 5 until Kerry in his late ... Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One man, One sport. One nation.


Biography | Drama | Sport



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Release Date:

11 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

3  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


In a scene set in the mid-1970s, Dale Earnhardt places money that he won by winning a race on a table. On top of the stack is a $20 bill with a design that was introduced in 1998. See more »


Dale Earnhardt: [helping Dale Jr. strap into a racecar] Wipe that look off your face, Dale. You'll wind up as ugly as me.
See more »

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User Reviews

You can look at this two ways
12 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I will preface this by say I have been a Dale Earnhardt fan since nearly the beginning of his NASCAR career. Dale was born 2 day before me, which I initially thought was cool, but later became an inspiration to keep at it, always do your best and never give up or accept second best. Additionally, he owned a Chevy dealership which sold vehicle, some of which were made in the GM plant where I work. Fully half of my NASCAR collection is Earnhardt memorabilia.

They casted this movie well, especially Dale. The older race footage was great. Many of the regular scene were well done. But as for the character development...I feel that Hollywood invention was used a little too often, and too many known points were omitted. Granted, much of Ralph Earnhardt had to be created using sketchy material. Surely, there was not a long line of eye witness/friends/acquaintances to draw from. However, there was a lot of Dale info that seems to have been passed over.

Overall, this was not a happy story, start to finish. Yes, there were a few bright moments, but never any happy periods. And there was always a club waiting to knock down any happiness that dared to raise its head. While it makes for a good movie, there are far too many factual stories that create a happier, more optimistic person than the one created in this movie.

Known stuff that coulda/shoulda made it into the movie.

Dale was a AVID hunter and fisherman...not just a person who enjoyed it. He was once quoted as saying the only 3 things he wanted to do his whole life was race, hunt and fish. He also said he couldn't picture a time when he wasn't racing anymore. He frequently appeared on hunting and fishing shows. It was more than a pass time to him. And anyone who saw him on these shows saw a happy, not melancholy individual.

Dale was also a very accomplished guitar player, and a fair singer. Videos of him playing with some of Country Music's biggest star exist. They played one at his funeral. His guitar sat prominently beside his coffin.

Teresa, behind Dale and with Dale built a powerful business empire, including DEI and the aforementioned Chevy dealership. Teresa has a very skilled business mind. Anything with him or his name on it was licensed through DEI. The company made millions off his name, and will for years to come.

Dale loved racing of all kinds, he would be up early talking to other racers about races from all over the world he had listened to on the shortwave or satellite the night before. His veins and arteries were filled with race cars instead of blood.

Dale used to love his fans as much as they loved him. He signed autograph and took pictures more than almost anyone else. One of my friends has a stunning full face of Dale in his car getting ready to go onto the track for practice. When Dale saw the camera, he smiled and waved to my friend. It is poster grade and worth a mint if he ever decides to part with it.

Dale did as much or more to bring up young drivers than anyone else. He loved to see other success as well. Junior, Rob Hornaday, Steve Park, Kevin Harvick are just a few he aided. Despite the way the built and played on the animosity angle between Dale and Darrel Waltrip, who did more to help Darrel's brother Michael? Dale gave the perpetual also ran Michael a ride and coached him to be a winner, lest we forget Michael got his first career win after hundreds of starts just seconds after dale's fatal crash.

Kelly might be the best driver of the Earnhardt kids. Anyone who follows racing knows Kerry has never made it, while Junior is right there at the top. Several people who know the Earnhardts claim Kelly is the best driver of the three kids, but being a girl, never received a chance to prove it.

Aside from that, my one complaint with the movie is the created race action.

It was like Rocky or any martial arts film. While you can bump and grind a lot at a Bristol, Martinsville or other short tracks, the kind of interaction between cars on the bigger tracks just doesn't exist, at least without a crash occurring. It makes for good movie, but the crunches they show on the bigger tracks are fantasy, any true race fans know it.

9 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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