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3: The Dale Earnhardt Story (2004)

TV Movie  -   -  Biography | Drama | Sport  -  11 December 2004 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,305 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 4 critic

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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Title: 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story (TV Movie 2004)

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
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Teresa Earnhardt
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Pit Crowd
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Martha Earnhardt
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Neil Bonnett
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Jake Elder
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Press Conference VIP
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Kelly Earnhardt
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Connie
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Daisy (as Tricia Quattlebaum)
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Kelly Earnhardt
Michael Flippo ...
Wayne Robertson
Daniel Freeze ...
Dale Pit Crew
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Kerry
Craig S. Harper ...
Kenny Schrader
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

One man, One sport. One nation.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

11 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

3  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the 1998 Daytona 500 post-race celebration on pit road, the Coors Light team is shown wearing the current (2001-2004) pit uniforms. The ones in 1998 were blue and brown. See more »

Quotes

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

Earnhardt Film Flawed, but Well-Made...
15 December 2004 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

"3: The Dale Earnhardt Story" isn't going to win a lot of non-Nascar fans over to the sport, but as a biography, it is well-made, offers some believable insights on what made Earnhardt the often enigmatic person he was, and, in Barry Pepper, provides an eerily close approximation to the 'look' and 'feel' of the racing legend. Pepper will certainly receive an Emmy nomination for the role, and delivers such a powerful portrayal that you nearly forget how good the rest of the cast is.

While Elizabeth Mitchell is more glamorous than the real Teresa Earnhardt, she is quite solid and believable in the role; to truly appreciate how important Teresa's intelligence and business acumen were to Dale, it would have required a much longer movie, and might have seriously tilted the story away from Dale's other relationships, and the balance that Pepper and director Russell Mulcahy achieved.

Dale's early years come off best in the film, with a wonderful performance by J.K. Simmons as the inspirational Ralph Earnhardt. The grittiness and 'backwoods blue-collar' feel of Earnhardt's upbringing is well-conveyed, and reminiscent of "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "The River". The film loses a bit of steam when Dale begins racing, and as he achieves success, a lot of memorable moments had to be edited out, or telescoped down, which has disappointed some Earnhardt fans. Considering the time and budget constraints, however, I found the story to be remarkably accurate.

The young actors who portrayed Dale's children as adults should be singled out for recognition; race car driver/first-time actor Chad Mcumbee, while low-key, is pretty impressive as Dale Jr., conveying both a pride in his father, and frustration in being 'held back' so he could complete his education before being permitted to race; Corri English, while too cute, has an infectious smile and manner, and exhibits the Earnhardt joy of fast cars; best of all is newcomer Frank Glidden as oldest son Kerry, who, in a few brief scenes, offers a balanced, sensitive interpretation of the son Dale abandoned, finally winning his father's attention and respect, even as he sees Dale Jr. outshining him on the track. I look forward to seeing more of Glidden's work in future!

While there will certainly be a more detailed and polished feature film about Earnhardt in the future, this ESPN production is not without it's own merits, and provides an entertaining, dramatic overview of the racing legend's life.


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Barry Pepper as Earnhardt? Duane-14
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