5.7/10
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19 user 2 critic

The Big Wheel (1949)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 4 November 1949 (USA)
A brash young midget car race driver lives in the shadow of his famous father, a drunken womanizer, who was killed in an accident years earlier.

Director:

Edward Ludwig

Writer:

Robert Smith (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rooney ... Billy Coy
Thomas Mitchell ... Red Stanley
Michael O'Shea ... Vic Sullivan
Mary Hatcher ... Lou Riley
Spring Byington ... Mary Coy
Steve Brodie ... Happy Lee
Lina Romay ... Dolores Raymond
Hattie McDaniel ... Minnie (as Hattie McDaniels)
Allen Jenkins ... George
Monte Blue ... Deacon Jones
Richard Lane ... Reno Riley (as Dick Lane)
Eddie Kane Eddie Kane ... Head Waiter
Charles Irwin Charles Irwin ... Drunk
Kippee Valez Kippee Valez ... Carla
Denver Pyle ... Doctor
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Storyline

Billy Coy comes to Carrell. His late father's mechanic Red hires Billy as a mechanic. Soon, Billy gets a job as a driver. Written by Daniel Ljungberg <meen@df.lth.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Actually filmed at the famous Indianapolis 500-mile race classic and the nation's top speedways! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thundering Wheels See more »

Filming Locations:

Culver City, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The portion of the film set in Indianapolis used footage shot at the actual 1949 Indy 500 time trials and race, and other footage at the track. Other than Mickey Rooney's character Billy Coy, driving car #6, most of the drivers and car numbers cited by the announcer in the movie were the actual entrants in that race. Car #6 was actually driven by Lee Wallard who completed only 55 laps of the race. As in the movie, the race was won by #7, Bill Holland, but he actually won by a huge margin and didn't relinquish the trophy to another driver. See more »

Goofs

When Billy chases Happy Lee to tell him that his wheel is coming loose, Happy's car dies and Billy crashes into him. Both men are driving midgets, but the cutaway to stock footage of the wreck shows a roadster rolling over in flames. See more »

Quotes

Billy Coy: [Repeated several times with variations] If they get in front of me, I'll drive right over them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film opens with the following written acknowledgements: "Grateful acknowledgement for their invaluable assistance is made to the AAA, the URA, the Racing Drivers of America, the Indianapolis Speedway and Mr. Wilbur Shaw." See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Pickers: What Happens in Sturgis... (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Que Bueno
Written by Kermit Goell and Fred Spielman
Sung by Lina Romay at nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

My dad's crash is in this movie!
6 May 1999 | by NeehoSee all my reviews

Perhaps the fondest memories of my father's life were those involving his one and only entry in the Indy 500 from 1949, the event chronicled in this movie.

My dad, George Lynch, crashed after the first lap, hitting the wall in the first turn near the camera bay. The event is captured in the film, with the racetrack announcer calling his name. Figures that my dad's one and only Indy mishap is captured forever on film.


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