18 user 3 critic

Heart Like a Wheel (1983)

Shirley Muldowney is determined to be a top-fuel drag racer, although no woman has ever raced them before. Despite the high risks of this kind of racing and the burden it places on her ... See full summary »



, (original script by)

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Barlow ...
Bass Player, Tex's Band
Jack Muldowney
John Muldowney (age 15-23)
Chef Paul
Missy Basile ...
Jesse Aragon ...
Little Shirley
Matt, Card Player
Guitar Player, Tex's Band
Martin Casella ...


Shirley Muldowney is determined to be a top-fuel drag racer, although no woman has ever raced them before. Despite the high risks of this kind of racing and the burden it places on her family life, she perseveres in her dream. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She did something, women were forbidden to do and, become a World Champion.


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 April 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Beauty  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Candy Clark, Kathryn Harrold, Susan Lucci, and Jamie Lee Curtis were all considered for the role of Shirley Muldowney. Curtis was Shirley Muldowney's personal choice to play her, but the part eventually went to Bonnie Bedelia. See more »


At the first race they attend with her dragster, Jack Muldowney tells his son to help him work on the carburetor. The car is an A fuel dragster and is injected and has no carburetor. The injectors are clearly visible in this scene. See more »


Connie Kalitta: UNBECOMING, MY ASS!
[after storming out, of the press room while the NHRA, revoked his racing license]
Shirley Muldowney: How long?
Connie Kalitta: Indefinite suspension.
See more »


Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)
Adaptation and music by Pete Seeger
Performed by The Byrds
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Decent biopic about a woman racer.
20 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

This was another HBO-fodder summer movie that I would catch either after school or on the weekend. I don't remember too much about it other than it was exceptionally well shot, had some A-list talent in the cast, and it reminded me of my time at the local raceway.

It's a bit of a slow movie, some drama that may or may not have taken liberty with Shirley Muldowney's real story, and overall a bit of a sleeper of a film. I don't recall it getting a lot of promotion on TV before it hit cable, and to be honest I don't recall it ever playing in the local theatres. But it was a decent enough movie to see once or twice.

The 60s and 70s was a time when the women's movement was trying to re-assert female participation in what had become largely a male only world. The film shows some of the sexist barriers she faced, and her interpersonal struggles with her own crew and competition.

I can't say I was a big drag racing fan, and I didn't know too much about her until I saw the movie. The film helped bring her to the fore front for a brief amount of time to non-drag racers (though you did hear about her on occasion on the radio).

The film itself has that mid-range budget feel. It's a bit raw, but still has a good professional gloss to it.

Check it out.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 18 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page