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Days of Thunder

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Days of Thunder
Movie

Release:  June 27, 1990
Producers:  Don Simpson & Jerry Bruckheimer

A movie about NASCAR racing.

Cast
Tom Cruise as Cole Trickle
Nicole Kidman as Dr. Claire Lewicki
Robert Duvall as Harry Hogge
Randy Quaid as Tim Daland
Michael Rooker as Rowdy Burns
Cary Elwes as Russ Wheeler
John C. Reilly as Buddy Brotherton
Fred Thompson as "Big John"
Cameos from NASCAR personalities Dr. Jerry Punch, Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant, Rusty Wallace, Bob Jenkins, and Richard Petty.

The main racing team characters are very loosely based on some elements of the Hendrick Motorsports team, with Tim Daland as Rick Hendrick, a Charlotte-area car dealer starting a NASCAR team.  Cole Trickle is the handsome young open wheel racer who wants to get into stock car racing, similar to Hendrick driver Tim Richmond's start into NASCAR, driving for Hendrick.  Harry Hogge is based on Harry Hyde, Tim Richmond's crew chief for the Hendrick team.  Rowdy Burns was similar to Dale Earnhardt, a champion driver in a black Chevrolet with a tough reputation.

Contrary to rumors a decade after the movie was released, Cole Trickle was not based on Jeff Gordon.  This may be because of the similarities between Trickle and Gordon both in appearance and background (both came from California) and the tragic loss of Tim Richmond in 1989, but in the film's release year of 1990, (not counting the filming and production time put in between writing the script and releasing the film), Jeff Gordon had just one Busch Grand National start, and wouldn't even make his first Winston Cup appearance until a single race in 1992.

The film is notable in motorsports for having a car entered in the Daytona 500 equipped with a movie camera in the front bumper and in the film industry for being the film where Tom Cruise met Nicole Kidman.

Its influence continued decades after its release.  Kyle Busch taking on the nickname Rowdy after the Days of Thunder character Rowdy Burns as well as the original black #51 paint scheme driven by Rowdy Burns in the film for Kyle's NASCAR truck team.  The 2006 Will Ferrell film, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, co-starred John C. Reilly (who played crewman Buddy Brotherton in Days of Thunder) and used some of the same car-launching equipment to create the crash scenes as was used for the rollover wreck in Days of Thunder.

The main race car driver characters in the movie all drive Chevrolet Lumina-based race cars.

Page Sections
Documents
Model Kits
Video Game
Music


Model Kits

BrandItem #SeriesNameScaleDriverCar #Notes
Monogram2921Days of ThunderMello Yello Lumina Stock Car1:24Cole Trickle51


Video Game

A game based on the film was created for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Published in 1990 by Mindscape.


Game Genie Codes

NYKNIUNO - Start with more fuel
YIKNIUNO - Start with less fuel
SXEYPUSU - Faster acceleration
IEUNLLLA + SXEYPUSU - Maximum acceleration
AAVOEXNY - Tires don't burst
SNXOSKEY - Better left-hand cornering


Music

Soundtrack album released 2001 by Geffen/Epic


The Last Note of Freedom by David Coverdale
Deal for Life by John Waite
Break Through the Barrier by Tina Turner
Hearts in Trouble by Chicago
Trail of Broken Hearts by Cher
Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Guns 'n Roses
You Gotta Love Someone by Elton John
Show Me Heaven by Maria McKee
Thunderbox by Apollo Smile
Long Live the Night by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Gimme Some Lovin' by The Spencer Davis Group
Gimme Some Lovin' by Terry Reid (Terry Reid version on Soundtrack Album, The Spencer Davis Group version used in the film)

Musical Score composed by Hans Zimmer and featuring Jeff Beck on guitar


Days of Thunder (Main Title) (02:06)
Rowdy Drives/Who Is This Driver? (02:06)
Let Me Drive/Cole Drives Rowdy's Car (02:26)
Car Building (02:05)
Darlington - Cole Wins (04:47)
You're Home/Daytona Race/The Crash (03:29)
The Hospital (02:20)
Wheelchair Race (00:37)
Rental Car Race (03:50)
Claire Arrives at her Apartment (01:55)
Physical Kiss (01:05)
Cole Blows His Engine (01:10)
Wheeler/Cole Smashes (02:25)
Cole at the Laundry/Cole Agrees to Drive Rowdy's Car (02:11)
Cole and Harry Fight/Harry Talks to Car (02:52)
Cole in Truck/Pre-Race (03:52)
The Last Race (10:20)
The Last Note of Freedom (04:57) - David Coverdale
The Hospital (Alternate) (02:21)
Wheelchair Race (Alternate) (00:38)
Claire Arrives at her Apartment (Alternate Ending) (01:53)
Cole Blows His Engine (Alternate) (01:12)
Pre-Race (Alternate Mix) (02:25)
Days of Thunder (Main Title) (Rock Arrangement) (04:59)




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