Days of Thunder
Director: Tony Scott
Writter: Robert Towne
Tom Plays: Cole Trickle
Status: ON DVD
A young hot-shot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level.
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Continuity: In one of the Daytona races, Rowdey pushes Cole into Harry Gant and spins him. During the spin, a car switches from Gant (#33) to Brett Bodine (#26).
Audio/visual unsynchronized: Cole says “the accelerator is stuck” and other things without moving his lips.
Continuity: While talking to Cole, Hogge’s hat switches between advertising the University of Georgia and the University of Florida.
Errors in geography: While racing at Phoenix (a flat track), footage is shown of a high banked track.
Continuity: The red ring around Trickle’s eye swaps eyes.
Continuity: Numerous problems with the juxtaposition, cleanliness, and markings of cars.
Continuity: At the end of the Daytona 500, Cole’s face is heavily blackened with oil, yet the windshield and interior of the care are spotless.
Continuity: Cole’s collar in the dressing room before the Daytona 500.
Continuity: In the opening Daytona 500, just after the green flag drops, you can see Cole’s City Cheverolet on the right hand side of the screen, even though it does not exist yet.
Factual errors: During the opening sequence of the movie, if you watch carefully, you will see a Busch Grand National series official inspecting a car. The Daytona 500 is a Winston Cup event.
Continuity: When Cole is racing at North Wilkesboro, he is complaining about the way the car feels. We then see an outside view of his car and on the rear deck it shows a Ford emblem. Cole drives a Chevrolet.
Continuity: Both the rental cars apparently sustain damage when Cole and Rowdey are racing them to the restaurant, but in many shots they appear untouched.
Revealing mistakes: Cole (Tom Cruise) visits Rowdy and his wife and as they are walking through the field of grass, Rowdy’s wife calls Cole “Tom”.
Continuity: When Harry is at the track watching Rowdy practice right before he meets Cole, the sky and surrounding atmosphere is VERY cloudy and foggy. When Cole enters the track and approaches the race car, the weather is now clear and sunny.
Continuity: In the Daytona Race before Cole has his big wreck, you can see his Superflo #46 car pass Russ Wheeler’s #18 Hardee’s car before Russ Wheeler was even introduced to drive for Cole while he was recovering from his accident.
Continuity: When Harry is telling Cole what happened to Buddy, Harry and Cole are standing at opposite ends of the car, when Cole walks away, they’ve switched positions.
Audio/visual unsynchronized: During the race in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, Russ Wheeler slams Coles car into the trackside wall and he spins off, Cole can clearly be heard saying, “Son-of-a-bitch!” and yet his lips don’t move.
Continuity: At the Dover, Delaware race, Cole enters pit road when another car pulls out in front of him. Cole has to slam on his brakes and then looses control. He is then seen wearing a white with red and blue trim fire suit as he says, “Oh, this gonna hurt.” When he strikes the wall, it shows him in a fire suit with his team colors (green and black).
Errors in geography: Many shots of the first race that Cole wins at a non-Daytona race clearly show the word Daytona on the walls of the track and the flagman’s booth has it emblazoned on its side.
Continuity: At the very end of the film, when Cole and Harry are sitting on the pit wall talking, the wall is clearly draped with the Mello Yello and Hardee’s colours. When the camera switches to them running down pit lane, the team colours are nowhere to be seen!
Continuity: The last race of the movie is the Daytona 500, or as they say the final race of the season, when in fact it’s the first race of the season.
Plot holes: When Cole goes to visit Rowdy in the hospital, Rowdy asks Cole to drive his car at Daytona. If his car doesn’t finish in the top five, his sponsor won’t pick up the tab for the year. Cole agrees but ends up getting the Mello Yellow sponsor. This doesn’t make sense being as how Exxon needed to finish in the top 5.
Continuity: During the Daytona race that is suppose to take place in July, the fans all have on winter coats.
Factual errors: There are several shots of Cole Trickle’s car missing the bright yellow rookie stripe on the rear bumper. The only time the stripe is present is when Cole is at Darlington.
Continuity: In the final race at Daytona, Cole is seen getting ready for the race and when Dr. Dalricki comes in the room, he is seen putting on black driving shoes. After the race, he is being victoriously lifted overhead by his crew and you can see that his shoes are white now.
Continuity: In the shop scene where Cole Trickle is talking to the doctor you can clearly see what is Derrike Cope’s purolator car through the window.
Revealing mistakes: In the scene where Cole and Rowdy line up at the stop light in opposite vehicles, Rowdy is in a Ford Taurus. When the light turns green, they both gun it and you see smoke coming form the tires of the Taurus. The smoke is coming from the rear tires. The Ford Taurus never came with a RWD option, they were all front wheel drive, thus the rear tires should not have smoked up.
Factual errors: After the caution in the final race when Cole beats the pace car out of pit road, the race restarts with Wheeler, the leader, starting on the inside line. In reality, Wheeler’s car should have been on the outside line, as lead-lap cars start on the outside and cars a lap down or more start on the inside. Another thing is that NASCAR does not have double file restarts with the exception of a botched start of the race or cautions during the Nextel All-Star Race.
Cole Trickle: Yeah, well this son of a bitch just slammed into me.
Harry Hogge: No, no, he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you… he *rubbed* you. And rubbin, son, is racin’.
Harry Hogge: What do you know about stock car racing?
Cole Trickle: Well… watched it on television, of course.
Harry Hogge: You’ve seen it on television?
Cole Trickle: ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you’d be surprised at how much you can pick up.
Harry Hogge: I’m sure I would.
Tim Daland: You said you’d look at him.
Harry Hogge: I’ve looked at him.
Tim Daland: I paid twenty five hundred dollars to use this track today, Harry.
Cole Trickle: Forget it, he needs a brand name like Exon or Richard Petty.
Harry Hogge: Well, I know a damn race driver when I see one.
Rowdy Burns: You run good.
Cole Trickle: Thank you.
Rowdy Burns: Now go get your own car and we’ll see how you do in a crowd.
Tim Daland: We messed up big time on Sunday. I had sponsors in thew stands and I’m huggin’ and holdin’ hands and kissin’em in the ears and prayin’ for a good showin’. And what do we do? We end up lookin’ like a monkey fuckin’ a football out there. Everybody out, PLEASE.
[Everyone gets up]
Tim Daland: [to Cole and Harry] … Except you two. I’ve got a question. What is the one thing you absolutely need to do to win a race?
Harry Hogge: That’s pretty damn obvious…
Tim Daland: You keep quiet.
Tim Daland: You need to finish the race!
Cole Trickle: Tim, I realize Harry’s been around a long time. I’m not sayin’ that his ways are antiquated but it’d help to have a car that handled properly and didn’t blow engines.
Harry Hogge: Well if he wouldn’t get excited and over-rev the son-of-a-bitch the engine wouldn’t blow. Now, Cole, when you shift the gear and that little needle on the tach goes into the red and reads 9000 RPMs, that’s BAD.
Cole Trickle: It’s also my fault that the tires blow if you ask this old fart!
Harry Hogge: Well, Hell yes it’s your fault. There’s 40 other vultures out there who manage to finish the race on THEIR tires. You see Darrell Waltrip usin’ up HIS tires?
Cole Trickle: There’s nothin’ I can’t do with a race car.
Harry Hogge: Well, that’s the difference between you and me. There’s only so much I CAN do.
Cole Trickle: Well, that’s obvious!
Tim Daland: Harry, he doesn’t need to appreciate your job to do his.
Harry Hogge: He sure as hell does ’cause how can he expect to race if he don’t know what a race car can and can’t do?
Cole Trickle: What is this shit, huh? You want me to work the pit and YOU drive. Fine, we’ll try that.
[Cole leaves the room]
Harry Hogge: I can’t talk to this son of a bitch… I can’t talk to that son of a bitch… I just can’t… I can’t… I… I…
Tim Daland: You think he can drive?
Harry Hogge: Oh he can drive. He can drive beyond the limits of the tires, the engine, the car or anything else. If the sum’ bitch listened to me we wouldn’t hardly ever lose a race!
Tim Daland: If they don’t give us a sponsor in the next couple of races, my ass is fried. I’m liable to be out of the car business all together. And Harry, I know you’re great, you know you’re great, but if the guy in the car doesn’t trust you we’re never gonna win a damn race.
Cole Trickle: [after driving a stock car for the first time ever, and only a couple of laps] I’m droppin’ the hammer!
Harry Hogge: [furious] No you’re not!
[Cole does so anyway]
[During a pit stop]
Harry Hogge: All right. While we’re still under a caution, I want you to go back out on that track and hit the pace car.
Cole Trickle: Hit the pace car?
Harry Hogge: Hit the pace car.
Cole Trickle: What for?
Harry Hogge: Because you’ve hit every other goddamned thing out there, I want you to be perfect.
Dr. Claire Lewicki: Boy, you’re very quick.
Cole Trickle: You oughta see me drive.
Dr. Claire Lewicki: Tell me what you love so much about racing.
Cole Trickle: Speed. To be able to control it. To know that I can control something that’s out of control.
Cole Trickle: Claire, I’m more afraid of bein’ nothing than I am of being hurt.
Cole Trickle: Whoa. Her ass is all over the place.
Harry Hogge: When the rear end’s loose, the car’s fast. Loose is fast, and on the edge you’re out of control.
Cole Trickle: Now are you gonna walk, or am I gonna have to carry you?
Harry Hogge: To where?
Cole Trickle: Victory Lane.
Harry Hogge: Walk? Hell… I’ll race your ass.
Big John: If you two wanna turn yourselves into a greasy spot out on a country road somewhere, go right ahead. I don’t give a shit and I don’t think anybody else does, but you two monkeys are not going to do it on my racetrack. You ever heard of a “Japanese Inspection?” Japanese Inpsection, you see, when the Japs take in a load of lettuce they’re not sure they wanna let in the country, why they’ll just let it sit there on the dock ’til they get good and ready to look at, But then of course, it’s all gone rotten… ain’t nothing left to inspect. You see, lettuce is a perishable item… like you two monkeys. You trade paint one more time, you so much as touch, I’m gonna Black Flag the two of you, and tear apart your racecars for three-hundred laps. Then, if you pass inspection and you put your cars back together, I might let you back into the race. Now, just to show there’s no hard feelings we’re all gonna go to dinner together.
Cole Trickle: Well, I have other plans.
Rowdy Burns: Yeah, so do I!
Big John: Well, you’re gonna have to change them and you two are driving to dinner together.
Harry Hogge: [after Cole gets spun out by Russ] Cole, are you all right?
Cole Trickle: [Giving Harry a dianogsis of the car before coming onto pit road] The good news is the accelerator’s fixed. The bad news is the transmission’s screwed. I’m coming in!
Cole Trickle: [while in the emergency room after Cole's big wreck at Daytona] All right, tell me what’s going on, tell me what’s going on. I’m BLIND, goddamnit!
Dr. Claire Lewicki: What’s your name?
Cole Trickle: Cole… Trickle
Dr. Claire Lewicki: Cole, would you help us by lying still please.
Harry Hogge: [Cole is cursing on the radio after a bad pit stop] Hold it while we’re on the air.
Cole Trickle: I come into the pits, I was in first place, now I am in third with two laps to go!
Harry Hogge: Cole, you’re in third place, that’s a respectible position. Now when they slow down for turn four, I want you to pass them on the outside.
Cole Trickle: Harry, you told me nobodypasses on the outside in turn four!
Harry Hogge: Well now, I’m telling you different.If you go to the outside, you can hold it.
Tim Daland: He’s gonna end up in the wall Harry!
Harry Hogge: Cole, the pace car is ready to duck on off, I don’t have much time to tell you this.
Cole Trickle: Well, tell me how?
Harry Hogge: Because we have a really good set of matched tires on it.
Tim Daland: What?
Cole Trickle: What?
Harry Hogge: Those tires are matched perfect and staggered special.
Tim Daland: You’re gonna get him killed!
Harry Hogge: The pace car is getting ready to duck on off. If you go to the outside, you CAN hold it.
Cole Trickle: All right Harry, when it comes to the car, I’ll take your word.
Big John: You’re late.
Cole Trickle: We had, uh, car trouble.
Big John: What kind of car trouble?
Cole Trickle: Uhhhhh…
Rowdy Burns: I believe it was the radiator. Wasn’t it, Cole?
Cole Trickle: That’s right, Rowdy. I believe it was.
Cole Trickle: What’d you win this one for?
[Points to a trophy]
Cole Trickle: This one right here, what’d win this for?
Rowdy Burns: Doesn’t it say?
Cole Trickle: Yeah, that’s a Winston Cup, buddy. Hell, that’s an easy one to forget. What’s your name, or has that slipped your mind too?
Rowdy Burns: Screw you, man.[/spoiler]
[spoiler title="Trivia"]Many real-life NASCAR drivers (including Rusty Wallace) appear in the film.
NASCAR driver Greg Sacks did most of Tom Cruise’s stunt driving. Cruise wanted to do his own stunt driving, but wasn’t allowed to for insurance reasons. The Chevrolets were prepared by Rick Hendrick’s racing team, which later used some of the movie cars in real races. 35 cars were wrecked during filming.
Tom Cruise received a speeding ticket for doing 85 in a 55 mph zone while working on this movie.
The scene where Tim approaches Harry on a tractor was filmed on NASCAR legend Junior Johnson’s farm.
The scene where Cole and Rowdy race rental cars on the beach shows birds scattering out of the way. The birds were lured onto the beach by birdseed, and in the first take most of them were run over.
All cars used in the movie for the races had to pass inspection and qualify. Bobby Hamilton qualified one of the movie cars in the top ten; they removed the cameras and he was allowed to enter the race.
It was during the filming of this movie that Tom Cruise, then married to Mimi Rogers, fell in love with Nicole Kidman. They were married later the same year.
Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall’s characters are (very) loosely based on former driver Tim Richmond and his crew chief Harry Hyde. Richmond was known as an overnight sensation, and Hyde was the veteran crew chief. The scene where Duvall’s character teaches Cruise about tire management is based on an actual incident between Hyde and Richmond. Tim Richmond died of AIDS complications the year before the film was released.
The scene where Cole Trickle leaves the pits after a race to hit Russ Wheeler is also based on an actual event during the 1987 all-star race at Charlotte, NC between Driver Bill Elliot and Dale Earnhardt.
In an effort to give a more realistic movie, existing broadcasters were brought in to provide the broadcast reporters and track announcers. Key among these were members of ESPN’s racing crew, including booth announcer Bob Jenkins and pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch.
Some footage for the movie was shot during the 1990 Daytona 500. Two additional cars, driven by Bobby Hamilton and Tommy Ellis, were added to the rear of the field for the purpose of filming them. These cars were not officially scored and left the race track after 100 miles (40 laps) were completed.
Cars designed specifically for the movie officially raced at Phoenix and Darlington, with Greg Sacks driving Cole Trickle’s City Chevrolet car in both races. Bobby Hamilton drove Rowdy Burns’ Exxon car at Phoenix, while Hut Stricklin drove it at Darlington. None of the cars finished their races, but Hamilton did lead 5 laps in his before an engine failure.
During the Darlington race in which the two movie cars appeared in, Neil Bonnett, one of the drivers interviewed at Daytona before the race, was nearly killed in a serious accident.
In the beginning of the film, the announcer introduces driver Aldo Bennedetti from Reading, Pennsylvania. This character is most likely a reference to real-life driver Mario Andretti. Both are of Italian descent, Mario’s brother is named Aldo, and Mario is from Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
City Chevrolet, a sponsor for Cole Trickle early in the movie, is a real-life Charlotte area dealership that is owned by Rick Hendrick, who prepared most of the cars in the movie.
Harold Faltermeyer turned down scoring duties on the film. Faltermeyer recommended fellow German composer Hans Zimmer to the producers. Zimmer was also recommended to director ‘Tony Scott’ by his brother Ridley Scott and star Tom Cruise.
Robin Wright Penn was first suggested for the role of Claire Lewicki but was unavailable.
According to an article in Car and Driver by Bob Zeller, Bobby Hamilton was paid about $14,000 to $15,000 by Rick Hendrick to come drive the camera car. At the time, Bobby Hamilton was making about $185 a week driving a wrecker (tow truck). He did so well, Rick Hendrick hired him on for the next NASCAR race in Phoenix and the rest of the reason.
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