...comes on like thunder! It's a winner! - Joel Siegel, WABC-TV/New York "Best movie of the summer!" - Steve Kmetko, KCBS-TV/Los Angeles From the engine roar and fever pitch of professional stock car racing, Days of Thunder explodes with the most spectacular racing action ever captured on film. Tom Cruise plays race driver Cole Trickle, whose talent and ambition are surpassed only by his burning need to win. Discovered by businessman Tim Daland (Randy Quaid), Cole is teamed with legendary crew chief and car-builder Harry Hogge (Academy Award. winner Robert Duvall) to race for the Winston Cup at the Daytona 500. A fiery crash nearly ends Cole's career and he must turn to a beautiful doctor (Nicole Kidman) to regain his nerve and the true courage needed to race, to win and to live.

  • 1 hr 47 minPG13
  • Jun 27, 1990
  • Drama

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Cast & Crew

  • Robert Duvall

    Robert DuvallActor

    Veteran actor and director Robert Selden Duvall was born on January 5, 1931, in San Diego, CA, to Mildred Virginia (Hart), an amateur actress, and William Howard Duvall, a career military officer who later became an admiral. Duvall majored in drama at Principia College (Elsah, IL), then served a two-year hitch in the army after graduating in 1953. He began attending The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre In New York City on the G.I. Bill in 1955, studying under Sanford Meisner along with Dustin Hoffman, with whom Duvall shared an apartment. Both were close to another struggling young actor named Gene Hackman. Meisner cast Duvall in the play "The Midnight Caller" by Horton Foote, a link that would prove critical to his career, as it was Foote who recommended Duvall to play the mentally disabled "Boo Radley" in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). This was his first "major" role since his 1956 motion picture debut as an MP in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), starring Paul Newman. Duvall began making a name for himself as a stage actor in New York, winning an Obie Award in 1965 playing incest-minded longshoreman "Eddie Carbone" in the off-Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge", a production for which his old roommate Hoffman was assistant director. He found steady work in episodic TV and appeared as a modestly billed character actor in films, such as Arthur Penn's The Chase (1966) with Marlon Brando and in Robert Altman's Countdown (1967) and Francis Ford Coppola's The Rain People (1969), in both of which he co-starred with James Caan. He was also memorable as the heavy who is shot by John Wayne at the climax of True Grit (1969) and was the first "Maj. Frank Burns", creating the character in Altman's Korean War comedy MASH (1970). He also appeared as the eponymous lead in George Lucas' directorial debut, THX 1138 (1971). It was Francis Ford Coppola, casting The Godfather (1972), who reunited Duvall with Brando and Caan and provided him with his career breakthrough as mob lawyer "Tom Hagen". He received the first of his six Academy Award nominations for the role. Thereafter, Duvall had steady work in featured roles in such films as The Godfather: Part II (1974), The Killer Elite (1975), Network (1976), The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) and The Eagle Has Landed (1976). Occasionally this actor's actor got the chance to assay a lead role, most notably in Tomorrow (1972), in which he was brilliant as William Faulkner's inarticulate backwoods farmer. He was less impressive as the lead in Badge 373 (1973), in which he played a character based on real-life NYPD detective Eddie Egan, the same man his old friend Gene Hackman had won an Oscar for playing, in fictionalized form as "Popeye Doyle" in The French Connection (1971). It was his appearance as "Lt. Col. Kilgore" in another Coppola picture, Apocalypse Now (1979), that solidified Duvall's reputation as a great actor. He got his second Academy Award nomination for the role, and was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most versatile actor in the world. Duvall created one of the most memorable characters ever assayed on film, and gave the world the memorable phrase, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning!" Subsequently, Duvall proved one of the few established character actors to move from supporting to leading roles, with his Oscar-nominated turns in The Great Santini (1979) and Tender Mercies (1983), the latter of which won him the Academy Award for Best Actor. Now at the summit of his career, Duvall seemed to be afflicted with the fabled "Oscar curse" that had overwhelmed the careers of fellow Academy Award winners Luise Rainer, Rod Steiger and Cliff Robertson. He could not find work equal to his talents, either due to his post-Oscar salary demands or a lack of perception in the industry that he truly was leading man material. He did not appear in The Godfather: Part III (1990), as the studio would not give in to his demands for a salary commensurate with that of Al Pacino, who was receiving $5 million to reprise Michael Corleone. His greatest achievement in his immediate post-Oscar period was his triumphant characterization of grizzled Texas Ranger Gus McCrae in the TV mini-series Lonesome Dove (1989), for which he received an Emmy nomination. He received a second Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in Stalin (1992), and a third Emmy nomination playing Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996). The shakeout of his career doldrums was that Duvall eventually settled back into his status as one of the premier character actors in the industry, rivaled only by his old friend Gene Hackman. Duvall, unlike Hackman, also has directed pictures, including the documentary We're Not the Jet Set (1977), Angelo My Love (1983) and Assassination Tango (2002). As a writer-director, Duvall gave himself one of his most memorable roles, that of the preacher on the run from the law in The Apostle (1997), a brilliant performance for which he received his third Best Actor nomination and fifth Oscar nomination overall. The film brought Duvall back to the front ranks of great actors, and was followed by a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod for A Civil Action (1998). Robert Duvall will long be remembered as one of the great naturalistic American screen actors in the mode of Spencer Tracy and his frequent co-star Marlon Brando. His performances as "Boo Radley" in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), "Jackson Fentry" in Tomorrow (1972), "Tom Hagen" in the first two "Godfather" movies, "Frank Hackett" in Network (1976), "Lt. Col. Kilgore" in Apocalypse Now (1979), "Bull Meechum" in The Great Santini (1979), "Mac Sledge" in Tender Mercies (1983), "Gus McCrae" in Lonesome Dove (1989) and "Sonny Dewey" in The Apostle (1997) rank as some of the finest acting ever put on film. It's a body of work that few actors can equal, let alone surpass.
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  • Randy Quaid

    Randy QuaidActor

  • Tom Cruise

    Tom CruiseActor

    In 1976, if you had told fourteen year-old Franciscan seminary student Thomas Cruise Mapother IV that one day in the not too distant future he would be Tom Cruise, one of the top 100 movie stars of all time, he would have probably grinned and told you that his ambition was to join the priesthood. Nonetheless, this sensitive, deeply religious youngster who was born in 1962 in Syracuse, New York, was destined to become one of the highest paid and most sought after actors in screen history. Tom is the only son (among four children) of nomadic parents, Mary Lee (Pfeiffer), a special education teacher, and Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer. His parents were both from Louisville, Kentucky, and he has German, Irish, and English ancestry. Young Tom spent his boyhood always on the move, and by the time he was 14 he had attended 15 different schools in the U.S. and Canada. He finally settled in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, with his mother and her new husband. While in high school, Tom wanted to become a Priest but pretty soon he developed an interest in acting and abandoned his plans of becoming a priest, dropped out of school, and at age 18 headed for New York and a possible acting career. The next 15 years of his life are the stuff of legends. He made his film debut with a small part in Endless Love (1981) and from the outset exhibited an undeniable box office appeal to both male and female audiences. With handsome movie star looks and a charismatic smile, within 5 years Tom Cruise was starring in some of the top grossing films of the 1980s including Top Gun (1986); The Color of Money (1986), Rain Man (1988) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989). By the 1990s he was one of the highest paid actors in the world earning an average 15 million dollars a picture in such blockbuster hits as Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), Mission: Impossible (1996) and Jerry Maguire (1996) for which he received an Academy Award Nomination for best actor. Tom Cruise's biggest franchise , Mission Impossible has also earned a total of 3 billion dollars worldwide. Tom cruise has also shown lots of interest in producing with his biggest producer credits being the Mission impossible franchise. In 1990 he renounced his devout Catholic beliefs and embraced The Church Of Scientology claiming that Scientology teachings had cured him of the dyslexia that had plagued him all of his life. A kind and thoughtful man well known for his compassion and generosity, Tom Cruise is one of the best liked members of the movie community. He was married to actress Nicole Kidman until 2001. Thomas Cruise Mapother IV has indeed come a long way from the lonely wanderings of his youth to become one of the biggest movie stars ever.
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  • John C. Reilly

    John C. ReillyActor

    Character actor, dramatic leading man, or hilarious comic foil? With an astonishing range of roles already under his belt, John C. Reilly has played an eclectic host of rich characters to great effect over the years, from seedy ne'er-do-wells, to lovable, good-natured schlepps. The fifth of six children, John Christopher Reilly was born in Chicago, to a father of mostly Irish descent, and a Lithuanian-American mother, and was brought up on Chicago's tough Southwest territory. His father, also named John, ran an industrial linen supply company business. On the amateur stage from age eight, Reilly trained at the Goodman School of Drama and eventually became a member of Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf Theatre. His film break came with a small role in the Vietnam War drama Casualties of War (1989), wherein Brian De Palma liked his work so much during the early stages that he recast him in a major role by the start of shooting as a soldier bent on rape. Reilly gained momentum throughout the 1990s and showed his dazzling stretch of talent in such films as Days of Thunder (1990), Shadows and Fog (1991), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) and The River Wild (1994). He became a major stock player in director Paul Thomas Anderson's films, while finding some of his best roles in Hard Eight (1996) as a compulsive gambler, Boogie Nights (1997) in which he played a narcissistic porn star, and in Magnolia (1999) as a compassionate policeman. He went on to earn further critical points for his role of the soldier sent to the front lines in Terrence Malick's war epic The Thin Red Line (1998). On stage, Reilly has wowed audiences in "The Grapes of Wrath" on Broadway, "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Othello" at Steppenwolf, and earned an Outer Critics Circle Award and Tony nomination for "True West" alongside another impeccable character player Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reilly finally received the film recognition he deserved in 2002 with a slew of choice, high-profile parts in The Hours (2002), The Good Girl (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), and especially Chicago (2002) as the put-upon husband, Amos Hart, who is played for a patsy by murderous wife Roxie (Renée Zellweger). For this last part, he received both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Since then his stock has risen considerably, and he has further widened his cinematic repertoire, appearing in everything from dramatic roles - We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011), The Aviator (2004) and Carnage (2011) - to broader comic turns - Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Step Brothers (2008), Cyrus (2010) and Cedar Rapids (2011). Most recently, he has voiced the lead in Disney's animated smash Wreck-It Ralph (2012). Reilly is married to producer Alison Dickey.
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  • Margo Martindale

    Margo MartindaleActor

  • Michael Rooker

    Michael RookerActor

    Michael Rooker was born on April 6, 1955 in Jasper, Alabama. When he was thirteen, his parents divorced and he went with his mother to live in Chicago. He caught the acting bug while attending college, and began appearing in local stage productions. On first breaking into film, his intensity and "don't-mess-with-me" good looks were highlighted to chilling effect as he title character in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), filmed in 1986 but, due to its controversial nature, not released until 1990. Since that widely noticed and highly praised performance, much of his career has been spent playing brutes, villains and psychopaths. However, his occasional turns as a "good guy" are always well-acted and a welcome change for a talented actor too often typecast. 2017 marks an exciting time for Rooker, as he starred in two films premiering just two months of each other. On March 17, audiences saw Rooker in Blumhouse Tilt's indie horror thriller The Belko Experiment (2016). The film is the terrifying yet humorous look at a group of employees that become guinea pigs in a company-wide experiment that leads them to either kill their fellow employees or be killed themselves. Returning to his indie roots, Rooker starred as maintenance worker, Bud Melks, one of the employees trapped in the office building, who may or may not be able to kill his fellow staff member. On May 5, Rooker reprised his role as Yondu in the highly anticipated sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). The film follows the same group of galactic underdogs saving the universe to a stellar soundtrack. Rooker's breakout performance earned him critical acclaim, as audiences were introduced to a more dramatic Yondu. The film went on to earn over $145 million domestically its opening weekend and has surpassed its predecessor by grossing over $850 million worldwide. Rooker made his film debut, playing the title role in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), a film based on the confessions of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. It was here that audiences were first introduced to Rooker's impeccable ability to channel a character's idiosyncrasies and subtleties. He has also starred in some of the most iconic films, such as Mississippi Burning (1988), Sea of Love (1989), JFK (1991), Tombstone (1993) and Jumper (2008) to name a few. In August 2014, Rooker starred in one of the most memorable franchises in the Marvel Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), as Yondu, the blue-skinned renegade space pirate and surrogate father to Peter Quill. The film went on to gross over $700 million at the worldwide box office and spent five weekends atop the box office, more than any other film in the Marvel Universe. On the television front, Rooker is best known for his series regular role as Merle Dixon on AMC's hit series The Walking Dead (2010). Audiences loved to hate the ill-tempered redneck hunter and were sad to see him killed off the series in season three. Rooker has completed a variety of stints on some of the most prominent series on television: Criminal Minds (2005), CSI: Miami (2002), Las Vegas (2003), Law & Order (1990) and Archer (2009), among others. Additionally, Rooker's talents go beyond both film and television. He adds his voice to various video games, including The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and Lollipop Chainsaw.
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Cast & Crew photos provided by TMDb.