Days of Thunder


Days of Thunder

Critics Consensus

Days of Thunder has Tom Cruise and plenty of flash going for it, but they aren't enough to compensate for the stock plot, two-dimensional characters, and poorly written dialogue.



Total Count: 62


Audience Score

User Ratings: 132,375
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Days of Thunder Photos

Movie Info

The Top Gun team of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, and superstar Tom Cruise reunite for this excursion into stock-car racing that incorporates the vroom and rumble of deafening car engines with a rehash of the same elements that worked so effectively in Cruise's Top Gun, The Color of Money, and Cocktail. Cruise plays stock-car driver Cole Trickle, a young fireball on the Southern stock-car circuit who has loads of talent but no conception of how to channel that talent in to racing success. When Tim Daland (Randy Quaid) commissions veteran stock-car racer Harry Hogge (Robert Duvall) to built a car and hires Cole to drive it, Harry must instill in Cole his philosophy of winning and teach him how to channel his raw talent into success -- or, as Harry puts it, "controlling something that's out of control." Cole immediately comes into conflict with the circuit's star driver, Rowdy Burns (Michael Rooker), and their hijinks on the track causes them to smash up their cars and lands them both in the hospital. Because of his injuries, Rowdy is forced to withdraw from the circuit competition. With no rival to torment, Rowdy becomes Cole's supporter and friend, while Cole revs up his motors for Dr. Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman), the attractive brain specialist who supervises Cole's recovery from the crackup. Cole's health is restored, and he begins to race again, chastened and hanging onto Harry's every word. Cole appears to have centered himself for success, but in an orgasmic grand finale, Cole must compete against Russ Wheeler (Cary Elwes), a dastardly driver who not only wants to see Cole defeated but permanently disabled. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

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Tom Cruise
as Cole Trickle
Robert Duvall
as Harry Hogge
Nicole Kidman
as Dr. Claire Lewicki
Randy Quaid
as Tom Daland
Cary Elwes
as Russ Wheeler
Michael Rooker
as Rowdy Burns
John C. Reilly
as Buck Bretherton
J.C. Quinn
as Waddell
Don Simpson
as Aldo Bennedetti
Caroline Williams
as Jennie Burns
Donna Wilson
as Darlene
Chris Ellis
as Harlan Hoogerhyde
John Griesemer
as Len Dortort
Barbara Garrick
as Lauren Daland
Stephen Michael Ayers
as Jack Man, Cole's Crew
Peter Appel
as Tire Carrier, Cole's Crew
Mike Slattery
as Front Tire Changer, Cole's Crew
Tania Coleridge
as Russ Wheeler's Girlfriend
Jim Grimshaw
as Hardee's Pit Crew Chief
Leilani Sarelle
as Female Highway Patrol Officer
Nick Searcy
as Highway Patrol Officer
Michael Burgess
as Young Doctor
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News & Interviews for Days of Thunder

Critic Reviews for Days of Thunder

All Critics (62) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (38)

  • Like the previous Simpson-Bruckheimer pictures, it's designed to give audiences an overdose of the thrill of victory; it wants us to jump out of our seats, pumping our fists in the air and roaring for the hero to pulverize his opponents.

    May 20, 2014 | Full Review…
  • This is the kind of monstrously overgrown commercial movie that depends entirely on the microscopic pleasures of having one`s most routine expectations fulfilled.

    May 20, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Whoosh!! Days of Thunder just streaked in, fast as a race-car paint job and about as flat.

    May 20, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Not only does Days of Thunder disappoint on the basic narrative level, it is also a peculiarly thrill-less action movie. Shot from the driver's point of view, the race sequences lose their novelty as swiftly as a video game.

    May 20, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Days of Thunder does accomplish the job it sets out to do. It's sometimes funny, sometimes exciting and never too boring or offensive. In a disappointing movie season -- as this one has started out to be -- that can seem like quite an accomplishment.

    May 20, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Good writing by Robert Towne and a host of strong supporting performances complement the on-the-track visuals of director Tony Scott in giving us a sense of the leap of faith that is required by drivers at this level.

    May 20, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Days of Thunder

  • Jan 17, 2016
    Top Gun with stock-cars instead of fighter jets, So many similarities that its hard to really take seriously, Apart from some ok racing scenes there's not allot to enjoy, The script was poorly written, Tom Cruise was good and the soundtrack was ok too, As far as a good movie I'm afraid it's very predictable and nothing new.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2015
    Pretty dumb, but still an entertaining watch. This is such an 80s movie's even more 80s than Top Gun, and if you've seen that, you have an idea of how cliched this is.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 27, 2014
    Like Top Gun with racing stock cars, it may not be really original and is quite predictable actually, but it has a very good soundtrack and Tom Cruise injecting a lot of energy into a two-dimensional character who lacks sufficient depth and motivation for us to care.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2013
    Capitalizing off the success of "Top Gun", director Tony Scott and actor Tom Cruise reunite to bring about another strong drama, trading Naval aviators in for stock car racers, in "Days Of Thunder". Cruise plays Cole Trickle, a nobody racer without a sponsor brought in by Tim Daland (Randy Quaid) to get them into the business of racing. The real star of the show is Robert Duvall as Harry Hogge, the pit crew captain that has all but retired. It's when Hogee and Trickle work together that they become the unstoppable force in racing. Trickle's rivalry with Rowdy Burns (Michael Rooker) reaches the highest dynamics of the film, especially when it comes to them racing down the hallways of a hospital after a major crash on the track. Also, Trickle's blossoming relationship with Dr. Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman) takes front seat towards the second act of the film, in one of Kidman's strongest showings to date, despite being the stereotypical good woman drawn to a flawed man. Tony Scott's style shines through and banking on the popularity of Cruise at the height of his career, "Days Of Thunder" is an utter success, bringing more emotion and suspense to the screen than any racing film could ask for. As with "Top Gun", which was somewhat dated by its use of music, "Days Of Thunder" hits many of the same marks, but in the end, its a reminiscence that makes this film as strong as it is, reminding us of '90s in all the best ways.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer

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