Days of Thunder

Nicole Kidman

Directed by Tony Scott
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
June 27, 1990

Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer have raised formula films to a science. Take a star — it could be Beverly Hills cop Eddie Murphy, but here it's the producers' top gun, Tom Cruise — mix in fast planes, bikes, cars or anything that makes a deafening noise, add a sexy woman, a few fights, a few laughs, a rock soundtrack (flashdance, what a feeling), and presto, you've got a critic-proof blockbuster.

It was Cruise, a racing enthusiast, who had the idea to make a film about a racing driver. Screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown, Shampoo, The Last Detail) was then hired to flesh out the story about a cocky driver, Cole Trickle, who thinks that if he can control speed, he can control his life. Towne has certainly not challenged his gifts — the script is loaded with stock cars and stock characters — but he does deliver what's necessary: a workable setup for exciting NASCAR racing footage shot on sixteen Winston Cup tracks from Daytona to Watkins Glen.

Director Tony Scott and cinematographer Ward Russell — collaborators on Top Gun — know how to give good atmosphere. Still, the film has been luckiest in its casting. Such pros as Robert Duvall as Trickle's crusty crew chief, Randy Quaid as a promoter and Michael Rooker as a rival driver who becomes Trickle's friend pump conviction into the tiredest macho-buddy scenes. Trickle also has a predictable romance with a doctor, played by Australian actress Nicole Kidman (Dead Calm). They go prettily through the motions, but it's clear Cruise's heart is at the track. The "need for speed" he felt in Top Gun has simply been transferred from the air to the ground. The switch should present no problem at the box office. Audiences have demonstrated that they'll follow Tom Cruise anywhere.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Madame George”

    Van Morrison | 1968

    One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

    More Song Stories entries »