1990 action drama starring Tom Cruise
as Cole Trickle, a race car driver who enters the world of NASCAR
. His attitude gets him into trouble with not only other drivers, but his own team as well. Directed by Tony Scott
, the film co-stars Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes, and Cruise's future ex-wife, Nicole Kidman
These tropes seen in this film include:
- Badass Driver: Goes with the territory.
- Breakaway Pop Hit: Maria McKee's "Show Me Heaven" reached No. 2 in the UK pop charts, despite NASCAR being more obscure outside America.
- Car Porn: As befitting a movie about NASCAR.
- Kyle Busch being nicknamed 'Rowdy' Busch as a nod to the movie. The name has stuck.
- Bobby Hamilton actually made his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut as a result of the movie. He was hired to drive the Rowdy Burns racecar, even qualifying the non-competitive car in fifth at Phoenix in 1989.
- Fair Cop: Subverted in that she wasn't really a cop
- Gretzky Has the Ball: Despite the official cooperation of NASCAR and several race teams, the movie still has some howling inaccuracies.
- Hospital Hottie: Nicole Kidman in a lab coat. Enough said.
- The Mentor: Harry to Cole.
- Odd Couple: Young hotshot driver Cole and jaded veteran crew chief Harry.
- Product Placement: All over the place in terms of sponsorships. As the movie is about NASCAR, this could also be fairly construed as Truth in Television.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: "Cole Trickle" was derided by some critics as too much of a stereotype NASCAR sounding name. Except that the name is a Shout-Out to Dick Trickle.
- Rivals Team Up: Cole and Rowdy, by the end.
- Spiritual Successor: Tom Cruise controls (pilots) an extremely fast piece of machinery, deals with a crisis about 2/3's of the way in following a traumatic accident involving a friend, only to come out of it at the end and win the heart of his higher-class love interest. All with a power ballad soundtrack.
- Understatement: "You boys are late."-Big John "We, uh, had, car trouble."-Rowdy
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Cole Trickle was based on Tim Richmond and crew chief Harry Hogge on Harry Hyde. Richmond being a former Indycar driver and an upstart outsider who started winning when paired with a gruff veteran engineer.