Days of Thunder Goofs

January 11 2020

There’s no news at the moment so while waiting for the latest from Stock Cars Australia and Stock Car owners, we’ll go visit Days of Thunder.

Days of Thunder is considered to be the best racing film when it comes to Cup racing.

But it has its problems which is unbelievable for a film that cost some 70 million dollars, it was said that the script wasn’t that great but Tom Cruise was available and so they got him while they still could.

Paramount Pictures also paid Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson a lot of money to make movies for them and so they had to make some cash back on their large investment.

The biggest problem with Days of Thunder is continuity, it is really all over the place as action shots have different cars in position and even different race tracks as one moment you see Darlington and the next you see Daytona and there are some scene errors throughout the movie.

We’ll take a look at the Daytona 500 race that is the climax of the movie.

As you see in the big Daytona crash scene, the #51 is beaten up and is right in the middle of the crash action as the #34 loses its hood and goes for a spin, you’ll continue to see the #51 there and you know the hero car is going to be in trouble.

A few seconds later in the film, you see the #51 heavily damaged but seconds later you will see a nice shiny #51 coming up on the crash scene and gets through the wreck.

Also during the big one, you can see the camera car twice, the first time you see it briefly through the smoke before the #34 goes around and then you see it in front of the wrecking cars.

Then when the #51 is closing up on the lead and you’ll see the #18 on the high side and the #33 (Harry Gant) is below him.

A couple of reaction shots and outside shots follow before you will see the #51 trying to make his way through but it is the #26 (Brett Bodine) instead of the #33 and then it switches back to the #33.

When the #51 is bumped into the bottom car, it is the #26 there spinning then you hear Cole say “Wheeler knocked me into Gant, Gant spun out!” though visually it was the #26 of Bodine.

Now this may or may not an error but when the #51 is being fixed after being spun by the #18, the pace car is about to enter Turn 1 with the #3 in the lead, then a few seconds later you’ll see a shot of the pace car leading the field on the backstretch so they obviously compressed time.

Seconds later you see Buck Bretherton and behind him is the pace car hitting the start finish line with the #18 at the front of the field, the #51 is let off the jack but it can’t get going but does with assistance and it beats the pace car out.

While the two teams are running back to their pit stalls, you can see the hood of the #26 being up, seconds later you see it taking the green flag next to the #18.

If Days of Thunder was shot in the early 1980’s, they may of gotten away with this scene because third place may of been some thirty seconds behind but by the time the 1990’s came around the field was starting to bunch up.

The cars putting each other into the wall would of slowed them both down and they would of been swamped by the field if the field was close by.

So Days of Thunder is pretty bad when it comes to continuity and it makes sense as the Daytona action was filmed during the Busch Clash, Gatorade Twin 125s and the Daytona 500 and you can’t halt races to customise race action to the requirement of the director and producers.

There is also the mistakes like when Rowdy Burns’ wife calls Cole Trickle, “Tom” and it was somehow left in and then there is Cole Trickle talking when his mouth is closed.

It’s a great story of a guy who rises from nothing, has a rough start, starts winning, has a big wreck, loses confidence, his girlfriend plus his ride only to get another chance at love and racing and to cap it all off wins the big race at the end over the guy who replaced him, it can be inspirational if you just ignore the goofs.


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