Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Desson Howe
    Thunder is exactly what it promises to be: Not Much -- but at dizzying speed, stripped down and free of wind-resistant subtlety. There's a certain integrity to that. A certain deafening integrity.
  2. 80
    If "Top Gun" was a stylish bimbo of a movie, all cleavage, white teeth and aerodynamic flash, then Days of Thunder is its paradoxical twin -- a bimbo with brains.
  3. 75
    And Cruise is so efficiently packaged in this product that he plays the same role as a saint in a Mexican village's holy day procession: It's not what he does that makes him so special; it's the way he manifests everybody's faith in him.
  4. 75
    Days of Thunder, the latest Tom Cruise movie, which is a flimsy but nonetheless compelling story of a hot-shot amateur race car driver who wants to make it in the big-time world of championship stock car racing. 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. [29 Jun 1990, p.C]
  5. Tony Scottmdoes his utmost to pump up the audience's adrenaline at all times, which means that the film's big moments - the races, the crashes, the news that someone needs brain surgery - don't seem that different from the small ones.
  6. The movie blurs into a continuum of cars pounding one another and closeups of faces showing disgust, happiness, fear and outrage. It's the kind of shorthand imagery that works best in brief spurts, say, the amount of time it takes for a television commercial to implant a spark-plug brand into your brain. [5 Jul 1990, p.A9]
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    The nerve of these people, recycling that story. No, the shrewdness of these people. For Days of Thunder offers adolescent males the possibility of a high-speed crash almost every minute. It offers their dates the possibility of a shy, winning Tom Cruise smile on an equal-opportunity basis. The boys get some sober, silly chat about the nature of courage. The girls get to see one of their sex (Nicole Kidman) play doctor with Cruise. [16 July 1990, p.87]
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    This expensive genre film about stock car racing has many of the elements that made the same team's Top Gun a blockbuster, but the producers recruited scripter Robert Towne to make more out of the story than junk food.
  9. The film, though sleek and easy to sit through, replaces genuine dramatic involvement with a superficial, rock & roll empathy-it's as though we were watching Cruise's character and playing air guitar to his emotions. There are plenty of soulless movies around. What's special about Days of Thunder is that it works overtime trying to convince you it's not one of them.
  10. Days of Thunder relies on charm, loud noise and a few racing sequences to print money with Cocky's visage on the bills: there can be no suspense because there can be no possibility Cocky will lose. [29 Jun 1990, p.C1]
  11. 50
    Screenwriter Robert 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.
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Days of Thunder wants to be an action drama, but it's really just a star vehicle of the most rudimentary sort, with nothing to offer Cruise except a chance to look pretty and chant time-tested punchlines. Ditto for the rest of the cast, which may be talented but gets little chance to show it here. [3 Jul 1990, p.13]
  13. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    This cliche primer is a bit more than bearable - even when it's literally and figuratively off the track. It's no Cocktail, but it's no Dom Perignon, either. [27 Jun 1990, p.1D]
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Days of Thunder delivers only the bare essentials. Boys, the reasoning seems to go, will be lured into the theater by the siren call of gasoline and super-charged engines, while their girl friends will tag along to get a look at Cruise in tight jeans.
  15. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Every motion, from the clamour of the racetrack to the sparring of teacher and pupil, has been worked out for audience satisfaction and grants none. This is not a real film, it is an automaton, a pod-movie, and, thankfully, proved the death nail for such high-concept filmmaking.
  16. You can leave Days of Thunder feeling positively chafed. That clanking noise, however, comes from Robert Towne's tinny story and its malnourished characters. [27 Jun 1990, p.1]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. EriM.
    Jun 7, 2007
    If you're a NASCAR fan it may just be the best movie you've ever seen.