Heart like a Wheel (1983)

Heart like a Wheel (1983)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Heart like a Wheel Photos

Movie Info

In this drama based on a true story, a female race-car driver battles convention to become a national hot-rod champion. Her struggles with the racing world's sexism and the increasing jealousy of her pit-mechanic husband are alternated with numerous auto-race re-creations.
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation


Bonnie Bedelia
as Shirley Muldowney
Beau Bridges
as Connie Kalitta
Leo Rossi
as Jack Muldowney
Bill McKinney
as `Big Daddy' Don Garlits
Anthony Edwards
as John Muldowney (age 15-23)
Dean Paul Martin
as Sonny Rigotti
Paul Bartel
as Chef Paul
Missy Basile
as Angela
Michael Cavanaugh
as NHRA Boss
Ellen Geer
as Mrs. Marianne Kalitta
Nora Heflin
as Nurse North
Byron Thames
as John (age 10-13)
Tiny Wells
as Tiny
Brandon Brent Williams
as John (age 5-8)
Jesse Aragon
as Carlos
Bruce Barloe
as Bass Player
Catherine Paolone
as Mrs. Good Joe
Michel Barrere
as NHRA Guard
Creed Bratton
as Photographer
Bruce Barlow
as Bass Player, Tex's Band
Tiffany Brissette
as Little Shirley
Paul Bryar
as Matt
James Burton
as Guitar Player
Jill Carroll
as John's Girl Friend
Mark Dawson
as Guitar/Harmonica, Tex's Band
Martin Casella
as Reporter
Paul Linke
as Reporter
Diane Delano
as Shirley's Sister
Sam Laws
as Piano Player
Leonard Termo
as Good Joe
Terence Knox
as Jack's Friend
Sam Posey
as Himself
Bob Minor
as Ralph, NHRA Official
Tom Duffield
as Rahn Tobler
Chris Fontana
as Frank the Crank
Harry Northrup
as Trooper
Marvin Graham
as Kalitta's Crew Chief
Tim Kimber
as Buddy
Steve Evans
as Himself
Robert Ridgely
as Bob Morton, "Sportsline"
Michael Talbott
as Englishtown Announcer
Mitzi Hoag
as Shirley's Mother
Dick Miller
as Mickey White
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Heart like a Wheel

All Critics (7)

This charming movie further expanded the roles allotted to women, chronicling the career of Muldowney (splendidly played by Bonnie Badelia), the only race driver (male or female) to have won three times the National Hot Rod Association World Championship

Full Review… | December 7, 2006

A solid entry in the overcoming-great-odds-to-become-a-champion biopic.

Full Review… | October 2, 2006

... and there STILL ain't many girls in NASCAR.

March 1, 2005

A spunky, well-crafted movie about the first woman to succeed in big-time drag racing

Full Review… | July 23, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

Quote not available.

July 8, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Quote not available.

August 4, 2004
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Audience Reviews for Heart like a Wheel

Love this movie.. I love Shirley Muldowney.. She is my hero all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love Drag Racing

Teresa Kaltenbach
Teresa Kaltenbach

(3 1/2 Stars) I think the worst thing I can say about Heart Like a Wheel is that it's pretty much a big budget Lifetime movie... but at least it's a good Lifetime movie. Bonnie Bedelia, who everyone knows as John McClaine's wife Holly from Die Hard, shines in this biopic about Shirley Muldowney... I know nothing about the real woman, but she seems like she lead an inspirational life. For a biopic, this movie feels a little overabridged and melodramatic. She's a woman in a man's drag racing world and no one will let her compete. She has to overcome obstacles by men... who are pigs. Of course, she smokes most of them in the race, but men still verbally (and physically) fight her; it's the kind of cheesy melodrama that's kind of entertaining to watch. For the most part, I liked Heart Like a Wheel. It had a good retro soundtrack, good racing scenes, and a great lead performance. It's not a must see, but it's diverting.

Tom Radovich
Tom Radovich


Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

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