Heart Like a Wheel (1983)

Heart Like a Wheel (1983)

Taglines: She did something, women were forbidden to do and, become a World Champion.

An investigator on the Moscow police force relentlessly pursues the solution to a triple homicide which occurred in Moscow’s Gorky Park. He finds that no one really wants him to solve the crime because it is just the tip of a complex conspiracy which involves the highest levels of the Moscow city government.

Heart Like a Wheel is a 1983 biographical film directed by Jonathan Kaplan[2] and based on the life of drag racing driver Shirley Muldowney. It stars Bonnie Bedelia as Muldowney, and Beau Bridges as drag racing legend Connie Kalitta. The film garnered two award nominations: Bedelia for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, and William Theiss for an Academy Award for Costume Design.

About the Story

In 1956 Schenectady, New York, waitress Shirley Roque (Bonnie Bedelia) marries auto mechanic Jack Muldowney (Leo Rossi) over the mild objections of her singer father Tex (Hoyt Axton), who wants her to be able to take care of herself, rather than having to rely on a husband. Jack buys a gas station, Shirley becomes a housewife, and they have a son.

Heart Like a Wheel (1983) - Bonnie Bedelia

For fun, Jack races his sportscar against others on deserted stretches of road late at night. One time, Shirley talks him into letting her drive. She wins and continues winning. A chance encounter with professional driver “Big Daddy” Don Garlits (Bill McKinney) gives her the idea to look for sponsorship from one of the major car manufacturers, despite her husband’s skepticism. This being the 1950s, a pretty housewife is not taken seriously, especially since there are no women pro drivers at all. But when she returns home, Jack tells her that he can build her a dragster.

In 1966, she is ready. She still needs to get three signatures before she can get her National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) license, nearly impossible in the macho racing world. Finally, Garlits (seeing an opportunity to broaden the popularity of the sport) signs, followed by funny car driver Connie Kalitta (Beau Bridges), who has his own reasons; Connie talks a reluctant third driver into going along. In her first attempt to qualify for a race, she sets a track record. Later, during a dinner with their respective spouses, Connie gets her alone, makes a pass at her, and gets slapped in the face.

Heart Like a Wheel Movie Poster (1983)

Heart Like a Wheel (1983)

Directed by: Jonathan Kaplan
Starring: Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Bruce Barlow, Leo Rossi, Anthony Edwards, Hoyt Axton, Missy Basile, Tiffany Brissette
Screenplay by: Ken Friedman
Cinematography by: Tak Fujimoto
Film Editing by: O. Nicholas Brown
Costume Design by: William Ware Theiss
Set Decoration by: Peg Cummings
Music by: Laurence Rosenthal
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: April 1, 1983