Sunday, May 28, 2023
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24 Motorcycle Movies that you shouldn’t miss

Updated on 14/05/2023

What better way to spend your free time than to travel on a motorcycle? After all, riding is not only for commuting but also a way to help reduce stress.

As riders, we also have our lazy days and for those days wherein we just want to stay in and relax, this list is for you!

So set your gears aside and prepare some snacks and drinks to enjoy while watching as this motorcycle movies list proves to be addictive to watch.

On Any Sunday (1971)

This documentary has been acclaimed as one of the best and most important motorcycle documentaries ever made. Through it, we can see the unique talents needed for different forms of racing, like motocross riders who are typically free-spirited or desert racers who are often loners.

In Grand National racing there’s Mert Lawwill with his business-like approach to racing versus David Aldana with his carefree approach. Steve McQueen was also featured in this film, along with Malcolm Smith and many other motorcyclists from the late 1960s early 1970s era.

Brands such as Triumph, Husqvarna, Harley Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and a few more are featured throughout the movie.

The Wild One (1953)

A 1953 American crime film directed by László Benedek which follows the story of Johnny Strabler played by Marlon Brando, whose persona became a cultural icon of the 50s. The screenplay was based on Frank Rooney’s short story “The Cyclists’ Raid”, published in 1951 and anthologized in 1952 as part of The Best American Short Stories series.

This event inspired Rooney to write his article, which has since been criticized for its sensationalistic portrayal of biker culture at that time. What many people don’t know about this particular incident is it wasn’t anything like what was reported through press outlets or seen in Hollywood films like The Wild One during their lifetime; there were no deaths, only arrests and some property damage incurred as police tried to control an out-of-control situation caused by too many motorcyclists descending upon a small town for just one day.

Despite all this negative attention heaped on Hollister over decades following that weekend because America had never seen such behavior before then, locals have always considered these three days among their fondest memories when they would get together with friends who came into town.

Why We Ride (2013)

Why We Ride tells the story of who riders are. Individuals with a desire to dream, discover and explore. From a kid’s dream come true, to an old retiree’s return to freedom.

It talks about riding together on dunes as well as carving through canyons with hundreds of choppers. There is only one bond that remains constant throughout these riders’ experiences: passion for their machines.

The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)

This New Zealand-made biographical drama film is about speed bike racer Burt Munro and his modified 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Munro set various land speed records for motorcycles under 1,000 cc at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. 

He was known for his friendly personality, having the fastest motorcycle in New Zealand and Australia, as well as being featured on the Popular Mechanics magazine cover. Despite suffering from angina and having had a heart attack, for which he was advised by doctors to stop riding motorcycles, he chose to ignore this advice entirely.

Reminds me of a fellow Royal Enfield owner who was diagnosed the same but like Munro, chose to ignore the advice as well and instead switched to a more comfortable bike. This shows how passion triumphs over anything and with will, you can do anything.

Riding Solo to the Top of the World (2006)

A film about Gaurav Jani’s solo motorcycle journey from Mumbai to one of the most remote places in the world, the Changthang Plateau in Ladakh, bordering China. It was a long and difficult 2600 miles ride with 300 kgs of equipment on his Royal Enfield Bullet 350CC Motorcycle.

He went through all sorts of terrain like gravel deserts, high altitude passes, mountain valleys, and steep ascents before reaching his destination. One of the few films which showcase how one can enjoy the ride even when faced with challenges along the way. A difficult riding experience is truly awarding and most of us know that riding and the memories that come with it, are worth it.

Being Evel (2015)

An American documentary film directed by Daniel Junge about one of the most popular daredevils ever, Evel Knievel. The film documents his real-life story until his death in 2007.

It debuted at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in January. Johnny Knoxville, who is one of the main interviewees for this movie, produced it along with Red Bull Media House and Motto Pictures Inc., while shooting was done by Zak Mulligan and Jeff Tremaine (the latter has co-produced Jackass).

Hitting the Apex (2015)

Written and directed by Mark Neale, narrated by Brad Pitt, and starring six of the fastest motorcycle racers that the world has ever witnessed. Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli, Casey Stoner.

If you are a MotoGP fan, then this is absolutely a must-watch movie to relive the impressive achievements of these racers. Live the thrill through the eyes of the greatest the world has witnessed.

TT3D: Closer to the Edge (2011)

A documentary film by first-time director Richard de Aragues. The film follows the leading riders of the 2010 Isle of Man TT race and has featured several racers including Guy Martin, John McGuinness, Conor Cummins, and Ian Hutchinson. McGuinness is widely regarded as one of the most successful living TT riders having won fifteen races since his debut in 1989. 

As Jared Leto narrates throughout much of this British-made movie, it reveals how for more than 100 years people have come from all over to compete in this particular race which still poses a significant challenge even today with 200 fatalities over the course of its history.

That being said though around half of those deaths were during time trials rather than actual racing events! Isle of Man TT has been dubbed as “the most dangerous motorsport in the world” as racers fly down bumpy, uneven roads at speeds exceeding 150 mph.

One Week (2008)

A Canadian film that stars Joshua Jackson, Liane Balaban, and Campbell Scott. Ben Tyler (played by Jackson) who has been diagnosed with cancer. He takes a motorcycle trip on a 1973 Norton Commando across Canada instead of starting the treatment. 

While on the road, he meets several people that help him to reevaluate his relationship with Samantha (Balaban), his job, and the dream of becoming a writer. 

One week was released on September 8th at Toronto International Film Festival 2008 before being theatrically released on March 6th, 2009 all over Canada. It was shot entirely in Ontario making it very Canadian! Joshua Jackson won the Best Actor Genie Award 2010 for playing Ben Tyler while Liane Balugu played Samantha which made her a nominee for Best Supporting Actress Genie Award 2010.

The Great Escape (1963)

Though not particularly focused on motorcycles, it’s worth mentioning that The Great Escape has one of the best stunts ever performed in movies, a motorcycle chase, and a jump scene.

The Great Escape is an American epic adventure war movie based on a 1950 non-fiction book written by Paul Brickhill, an Australian fighter pilot. The film goes through the mass escape by British Commonwealth prisoners of war from German POW camp Stalag Luft III in Żagań, (Poland), during WW2.

Dust to Glory (2005)

A film from the same Director of the successful Step Into Liquid, Dana Brown. This documentary is about an off-road race, the Baja 1000. The said race is one of the most prestigious off-road races in the world and is sanctioned by SCORE International which is an off-road sanctioning body in desert racing.

The race allows various types of vehicles from cars, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, ATV’s and buggies to compete on the same course, only separated by class. The Baja 1000 has two courses, either a 1,000-mile point-to-point race or a 600 to 850-mile loop race.

The film documents the whole 24-hour race and all challenges that come with it including interviews with racers and celebrities of the racing world wanting their shot at glory.

Somewhere Else Tomorrow (2014)

A documentary by Daniel Rintz. Daniel and his friend Lars set out to travel around the globe on their motorcycles, surviving only on the money they make along the way. What makes this documentary unique is that the two traveled with no support or film crew and dove deeper into foreign cultures more than your ordinary tourists would.

Unlike other documentaries, they had no sponsor or budget to help them get out of tight situations which made the series even more interesting. They traveled, explored, and battled different challenges which displayed their endurance and a different view of the world through traveling by motorbike. 

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

A dramatization of a motorcycle journey by a 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would later become the internationally known Marxist Guerilla and revolutionary leader “Che Guevara”.

The film focused on two things, traveling and coming of age. Ernesto Guevara, a medical student at the time, with his friend Alberto Granado, a biochemist traveled across South America initially in Granado’s Norton 500, christened La Poderosa which means “The Mighty One”. Together they witnessed first-hand injustices on social class inequalities which led to Guevara’s radicalization which would later view armed revolution as the answer. 

As a bonus, the real Alberto Granado appeared at the end of the movie. There were even rumors that the actor who played Alberto Granado, Rodrigo de la Serna is a second cousin of the real Che Guevara. Interesting right? 

12 O’clock Boys (2013)

An American documentary film that focuses on a young boy named Pug, who has the desire to join and is fascinated by the notorious urban dirt-bike riders known as the 12 O’clock boys in Baltimore, Maryland.

The group got their name from a high angle wheelie that mimics the hand of a clock at 12 o’clock so expect to see lots of wheelie action by motorcycles and ATV’s!

The film presents the life of a young boy living and growing up in one of the most economically depressed cities in America and the dangerous lifestyle of the pack he chose to seek mentorship from.

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

A crime drama film which has three acts. The story of Luke, a motorcycle stunt rider, Avery, an ambitious rookie cop, and their sons A.J and Jason, two rebellious high school students.

Luke, was reunited with his ex-lover, Romina, and found out that he has accidentally fathered a son, Jason. To spend more time with his family, he decided to quit being a motorcycle stuntman at a carnival and decided to work as a part-time auto mechanic where he met his boss Robin who was later revealed to be a former bank robber.

Desperate to support his family financially, Luke decided to join Robin in committing several heists by robbing banks at gunpoint and then escaping by motorcycle. He then collides with Avery, the rookie police officer in pursuit. After their clash, Avery found out that the police department is corrupt but refused to join their illegal actions and instead, tried to give Luke’s money to his partner Romina.

Discouraged with fear of retaliation, he decided to record more evidence against the department to use as leverage. Years later, Avery now has a rebellious teenager son, A.J who became friends with Jason. Both high schools students are then haunted by their parent’s past.

The film ends with Avery winning his bid as the attorney general of New York City, Romina receiving an envelope addressed to “mom” with an old photograph, and Jason riding away on his newly bought motorcycle. It may not be about motorcycles in general but this crime drama film is surely interesting to watch with motorcycles having a big role as a bonus.

Speed Is My Need (2019)

This documentary film lets you jump inside the minds of professional superbike racers and help you understand why they risk everything for the thrill of speed. Showcasing actual race footage, unbelievable crashes, and how modern times have changed the sport.

Roadside Prophets (1992)

An American comedy film featuring musicians John Doe from the punk rock band “X” as Joe, a Harley riding factory worker, and Adam Horovitz of the “Beastie Boys” as Sam with lots of cameo from other artists.

The story started at a factory where Joe noticed a cool new motorcycle in the parking lot which was owned by a new young employee, Dave. Sharing the same interest, the two decided to go to a nearby bar to hang out and to talk more about Harleys, the young employee then decided to play a video game and was unfortunately electrocuted to death in a freak accident.

Joe then decides to go on a journey to look for a place that Dave mentioned moments before his death. He then meets Sam who was in search for Motel 9, a place where his parents committed suicide. The two decided to travel together and met different personalities along the way, some of which were the “Prophets” of the movie.

There are lots of weird scenes in the movie but for me, the weirdest one would probably be the group of bikers having a golf tournament in the desert. Weird right? This movie may sound dark initially but it’s a fun happy go lucky one.

It’s a comedy film that bikers can probably relate to in some aspects like the immediate bond of two Harley fans, the joy of getting your first motorcycle, traveling on open roads, or the stereotype of bikers portrayed by the group playing golf. A gem to give you a break from all the documentary and action-drama movies or series you’ve been binging on. 

Ghost Rider (2007)

A supernatural movie starring Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider. The movie is about a stunt motorcycle rider, Johnny Blaze being deceived by the devil, Mephistopheles played by Peter Fonda.

Blaze was initially selected by the devil to chase after sinners but was then offered to be free on one condition, to go after his son Blackheart who plans to transform earth into hell. If you’re into Marvel or superhero stuff, then this is a must-watch for you!

The main bike featured in this movie was a custom-made chopper with a Harley-Davidson Panhead engine. Yes, there was a real motorcycle under all that computer-generated imagery (CGI) though it probably isn’t street legal. Rumors are that the bike is around 11-feet long and weighed more than 500 pounds as the bike is covered in chrome-plated fiberglass. 

Wild Hogs (2007)

A comedy film focusing on four middle-aged men looking for an escape from their daily routine, Tim Allen who plays Doug, a dentist who has trouble bonding with his son, John Travolta who plays Woody, a lawyer married to a supermodel, Martin Lawrence who plays Bobby, a plumber who is often disrespected by his wife and kids, and William Macy who plays Dudley, a computer programmer who is afraid of talking to women.

The four decided to go on a road trip to California by riding motorcycles as a biker gang called “Wild Hogs”. At a biker bar, they crossed paths with a real biker gang the “Del Fuegos” who is headed by Jack, played by Ray Liotta. Jack called the Wild Hogs posers and decided to take Dudley’s bike which led to a big conflict between the two groups.

The Del Fuegos chased the Wild Hogs to no avail and were able to locate and catch up to the group leading to a heated battle between the two. The movie ended with a cameo appearance from Peter Fonda who plays Damien Blade, the father of Jack and the founder of the biker gang “Del Fuegos”.

He showed up, stopped the fight, then lectured Jack and even questioned the gang on who the real posers are for letting four bikers hold off the entire gang. He then acknowledged the “Wild Hogs” by telling them to “Ride hard or stay home.”

The movie shows the bad stereotype bikers gangs get and also how some newbies often get excited and get ahead of themselves by riding as a “Gang” not knowing the impression they give off. At the end of the day, what’s important for us bikers should always be the joy of riding our motorcycles.

The Art of Steal (2014)

A comedy film following Crunch Calhoun, a motorcycle daredevil and semi-reformed art thief. Crunch agreed to do one final art theft with his brother Nicky (Despite having a questionable and ugly past) and reassembled the old team.

They came up with a plan to steal a historical book and shortly after their successful heist, decided to sell copies instead for more profit. We won’t spoil the movie any further as the plot has a lot of twists to it, showing brotherhood, honor, loyalty, and revenge.

To me, this movie is underrated and can probably level with the likes of the ever-so-popular Oceans Trilogy and the Now You See Me movies. Though not really focused on motorcycles this movie showcases stunts that are really exciting to watch, including a scene where Crunch jumped a ring of fire. 

Bennett’s War (2019)

A drama-sport film focusing on motocross. The movie follows the life of Marshall Bennett, a young soldier deployed in Afghanistan as part of the motorcycle unit for the 75th Ranger Regiment.

During combat, Marshall was hit by an improvised explosive device (also known as an “IED”) and luckily survived the attack but sadly, with broken legs. His injury led to his early discharge from service and was sent home immediately.

Once home, he found out that his dad is struggling with mortgages and was on the verge of losing the family farm. Despite his injury, Marshall pledges to help his family financially by doing what he does best and went on to become a motocross racer.

Sgt. Will Gardner (2019)

An American film telling the story of Sgt. Will Gardner, a disabled Iraq War Veteran who suffers from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Struggling to go back to his normal life, he sets out on a cross-country journey hoping to pick up pieces of the life he lost including reuniting with his family.

This movie shows how war veterans struggle to recover and go back to their normal life after their tour of duty and a great number of retired veterans tend to travel in search of inner peace.

Bonus:

Sgt. Will Gardner played by Max Martini also stars in one of my favorite war movies, 13 Hours. Tho not related to motorcycles, 13 hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is an interesting watch when in the mood for some war-action movie!

Burnout (2017)

A French-Belgian action thriller film about Tony Rodrigues, an aspiring professional motorcycle racer working as a forklift operator during the day.

The aspiring racer ran into a gypsy gang involved with his ex-wife which led to him moonlighting as their courier – mainly transporting drugs within a two-hour time frame for two months jeopardizing both his day job and his dream.

Tony then makes his way to get back at the gang responsible for all the trouble he’s been through. 

Unchained: The Untold Story of Freestyle Motocross Stuntmen (2016)

An adrenaline-packed documentary movie showing the start and the booming time of one of the most extreme sports ever, Freestyle Motocross.

Starring Academy Award Nominee Josh Brolin, this Emmy Award winning film follows how a group of motocross racers innovated and created a different version of the sport which led to the rise of freestyle motocross.

The film also includes some of the most recognized personalities in the extreme sports world, Travis Pastrana, Brian Deegan, Mike Metzger, Carey Hart, and even Tony Hawk.

Easy Rider (1969)

a countercultural film that encapsulates the spirit of the late 1960s. Directed by Dennis Hopper, the movie tells the story of two bikers, Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), who embark on a motorcycle journey from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of freedom and the true essence of America.

As they ride through the American Southwest, they encounter various characters and experience the highs and lows of their unconventional lifestyle. “Easy Rider” explores themes of rebellion, the clash of cultures, and the quest for individual freedom, all set against the backdrop of a changing America. The film’s stunning visuals, memorable soundtrack, and its portrayal of the counterculture movement make it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences to this day.

Hit the Road: India (2023)

Lester Lin
Lester Linhttps://ridingtwoup.blogspot.com
Author of Riding Two Up, a car enthusiast turned motorcycle lover who shares his passion through writing.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. You left out the movie the living dead, although a cheesey English horror film the Mc stunts are amazingly great

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