Are you on a crusade to find the best movie as far from cars as you can get and still be a wild one? I grew up watching head-turning macho man movies like The Great Escape, with Steve McQueen (former USMC) outrunning Nazis with the wind in his face and concertina [razor] wire to his front. I’m a beer baby and biker movie lover. That is one movie that can steal everyone’s thunder. Seeing that, I was sold that riding motorcycles is the best way to be a man.
Triumph, Harley, Indian, or Victory, films with these machines carry my interest. Motorcyclists were considered to be rebels by most parents, just like Elvis was a match. My father, Paul Ehline, raised me on biker movies and even a few plays. I was free to choose the bike I wanted, so long as it was American-made.
Most of us GenXrs remember the refreshing look at Arnold’s 1991 Harley Davidson Fat Boy, who stole from the biker gang at the biker bar in Terminator II.
“I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle.”
Even non-bikers could see how macho the Terminator was after he took on bikers! Still, more of us likely saw Tron: Legacy and dug its badass Daft Punk soundtrack and success in creating spectacular CGI sequences like the lightcycle bikes battle making their gaming arena lethally entertaining. It starred Jeff Bridges and friends, [the Dude!] (the lightcycle battle makes it one of the coolest biker films by far, and that’s MONEY!) Fortunately, even if you’re in a motorcycle club, you may not know about a lot of cool biker movies from before or after that period. I’m honest; what the trailer suggests is not always true with the next chapter. So I am here to give you a shot at my thoughts beyond pop culture in case you missed it in my other Mel Gibson/Marlboro Man-like posts. No car can ever be as cool as a mysterious, dangerous motorcycle. The Uma Thurman yellow motorcycle jumpsuit movie never entered my mind, but wow, did she ever kill it on her Kawasaki ZZ-R250 in Tokyo?
If you’re a fan of motorcycles and looking for a thrilling motorcycle movie to watch this summer, here are ten popular motorcycle plot movies with motorcycle content that you might enjoy:
This movie deservedly won my selection as number-one biker movie of 2023. Definitely, not a family movie or one laden with the special effects of today’s world. Directed by Dennis Hopper, this classic counterculture film follows two bikers on a cross-country road trip. Although the bikers present in “Easy Rider” are not affiliated with or played by the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, like the biker movie Wild Angels, the film touches on the biker subculture and the conflicts the main characters face.
It follows the entertaining and often illegal activities, violence, and mayhem of actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, along with Jack Nicholson’s charming wit and sarcasm. But it remains a work of fiction, not specifically about the Hells Angels. Aficionados widely regard it as one of the best motorcycle journey movies rolling today.
Sonny Barger, a prominent member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, has expressed his opinion that “Easy Rider” was a killer movie and the most authentic depiction of the club in movies. Sonny Barger, who played a small role in the film, praised its quest to depict biker culture and the freedom-seeking spirit associated with motorcycle riding. While Barger’s endorsement adds a certain level of credibility, it is worth remembering that the film primarily represents a fictional story and a broader exploration of societal themes created by Hollywood rather than a documentary-like depiction inspired by the Hells Angels M/C.
Indeed, “The World’s Fastest Indian,” not to be confused with Indiana Jones, Sean Connery in a sidecar, or Harrison Ford as the character Indiana Jones, is widely regarded as a great film devoted to a vehicle running on two wheels. It tells the inspiring story of Burt Munro’s determination to break land speed records with his modified Indian Scout motorcycle. The film showcases Munro’s passion, the challenges he faced, and his indomitable spirit as a friend and leader of a group. The best thing here is Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Burt Munro. As narrated by movie critics, it is often praised for its depth and authenticity, adding to the film’s overall appeal in theaters across the world.
Whether for its compelling story, engaging performances, or the themes of perseverance and pursuing one’s dreams, “The World’s Fastest Indian” has garnered positive reviews and continues to be enjoyed by many viewers. It is one of the reasons Harley Davidson isn’t the undisputed field leader when it comes to modern highway motorcycle culture.
Not to be mistaken with The Wild Hogs or Wild Angels with Bruce Dern or Diane Ladd. This remains an interesting play-turned-movie that resulted in a vast array of biker gang movies circa 1960s. This is the movie starring Marlon Brando. This iconic film and director portrays the story of members of a late 6os and early 1970s gang of outlaw riders. Here, a young motorcycle gang causes havoc in a small town for weekend sport until a few realize their image is not what they want.
Best seen in a movie theater, try and view it on a large screen TV with a comfortable seat for an amazing experience. I saw this one as I was in bed recovering from a slip and fall. I was surprised at the adventures and will never forget the interesting personalities presented by the actors who rode. They pulled off a very cool, authentic movie, and I am still hoping for a sequel.
A documentary film directed by Bruce Brown—famous for the surf classic Endless Summer- explores the world of motorcycle racing and features legendary riders like Steve McQueen. It was even nominated for an Academy Award due to its all-star performance and script. Bruce’s son, Dana Brown, went on to release some other cool movies as well en route to his success in early classic motorcycle-era films from Mumbai to France and beyond.
I saw Road Warrior and its colorful cast as a kid after it was released first on Sony Betamax. So As I mentioned in my last article, I am a Mad Max fanatic, so that is the lead movie with the most meaning for me. I loved the helicopter in Road Warrior and will get one someday! While not solely focused on motorcycles in Australia like Road Warrior and not a feel-good movie, this post-apocalyptic action film, Fury Road, directed by George Miller, features exhilarating motorcycle chase scenes. The film’s low budget didn’t matter as Mel Gibson’s personality and the feel of genuine bikees from Down Under in previous Road Warrior movies appeared in full effect, making this movie a hit worth watching.
Based on the true story of communist mass murderer Che Guevara, the film Motorcycle Diaries follows his transformative motorcycle journey across South America. Che rides and is made to look like a fun, good person by the left-wing movie producer and director who, to be fair, probably want all young people, or at least more than half of the sons of Liberty, to be slaves to the hype of the state.
From day to night, this Australian biker film tells the story of Ken Shorter, an undercover detective infiltrating a motorcycle gang. Although not a Mission Impossible genre, Stone offers a lot of suspense in a real-world version of the filmography landscape involving bikes and art. The Stone movie is the stuff of legend, jumps back and forth, touching on the lives of a bunch of famous characters all at once. This is one of those films that give you a good idea of the macho image guys on bikes had for so many years in adventure films, making them so memorable for young boys wanting to test their mettle.
Not necessarily a MotoGP bike or KTM/Skullcandy-type movie. However, this is the classic girl gets the bad boy movie. It remains a fast-paced action film that revolves around illegal motorcycle racing and features high-speed chases and adrenaline-fueled stunts. If you and your wife are the types of person into rice rockets, Kawasaki, and Yamaha version moments, expect a thrill from the Indy-like moments in this interesting film.
This effort, directed by and starring Larry Bishop, is a biker revenge film. It is an attempt to pay homage to the classic motorcycle movies of the past. This movie plot offers a mix of drama, action, and adventure, all centered mainly around real-life motorcycles (flying discs and light-lined beasts of Tron aside) and the clothes, leather, guys, and macho culture surrounding motorbikes and two-wheel transport choppers.
The Baja 1000 bike race depicted in Dust to Glory is a fearsome 650-mile slog through the Mexican desert. Filmed with a crew of 80 people, including four helicopters and fifty-five cameras, this is the most in-depth look at this fascinating race and the legends who take part in it – as they tackle dangerous sand dunes and even Indiana Jones-style booby traps set up by spectators to create even more drama along the routes of travel.
Starring Robert Blake, this is a mighty one when it comes to bike movies. It takes place on the open desert roads of Arizona. The stars are a pair of Harley-Davidson riding traffic cops (John Wintergreen – Blake – and his partner “Zipper” (Billy ‘Green’ Bush).) The two cops are on a mission to prove a suicide case is really a murder. Has awesome and sometimes funny motorcycle cop footage in a sunny, summer setting. Definitely a motorcycle genre worth watching, especially on a big-screen TV with great sound for top gear tunes. PG | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Police, Mystery.
TIP: From my standpoint, the biggest lemon motorcycle movie around the globe is Silver Dream Racer, co-starring Beau Bridges. A boring movie about a guy with ambitions to build a Grand Prix racer. It’s one of the born losers of all motorbike riding-related movies. My stomach felt like throwing up as this loser film was about halfway through this isle of pure boredom. There was nothing clever, and I have no love for this film and think the script was murdered. I consider this to be the king of motorcycle movie flops all the way to the grave. And I spent some time exploring any virtues helpful to the M/C mission, none of which I could locate. Any suggestions?
There are no new best motorcycle movies of 2023 to throw into the ring for 2023. The best motorcycle movies start with Jack Nicholson, and at least one received an Academy Award Nomination. Even Frank, not to mention Nancy Sinatra, would go bonkers for these cool PR machines of masculinity shows! To all you riders and nonriders, drink your Red Bull, stay awake, and enjoy your summer movie marathon ride or motorcycle trip, depending on your state of mind and body! Odds are, next year, you’ll have more good movies about motorcycles to love and add to your war chest in your moment of entertainment need.
No matter your age or gender, don’t let this be your last crusade or round of motorcycle movies either. No matter the remote places you are, if you have WiFi, we are going to be rating the next scene and any films that foot the bill with these machines or the best-credited feature around. So join us as the next ratings-building exercise begins at the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride. If you can relate, stick around for the next answer to the question, “What are the top 10 best bike culture movies?” Stay tuned, as next time; I will review Long Way Round and a few other Ewan McGregor greats on our blog.
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