25 best motorcycle movies ever (25 Essential Motorcycle Films worth watching )by harrismcteyd | created - 07 Oct 2015 | updated - 17 Oct 2016 | Public
Movies that inspire you to go for a motorcycle ride
The art of adventure and motorcycling go hand in hand. The level of freedom and excitement that can felt on a bike compares with very little out there in the world of travel and transport, so it’s no surprise that motorcycling has been the subject of many films over the years.
Travel films are no exception – they tap into the consciousness of riders who are curious for more – always asking questions and always wondering ‘where next? 5 must watch motorcycle adventure films, and discovers why watching them will get you in the mood for your next big trip….
Here’s my list of 25 motorcycle films that you may have never seen or even heard of. All of them we think are worth taking a look at.
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1. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
R | 126 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling.
Votes: 91,355 | Gross: $16.76M
2. On Any Sunday (1971)
G | 96 min | Documentary, Sport
Documentary on motorcycle racing featuring stars of the sport, including film star Steve McQueen, a racer in his own right.
Considered to be one of the best ever motorcycle sport documentaries ever made, this 1971 film was nominated for an Academy Award. Director Bruce Brown successfully reflected the lives of various types of motorcycle enthusiasts that were racing in motocross, desert racing and the Grand National in the early 1970’s. From a motorcycle point of view they are all here – BSA, Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Husqvarna, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Hodaka and Bultaco. The film focuses on the people and what makes them want to ride a motorcycle in competition and features Steve McQueen, AMA legend Mert Lawwill and off-road racer Malcolm Smith. A fascinating glimpse of why people race bikes, any bikes, and still a relevant film today.
3. One Week (I) (2008)
Not Rated | 94 min | Adventure, Drama
Chronicles the motorcycle trip of Ben Tyler as he rides from Toronto to Tofino, British Columbia. Ben stops at landmarks that are both iconic and idiosyncratic on his quest to find meaning in his life.
4. Easy Rider (1969)
R | 95 min | Adventure, Drama
Through the open country and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A to New Orleans, and along the way, meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap they are unaware of.
Votes: 87,916 | Gross: $41.73M
This is one of the most iconic American counter-culture films ever made, it follows the entertaining and illegal adventures of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, with Jack Nicholson chiming in for good measure.
5. Riding Solo to the Top of the World (2006)
94 min | Documentary
Riding Solo To The Top Of The World' is the unique experience of a lonesome traveler, who rides his motorcycle all the way from Mumbai to one of the remotest places in the World, the ... See full summary »
Filmmaker Gaurav Jani did exactly this – journeying from Mumbai to one of the most remote places on earth, the Changthang Plateau. Filming entirely as a one man unit, he captures some incredible moments with the landscape, the people who inhabit it as well as himself and his own experience of this stunning journey.
6. On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter (2014)
PG | 90 min | Documentary, Action, Adventure
Inspired by Bruce Brown's 1971 documentary, "On Any Sunday," chronicles the international sport of motorcycle racing.
Votes: 336 | Gross: $0.54M
On Any Sunday is one of the best-loved motorcycle films of all time. Directed by Bruce Brown—famous for the surf classic Endless Summer—it captured the spirit of motorcyling in a way that even non-riders could understand. And deservedly won an Academy Award nomination.
A sequel is now being readied for release, directed by Bruce’s son Dana Brown and shot using 4K Ultra HD equipment. On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter is backed by Red Bull, KTM and Skullcandy, and the PR machine is about to hit top gear.
Fortunately, the trailer suggests that the film will live up to the hype. It’ll hit theaters in the USA on November 7.
7. Long Way Round (2004– )
TV-PG | 315 min | Documentary, Adventure
This documentary series follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip around the world. The two friends will travel through such places as Siberia, Kazakhstan, ... See full summary »
Between April and July 2004, Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor travelled from London to New York ‘the long way round’ – taking two BMW R1150GS bikes with them and transversing some of the most difficult terrain the world had to throw at them. It was an epic documentary series, and still one of the best watches for a combination of travel, adventure and motorcycle fuelled action.
8. TT3D: Closer to the Edge (2011)
Not Rated | 104 min | Documentary, Sport
By vividly recounting the TT's legendary rivalries and the Isle of Man's unique road racing history, this 3D feature documentary will discover why modern TT riders still risk their lives to... See full summary »
If you’ve never been to the Isle of Man in May to watch the annual Tourist Trophy, this film is almost the next best thing to being there. Filmed in 2010 you get some truly spectacular footage of the world’s greatest motorcycle race. This 104-minute documentary follows racers Guy Martin and Ian Hutchinson in their bid to claim the title of King of the Hill. You won’t believe how fast or how dangerous the 37.73 course is. There is no other motorcycle race – or for that any motor sport event – like this and we could watch this over and over again. Ultimately the only thing to do is go and see this astonishing race for yourself. You won’t regret it.
10. The World's Fastest Indian (2005)
PG-13 | 127 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
The story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years rebuilding a 1920 Indian motorcycle, which helped him set the land speed world record at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967.
Votes: 48,833 | Gross: $5.13M
There are several other films that could be at the number one slot but The World’s Fastest Indian is just a great film. Based on the true story of a middle-aged but very determined Kiwi Burt Munro, who against the odds brought his modified Indian scout to Bonneville to set land speed records. It may not be historically accurate but there is a fantastic performance by Anthony Hopkins playing Munro and it takes little time before you start to empathize with this character and the huge challenge he has to overcome to achieve his dream. Lots of motorcycle content and one of those films that you will want to watch again and again.
We’re not saying this is the definitive list of all motorcycle films ever made. Just a cross-section of a wide variety of films that have motorcycle content that we think are worth watching. If you’ve got some better suggestions then let us know.
11. Why We Ride (2013)
PG | 89 min | Documentary, Family, History
The passion of the riders and the soul of their machines.
WHY WE RIDE MOVIE TRIES TO ANSWER THE AGE-OLD QUESTION By all accounts, the new documentary Why We Ride is a beautifully filmed work that will make you want to hop on a motorcycle the moment you step out of the theater. It’s that kind of film. Through exquisite vintage and slow-motion footage from places such as Bonneville, Daytona, motocross tracks, and campsites in the California desert, the audience is taken on a stunning visual journey into our two-wheel world, with dozens of riders, some famous, some not, speaking poignantly about what motorcycling means to them. There’s no narrator, and there doesn’t need to be; the various folks who do the talking are all remarkably well-spoken. We only wish they were identified as they appeared on screen and not later in the movie as the credits were rolling.
12. The Wild Angels (1966)
R | 93 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
The "Angels", a San Pedro motorcycle gang, parties in the Coachella Valley's Palm Springs Indian Canyons, California, and wreaks havoc with the local police.
Votes: 2,275 | Gross: $6.50M
13. Dust to Glory (2005)
PG | 97 min | Documentary, Action, Adventure
A documentary on the Baja 1000, an annual off-road race held in Baja, Mexico that attracts hundreds of racers, their souped-up machines, and thousands of fans.
Votes: 904 | Gross: $0.64M
When you’ve finished watching this you will go straight out and buy yourself an off-road motorcycle and head to Baja. This documentary, which was actually filmed in 2003, follows the Baja 1000 race and all of the competitors through 650 miles of the Mexican desert. There was a huge film crew, several helicopters involved in making this film and the result is pretty spectacular. Not only do the competitors have some fearsome terrain and weather conditions to ride through but they also have to watch out for the spectators that take some pleasure in laying traps for them. Despite being eight years old this is still a riveting watch.
14. Stone (1974)
103 min | Action, Drama, Adventure
Members of the Grave Diggers Motorcycle Club are being knocked off one by one, and someone needs to find out why! Sandy Harbutt's timeless Australian cult film about a bunch of renegades riding Kawasaki 900s.
Don’t let the fact this is classed a low-budget film, it’s actually quite entertaining. Set in Australia it features an undercover cop (Ken Shorter) who joins an outlaw motorcycle club called The Gravediggers to find out why their members are being murdered one by one. There are quite a lot motorcycles involved included a Norton at the outset followed by a Kawasaki Z1 900cc. Not a seat of your pants film but an interesting snap shot of motorcycle culture outside the U.S.
15. Hells Angels on Wheels (1967)
Approved | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
At first, gas station attendant Poet is happy when the Hell's Angels gang finally accepts him. But he's shocked when he learns just how brutal they are.
One of Jack Nicholson’s first films which tells the story of a disillusioned gas station attendant who’s attracted to the life with the Hells Angels MC. Lots of late 1960’s bikes and an attempt at portraying what life in an outlaw motorcycle club was really like then. Several fist fights, an occasional stabbing and an interesting film to watch. Ralph ‘Sonny’ Barger, President of the Hells Angels, is credited in the titles as being a consultant to the filmmakers and he plays a non-speaking part early on in the film. So it must be true…
16. Choppertown: The Sinners (2005)
Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Action, Adventure
Custom chopper builder and punk rocker Kutty Noteboom builds his working man's chopper from the ground up with the help of good friend Rico and the rest of his biker brothers in this ... See full summary »
An interesting take on Southern California motorcycle culture and life. This award-winning documentary takes a refreshing look at what it takes to build a custom motorcycle with a group of friends. It’s not your OC Chopper story but an honest look at why Rico Fodfrey and his So Cal Sinners crew build their bikes. How they do it and why they do it. How they search for parts and re-use parts in clever and innovative ways. These are average guys keeping motorcycle culture alive and who are not interested in building bikes for big bucks but creating motorcycles for themselves.
17. Electra Glide in Blue (1973)
PG | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Bored with his highway traffic duties, Arizona motorcycle patrolman John Wintergreen is assigned to Homicide where his polite investigative style irks his macho boss.
The open desert roads of Arizona, a pair of Harley-Davidson riding traffic cops called John Wintergreen (Robert Blake) and his partner Zipper (Billy ‘Green’ Bush) are on a mission to prove that a suspected suicide is in fact a murder. Not the best plot line in the world but some great motorcycle footage and worth watching on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
18. The Wild One (1953)
Not Rated | 79 min | Drama
Two rival motorcycle gangs terrorize a small town after one of their leaders is thrown in jail.
Apart from The Dude, a badass Daft Punk soundtrack and flying discs of doom, the best thing about Tron: Legacy has to be the Lightcycle bikes. These light-lined beasts produce a destructive field making their gaming arena lethally entertaining. The real-world version might not be so dangerous but its looks are still killer. To get an idea of the effort that went into creating spectacular CGI sequences like the lightcycle battle: this film was shot in 64 days, the special effects took 68 weeks.
19. Road to Paloma (2014)
R | 91 min | Drama, Thriller
Wolf, a Native American on the run after avenging his mother's murder, flees across the desolate American West on his motorcycle, where he'll discover that justice has a cost.
21. Akira (1988)
R | 124 min | Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi
A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop.
Votes: 137,886 | Gross: $0.55M
23. Every Which Way but Loose (1978)
PG | 114 min | Action, Comedy
The San Fernando Valley adventures of trucker turned prize-fighter Philo Beddoe and his pet orangutan Clyde.
Votes: 21,032 | Gross: $106.00M
24. Somewhere Else Tomorrow (2014)
Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Adventure, Drama
A naive dreamer attempts to circumnavigate the world on his motorcycle, surviving only on the money he makes along the way.
26. An Island Legacy Edge Closer (2013)
Not Rated | 61 min | Documentary, History, Sport
A feature documentary with a charming look-behind-the-scenes at the Isle of Man TT road racers and all else about the Island. Enjoy the history, the entertainment, and the glitz of it all with this documentary feature.
Director: Paul Fielding