- Entertainment and Media
Motorcycle Movies--Get Your Motor Running With Nine Fun Biker Films
For motorcycle enthusiasts, winter can be a depressing time. Most have a motorcycle (or two) in the garage that they are making payments on, yet the weather is hardly cooperative.
Sure, many of the tougher and braver will leather-up and face the cold winds and icy rains, but most bikers prefer warmer weather and safer roads.
If you know a die-hard biker then you know that most are more afraid of scratching their motorcycle than they are of hurting themselves. Therefore they aren't about to risk salted roads and possible skids.
For bikers, bike lovers, and lovers of bikers, don't let the depressing weather get you down. Rent some of these great motorcycle movies. They might not feel like the real thing, but they have some wonderful scenery and even more wonderful motorcycles.
Chances are you have seen this one a hundred times. So why not watch it once more? Mel Gibson plays the title character, a man bent on revenge after a rogue motorcycle gang attacks his family.
The dystopian universe, and long silences make this a somewhat surreal film, but the bouts of violence will certainly jar you from any stupor. Even though the movie does its best to place bikers in a bad light, you can't help but love the motorcycles.
The expansive, open scenery actually allows you to feel as though you are riding along with the characters. Well, almost.
A culty presentation by zombie-master George Romero, Knight Riders stars Ed Harris as the leader of a troupe of motorcycle jousters. The armored bikers, dressed as knights of the round table, compete in Renaissance fairs.
The concept here is outlandish, but in traditional Romero fashion, can be highly believable. After all, this is the same director that has half of the world's population convinced that flesh-eating monsters are going to take over the world some day.
Highlights of this film include a performance by Tom Savini as the leader of a rival troupe, and a cameo by author Stephen King, also a well-known motorcycle enthusiast. This film may not deliver the "freedom of the open road" scenario that most biker films are known for, but it is definitely unique.
Every Which Way But Loose
Motorcycles and orangutans? What could be better? How about motorcycles, orangutans and Clint Eastwood?
This film, and its sequel, Any Which Way You Can, both feature The Black Widows, a bumbling motorcycle gang that has a few altercations with Clint Eastwood's character. These two films both contain such an odd mix of elements that they are certain to appeal to everyone in some way or another.
Eastwood plays a bare-knuckle boxer who likes to have a good time with his friend Orvile (Geoffrey Lewis) and Clyde, the orangutan he won on a bet. In the first film, their adventures include searching for Eastwood's love interest, and in the second film they try to outsmart the mafia.
So motorcycles, orangutans, Clint Eastwood, country music, fist-fights, and the mafia. Now, who wouldn't want to watch movies with all of that fun stuff?
Based on the Marvel comic series, the film follows Johnny Blaze, (Nicolas Cage). Blaze is a stunt motorcycle who sells his soul to the devil in order to save the life his father.
When the son of the devil appears with the hopes of bringing Hell to Earth, Blaze is sent to stop him. What ensues is a traditional exploit of comic style action and mayhem, with guns, flaming motorcycles, and sometimes over-the-top CG effects.
Like most films of the genre, Ghost Rider doesn't fail to deliver the 'feel good effect'. And for an added bonus it has one of those endings that is left open for sequels.
To change the pace a bit from the dramatic and violent motorcycle films, pop in this comedy for a few laughs. Wild Hogs follows four bored, middle-aged men from the suburbs who decide to seek adventure by riding across the US on motorcycles.
Starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, William H. Macy, and Martin Lawrence, this film offers a fair share of laughs and mishaps, as the small group cross paths with a Mexican motorcycle gang, unusual cops, and a family of surprised picnickers.
Even though the plot is meant to be comedic, it still has the feel of a traditional biker movie, as the characters discover that simply owning a motorcycle doesn't necessarily make you a biker, or help you to understand the culture.
Also known by the title "The Death Wheelers", Psychomania is as cult as as movie can be.Made in Britain in the 1970s, it takes the familiar 70's rebellion and gives it a good hard twist. Rather than a film about good guys dealing with bad bikers, or good bikers just doing some soul-searching, Psychomania combines horror, motorcycles, and a little bit of "A Clockwork Orange" to make a delightfully wicked show.
In this story, the teenage leader of a motorcycle gang, not satisfied anymore with what trouble he and his cohorts can cause, enlists his mother to help him sell his soul to the devil in return for everlasting life. Make that an eternal life of crime.
To successfully seal this bargain, he and his gang have to commit suicide, which many of them do willingly and as recklessly as possible. Not all of them are quite so enthusiastic about this prospect, and even less enthusiastic when they see the results of their little experiment.
Like most good films of that generation, the film makers don't bore you with cheesy explanations as to why the characters are bad to the bone. No traumatic childhood memories, just wicked boys and girls on motorcycles.
I've yet to meet a true biker that didn't have a copy of this movie. Usually on an altar surrounded by candles and little Harley Davidson figurines. It is considered the ultimate motorcycle movie. As my husband, (a biker of over forty years who began riding at about the time this film was made) says; " You don't have to understand the movie, you just feel it."
Although plenty of rebels, poets, writers, artists and free spirits can feel the message, it sometimes takes a viewing or two for the movie to grow on you. Especially if you weren't around to experience life at that time. Then again, at the time the movie was made, it was a story about two friends making a lot of money from a drug deal, then traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Today it is a statement on counterculture and Americana, as well as social issues that are still being dealt with today.
Part of the raw charm of the film comes from the fact that the two main actors, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper were more than just actors taking roles. The movie was written in part by both actors, with Fonda then producing it and Hopper directing it. As such, they weren't simply IN the movie, they WERE the movie. Maybe that is why the film is so good at drawing you in even when the plot was somewhat vacant.
Special mention in this film goes to Jack Nicholson, who plays a simple, drunken lawyer that wants to travel with the bikers. Nicholson's role gives the movie a huge dose of humanity, and perhaps the biggest statement on American hypocrisy as he states "This used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it."
What Is Your Favorite Motorcycle Movie?
The Wild Angels
Before "Easy Rider", Peter Fonda was in another (less popular) biker movie. Directed by Roger Corman (so yes, it will be strange), "The Wild Angels" spawned a generation of movies that branded all bikers as outlaws and villains.
Don't even think this is a "feel good" movie. It is more like a "day in the life" movie; following a group of Hell's Angels doing what they supposedly do. In this film, they search for a stolen motorcycle. Along the way there is lots of sex, drugs, and violence to stretch the time.
If you are already a Corman fan, then you know that in his films, the ending isn't really a place to get to for a reason. More like where he ran out of film. Just where things were getting pretty interesting.
The World's Fastest Indian
If you have watched ''Easy Rider'' and ''The Wild Angels'' and are looking for a pick-me-up, this movie delivers. Here we have motorcycles for the sake of motorcycles, and a determined, but seemingly unlikely main character.
Anthony Hopkins stars in this true story about Burt Munro, a New Zealand speed racer that travels to America to compete in the Bonnevile Speed Week, in Utah. Along the way he is nearly thwarted several times by small inconveniences, such as customs and race entry rules.
Munro's character is determined and so polite that it is painful at times to see him encounter such difficulties. Because he is so likable, the film keeps you on the edge of your seat even though the point of the story (to break a speed record) is somewhat insignificant in the entire scheme of life.
Movies With Motorcycle Scenes
Some films are not based around motorcycles or motorcycle culture. Many of these feature motorcycles on briefly, yet the scenes are so compelling that they stick in our minds. Sometimes more than the main plot of the movie.
I for one can remember the infamous motorcycle stunt scene from "Great Escape", however, I honestly can't tell you how the film itself ends. What made this movie even better? Steve McQueen did most of the stunts himself.
Here are some movies with memorable motorcycle scenes:
- The Great Escape
- Terminator 2
- Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade
- Nightmare On Elm Street
- Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull
- Dumb and Dumber
Okay, that last movie is just for fun. The "motorcycle" in question wasn't much to brag about, but the line "70 miles to the gallon on this Hog" was one of the highlights of the film.