17 of the Best Motorcycle Movies

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Have there been any great motorcycle movies lately? Maybe some cameos and probably some documentaries that I can’t think of at the moment. What is certain, is there have been many great (and not so great) motorcycle movies over the past seven decades or more. Movies depicting the Hell’s Angels in the late sixties, documentaries following travelers around the world and riders racing at the ragged edge, and even some light-hearted comedy make up our 17 movie list. So grab your Rolos, Junior Mints, popcorn, or whatever it is you like to enjoy with a movie. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Chopper Chicks in Zombietown

Year: 1989

Director: Dan Hoskins

Plenty of great things happened in 1989: the Berlin wall fell, I was born, and Chopper Chicks in Zombietown graced the silver screen. This cinematic work follows the exploits of a rough and tumble gang of biker babes as they run into trouble in a podunk town in the middle of nowhere. The gang must fight off hordes of close-minded townies and more than a handful of zombies to get out alive

Bottom Line/Chicks, zombies, choppers. What else do you need?

Dust to Glory

Year: 2005 

Director: Dana Brown

The Baja 1000 has a reputation as the most dangerous race in the world. Every year, the race draws enthusiasts from all walks determined to brave the grueling and inhospitable terrain of Baja, Mexico. This documentary about the 24-hour race follows celebrities, factory race teams, and single-man competitors on their journey through the 2003 race. Sure, there are more four-wheeled vehicles in this documentary than other films on this list, but Dana Brown does a great job of showing the intensity of racing.

Bottom Line/A 24-hour race spanning 1000 miles in Baja

Easy Rider

Year: 1969

Director: Dennis Hopper 

Two drug-dealing hippies score big and look to get out of the life. Taking the money and leaving their past behind, the two set off for a cross country trip. Along the way, the motorcycle-riding hippies run into life-altering situations and substances causing them to question their entire being.

Bottom Line/The quintessential ‘60s biker flick

Faster, Fastest, Hitting the Apex

Year: 2003

Director: Mark Neale

If you’re into MotoGP, you’ll love these three movies. Faster covers the 2001 and 2002 seasons, Fastest the 2010 and 2011 seasons and Hitting the Apex up to 2014. These three films focus on the top riders of each era and the bitter rivalries between them like the epic Rossi and Biaggi duels. All three also give a bit of history going much further back. Ewan McGregor narrates the first two while Brad Pitt takes over for Hitting the Apex.

Bottom Line/If you like MotoGP, you’re going to like these

Harley-Davidson and the Marlboro Man

Year: 1991

Director: Simon Wincer

Forced by the imminent foreclosure of their friend’s bar, two lifelong buddies, Harley Davidson (Mickey Rourke) and The Marlboro Man (Don Johnson) decide to rob a corrupt bank’s armored car only to find out that they’ve stolen a truckload of a new fancy designer drug. The bad guys get word and rain down a throng of assassins to take out the dynamic duo.

Bottom Line/Action. Motorcycles. A couple of lovable tough guys.

Hell’s Angels on Wheels

Year: 1967

Director: Richard Rush

A motorcycling gas station attendant, Poet (Jack Nicholson) becomes fed up with all of the BS of the daily grind just as the local Hell’s Angels chapter rolls into town. After a brief scuffle with one of the Angels, Poet ends up joining the crew in a barroom brawl. Enticed by the raucous activity, Poet sticks around and ends up having the leader’s “old woman” fall for him and happily accepts her advances.

Bottom Line/A forbidden love story wrapped in the guise of a rowdy biker movie

I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle

Year: 1990

Director: Dirk Campbell 

An instant classic. After a satanic ritual during which an occultist is killed by a motorcycle gang, a bike is inhabited by a vampiric spirit. An unsuspecting Noddy (Neil Morrissey) later buys that motorcycle and wants to fix it up, but the machine has developed a thirst for blood and revenge.

Bottom Line/This one’s a doozy

Long Way Round/Down/Up

Year: 2004

Director: David Alexanian & Russ Malkin

As of now, Long Way Round and Long Way Down are the two currently available with the latest documentary, Long Way Up hitting Apple TV+ September 2020. Long Way Round sees actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman setting off on a 19,000-mile trip around the world. Starting in London and ending in New York City, the duo takes the long way around. In Long Way Down, Charley and Ewan begin in John o’ Groats, Scotland, and end up in Cape Town, Africa. During the first two films, the guys ride BMW R1200GS adventure bikes. During the latest documentary, yet to be released, Ewan and Charley ride Harley-Davidson Livewire electric motorcycles from the city of Ushuaia at the tip of South America, though Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and up through Colombia, Central America and Mexico.

Bottom Line/Arguably, the series that busted the adventure motorcycle genre wide open

On Any Sunday

Year: 1971

Director: Bruce Brown

Featuring some of the coolest guys around at the time, both in the motorcycling community and beyond, On Any Sunday brought motorcycling to the mainstream. Thanks to the legendary Malcolm Smith, Mert Lawwill, and the king of cool himself, Steve McQueen. The film features motorcycle racing, the culture, and general tomfoolery. 

Bottom Line/You can’t call yourself a motorcyclist until you’ve seen it

The Glory Stompers

Year: 1967

Director: Anthony M. Lanza

“They’re ridin’ for glory. Lovin’ for glory. Dancin’ for glory. The swinginest cycle gang there is. The mamas are wilder, the lovin freer, crowding a lifetime of livin’ into… now.” All is groovy, man that is until the Black Souls show up “causing the most violent cycle war to hit the streets.”

Bottom Line/You’ll dig it, man

The Losers

Year: 1970

Director: Jack Starrett

A group of mercenary Hell’s Angels are flown in to do battle with charlie, on bikes. The biker quintet outfit their cycles to the hilt with all sorts of artillery in order to rescue a captured presidential advisor.

Bottom Line/Do you like war movies, guns, and motorcycles? If so, this one’s for you.

The Motorcycle Diaries

Year: 2004

Director: Walter Salles

A dramatization of a motorcycle journey that Ernesto Guevara took in his youth which helped him find his calling as an Argentine revolutionary.

Bottom Line/A romantic dramatisation of a young Che’s motorcycle trip

The Wild Angels

Year: 1966

Director: Roger Corman

Heavenly Blues (Peter Fonda): We don’t want nobody telling us what to do. We don’t want nobody pushing us around.

Preacher: I apologize. But, tell me, just what is it that you want to do?

Heavenly Blues: We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride! We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man. And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that’s what we’re gonna do. We are gonna have a good time. We are gonna have a party.

Bottom Line/Before Easy Rider, there was The Wild Angels

The Wild One

Year: 1953

Director: Laslo Benedek

One of the earliest, and probably most widely known, The Wild One stars Marlon Brando as Johnny, a back-jacketed troubled youth rebelling against everyone and everything. After the gang’s leader winds up in jail, the bikers tear up the town.

Bottom Line/Another one that’s described as “quintessential” by the masses

TT3D: Closer to the Edge

Year: 2011

Director: Richard De Aragues

TT3D: Closer to the Edge gives an inside look at the TT as it attempts to explain the allure behind one of the world’s most dangerous road races, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy.

Bottom Line/If you’re a racing fan, you’ll love it. If you’re not a racing fan, you’ll love it.

Wild Hogs

Year: 2007

Director: Walt Becker

One of our most family-friendly light-hearted selections, Wild Hogs follows a group of middle-aged suburban bikers as they set out on a life-changing road trip aboard their hogs. Trouble ensues when the group meets a biker gang out of New Mexico, the Del Fuegos. A-list actors, a fun story line, and what is likely a relatable situation are a few reasons Wild Hogs made the list. There’s even a cameo by a certain legendary biker found elsewhere in this list.

Bottom Line/Don’t act like you’re too cool to watch it

World’s Fastest Indian

Year: 2005

Director: Roger Donaldson

Based on “one hell of a true story” is right. The World’s Fastest Indian dramatizes the events that befell New Zealander, Burt Munro as he set out to break the land speed record aboard his 1920s Indian streamliner in 1967.

Bottom Line/A fantastic underdog story of a man who wouldn’t quit

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