The 18 Best Motorcycle Movies

Movies about motorcycles are the storylines that will appeal most to lovers of fast unicycles. However, the motorcycle is a very universal symbol of travel, the search for purpose, dreams and freedom. It is a vehicle that can take us into the unknown, promises adventure and romantic elation. In cinema, the motorcycle very often accompanies love stories. It is a tool of lovers for escaping the unwanted eye of observers, it provides carnal closeness and intimacy. It also represents the promise of a journey together towards a beautiful future.

The motorcycle in the movies is also a telling attribute of masculinity. It is a phallic symbol, placing its owner in the context of decisiveness, power, but also sexual attraction. It is often a sign of belonging to a particular subculture, and not infrequently to a group that operates outside the law – a motorcycle gang.

The conventions of motorcycle films can vary greatly. It can be road cinema, as well as comedies, thrillers or films about racing. The motorcycle as a main motif also appears in science-fiction or adventure films.

Motorcycle movies

1. “Easy Rider” (1969)

Motorcycle movies - Easy Rider

“Easy Rider” is Denis Hopper’s cult film depicting the clash between hippie counterculture and traditional American values. The main characters are two motorcyclists, Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Denis Hooper), who take a motorcycle trip through the US South. Along the way they meet ordinary farm dwellers, members of the flower child commune, as well as representatives of the law (Jack Nicholson). In turn, their openly manifested freedom becomes the subject of growing resentment from conservatives.

2. “The Motorcycle Diaries” (“Diarios de motocicleta”, 2004)

The best motorcycle movies - The motorcycle Diaries

“The Motorcycle Diaries” is a high-profile film based on fact, which won an Oscar and two BAFTA statuettes. The protagonists of the picture are Ernesto Guavera and Alberto Granado, who in 1952 set off on their motorcycles on a journey across South America. The expedition gave the young Argentines the opportunity to get to know the continent in depth, as well as to come up with many daring conclusions. After all, a few years later, Che Guavera was at the forefront of the Cuban Revolution, becoming its icon, but also a bloody symbol. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna and Mia Maestro.

3. “Top Gun” (1986)

Motorcycle films - Top Gun

Tony Scott’s “Top Gun” may be a movie about navy pilots, but iconic motorcycle scenes have also gone down in cinematic history. I’m referring to the romantic shots in which Maverick (Tom Cruise) drives his beautiful sweetheart, Charlie (Kelly McGillis), on his unicycle. The motorcycle in question is the legendary Kawasaki GPZ900R, a legendary model from the 1980s, accelerating to a then skyrocketing speed of 250 km/h. Scott’s iconic film contributed to the motorcycle’s extraordinary popularity and great sales.

4. “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” (1981)

The best motorcycle films - Mad Max 2

“Mad Max 2” is a popular sci-fi film in which motorcycle scenes play an important role. The picture is set in Australia after a nuclear attack. Max (Mel Gibson) is a former police officer who tries to help the residents of a village threatened by a dangerous gang of bandits. The film features motorcycle models such as the Kawasaki F5, KZ 900, Z 1000 and Yamaha 1100 XSE.

5. “Harley and the Davidsons’” (TV Mini Series, 2016)

Motorcycle movies list Harley and the Davidsons

Harley and the Davidsons’” is a 2016 miniseries depicting the story of the creators of the legendary machine. The main characters Arthur and Walter Davidson, along with their friend Bill Harley, dream of creating the fastest motorcycle in the world. Of course, they have to overcome many adversities along the way. Starring Michiel Huisman, Bug Hull and Robert Aramayo.

6. “One Week” (2008)

Old motorcycle movies - One Week

“One Week”, on the other hand, is a touching drama about a man who decides to set off on his motorcycle on the last trip across Canada in his life. The protagonist learns that he suffers from an incurable disease. The news puts his entire life so far in a different light. The man decides to hit the road to come to terms with the inevitable and find meaning. The film stars Joshua Jackson in the lead role.

7. “Beyond the Law” (1992)

Best movie motorcycles - Beyond the Law

Beyond the Law” is a story about an FBI agent (played by Charlie Sheen) who tries to infiltrate a motorcycle gang. To do this, he adopts the necessary camouflage of an avid harley rider. However, this is not enough to gain the trust of drug traffickers. So Dan comes up with an idea to persuade gang members to commit a joint crime.

8. “Fastest” (2011)

Best movies with motorcycles - Fastest

“Fastest” is a feature-length documentary depicting the world of MotoGP motorcycle racing. Mark Neale presents the ups and downs of the sport’s well-known figures, their love of motorcycles and their dedicated preparation for competition. The film is narrated by Ewan McGregor.

9. “The Wild One” (1953)

18 best motorcycle movies ever - The Wild One

The Wild One” is a classic motorcycle film, one of the pioneers that set the path for this type of cinema. The main character of the picture is Johnny (played by Marlon Brando), who travels around California with his friends from the motorcycle club. One day in a small town, the group encounters a rival gang, whose leader begins to hit on the sheriff’s daughter. The rivalry soon leads to tragedy.

10. “The World’s Fastest Indian” (2005)

The 18 best motorcycle movies of all time - The World Fastest Indian

True story is a great movie based on true events. Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) is a resident of New Zealand who dreams of participating in the American Bonneville Salt Flats races. The man constructs an Indian motorcycle and travels to the US to break the speed record.

11. “Ghost Rider” (2007)

The best motorcycle films of all time - Ghost Rider

“Ghost Rider” is a cinematic story from the borderline of action and fantasy cinema. The main character of the picture is Johny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), a stunt motorcyclist, who, wanting to save his dying father, signs a pact with the devil. After some time, he receives another proposal from the prince of darkness – in exchange for freeing his own soul, he is to become a Ghost Rider – a hunter of disobedient demons. Starring alongside Nicolas Cage is Eva Mendes.

12. “Wild Hogs” (2007)

Motorcycle films ever Wild Hogs

“Wild Hogs” is a comedy about a group of friends who decide to break the boredom of everyday life and travel all over the US on motorcycles. So they buy Harleys, form the eponymous gang and hit the road. Of course, the journey will be fraught with plenty of funny and unforeseen events, and, significantly, will change the lives of the characters. The film stars John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy in leading roles.

13. “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

The most famous motorcycle movies - Terminator 2

“Terminator 2” is also a movie in which the motif of riding a motorcycle plays an important role. Awarded with four Oscars, the cult sci-fi picture is one of the links in the series about the struggle of the human race against machines. In Judgment Day, Terminator T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) must save John Connor (Edward Furlong) and his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) from death. The boy is destined to play a historic role in the future: he will become the leader of the people’s revolt against the Terminators. Schwarzenegger’s famous chase and escape scenes featured rides on the iconic Harley-Davidson FatBoy motorcycle.

14. “Mission: Impossible II” (2000)

Movies about motorcycle trip - Mission Impossible 2

The second part of Mission: Impossible, recounting the adventures of intrepid IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) became famous, among other things, for its iconic scenes of bravura motorcycle riding. The hero rode two models of unicycles: Triumph Speed Triple and Daytona 955i. In Part III of the series, Cruise, in turn, rode a Triumph Bonneville motorcycle.

15. “Torque” (2004)

Motorcycle movies you shouldn't miss - Torque

While “Torque” is not a cinematic masterpiece, it is hard to deny that motorcycle riding plays a key role in it. The main character, Cary Ford (Martin Henderson), as a result of a scuffle with the leader of a motorcycle drug-trafficking gang, has to flee to the desert, pursued by villains and FBI agents.

16. “Nowhere to Run” (1993)

The most famous Motorcycle films - Nowhere to Run

Nowhere to Run” is one of the classic action films starring Jean-Claude Van Damm. An ex-con settles on the farm of a young and beautiful widow (Rosanna Arquette) and decides to help her fight a local businessman. In thrilling chase scenes Van Damme rides a Triumph motorcycle.

17. “The Great Escape”, 1963

Films about motorcycles - The Great Escape

John Sturges’ “The Great Escape” is another film in which a British Triumph played an important role, this time imitating a German BMW. The film is set during World War II. A group of Allied soldiers imprisoned in a German prison camp makes a daring escape attempt. The lead role was played by Steve McQueen, who gave a display of excellent chase scenes on a motorcycle, and in the finale made the famous jump over a wooden barrier on a motorcycle. Remarkably, the actor did not use a stuntman.

18. “Three Steps Above Heaven” (“Tres metros sobre el Cielo”, 2010)

Motorcycle film stories - Three Steps Above Heaven

Three Steps Above Heaven” is a Spanish film about the love between a rebellious young man on a motorcycle named Hache (Mario Casas) and a good girl from a good home, Babi (Maria Valverde). In this modern version of Romeo and Juliet, the motorcycle plays a not inconsiderable romantic role.

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