Hollywood loves bikes as much as it loves pyrotechnics, complicated romances, and blondes with extensive cosmetic surgery. So it’s no surprise that Tinseltown has produced some epic motorbike movies and shows. When it’s too cold to ride, or your engine is in pieces on the shop floor, put on one of these classics, kick back, and enjoy the next best thing.
THE WILD ONE (1953) Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin. Triumph and Harley. Turned off a generation and put the hook into another.
EASY RIDER (1960) Nothing says the ’60s, experimental cinema, and choppers like this classic.
THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) Steve McQueen (Bud Ekins, actually) and that epic jump for freedom—the bike is the perfect metaphor. Even a crash can be cool!
HELLS ANGELS ON WHEELS (1967, with Jack Nicholson) One of many painfully camp bikesploitation flicks from the ’60s.
THEN CAME BRONSON (American TV series, 1969–1970) One man goes looking for the meaning of life on a Harley-Davidson Sportster.
ON ANY SUNDAY (1971) Bruce Brown’s epic probably did more to put an entire generation on two wheels than anything else. To this day it’ll bring a tear to your eye and make you want to go riding.
ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE (1973) One of the few mainstream movies ever named for a bike, it follows the travails of a groovy yet doomed motorcycle cop (and his Harley Electra Glide, in Arizona Highway Patrol blue, of course).
MAD MAX (1979) In future post-apocalyptic Australia, a highway patrolman (played by then-unknown Mel Gibson) defends civilization from rampaging biker gangs.
V-FOUR VICTORY (1983) One lap around the Isle of Man with the legendary Joey Dunlop. Even though it’s getting a little long in the tooth, streetbike riders and road racers will reach for a strong drink after watching it. Whatta rush.
FASTER (2003) A peek behind the curtain of MotoGP life. Even non-enthusiasts will appreciate the drama between Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi.
LONG WAY ROUND/LONG WAY DOWN (Television documentary series, 2004/2007) Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman go on the adventure-bike ride(s) of a lifetime.
WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN (2005) Anthony Hopkins stars in a biopic of Kiwi motorcycle legend Burt Munro. The story of a 69-year-old racer and his highly modified 47-year-old Indian, seeking one last world speed record.
DUST TO GLORY (2005) A cinematic celebration of the epic Baja 1000 race.