Motorcycle Movies: 10 Famous Motorcycle Movies
By Walter Kern
This article reviews ten famous motorcycle movies. I personally own all these motorcycle movies. Some I like and some I dislike. Some motorcycle movies are objectionable to me in general but have some overriding characteristics that you may find interesting. An example might be that the film includes the first major roles for some well known actors.
To prepare my list of motorcycle movies, I have been buying the movies and then watching them all the way through. Sometimes I watch them twice because I don't fully understand them the first time.
The following are some of my thoughts on the motorcycle movies that I've reviewed.
First off, I'd like to make one observation about the majority of the motorcycle movies.
They tend to follow the general plot line of Easy Rider. That means that you shouldn't expect an uplifting ending.
Most of the following descriptions include links to Amazon.com where you can learn more about the videos and purchase them if you wish.
Easy Rider was released in 1969. It's a classic motorcycle video that every motorcyclist needs to see. The scenes of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper on their choppers with beautiful scenery going by and great music playing are the best parts of the movie. The scenes with Jack Nicholson are absolutely not to be missed.
The Wild One starring Marlon Brando was the one motorcycle movie I remember from my teen years growing up. I remember being quite impressed by it and I wanted to see it again. I was not disappointed when I recently reviewed the film again. This is a classic motorcycle movie. It's based on the infamous Hollister incident that occurred in 1947. Brando plays Johnny, leader of the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club (BRMC). They ride into town with chips on their shoulders and things get out-of-hand. Mary Murphy plays a local town girl that falls for Johnny. This is a must see motorcycle movie. The movie is in black and white and, in my opinion, is one of the best movies of all time.
In Born to Ride, John Stamos plays a super motorcycle mechanic and rider during World War II. He rides his Harley into a military ceremony to impress the Colonel's daughter. It turns out that the ceremony is a ragtag unit of motorcycle soldiers in need of training. After witnessing Stamos' expert riding, the Colonel arranges for him to sign-on to shape up his new motorcycle unit. A secret military mission behind enemy lines forces the unit to get fit-for-fighting in a hurry. This is an action motorcycle film about motorcycles. It has some great motorcycle stunts, an engaging love story, and lots of military Harleys.
Electra Glide in Blue stars Robert Blake as an Arizona cop who rides a Harley Electra Glide. Blake identifies with the hippies. He finds himself promoted for exposing a murder but his basic virility gets him demoted back to his bike where he finds conflict with the hippies. The ending is somewhat of a downer but I guarantee you'll love the cinematography of Monument Valley and the closing score of "Tell Me."
Girl on a Motorcycle is an original uncensored European version of the classic film. Marianne Faithful stars as the Girl who leaves her newlywed husband and sets out on her Harley-Davidson to run away to her former lover. For the journey, she is wearing a leather jumpsuit with nothing underneath. (This film was originally released in the USA in 1968 as Naked Under Leather.) There are many scenes of her riding her motorcycle through the countryside. Along the way she fantasizes about the torrid love affair in a series of very psychedelic sequences. She is an appealing character who takes too many chances.
Knightriders is a completely original film starring Ed Harris as the King of a group of modern-day bikers who look and act like Knights of the Round Table. They travel from town to town performing their jousts on motorcycles. The film is long and has very good character development. There's plenty of action and daredevil riding. The prospect of more money forces a rift in the ranks and some of the riders leave. Of course, they return to complete the action-packed finale. There is a Stephen King and Tabitha King cameo. Watch for it.
Rebel Rousers is a motorcycle video with few redeeming qualities except the performance by Jack Nicholson as a member of a rowdy motorcycle gang. The plot centers around the re-awakening of Bruce Dern who plays the leader of the gang. He tries to go against the gang's desires to terrorize a pregnant woman. Don't play it with any kids around. Watch it to see a young Bruce Dern and Jack Nicholson.
Roadside Prophets stars Rockers John Doe and Adam Horowitz as two bikers making a cross-desert adventure to sow the ashes of a departed buddy. One is cool, the other crazy. They encounter a cast of memorable characters including Arlo Guthrie, John Cusack, David Carradine, and Timothy Leary. You will smile all the way through this video but be warned, it's wacky and unusual like a cross between Twin Peaks and Easy Rider.
The Lords of Flatbush stars Sly Stallone, Henry Winkler, and Perry King in a 1950s Brooklyn gang of cool, sexy rebels clad in black motorcycle jackets and bad attitudes. It's about growing up while still trying to be part of the gang. Motorcycles are the favored form of transportation. See it just to see these struggling actors in their first roles and relive your youth if you grew up in the 1950s.
There Goes a Motorcycle is part of a series of videos aimed at children aged 3 to 8. This motorcycle video features Biker Dave and Biker Becky who set out to learn how to ride a motorcycle. It's meant to be instructive and humorous to this age group but I think it will appeal to adults too. It shows how much fun motorcycles can be if their riders are properly trained.