Five Motorcycling Movies You Have to Watch (And, if you’ve seen them before, you have to watch them again!)
There’s a meme doing the rounds that lists the things we do when not riding our motorbikes. The list includes talking about motorbikes, reading about motorbikes, dreaming about motorbikes, looking at pictures of motorbikes, thinking about what motorbike to buy next and watching TV programmes and movies about motorbikes.
That pretty much sums it up for many of us so, to help you along, I thought I’d recommend five must-see movies about motorbikes to fill in some of those moments when you are not doing all the other things. Maybe you’ve already seen all of them, but maybe there’s something new for you here. You might be asking ’why only five?’ and the simple answer is that I’ll do a part two of this some time soon.
1. Why We Ride
A really great piece of film making that attempts to explain the passion behind motorcycle riding. Filmed across the U.S., it brings in motorcyclists from all walks of life to talk about their passion and, in doing so, tries to find answers. Whether it succeeds doesn’t matter as it is visually breathtaking. There is no narrator, the people themselves provide the story and the pictures say much more than they do. Inspirational.
2. The World’s Fastest Indian
Heart-warming story of Burt Munro, craggy and belligerent New Zealander who spent 20 years modifying his 1920 Indian Scout in order to go as fast as possible, finally succeeding at Bonneville in 1967. Brilliant performance by Anthony Hopkins as Munro and just a great story of one man’s obsession with speed above everything else. Not always historically accurate but so entertaining, you can forgive it.
3. On Any Sunday
OK, so it’s an obvious choice, but how could any list not have this film on it? Made by Bruce Brown in 1971 and featuring Mert Lawwill, Malcolm Smith, Steve McQueen and a huge supporting cast, it showcases the range of motorcycle sport that might take place on any typical weekend around the world. It’s stunning in its variety and beautifully filmed. One of those movies that makes you get your bike out of the garage and just go for a ride and feel part of the wonderful community that is motorcycling.
4. TT3D; Closer to the Edge
The story of the 2010 Isle of Man TT races, seen through the eyes of the main protagonists, with emphasis on that most colourful of racers, Guy Martin. You might need to turn on the subtitles to understand what he is saying but, in a closed world of mavericks, he is possibly the most out-there and entertaining. The film brings home just how insanely skilled these guys have to be to not only race and survive on the 37.75 mile course but to stand even the most remote chance of success. The movie does not shy away from talking about the danger and shows the men and women who race there to be the heroes they really are.
5. Long Way Round
The ultimate buddy movie. Two old friends decide to escape their personal rat-races and ride around the world from London, through northern Europe and across Russia to Alaska and thence to New York. It helps that both men - Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor - both have engaging on-screen personalities but what really makes this series special is the journey itself; the places they travel through, the people they meet, the landscapes, the difficulties, the triumphs, the way it makes you want to get up out of your chair and go and do it for yourself. The book of the adventure is also well worth a read.
6. Blood and Oil
OK, I know I said five, but this short film deserves a mention. Very arty and beautifully shot, with a deeply moving piece of poetry as the narration. It’s the creation of Cale Glendening, who says this about the film:
"It speaks to all avenues of passionate endeavours and the common thread of desire, determination and relentless pursuit it takes to see them through. That feeling that wakes you in the dead of night, the call to action that courses through your veins. It doesn’t matter what you do or what your passion is, there is always room to be challenged, to grow, advance and to be more inspired."
There’s every chance that you will have seen all of these movies but the great thing about them is that they can be watched again and again and you’ll never get bored.