Monday, February 4, 2013

The Best Motorcycle Movies to Watch During Winter - Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about what I consider the top 5 motorcycle movies. The rest of the top 10 follows below. Hopefully this will help you get through the winter blues.

The World's Fastest Indian (2005)
Link to Trailer

Anthony Hopkins who I remember best as Hannibal in the Silence of the Lambs (which by the way was a terrible movie to go to for a date - don't ask me how I know), plays Burt, a man of meager means who chases his dream of going to the Bonneville Salt Flats. Now in his 60's and suffering from a heart condition, he brings his 1920 Indian motorcycle which he's been modifying for 25 years to be the first motorcycle to break the 200 mph barrier. On a shoestring budget and not knowing all the rules of the salt flats, he charms his way into doing the timed runs. By the end you'll be cheering for him and don't be surprised if you shed a tear or two.

Dust To Glory (2005)
Link to Trailer

While not strictly a movie about motorcycles, Dust to Glory covers the Baja 1000 race across the Baja peninsula in Mexico. Motorcycles, cars, buggies and trucks aim to be the first ones across the finish line. competing in different classes and are timed versus being a scramble. Racers only have to arrive at the checkpoints so any route goes. I've heard of this race but after watching this movie I realize just how physically gruelling it is for the equipment and especially the riders/drivers! This movie follows several teams including two motorcycle teams -- a sponsored factory team, and a privateer. It's interesting to see the difference between the two. There are lots of exciting moments such as the two motorcycle teams neck in neck that take different routes to the checkpoint. I love how involved the spectators are -- they're so close they can touch the vehicles! I guess safety measures are a little different in Mexico than they are in North America!

(more after the jump)

Easy Rider (1969)
Link to Trailer

Easy Rider is a must watch for anyone who considers themselves a true motorcyclist.  It stars Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson as the main characters traveling across America to find America.  Roger Ebert states in his review, "There's heavy symbolism as Fonda throws away his wristwatch before setting off on the journey, and the establishing scenes, as Captain America and Billy stash their loot in a gas tank and set off down the backroads of the Southwest, are slowly paced -- heavy on scenery, light on dialogue, pregnant with symbolism and foreboding." Another reviewer rjbrad from IMDB shares this insight: "...this is a magnificently perceptive commentary on hippie culture..."

My take? Who wouldn't want to see a movie with a character named Captain America?  But seriously, I liked the insight into the hippie and drug culture as mentioned above, the scenery through the American southwest, the freedom of the road trip, and the views/prejudices the small town folks held against bikers.

Faster (2003)
Link to Trailer

Narrated by Ewan MacGregor this used to be my favourite movie and is still worthy of a Top 10 mention. Watching a MotoGP race on Sunday morning is like looking at the tip of an iceberg. All the pieces leading up to the race such as the technology, different riding style, the medical, the strategies, etc. are documented in an understandable and engaging way. Faster covers the 2001 and 2002 MotoGP seasons, the last two seasons of the two-stroke 500cc engines, and the introduction of the 4-stroke 900cc engine in 2002. Several riders such as Valentino Rossi, Garry McCoy and John Hopkins are highlighted as is the rivalry between Rossi and Max Biaggi (including the elbow incident and the fist fight). . Very similar in style and just as entertaining by the same writer/director Mark Neale are The Doctor, The Tornado and The Kentucky Kid (2006) about the 2005 MotoGP Race at Laguna Seca and Fastest (2011) about the 2010 and 2011 MotoGP seasons.

Special Mentions (in no particular order):

  • One Crazy Ride (2009) - The second movie from Guarav Jani, the man behind Riding Solo to the Top of the World.
  • Long Way Down (2007) - The follow up adventure by Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman from Scotland to the Cape Town, the southern tip of South Africa.
  • I Superbiker (2011) - Similar in vein to Faster, but it follows the British Superbike (BSB) series.
  • TT3D: Closer to the Edge (2011) - A movie about The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, some call the greatest motorcycle road race in the world. And in 3D if you have the technology!
  • The Wild One (1953) - Starring Marlon Brando, this movie is about a motorcycle gang that only cares about themselves. Worth watching as a peek into that era.
  • Wild Hogs(2007) - A hollywood comedy about 5 middle aged inexperienced riders bite off more than they can chew as they go on a motorcycle road trip. It has a star studded cast with Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, and Ray Liotta.
  • Extreme Frontiers: Racing Across Canada - Charley Boorman rides coast to coast across Canada from Newfoundland to the Rockies. This is not about motorcycles, but I love seeing all the different places in Canada.

So there you have it! 10 great motorcycle movies to soothe your riding soul from the winter blues and whet your appetite for the upcoming riding season. Wiarton Willie says early spring this year - lets hope he's right!

1 comment:

  1. I notice you haven't mentioned "Mondo Enduro" or "Terra Circa" - both AMAZING adventure biker documentaries that are what "long way round/down" would have been like without the support vehicles and celebrity status. Filmed back in the 90's and completed on DR350's it's a MUST WATCH!! :)