Our Top 5 Cycling Movies
11 February, 2020
Bikes have played a key role in many a movie over the years, some nailing it, others not so much. While choosing a top 5 is difficult, and no doubt controversial, we give it a go. Here are 5 of the best where the humble bike takes center stage!
Kevin Costner and David Marshall Grant star as two brothers competing in The Hell of the West, a fierce three-day bicycle race up in the Rocky Mountains which reunites the two formerly feuding brothers. Sports physician Marcus (Costner) persuades his unstable brother David to come with him and train for the bicycle race across the Rocky’s. What he left out is that he has a brain aneurysm which could render him paralysed or dead at any given moment. While David powerfully heads for the victory, Marcus has to realise that the contest is now beyond his capabilities. The film has real footage of the race and is a great insight in the tactics of bicycle races.
BMX Bandits (1983)
This one may be difficult to track down, but given it is 15 year-old Nicole Kidman’s first real role, it will be around in a movie store somewhere. This 80s classic is choc full of stunts, clichés, one-liners and impressive BMX riding. The plot involves three young BMX enthusiasts who stumble across and take a set of walkie-talkies which – unbeknown to them – belong to a gang of bank robbers. The robbers find out and set out to recover them at any cost. This is perfect lazy Sunday viewing with action-packed chases and a bit of havoc along the way.
The Flying Scotsman (2006)
Elementary star, Jonny Lee Miller, takes the lead in this true story of the life and career of Scottish racing cyclist Graeme Obree, who broke the world one-hour record in 1993 and 1994, and was individual pursuit world champion in 1993 and 1995. The film focuses on the period when he won, lost and then retook the world one-hour distance record. Surprised by Chris Boardman’s 1992 Olympic Gold win, Obree is determined to take one last shot in the world of cycling. He built his own revolutionary bike from random parts and set about once again becoming the fastest cyclist in the history of the sport. The film is a heart-warming, emotional and inspirational story which tracks the hardship Obree faces in the cycling world, his struggles with mental illness, and the hostility he received from the sports authorities towards his innovations.
Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
This maybe a little cheesy but was director Tim Burton’s feature debut. It is a comedy adventure starring Paul Reubens (who co-wrote the script) as eccentric man-child Pee-wee Herman. Pee-wee Herman embarks on a nationwide quest to retrieve his beloved bicycle (a customised, cherry-red vintage Schwinn with various nifty accoutrements) after it's stolen while he's visiting the bike shop. The film gives glimpses into Burton’s later more creative films with a number of deliriously bonkers fantasy sequences, such as Pee-wee winning the Tour de France or having feverish nightmares about his bike being eaten by dinosaurs and mangled by clown doctors. Still it is quite fun entertainment that is suitable for the whole family.
Slightly reminiscent of Fast and Furious style action scenes this film by David Koepp's is an enjoyable and fast-paced thriller that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Levitt’s character Wilee, a New York bicycle courier, is pursued by a dirty cop after he agrees to deliver an envelope from one side of Manhattan to the other. Wilee is a fixie rider and doesn't believe in brakes or gears and instead relies on his instincts to keep him collision-free, something the film has a lot of fun with, thanks to a fast-forward/rewind that allows Wilee to mentally play out possible route-taking scenarios, complete with onscreen diagrams. The chase scenes through the New York streets are nicely handled too. The film also plays on the fixie vs geared bike drama. Not a high brow film but rather entertaining.
If you get the chance to check out a few of these movies - do it, they're sure to inspire you to ride more. If you're in need of a new set of wheels, check out our awesome range of Australia's best value bikes - seriously, Reid bikes rock!