Whether you’re a cyclist, a bicycle fan, or a biker who’s interested in watching films about cyclists, there are a variety of films to choose from. From the classics such as “A Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” to more modern films like “2 Seconds” and “Breaking Away”, you’ll find something to please everyone’s tastes.
Among the great Italian films of the 1950s is Vittorio De Sica’s “Bicycle THIEVES”. A neorealist parable, this film shows the hardships of poverty in postwar Rome. Adapted from a 1946 novel by Luigi Bartolini, it was awarded the Academy Honorary Award in 1950.
Unemployed after the war, Antonio Ricci lives with his wife Maria and two children. The couple’s apartment is new and does not have running water. They must find a job in order to support themselves and their family. Unfortunately, on the first day of work, Antonio loses his bicycle. He and his son, Bruno, set out on a mission to track down the thief who stole the bike.
While the police are unwilling to believe the story, a few ne’er-do-wells are willing to give a false alibi. The thief evades arrest, however, and a policeman is unable to locate the bike in the apartment.
The only hope for Antonio lies in his family. In spite of his own shortcomings, he and his son continue their quest.
Although he finds employment hanging posters in a postwar Rome, the petty theft of his bike puts the job at risk. The owner decides not to press charges against him. This leaves Antonio and his son with no option but to scour the city in search of the bike.
A SUNDAY IN HELL
Taking the 1976 Paris-Roubaix bicycle race and putting it on film, Danish director Jorgen Leth has produced what is probably the best cycle racing documentary of all time. The result is a cinematic marvel that not only demonstrates the technical complexities of professional cycling, it also provides an excellent viewing experience for those who are not lucky enough to witness the madness firsthand.
The film aptly showcases the most famous spring classic on the calendar, Paris-Roubaix. Traditionally held on a narrow, winding cobbled track, this grueling one-day race is a tough one. Its reputation for punishing riders and spectators alike means the odds are stacked against you. The best riders are accompanied by a phalanx of journalists, support vehicles, and ambulances.
The film’s a bit more expensive than most of the stuff produced by World Cycling Productions, but the results are worth the price. The documentary is a worthy addition to any cycling fan’s collection. Among the notable characters are Eddy Merckx, Marc Demeyer, and Ole Ritter.
The most impressive part of the film is the fact that it was shot with a full crew of professionals. This includes a team of experts tasked with scouring the cobbles in search of the best footage.
Despite its ostensibly goofy set-up, Breaking away in cycling movies captures the contradictory attitudes towards bikes in late twentieth-century America. The movie is a great sports film that evokes warm feelings in recreational cyclists today. It remains a cult classic. The movie reportedly inspired the song “One For the Cutters” by Brooklyn-based rockers The Hold Steady in 2008.
During the 1970s, there was a cycling boom in the United States. The bicycle carries an association with health and recreation, and conveys a masculine identity. The bike becomes the central element of the main character’s life.
Breaking Away is about a young townie in Bloomington, Indiana who becomes obsessed with Italian cycling. His parents are confused by his obsession. Dave (Dennis Christopher) is a working class friend who dreams of competitive bicycle racing. But Dave faces opposition from his snooty university classmates.
A professional Italian cycling team comes to town for a race. After Dave keeps up with them, the team becomes annoyed. This annoyance leads to Dave’s deception of Katherine. It also serves to bring back memories of his childhood.
Those of you who are into bikes and movies will have probably come across the 1985 film American Flyers, and it’s a great film. The film is a sports drama starring Kevin Costner and Alexandra Paul. It’s a little over 30 years old and it still holds up today, with an interesting storyline about two brothers who bond over their love of cycling.
American Flyers features a three-day bicycle race dubbed “The Hell of the West.” The film is based on a stage race that once took place in the Rockies. It’s similar to the Coors Classic.
The film isn’t without its flaws. Its lack of a real cycling superstar is noticeable. And the movie isn’t without its cliches. One of the main characters is a ‘wheelsucker’ who doesn’t have a sprint to save his life, and his brother has a sleazy rival to boot.
The film also gets a nod in the ‘bible’ of the bicycles, in the form of the Specialized Allez SE, which was one of the lugged steel bikes of its day. Its classic style was built in Japan. The Allez has a SunTour components and was designed to be a sturdy touring bike.
PEE-WEES BIG ADVENTURE
Originally, Pee-wee Herman was a stand-up comic. He was hired by Warner Bros. Pictures to write and star in a comedy show for children. But when his bike was stolen, he was sent on a nationwide adventure to find the bike.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is an ’80s adventure comedy. The movie was based on an Italian film called The Bicycle Thief, but was altered to suit an American audience. It was produced and directed by Tim Burton. It was his first feature film. It was also the first film for which Danny Elfman composed music.
Pee-wee’s big adventure is a love story between a man-child and his bike. The bike has features like rocket boosters and an ejection seat, and it is fitted with James Bond features. It is also equipped with an Oil Slick, which creates a mist that helps the bike pass through traffic.
In the beginning of the film, Pee-wee is chased by security guards across a studio lot. They are attempting to stop him from taking his bike, but he escapes. The chase takes place in a WB “Western town” set. They use a prop from the 1980 cult film Forbidden Zone.
QUICKSILVER is a decent film, but it’s not the best thing you’ll ever see. The story line is a bit of a snooze and the baffling main character isn’t a memorable one. And while Kevin Bacon is passable as a slacker courier, he’s not the star of the movie.
In the real world, a bike courier is a dangerous job and one whose main job is not to deliver packages. The film has a handful of recognizable actors in the supporting cast, including the aforementioned Bacon and fellow cyclists Jami Gertz and Paul Rodriguez. Despite the plethora of stars, the story largely follows the same formula.
The screenplay is uninspiring, with few genuinely enthralling moments. There are a few good ones, but they aren’t nearly as many as there are in other films.
The most noteworthy thing to be found in this film is the’me’ of the group, which is a lot of fun to watch, especially when they are not squabbling over a bottle of booze or some other ‘unmentionable’.
Whether you’re watching a cycling documentary or a sporty film, there are plenty of films out there to get your cycling fix. From the cult phenomenon “Boy And Bicycle” to the animated film ‘Belleville Rendezvous’, you can find the perfect movie to watch on a rainy Sunday evening.
‘Boy And Bicycle’ is a coming-of-age story set in a northern seaside town in the 1960s. The movie follows the life of an 11-year-old boy. He is brought up by his grandmother and eventually races in the Tour de France. But when his father leaves home, he is abandoned and enters the wrong circles.
‘Belleville Rendezvous’ is a French animated film about a cycling champion who is kidnapped by the French mafia. He is rescued by his grandmother, who becomes his coach. The film focuses on his love for cycling and is full of affectionate nods to the cycling culture. It is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ is a biopic of Hour Record hero Graeme Obree. He is portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller and is based on Obree’s best-selling autobiography. The film features his sporting achievements, his failings, and reveals Obree’s complex failings.
Amongst the hundreds of cycling movies released over the years, some stand above the rest. Here is a list of the best. The list does not include documentaries.
One of the best bike movies is the Belgian film Line of Sight. In it, Kevin Costner’s brothers compete in a road race through the Rockies. Aside from the racing, the film is a look at the relationship between cyclists and cars. This is a must-see for fans of the sport.
The most interesting element of the film is the characters. The film features a cast of characters from all walks of life, including a professional BMX rider, a French grand prix winner, and a Canadian road bike racer. The cast does a great job of balancing drama and levity.
The movie also makes mention of the aforementioned, which is a good thing. The main character, Laurence, is a champion mountain bike racer who’s career comes to an end. The film is a little over a decade old, so it doesn’t hold up as well as it used to.