Motorcycle: Riders View - Motorcycles In The Movies
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 15:44:19 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Motorcycles In The Movies
There's no more vivid way of charting motor-cycling's changing image than through its portrayal on film. Bikes have starred in the movies since the likes of No Limit, improbably featuring ukulele-playing George Formby at the
Isle of Man TT, and Motorcycle Squad, about a bike cop who joins a gang of criminals, were released in the 1930s.
The most famous bike film is The Wild One, Stanley Kramer's 1953 classic starring Marion Brando and Lee Marvin. Triumph-riding Brando and Harley-mounted Marvin played rival bike-gang leaders in a film loosely based on the events that occurred in 1947 at Hollister, California, where a minority of motorcyclists at a big rally caused trouble. The film was controversial enough to be banned in Britain for 15 years. It inspired teenagers, horrified their parents and formed attitudes that last to this day.
Later films featuring dubious hiking characters include The Leather Boys, a British period piece from the 1960s, and Girl On A Motorcycle, starring Marianne Faithful. The 1960s also produced Easy Rider. The story featured Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson riding across America on a pair of chopped Harleys, complete with drugs, rednecks and music by Steppenwolf and others, and remains a classic biker film.
Another of the better efforts is the 1974 Australian production Stone, which features excellent street-race footage as well as outlaw gang fights. Mad Max, the Australian film that shot Mel Gibson to stardom in 1979, also has its share of bike action. Other big names in films with two-wheeled interest include Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson, stars of Harley-Davidson and the Marlboro Man. A Harley also makes the title of the 1973 movie Electra Glide in Blue, which stars Richard Blake as a bike cop with an attitude problem.
Films about bike sport are headed by On Any Sunday, which stars Steve McQueen, already the veteran of a bike chase in The Great Escape, plus racers Malcolm Smith and Mert Lawwill, and conveys the thrill of dirt-track and desert racing. Robert Redford makes a fair off-road racer in Little Fauss and Big Halsy. Motorcycling has no road-race movies to compare with four-wheel epics such as Grand Prix and Le Mans. But both Silver Dream Racer, the 1979 British film starring David Essex, and Race For Glory, its 1989 American equivalent, include some reasonable action footage.
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