The Best Motorcycle Movies to Binge Watch
An excuse is never necessary to stay in on a weekend night, cosy up and watch a motorcycle movie. Sometimes though, one just isn’t enough – a binge is needed. These are our favorite motorcycle movies to binge watch.
The Motorcycle Diaries
Let’s start with one of the greats, Walter Saller’s ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’, which was released in 2004.
The movie is based on an actual motorcycle trip Che Guevara went on in his early twenties, while he was a medical student. Guevara leaves from his home in Buenos Aires with his friend and embarks on a 5,200-mile motorcycle trip, two up, through South America, finishing in Venezuela.
The motorcycle used in the film is a 1939 Norton 500, which they named La Poderosa II (“The Mighty II”). Watch it for the scenery, an insight into Guevara’s youth, or just to let it inspire you to take your own dream motorcycle trip.
Both road racing fanatics and adrenaline junkies will love ‘Road’, Michael Hewitt and Dermot Lavery’s 2014 hit documentary.
Road takes you through the Irish and Northern Irish road racing scene, focusing on the most successful family in the sport, the Dunlops.
Two generations of Dunlops have dominated the road racing scene for over 30 years. Although tragic racing accidents resulted in the deaths of Joey and Robert Dunlop, Robert’s sons, Michael and William, are still hugely successful in the sport today.
This documentary is sure to get your blood pumping, and not just because it’s narrated by Liam Neeson. There’s no excuse not to add this to your binge list, as it’s available on Netflix right now!
On Any Sunday and On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter
‘On any Sunday’ is easily one of the most famous motorcycle documentaries of all time. Made in 1971, it follows the lives of pro and amateur off-road racers, including Steve McQueen. The documentary is centered around the question “why do they do it?”.
The cult classic was remade in 2014, when ‘On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter’ was released. We see how motorcycle racing has progressed in the 40 years since the original documentary.
Some of the biggest names in motorcycling are interviewed, including Kenny Roberts, Marc Márquez, James Stewart, Travis Pastrana, Robbie Maddison, and Dani Pedrosa.
‘Easy Rider’ is a classic for motorcyclists and non-motorcyclists alike.
Directed by Dennis Hopper and released in 1969, ‘Easy Rider’ tells the story of ‘Wyatt’ and ‘Billy’, two “hippies” who sell some dope and start an adventure that takes them from Southern California to New Orleans.
The movie is as much about the non-conformist bikers searching for a way to lead their ‘alternative lifestyles’, as it is about the characters they meet along the way.
The iconic custom choppers in the movie, designed by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy, are based on hardtail frames with panhead engines.
Long Way Round and Long Way Down
Released in 2004, ‘Long Way Round’ is a TV documentary mini-series with 11 episodes, so it’s binge-worthy in its own right. It follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they prepare for, and carry out, a motorcycle trip around the world.
They take off from the UK and travel through places like Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Alaska before eventually finishing up in New York. Although the pair are avid motorcyclists they must up their skills to tackle the off-road adventures ahead of them, and it makes for some fantastic viewing.
Two 2004 BMW R1150GS Adventures were used for the trip, placing the GS on the map as the best adventure bike at the time.
‘Long Way Down’ was released in 2007 and is the follow-up documentary series to ‘Long Way Round’. This time Ewan and Charlie set off from John O’Groats, in Scotland, and travel down through Europe and Africa, finishing up in Cape Town, South Africa.
The pair stop to lend assistance to various UNICEF projects and explore the diverse cultures they encounter along the way. This time, the trip was made using two 2007 BMW R1200GS Adventures.
The World’s Fastest Indian
‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ is a feature movie which was released in 2005, and tells the true story of Burt Munro, the man who set the land speed world record at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967.
Burt Munro, played by Anthony Hopkins, is a New Zealander who spent years rebuilding a 1920’s Indian motorcycle.
Diagnosed with heart disease in the early 1960’s, Burt mortgages his house and sets sail to LA with dreams of riding his homemade Indian on the Salt Flats.
The mechanically minded will love the genius behind Munro’s engineering and the rest will love the fact it’s simply a wonderful story.
TT3D: Closer to the Edge
Released in 2011, ‘TT3D: Closer to the Edge’ is a documentary following racers competing in the 2010 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, focusing especially on Guy Martin.
Director, Richard De Aragues, shows us the time, dedication, and sacrifice it takes to be a TT competitor. TT3D: Closer to the Edge also shows us why racers compete in the world’s most deadly road race, which as claimed over 270 of the competitor’s lives since 1910.
If the eternal ‘why do they do it?’ question doesn’t do it for you, the sheer skill these riders show as they wrestle their supersport machines around tight, country roads surely will.
You’re told you have stage IV cancer and, with treatment, the chance of survival is 10 percent – what would you do?
This is the situation Ben Tyler, played by Joshua Jackson, finds himself in when Michael McGowan’s ‘One Week’ was released in 2008.
Ben has barely taken a risk in his whole life but upon receiving the news, he buys a used motorcycle and heads west from Toronto, leaving his fiancée behind. It’s the quintessential “find life’s meaning on the open road” motorcycle movie.
As much as One Day is about Ben’s adventure, it also has serious eye candy for motorcycle lovers, in the shape of a beautiful old Norton Commando 850.
12 O’Clock Boys
Lofty Nathan gives us a real look into the lives of the illegal dirt bike riders known as the ‘12 O’Clock Boys’, which the documentary is aptly named.
Released in 2013, the main character in is a young boy named Pug, who’s growing up in a high crime area of West Baltimore.
Pug’s one and only mission is to join the notorious 12 O’Clock Boys. The documentary follows his journey, showing him turn from child to teenager and all the mischief this transition brings.
Wheelie fanatics will love this, as the filmmakers get up close and personal with the gang as they go on group rides, which are as exciting as they are dangerous.
Hitting the Apex
This is one for all the MotoGP lovers out there. ‘Hitting the Apex’ follows six of the fastest MotoGP riders in modern history as they battle it out: Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenz, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli, and Casey Stoner.
Brad Pitt narrates the documentary and talks us through the lives of riders who have been at the pinnacle of MotoGP for years, as well as the up-and-coming riders.
The documentary was released in 2015 and follows the 2014 riding season. Director Mark Neale shows what the riders can achieve but, more than that, he shows us what they risk.