The 6 Greatest Motorcyclists in Movie History

In life, we all need heroes. We need people that stand up to the man and shove a middle finger in his face. Yep, that is the kind of hero that we need.

This, of course, leads me to a countdown of the most heroic of all figures: Iconic Movie Motorcyclists. These guys are as bad ass as bad ass gets. So, without further ado, here’s the list.

6. Steve McQueen rides a 655cc Triumph TR Trophy in The Great Escape…

This film is one of the greatest war movies, if not movies in general (ranked #121 overall by IMDB). It tells the story of a group of Allied soldiers being held as POWs by Nazi Germany. Lori Hoffman of The Atlantic City Weekly calls it, “One of the ‘greatest’ popcorn movies ever”, while Matt Brunson of Creative Loafing says, “McQueen’s motorcycle ride has long been the stuff of cinematic legend, but the movie is packed with countless memorable episodes of this caliber.”

Below is the Steve McQueen classic motorcycle scene, which pulls him into the number 6 slot of this countdown.

5. Jeff Bridges rides a Xenon Light Bike in Tron and Tron Legacy…

The original Tron came out in 1982 and developed into a cult classic, spawning video games, comic books, and plenty of sci-fi chat rooms. After almost 30 years, Jeff Bridges returned to reprise his role in Tron: Legacy. I remember seeing this in theatres and being completely blown away by the special effects and feeling as though I had entered another consciousness. That, of course, is good enough to earn the number 5 spot.

4. Ryan Gosling rides a Honda XR650L in The Place Beyond the Pines…

This is the most recent film on the list, debuting in 2013. But, it doesn’t lack in historic renegade star power. The film starts with an incredibly cool following shot (check it out here) of Gosling’s character entering the motorcycle cage of death. Later on, Gosling participates in a series of bank robberies where his primary weapon is…his motorcycle. I definitely recommend this movie to any motorcycle lover out there.

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger rides a Harley Davidson Softail Fatboy in Terminator 2…

Growing up, my all-time favorite movie was Terminator 2, and most of this had to do with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the film, he plays a cyborg that poses as a bad ass biker. Of course, one of the film’s most iconic scenes is Arnold’s intro, a scene that shows him entering a biker bar– one of the roughest joints possible- and turning it on its head. Afterwards he rides away with a shotgun in his hand, a Harley Fatboy between his legs, and George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone pounding away.

2. Marlon Brando rides a personalized Triumph Thunderbird GT in The Wild One…

This is the GRANDADDY of bad boy biker films. In the movie, Brando plays Johnny Strabler who leads the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club into a small California town. After an accident between one of the gang members and a town local, the crew decides to stick around and wreak havoc on the small area. The movie was actually based on a true event that took place in Hollister, California.

1. Peter Fonda rides a 74 Cubic Inch Panhead Chopper in Easy Rider

When I think about motorcycle movies, I think about Easy Rider. Probably, once a year, I set out two hours of my time to watch this hippie masterpiece. The film has some of the greatest scenic shots in movie history and is aided by a killer soundtrack- in particular, Jimi Hendrix’ If 6 was 9. Fonda started to develop this biker image a few years earlier in The Wild Angels. But, nothing quite compares to his character Wyapp in Easy Rider.

 

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