Bicycle Movies

This is updated from the listing of Bicycle Racing Movies on the rec.bicycles FAQ by Michael Frank, 30 Jan 1997 )
Send updates to Jessica Mink.
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American Flyers (1985)
Two brothers, a former National caliber rider (Kevin Costner) and his enthusiastic 'newbee' brother, take an adventure to the 'Hell of the West' (aka Coors Classic) stage race. Lots of good 'Coors Classic' footage in this one, even Eddy Merckx makes an appearance.

Beijing Bicycle (Shiqi sui de dan che) (2001)
While watching this movie I couldn't help but be reminded of The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette). This is a story of determination of two young men. One works hard for a bicycle courier and on the day he would have earned the bike, it is stolen. The other steals money from his family and buys a bike so that he can impress a girl. Yes, it's the same bike.
Amazingly, Guo is able to find his stolen bike, but that isn't the end of his troubles. I couldn't help but feel for all the crap he has to put up with, especially since all he wanted was to be a hard worker. Yet, like us all, life threw him a curveball and he does everything in his power to deal with the situation. (Added by Andrew Nixon)

Bicycle Thief (1948)
Directed by the Fascist-era matinee idol Vittorio De Sica from a script by veteran screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, said by the Village Voice to be the most universally praised movie produced anywhere on planet earth during the first decade after World War II. A workman spends a whole day looking in vain in the streets of Rome for the bicycle someone has stolen from him.
(added by Doug Mink)

The Bicyclists (2010)
This movie, subtitled, "A Love Story on Wheels," and based on a web series, "The Bicyclist" intertwines multigenerational characters, rich cinematography, hip local music and a video game that tell a not so simple love story. It looks very Portland-centric, but crosses the country from Wisconsin.
(added by Doug Mink)

Breaking Away (1979)
Local cyclist in a small town (townies aka "cutters"), lives, eats, and breathes cycling and everything else Italian, comes of age in a race against college kids. Based on Dave Blaze, and his experiences at Indiana University and the Little 500.

Breaking Away (TV)
In this TV series, based on the movie of the same name, Shawn Cassady plays the role of Dave Stoller, bike racer. This one is tough to find, as it only lasted one season in the early 80's.

The Day I Became a Woman
Three short stories about women in modern Iran, one of which is about a woman who wants to enter a bicycle race and her husband who is very much against it. (Added by Kimberly Hodes)

The Flying Scotsman (2006)
From a humble background in Ayrshire, Scotland, Graeme Obree always had to fight for survival. When his beloved bicycle shop went bust, Graeme had neither the money nor the sponsorship necessary to compete at the highest level of world cycling. But it was always clear from his complete passion for the sport and his many local wins that he was destined for greatness. He persevered, and finally goes for the prestigious World Hour Record.
Suggested by Jason Gorevitz
Hugo's Magic Pump
Hugo is the winningest 6 day racer in Italy, beating everyone, incuding the Mafia's 'Fixed' riders. To stop losing gambling monies, the Mafia decides to wear Hugo down by throwing beautiful women at him, hoping to reduce his endurance and stamina. This Adult movie from the late 70's was 'Competive Cycling' magazines choice for best cycling footage in the era before 'Breaking Away'... Dubbed.

Joey Brown, 6 Day Racer
A 1940's bike messenger wins the big 6-day race. A hard to find BW film from the 40's. Lots of 6-day footage, starring era comedian, Joey Brown.

Jour de Fete (1949)
In this French film, filmmaker/comedian Jacques Tati plays a wacky bike-riding postman attempting to modernize delivery service.
(Added by Jym Dyer, text from 1999 Bike Summer Film Festival)

The Messenger (1999)
Not to be confused with Luc Besson's 1999 movie about Joan of Arc, this Japanese movie about bicycle messengers deserves a looking at by anyone enamored with the bicycle messenger genre. It is available in Video CD format with English subtitles from
Added by John Graham

Pee Wee's Big Adventure
The opening scene is Pee Wee Herman dreaming about winning the Tour de France, and the whole plot of the movie is about Pee Wee looking for his stolen bike. There is a long bicycle chase which is one of the most imaginative I've seen.
Jessica Mink

Premium Rush (2012)
After missing seeing this with friends on its first night, I went by myself a week later. This is the best urban cycling movie I've ever seen. As one with too much experience, the crashes I watched from the front row of the theater *felt* like the ones I've had, though no one in the movie made it to the emergency room. And for once there is lots of great footage of bicycling in traffic (and a police impoundment garage) beyond what's in the preview.
Jessica Mink
Trials and tribulations in the tough world of bicycle messengers in San Francisco. Stars Kevin Bacon, and Nelson Vails, with great stunt shots of cycling (often in illegal ways) in traffic.
The Triplets of Belleville (2003) [Yahoo] [ Trailer]
This animated feature, directed by Sylvain Chomet and starring Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin and Monica Viegas, concerns a youth named Champion who is never happier than while on his bicycle. He grows up and enters the world-famous cycling race, the Tour de France. During the Tour, two mysterious men in black kidnap Champion and the woman who raised him, Madame Souza and her faithful dog set out to rescue him. Their quest takes them across the ocean to a giant megalopolis called Belleville where they encounter the renowned "Triplets of Belleville," three eccentric female music-hall stars from the 30s who help on the mission to save Champion.

Le Velo de Ghislain Lambert (2000)
A French/Belgian comedy telling the story of Ghislain Lambert, a fictional road racer, a "water carrier", as used in the previous movie. According to one reviewer, "The movie shows us, in a very realistic manner, the "backstage" of professional cycling, and at the same time maintains its sense of humor."
(Recommended by Nicolas Deschatrettes)

2 Seconds (1998)
A mountain biking film about a female bike racer who gets tired of the racing life and finds the true meaning of life with the help of an old crochety bike shop owner. There are good downhill racing scenes at the begining. It's French Canadian with subtitles, was directed by Manon Briand, and stars Charlotte Laurier and Dino Tavarone. This movie is available in VHS and DVD formats.
(Added by Ron Spohn)

20 Shades of Pink (1976)
A middle-aged house painter, going through mid-life crisis, takes up cycling for exercise and meets up with an attractive young bike racer. The painter thinks she is interested in him on a personal level when she really only wants to help him prepare for an age-group bike race. Directed by Paul Stanley, with Anne Jackson, Eli Wallach, and Keenan Wynn.
(Added by John Reed)


Beasts of Burden
It depicts the hard side of the bike messenger's life and society. It may be realism, with emphasis on the unhappy side, but it certainly makes you want to avoid that life. It shows drugs and alcohol, insufficient money, an alienated approach to living, a very hard job. On the other hand, the scenes of cycling in traffic, taken by a bike-mounted camera, are very exciting.
(reviewed by John Forester in rec.bicycles.misc, 18 August 1993)

Videos filmed on a bike during a professional bike race. The first, of the 2000 Golden, Colorado Pro 1/2 Circuit Race is available now. Samples of the upcoming video of the 2000 Bannock Criterium are on line, but I'm looking forward to the announced "Chicago Bike Messenger" video.
Suggested by John Bickmore, who made them.
B.I.K.E. (2008)
Directors Jacob Sepitmus and Anthony Howard create a gritty, conceptually dichotomous and visually stylistic film with B.I.K.E. The film is a depiction of the Brooklyn chapter of the Black Label Bike Club (BLBC), a fringe network of tall bike jousters that combine and justify their medieval inspired competitions with environmentalist and anti-consumerist rhetoric and politically radical ideals.

Taking place in the context of the 2004 Republican National Convention, Fountainhead Films' B.I.K.E. is a riveting look into the ways in which identity is important for a collective of fiercely independent people.

(Added by Producer Frederic King)

the Hard Road (2003)
Jamie Paolinetti's feature length documentary follows a first year professional cycling team led by two veterans through a year on the American racing circuit.

This is a great history of the origins of mountain biking and the development of the mountain bike, featuring lots of period (1970s) footage and commentary by the people who were involved, including some influential ones who are not as well known. It is available on DVD through the web site.
Suggested by William Savage, who made the movie, though I've seen it and recommend it highly.

Middle of the World (O Caminho das Nuvens) (2004)
"The true story of a man who takes his wife and five children on a 2,000 mile bicycle trip across Brazil in search of a decent job."
Director: Vicente Amorim
Starring: Cla'udia Abreu, Manoel Sebastia~o Alves Filho, Carol Castro, Lai's Corre^a, Claudio Jaborandy
(added by Doug Mink from the Independent Film Report)

With My Own Two Wheels (2010)
Co-directed by two brothers from Santa Barbara who grew up on bikes, and one of who is still in film school, with cinematography by a friend who is also an undergraduate, this film ... weaves together the experiences of ... five individuals into a single story about how the bicycle can change the worldone pedal stroke at a time.
(added by Doug Mink after seeing it with the people who made it)
One Less Car (1991)
A Boston filmmaker profiles people who use their bicycles instead of cars for a variety of transportation uses.
(added by Doug Mink)

Return of the Scorcher (1992)
This movie was made by bicycle activist Ted White to show the superiority of the bicycle to the automobile, with scenes from all over the world. One of its claims to fame is that it's where the name "Critical Mass" comes from.
(added by Doug Mink and Jym Dyer)

A Sunday in Hell: 1976 Paris-Roubaix
This movie shows the trials of long-distance, "radonneur" bicycle racing.

Stars and Water Carriers
Stars and Water Carriers is a movie with scenes of Eddy (The Cannibal) Merckx and how he won so much. The film shows the strain on Eddy's face and clearly shows how much effort he put into his racing. This is a Danish documentary with added English sound track so it sounds a bit funny, but itis one of the best cycling videos to date.

Who Owns The Streets/We Are Traffic (1999)
Ted White's documentary traces the unique Critical Mass bike movement from its early days in San Francisco to its growth of thousands of cyclists each months and its spread to more than 100 cities in 14 countries. The movie explores the ideas of reclaiming public space, commercial-free cultural events, and rethinking traditional models of political demonstration.
(Added by Jym Dyer, text from 1999 Bike Summer Film Festival)

The Yellow Jersey
A PBS Documentary from the Early 70's, showing the trials of the American team at a stage race in Canada.

Movies Where Bicycling Plays a Part

I haven't seen this, but apparently it's a really bad B-movie about a post-apocalyptic (or post-energy-crisis) California where there's no oil and everyone bikes. Old cars are used as houses, and there's a Beach Boys song about *biking*. Also, Meatloaf is in it and eats a car.
(Added by Jym Dyer)

A Midsummer Night's Dream
The 1999 version is set sometime in the late 19th Century, and has lots of bicycles in it. While adhering to Shakespeare's dialogue, it manages to work bicycles into the plot.
(Added by Jym Dyer)

Better Off Dead
Not about biking per se, but there's a tenacious paper boy who follows the protagonist everywhere on his bike -- including down the dreaded K12 ski slope -- in hopes of collecting his $2 payment. "I want my $2!" has lived on in form of a $2 coupon for Pedro's.
(Added by Jym Dyer)

No bicycle plot, but Christopher Walken commutes on a recumbent and scenes of him arriving at work and at home on it are pretty cool.
(added by Doug Mink)

E.T. The Extraterrestrial
Directed by Steven Spielberg in 1982, this movie is about a boy named Eliot, a lovable extra-terrestrial named E.T., and the quest to get E.T. back "home." The film climaxes in one of the greatest chase sequences ever filmed - as Eliot and his friends (the good guys) take off with E.T. on their trusty BMX bikes, fleeing from the government authorities driving offical motorized vehicles (the bad guys). This is a movie where the kids and bicycling dominate - and it's sheer joy to see bicycles crashing onto and demolishing cars, for a change! And with E.T. riding in Eliot's front basket, of course, the kids get the bike ride of their lives - and so does the audience. "E.T." is one of the ultimate feel-good movies - great for family/group-viewing anytime.
(added by Jack Johnson)

Flashdance (1983)
The opening scene shows the main character bicycling to work and she bikes everywhere all thru the film. Even to the theater!
(Added by Monica McManus Woll)
Key Exchange (1985)
The play on which this movie was based used bicycles as scene transitions. The male star waxes rhapsodic about cycling around Central Park. I have heard that the movie de-emphasizes the bicycle motif. Its cast includes Danny Aeillo and one of the actors from "Breaking Away".
(added by Doug Mink)

Life is Beautiful
Director/star Roberto Benigni, before being imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, tools around Italy on a bike, including into the arms of a charming woman he later marries.
(added by James Lowenthal)

Little Miss Marker
A depression era bookie (Walter Matthau) gets stuck with a little girl, left as an IOU (marker). Only about 5 minutes of 6-day racing in this one. The track is a portable one, built by the same builder as the portable Atlanta Olympic Velodrome.

Pee Wee's Big Adventure
The opening scene is Pee Wee Herman dreaming about winning the Tour de France, and the whole plot of the movie is about Pee Wee looking for his stolen bike.

Project A (1983)
Beyond great fights, this movie features a chase scene through alleyways with Jackie on a bicycle that should be included in any "great moments on film" compilation. Plus, it has a great Harold Lloyd homage scene with a clock tower.
(from The Jackie Chan Mailing List Proudly Presents the Annotated Jackie Chan Filmography otherwise known as "John's Little Opinions" at

The Straight Story (1999)
Admittedly a small scene, but look carefully and see the recumbents pass lawn tractor riding Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), in this David Lynch movie.
(Added by Pat McCarty)
The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe (1972)
A power struggle at the French Secret Service spills into the life of an innocent concert violinist who fiddles obliviously while rival spies and hit men try to set him up for a final bow. Not entirely innocent, as he carries on an affair with a fellow musician while her husband is out bicycling every weekend. Some of the bicycling scenes are pretty funny.
(added by Doug Mink, one of my favorite movies)

The Man With One Red Shoe (1985)
This US remake of The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe stars Tom Hanks, with Jim Belushi as his bicycing buddy (and cuckolded husband of Carrie Fisher), Lori Singer (from Fame) as the gorgeous blonde spy, appropriately villanous Dabney Coleman and Charles Durning as the dueling spy chiefs, and Edward Hermann as the good spy. There is a fantastic bicycle chase scene which involves biking over a car. The French version is better, but not by as much as you might expect.
(added by Doug Mink, after seeing it on TV)

Time Chasers
Not only does the hero of the movie ride a bike as a major form of transportation (though he uses an airplane to make his time machine), but when he travels into the utopian future there are tons of bicycles, along with buildings made out of recycled material. This movie was heckled on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and is available from its maker, Edgewood Studios (They even have a trailer online).
(added by Turil Cronburg)
Un Affaire D'Hommes (1981)
Jean-Louis Trintignant is an architect and joins a bicycle racing group where a detective (Claude Brasseur) is member. He uses this friendship to cover the murder of his wife. The film includes several scenes of the group's weekly race (which also plays a part in the murderer's alibi), and the final confrontation is done using bikes, not guns.

Other Bicycle Movie Sites

Last updated September 2, 2012 by Jessica Mink,