Best Lateral G Motorcycle Movies
This list is just personal opinion, some of the movies listed here may not be "great" but fit in with the theme of this site. Some of these I may not even have seen but they were listed by others as worthy of your consideration. Feel there is a movie that deserves to be listed here but isn't? Send me a message and let me know.
All descriptions from Amazon.com
Easy Rider - 1969
This box-office hit from 1969 is an important pioneer of the American independent cinema movement, and a generational touchstone to boot. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper play hippie motorcyclists crossing the Southwest and encountering a crazy quilt of good and bad people. Jack Nicholson turns up in a significant role as an attorney who joins their quest for awhile and articulates society's problem with freedom as Fonda's and Hopper's characters embody it. Hopper directed, essentially bringing the no-frills filmmaking methods of legendary, drive-in movie producer Roger Corman (The Little Shop of Horrors) to a serious feature for the mainstream. The film can't help but look a bit dated now (a psychedelic sequence toward the end particularly doesn't hold up well), but it retains its original power, sense of daring, and epochal impact.
The Great Escape - 1963
In 1943, the Germans opened Stalag Luft North, a maximum-security prisoner-of-war camp, designed tohold even the craftiest escape artists. In doing so, however, the Nazis unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military history brilliantly portrayed here by Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburnwho worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted. One of the most ingenious and suspenseful adventure films of all time, The Great Escape is a masterful collaboration between director John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven), screenwriters James Clavell (Shogun) and W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar), and composer Elmer Bernstein. Based on a true story, The Great Escape is epic entertainment that "entertains,captivates, thrills and stirs"
Hells Angels on Wheels - 1967
When he loses his job, gas station attendant Poet (Academy Award-winner Jack Nicholson) falls in with a rough band of Hells Angels who terrorize Northern California in a hellraising frenzy of parties and gang fights. Choppers, drugs, sex, murder and mayhem ensue as Poet and gang leader Buddy (Adam Roarke) head down a dark road to danger. From acclaimed cult director Richard Rush (The Stunt Man) with cinematography by the legendary László Kovács (Easy Rider, Paper Moon) and music by Stu Phillips (Battlestar Gallactica, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls).
Mad Max - 1979
The Road Warrior is already a classic, sans condescending genre distinctions like "sci-fi" or "action." But the story of Mel Gibson's stately antihero begins in Mad Max, George Miller's low-budget debut in which Max is a "Bronze" (cop) in an unspecified postapocalyptic future with a buddy-partner and family. But unlike most films set in the devastated future, Mad Max is especially notable because it is poised between our industrialized world and total regression to medieval conditions. The scale tips towards disintegration when the Glory Riders burn into town on their bikes like an overamped cadre of Brando's Wild Ones. Representing the active chaos that will eventually overwhelm the dying vestiges of civil society, they take everything dear to Max, who will exact due revenge. His flight into the same wilds that created the villains artfully sets up the morally ambiguous character of the subsequent films.
Torque - 2004
A lot has changed in the biker-movie genre since Hell's Angels on Wheels, and Torque may be the new benchmark of feverish chopper action. Martin Henderson plays Cary, a speed king and relatively civilized outlaw with a knack for annoying everyone, including drug smugglers, the FBI, an ex-girlfriend, and, worst of all, biker gang leader Trey (Ice Cube), who thinks Cary killed his brother. On the run from everyone, Cary survives by playing all sides against one another. But the story is less important than the frantic, over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek action surrounding it. The Fast and the Furious producer Neal H. Moritz is responsible for this crazy, violent, yet appealingly sardonic cowboys-on-wheels piece.
The Wild Angels - 1966
Embittered by his experience working with 20th Century Fox on The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), and weary of the Poe films for American International Pictures, Roger Corman was in dire need of inspiration for his next production. He found it in Life magazine, which featured a photo of the funeral of Mother Miles, head of the Sacramento, California, Hell's Angels. From this picture came both The Wild Angels and the biker-movie genre itself. Peter Fonda, who replaced George Chakiris, stars as brooding Angels chieftain Heavenly Blues. When his pal Loser (Bruce Dern) is shot by police, Blues attempts to bury him in a small town, but the locals resist, and a brawl ensues. Audiences and critics were alternately appalled and thrilled by the extensive drug use and violence, but beneath Angels' leathery hide beats the heart of a Western, especially in its ruminations on personal freedom. Charles Griffith's script (cowritten by Peter Bogdanovich, who also cameos in the film) helped make Angels the sole U.S. entry for the 1966 Venice Film Festival, which irked the State Department enough to try and revoke the honor. Corman's direction, freed from AIP's period pieces, is lean and exuberantly active, aided by Monte Hellman's editing. The film helped give Fonda the counterculture clout to later make Easy Rider, and boosted the careers of Dern and then-wife Diane Ladd; Nancy Sinatra, however, renounced the picture, fearful of its effect on her image.
The Wild One - 1953
This is the original motorcycle movie, starring Marlon Brando as the brooding leader of a biker gang that invades a small town. The film always looked like one of those synthetic Hollywood ideas of subculture life in the 1950s, which means it looks even more artificial today. But it is an actor's piece more than anything, and toward that end Brando's performance really is an important one in the context of his revolutionary reinvention of film acting during that decade. Directed by Lásló Benedek (Namu, the Killer Whale) and produced by the socially conscious Stanley Kramer.
The World's Fastest Indian - 2005
A movie that exudes affection and goodwill, The World's Fastest Indian is an unabashed mash note to a lovely character from New Zealand's recent past. Burt Munro, played by Anthony Hopkins, is a cantankerous Kiwi with an obsession: he's been tinkering with his 1920s-era Indian brand motorcycle for years, pushing it to ever-faster speeds. It's the 1960s, and Burt has the utterly mad idea of taking the bike to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, site of world records for speed racing. The movie takes a while to get to the journey--and then the journey takes a while--but the genial atmosphere prevails. (People of a certain age, for whom the word "Bonneville" evokes pleasant associations with hotrods and world-speed records, will not be disappointed in the film's location shooting, or its sense of awe.) Hopkins is not quite on-the-money casting for the jovial, happy-go-lucky Munro, and his accent wavers, but he nails the emotional scenes and the fascination with speed. Smaller bits are well-filled by Diane Ladd and Christopher Lawford (son of Peter), who looks uncannily of the era. New Zealand director Roger Donaldson doesn't take any chances here, but the story clearly means something to him, and that sense of commitment carries the film through its sleepier moments.