Figure 1 There have been some classics over the years
There is nothing better than getting out on the open road on your bike or in a car. The freedom it affords is one of the biggest reasons that people like us love motorsports. But there are great stories to tell – and many have been over the years by some of the greatest film directors.
The excitement of a grand prix, or even discovering the Vegas odds for the Daytona 500, gets all motorsports fans going. But what do we recommend to watch when you come home?
Here are five of the very best motorsport and motorbike movies that you absolutely have to see.
Undoubtedly one of the most charismatic and successful F1 drivers of all time, Ayrton Senna has consistently been named as an inspiration to generations of motorsport fans.
His life was cruelly ended far too soon, but this documentary follows him from his earliest days racing karts.
This movie won a whole host of awards and uses incredible archive footage to tell the story of a driver who simply was the greatest. His personality comes through as you watch his first championship win, right through to his untimely death at Imola in 1994. It is an emotional – but necessary – watch.
Le Mans, 1971
This may not have been a box office smash, but all petrol heads love the realism of this movie – and for good reason. There is not much of a plot but Steve McQueen plays a driver competing in the famous 24-hour Le Mans race and large sections of the movie were filmed during the actual event in 1970.
Full-size cameras were fitted into a Porsche 908/2 to capture the race perfectly and the car actually finished a respectable ninth – and second in its class. That isn’t bad considering all the extra weight it was carrying around the circuit for one of the most iconic endurance races in the world.
Easy Rider, 1969
Let’s move from four wheels to two and profile one of the biggest films about the 1960s counterculture in the USA. Written by and starring Peter Fonda, Terry Southern and Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider tells the story of a group of bikers carrying the proceeds of a cocaine deal through the American southwest at the end of the decade.
This landmark movie is regarded as the inspiration to many Harley Davidson owners around the world and takes a unique look at some of the issues of the time. It also heralded the auteur movement of the 1970s, where new young filmmakers started producing some of the biggest movies of all time.
Figure 2 The best bike movies capture the calling of the open road
One Week, 2008
Although we could have easily included The Wild One in this loving look at motorbike movies, we have gone for a lesser known drama in One Week. It perfectly sums up the feeling of hitting the open road and shows the Canadian scenery at its very best along the way.
Joshua Jackson plays the central character who discovers he has stage 4 cancer and only a 10% chance of survival.
So he buys a 1973 Norton Commando 850 and heads west out of Toronto to explore the west of the country and find mental clarity. A great soundtrack also plays a big part in the success of this extraordinary film.
Days of Thunder, 1990
We finish off our motoring movie special with a real blockbuster. Tom Cruise plays Cole Trickle, an IndyCar racer who realizes that he would have to drive for one of the big teams if he is to ever fulfil his dream of winning the Indy 500. So he switches to NASCAR and aims for the Daytona 500 crown instead.
This big budget Hollywood blockbuster was a classic of the early 1990s and Tom Cruise was just about the biggest star on the planet at the time. We won’t give too much away about how his dream to win the Daytona 500 goes, but there are spectacular scenes along the way that will be loved by anyone with even a passing interest in motorsports.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Content Creator / Editor
Fred Felton is a copywriter, editor and social media specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in creating high end content. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Currently Fred specialises in the motorbiking adventure space, focussing on all types of biking both on and offroad. He is also a keynote speaker and has presented talks and workshops in South Africa.