Who doesn’t enjoy snuggling up on the sofa to enjoy a good movie? And what’s even better – cycling movies! After a tough ride, there’s nothing like unwinding, and what better way than with great biking movies?
That’s why we’re about to take you on a journey back in time through the finest cycling films ever made. We’ll span continents and decades, starting in 1940s Italy and then cruising into the 1970s for a timeless Danish documentary. Oh, and don’t forget the 80s – that’s when we encounter some unforgettable comedies (imagine Kevin Costner, Paul Reubens – Pee-wee Herman himself, and Kevin Bacon in action).
As we step into the new millennium, our cinematic adventure will lead us to China, France, Australia, the Middle East, and Africa. We’ll delve into gripping stories involving doping scandals, the role of women in cycling, and we’ll cap it all off with globe-trotting cycling explorations.
This compilation guarantees to keep you captivated by your favorite sport, trigger laughter, stir thoughts, and ultimately leave you itching for your next ride once the credits roll. But before you do that, take a moment to unwind, kick back, and immerse yourself in the finest cycling films out there.
1 of 34 Cycling Movies: *Bicycle Thieves*
You might have heard of it as “The Bicycle Thief” – a true Italian gem. This timeless classic weaves a simple yet incredibly beautiful tale about a regular guy from the working class who sets out to find his stolen bicycle. People often place it among the greatest films ever made, and its impact has inspired numerous tributes and remakes.
2 of 34: *Quicksilver*
“Quicksilver” falls into that category of movies that are so cheesy they’re almost endearing – definitely worth a watch, especially if you’ve experienced life as a bike messenger. Kevin Bacon takes on the role of a former stockbroker turned San Francisco courier, whose journey gets entangled with some shady dealings, resulting in some unforgettable bike stunts. Pairing it up for a movie night with “American Flyers” would make for a fantastic throwback to the ’80s.
3 of 34: *RAD*
RAD is one of those cult classics that holds a special place in our hearts. It’s all about Cru Jones, a BMX racer from a small town, who decides to give his SATs a miss and take on the pros in the thrilling Helltrack race. Remember those moments when you secretly wished your high school dance would transform into a scene straight out of a romantic movie? Well, RAD makes those dreams come true with its mesmerizing slow-motion BMX choreography. It’s the kind of movie that fills your soft-focus dreams with excitement and nostalgia.
4 of 34 Cycling Movies: *2 Seconds*
Meet Laurie—a pro downhiller who finds herself in a tough spot after a race mishap leaves her confidence shaken. Faced with doubts, she makes the tough call that her heart isn’t fully committed to the sport anymore. Things take a turn when she parts ways with her team and starts a new chapter in Montreal. Embracing a fresh start as a bike courier, Laurie’s life intertwines with that of a weathered old bicycle mechanic, whose gruff exterior hides a heart of gold.
This French-language film follows Laurie’s journey of rediscovery. As she pedals through the streets of Montreal, the city’s charm becomes the backdrop for her rekindled passion for cycling. The film may not have received the attention it truly deserves from the biking community in the U.S., but let me tell you, it’s a cinematic experience that’s well worth seeking out.
5 of 34: *Beijing Bicycle*
Similar to the whimsical journey in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” this Chinese film takes us on another loose reimagining of “Bicycle Thieves.” Picture this: a young delivery guy in Beijing has his bicycle swiped, and off he goes on a mission to track it down. But wait, there’s more! As the story unfolds, we’re treated to a captivating exploration of China’s social classes and the intriguing differences between country and city living.
6 of 34: *Bicycle Dreams*
Have you ever thought about what it’s really like to join the Race Across America? Well, get ready because this documentary might shatter any dreams you had of taking part in this legendary cycling competition. It gives you an inside peek into the sleepless nights and the brutal aftermath of attempting to pedal a jaw-dropping 3,051 miles in just nine days. “Bicycle Dreams” zooms in on the 2005 RAAM and the cyclists who were ready to push themselves to the brink of insanity, all for the sake of claiming victory.
7 of 34 Cycling Movies: *Chasing Legends*
Chasing Legends gives you a glimpse into the 2009 Tour de France, focusing on Team Columbia-HTC’s journey. It’s like a captivating window that shows how everyone, from the leaders to the racers, works together to keep the team in the running for the coveted jerseys. You’ll get to know the stories of Jens Voigt and Mark Cavendish, both shining brightly in this adventure.
8 of 34: *Premium Rush*
This exciting story is about Wilee (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a bike messenger in New York City. One day, he takes hold of an envelope that grabs the attention of an NYPD detective. From that moment on, Wilee’s life takes a thrilling turn as he finds himself being pursued by the detective, and he has to use all his wits to outrun and outsmart him.
9 of 34: *Breaking Away*
David, just a regular guy who recently finished high school, found himself in a bit of a pickle. He didn’t know which path to take in life. But then, something exciting happened – he won a snazzy Masi bike, and suddenly, he fell head over heels for bike racing and all things Italian. This newfound passion didn’t sit well with his dad, Ray, who sold used cars for a living.
Life took an interesting turn when a professional Italian racing team rolled into their town. Of course, you could bet your bottom dollar that David was all in for the race. This didn’t exactly thrill his dad, especially seeing David’s determination and enthusiasm.
Things got a bit messy during the race. One of the Italian riders, clearly annoyed by David’s spirit, pulled a rather sneaky move that left David not only physically bruised but emotionally too. Ouch, that was a tough blow.
As if life hadn’t been complicated enough, a tiff over a girl and some confusion in identity led to a big brawl. But in a surprising twist, this oddball group of pals David had managed to gather found themselves with a golden opportunity – an invitation to take part in the Indiana University Little 500 race.
10 of 34 Cycling Movies: *The Flying Scotsman*
This British drama is all about Graeme Obree and his rollercoaster relationship with the hour record.
In the movie, we witness how Obree goes for the record, loses it, and then goes for it again. But it’s not just about cycling; they also dive into his battle with feeling down and how he made a big mark on track cycling. I mean, he didn’t just ride his bike – he even had a say in the rules about the gear they use on the track.
11 of 34: *Slaying the Badger*
Imagine this: ESPN, the channel we all love for sports, decided to cook up something special for us. They called it the “30 for 30” series – a bunch of documentaries that take us deep into the stories of athletes and their journeys. One of these documentaries is “Slaying The Badger,” and let me tell you, it’s quite a tale.
So, who’s at the center of this story? Greg LeMond, an American cyclist. And guess what? He had this intense rivalry going on with another cyclist, Bernard Hinault. Yep, these two were like fire and ice.
Now, this film, it’s based on a book by Richard Moore that goes by the same name. And it zooms in on the year 1986 when the Tour de France was first broadcasted live. That’s a big deal, you know. Hinault, the guy with the French flair, made a deal with LeMond the previous year – he’d support LeMond in this year’s Tour if LeMond returned the favor during the last year’s race.
But here’s the kicker: things didn’t exactly roll out as smoothly as planned. Nope, not at all. What followed was an epic showdown, a real clash of the titans. And hold onto your seats, because here’s the twist – these two fierce competitors were actually on the same team! Can you believe that?
12 of 34: *Pee-wee’s Big Adventure*
Alright, now this one isn’t really about professional cyclists or anything like that. These cycling movies, well, they tend to lean towards the serious side. You know, lots of pain, struggles, a bit of success, and a whole lot of sadness. That’s why Tim Burton’s quirky classic, ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,’ stands out on our list.
The main character, Pee-wee Herman, is like a big kid at heart. He’s in for a wild ride when his cherished bicycle gets stolen, all thanks to his rival, Francis Buxton. That rich bully pays to have Pee-wee’s bike taken and wrecked.
Then, get this, a fortune teller tells Pee-wee that his bike is at the Alamo. So, off he goes on this huge cross-country journey, all to find his beloved bicycle. It’s a real adventure, let me tell you.
13 of 34 Cycling Movies: *Thereabouts*
A couple of years ago, Lachlan and Angus (let’s call him Gus) Moreton decided to take on an incredible challenge. They wanted to ride all the way from their old home in Port Macquarie to Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). Now, back then, Lachlan was part of the Garmin-Sharp cycling team, while Gus had just hopped back on a bike after taking a really long break.
So, picture this: they pedaled their way through a whopping 2,500 kilometers in just 12 days. Yeah, you read that right. They were headed to one of the most far-off corners of Australia, a place that’s pretty much out there on its own – Uluru. But here’s the twist: this journey wasn’t just about the bikes and the miles they covered.
Nope, it’s just as much about the amazing folks they crossed paths with along the route. They met all sorts of people – probably more than they could count – and each encounter added a unique flavor to their adventure. From friendly faces to curious onlookers, their journey became a story not just about the road, but about the human connections they made.
14 of 34: *Hell on Wheels*
If you’re thinking about watching “Hell On Wheels,” just remember, it’s not the same as that AMC TV show about building railroads. This documentary is all about the Tour de France’s 100th anniversary back in 2003. It’s like taking a ride alongside Erik Zabel and Team Telekom.
You’ll get to see all the highs and lows the riders go through during the race, and even what they do when they’re not pedaling like crazy. Just so you know, this one’s a bit weighty, and you’ll need to read the subtitles, so it’s not exactly a light and cheery movie. But let me tell you, it’s definitely worth your time if you’re up for it. Give it a shot!
15 of 34: *Road to Roubaix*
Paris Roubaix, oh boy, that’s the cycling pinnacle for me! Imagine the frenzy, the grime, and the sheer audacity plus the good old fashioned fortune required to simply get through that race. It’s like a nail-biting spectacle that keeps you right on the edge of your seat.
And guess what? There’s this gripping documentary called Road To Roubaix. It’s like a rollercoaster ride through the experiences of riders, die-hard fans, and the grease-stained mechanics who all dive into this epic one-day adventure every single year.
They’re the ones spinning the yarn, sharing their own unfiltered tales. This film takes the 2007 race and weaves it together with all the sneaky backstage scenes, plus a mashup of old clips that were tucked away and precious historical footage that’s rarer than a unicorn.
16 of 34 Cycling Movies: *A Sunday in Hell*
[Cilck This Youtube Video to Watch the Full Movie]
You know, our love for Roubaix is so immense that it’s only natural for another film about the race to find its way into our cherished favorites.
Now, let’s talk about “A Sunday in Hell.” This gem whisks us back to the 1976 edition, a true blast from the past, with legends like Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Freddy Maertens, and Francesco Moser taking the stage.
Picture this: the film paints the race’s tale through the perspectives of team leaders, cheering onlookers, grease-streaked mechanics, and hey, even a bunch of protesters who somehow managed to put a halt on the race, if only for a brief moment.
17 of 34: *American Flyers*
In this timeless Kevin Costner classic, we follow the story of Marcus Sommers (played by Costner), a sports physician. His mission? To convince his younger brother, David Grant, to embark on a unique journey: training together for a challenging three-day bicycle race across the rugged Rocky Mountains. This race, famously known as “The Hell of the West,” has its roots in Colorado and has now transformed into the esteemed Superior Morgul Classic.
Unbeknownst to David, Marcus harbors a profound secret. Deep within, Marcus carries the weight of knowledge about his own condition – a brain aneurysm, a fragile threat that could snatch away his life or mobility at any unexpected instant. Despite the gravity of this hidden truth, Marcus skillfully persuades David to join him in the venture, igniting a cross-country odyssey towards the heart of Colorado, the race’s battleground.
As the story unfolds, the shroud of Marcus’s secret begins to unravel, inevitably catching up to him. This leaves David entangled in a complex web of emotions, facing a moral crossroads.
18 of 34: *The Armstrong Lie*
When director Alex Gibney decided to create “The Road Back,” a documentary recounting Lance Armstrong’s return to the cycling scene after a four-year break, he embarked on a journey he couldn’t fully anticipate.
Back in 2012, during Armstrong’s doping investigation and subsequent ban, Gibney initially halted the film’s production. However, he later revisited and revitalized the project. The documentary now began with a significant moment – Armstrong’s candid discussion with Oprah Winfrey.
Titled “The Armstrong Lie,” this documentary unexpectedly presents a well-rounded depiction of one of the most significant controversies in cycling history. It skillfully traces Armstrong’s ascent to fame and his subsequent fall from grace, offering viewers a comprehensive view of the entire story.
19 of 34 Cycling Movies: *Lance*
Should we really have yet another documentary about Lance Armstrong? Maybe not. However, I must say, this one is absolutely worth your time. It’s fresh for 2020 and built on a bunch of up-close chats. “Lance” is a two-part movie that spills all the beans, showing the real deal about the cyclist everyone’s talking about.
20 of 34: *Rising from Ashes*
Back in 1994, something truly dreadful unfolded in Rwanda – a horrendous genocide that snatched away the lives of somewhere between 500,000 to 1,000,000 innocent souls, leaving behind a sea of orphaned children. Fast forward to 2006, and there’s Jacques Boyer, once a pro, who decides to set up camp in Rwanda. His mission? To extend a helping hand to a bunch of survivors from that dark period and together, they set out to build a cycling team that could represent their nation.
Now, this team isn’t your regular one. It’s made up of kids who lost their families and were scarred by the haunting memories of that brutal genocide, a whole decade earlier. As the story unfolds, both Boyer and his team go through a transformative journey, rising up from the ashes of their painful pasts. Their shared accomplishments become a beacon of hope, helping them move beyond the shadows that once engulfed them.
21 of 34: *Belleville Rendez-Vous (The Triplets of Belleville)*
From the time he was young, Madame Souza made sure to pass on her passion for cycling to her grandson, Champion. As he grew up, he transformed into a skilled road racer, all thanks to his grandmother’s guidance.
In a critical mountain stage of the Tour de France, something unexpected happens. Champion, along with two of his fellow racers, is suddenly abducted by a mysterious group. This group has ulterior motives, aiming to exploit the unique talents of these three cyclists for their own gain.
But worry not, because the story doesn’t end there. Madame Souza isn’t about to let her grandson disappear without a fight. With her faithful and slightly plump dog, Bruno, by her side, she embarks on a determined journey to rescue Champion.
Their quest leads them across the seas to Belleville, a charming town with a whole new world of surprises. In Belleville, Madame Souza and Bruno come face to face with three remarkable elderly women. These women were once a renowned singing trio, known as The Triplets of Belleville. They join forces with Madame Souza, bringing their unique skills to help in the search for Champion.
This enchanting French animated film stands in a league of its own. It’s an experience that defies expectations, promising to bring a genuine smile to your face.
22 of 34 Cycling Movies: *Tour de Pharmacy*
Alright, so I just watched this kinda silly movie, but you know what? I actually had a good time with it. Imagine the same folks who brought you The Lonely Island and Hot Rod getting together to make Tour De Pharmacy. They’re poking fun at all those scandals about doping in cycling, and they’re telling the tale of the 1982 Tour de France – well, not the real one, obviously.
So, in this movie, the 1982 race is basically a hot mess of doping, and almost everyone except five riders gets the boot. The ones left to duke it out are Marty Hass (played by Adam Samberg), Juju Peppi (that’s Orlando Bloom), Slim Robinson (Daveed Diggs), Gustav Ditters (John Cena), and Adrian Baton (Freddie Highmore).
Now, get this: there’s a bunch of famous faces popping up, like J.J. Abrams, Dolph Lundgren, Joe Buck, Maya Rudolf, Jeff Goldblum, and even Lance Armstrong of all people.
But hold up, don’t walk in there thinking you’re getting some high-class humor. Tour de Pharmacy is just loaded with silly jokes, weird characters, and yeah, a bit of nakedness from the guys. It’s definitely not your typical comedy, but if you’re up for a bit of shock, it’s a fun ride worth checking out.
23 of 34: *Icarus*
Picture this: a playwright decides to take on the role of a human guinea pig, all in the name of revealing how useless the anti-doping system really is when it comes to testing athletes. Now, for Bryan Fogel, this journey leads him to uncover not just a little secret, but a massive state-backed doping scheme that goes down as one of the most jaw-dropping scandals in the world of sports.
At the start, Fogel’s plan was simple: use performance-enhancing drugs to get ready for the Haute Route race, all while thinking, “If I can get away with this, then pretty much any athlete could.” But guess what? Things take an unexpected turn.
He crosses paths with a former doctor, Grigory Rodchenkov, who was in charge of Moscow’s anti-doping center. This guy takes Fogel on a tour of the doping program, and that’s when things get real. As it turns out, this isn’t just about one person trying to bend the rules – Fogel ends up uncovering a massive Russian-sponsored doping scheme, all thanks to a report from WADA in 2015 that points fingers.
So, what begins as a personal experiment transforms into a global uproar. There’s mystery surrounding unexplained deaths, tales of tainted urine, and the exposure of one of the grandest doping operations in the history of sports.
24 of 34: *Le Vélo de Ghislain Lambert*
Born on the very same day as Eddy Merckx, the famous Belgian cyclist, Ghislain Lambert nurtured an unwavering desire to become a champion. However, his ambitions slightly outpaced his abilities.
Set during the 1970s, the movie truly captures the essence of the Merckx era (created back in 2001). The vintage bicycles, team cars, and classic wool jerseys are all on point.
The story takes us through Lambert’s journey as a member of the Magicreme Maurice Focodel team. Despite his dreams of achieving glory, Lambert finds himself in the role of a ‘water carrier’. Yet, with the support of his teammate Riccardo, he ventures into the world of doping, but things take a wrong turn due to incorrect dosages.
Following a falling out with the team, Lambert’s life takes a turn. Sometime later, he surprisingly gets a chance to participate in the Tour de France, where he becomes a public favorite, known as the Lanterne Rouge.
Loaded with references that capture the spirit of the times and some perhaps cringe-worthy doping jokes, the film occasionally leans into slapstick humor, featuring riders comically tumbling over their bikes into ditches.
While the movie is originally in French, fret not, as an English subtitled version is readily accessible for those interested.
25 of 34 Cycling Movies: *All for One*
This captivating documentary takes you on a journey alongside the GreenEdge team, which is now known as Mitchelton–Scott. They proudly hold the title of Australia’s inaugural ProTour cycling team. From their very first training camps to their remarkable triumphs in 2016, the film unfolds their story.
A true highlight is the inclusion of the finest moments from the ‘Back Stage Pass’ behind-the-scenes episodes, expertly crafted by Dan Jones. These episodes unveil the heart of the team’s Aussie ‘larrikin’ spirit, a core that the team is built upon.
“All For One” also takes a deep dive into the personal tales of individual riders within the team. It walks you through their career’s ups and downs, focusing on a select group and their intricate relationships.
While the film avoids the tough questions that sometimes spark confrontations, its gaps are evident. However, what sets “All For One” apart is its refreshing portrayal of cycling in a positive glow. This stands in stark contrast to the many shadows and controversies that can often cloud the world of professional cycling.
26 of 34: *The Least Expected Day: Inside the Movistar Team 2019*
The Least Expected Day takes you behind the curtain to witness Movistar Team’s journey during the 2019 season, with a special focus on the three Grand Tours.
This Netflix documentary series, spanning six episodes, aims to capture all the quintessential elements of a professional cycling documentary that resonate with everyone: team directors passionately communicating through radio handsets, enthusiastic crowds, and those heartwarming moments as riders cross the finish line.
Although it’s in Spanish, don’t worry if you’re an English speaker – subtitles are there to guide you. And if you’re a true pro cycling enthusiast, this is definitely something you wouldn’t want to miss. We’re eagerly looking forward to this!
27 of 34: *Wadjda*
Meet Wadjda, a spirited 10-year-old living in Saudi Arabia. One day, she spots a bike for sale in her neighborhood and an idea sparks in her mind – she wants that bike to challenge a boy to a race. The catch? Her mom isn’t on board with the idea, as their culture holds the belief that biking isn’t for girls.
Undeterred by this, Wadjda takes matters into her own hands. She’s determined to gather the money needed to buy the bike, showing her resourcefulness and determination in the face of obstacles.
28 of 34 Cycling Movies: *Bicycling With Moliere*
This hilarious story is about two pals, Gauthier and Serge, who also happen to be actors. Now, here’s the fun part: they’re like night and day, totally opposite, except for one thing they share big time – their passion for bike rides. So, picture this: they’re pedaling away on the beautiful Île de Ré in France. But here’s the twist – Gauthier has this grand plan to get Serge on board for a play. Will he succeed? Well, that’s where the real adventure begins!
29 of 34: *Bicycle*
Imagine diving into a fascinating documentary that takes you on a journey through time. It’s all about the incredible story of the bicycle and the sport of cycling. We’re talking about its humble beginnings back in the Victorian era, and guess what? The journey doesn’t stop there – it rolls right into today. And here’s the coolest part: you’ll hear from the people who know it best – historians who’ve unraveled its past, genius minds behind bike designs and constructions, and even those Olympic champs who’ve pedaled their way to glory. Get ready to pedal through history!
30 of 34: *Half The Road*
Have you ever wondered why women’s cycling doesn’t get the attention it truly deserves from the media, the cheering crowds, and the financial backers? It’s a question that “Half the Road” delves into with a lot of insight. This documentary, directed by Kathryn Bertine, takes you on a journey through the complexities of this issue, mixing in depth, humor, frustration, and a sense of hope for a better future. Through this film, you get a really good look into both the successes and challenges of those who are working hard to make things more equal in a traditionally male-focused sport.
31 of 34 Cycling Movies: *Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist*
Back in 2014, a documentary came out that tells the tale of Marco Pantani. It’s like a journey through his life – how he climbed up the ladder to become a big name in Italian cycling and his amazing wins in the 1998 Tour de France and Giro. But the story doesn’t end there; it takes a turn into the darker side of things – his downfall and his battle with drug addiction. It’s a rollercoaster of a story, giving you a peek into the highs and lows of his life.
32 of 34: *My Italian Secret*
Get ready to hear an amazing tale through this documentary. It’s all about Gino Bartali, a guy who won the Tour de France not once, but twice. But there’s more to his story than just cycling. When World War II was raging, he did something extraordinary – during his training rides, he secretly carried fake papers to help out the Jewish Resistance. It was dangerous stuff, putting his life on the line to help those in need. Thanks to his brave actions, he managed to save over 800 Jewish people from the clutches of the Nazis. And here’s the kicker – he never bragged about it while he was alive. This is the kind of story that leaves you in awe of the courage and kindness that one person can show.
33 of 34: *Blood Road*
Come along on an adventure with Rebecca Rusch, a tough-as-nails mountain biker, and her riding buddy Huyen Nguyen. They’re up to something big – riding their bikes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a whopping 1,200 miles! But there’s a heartfelt reason behind this journey. They’re on a mission to reach the spot where Rebecca’s dad, a brave pilot from the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, was shot down and laid to rest. It’s a journey filled with determination and emotion, as they pedal through history to honor a hero’s memory.
34 of 34 Cycling Movies: *Biking Borders*
Picture this: two buddies who share a love for adventure and excitement. They come up with an incredible idea – a plan to travel a whopping 15,000 kilometers around the world. But here’s the twist – they’re not just doing it for fun. They’re on a mission to raise funds for a noble cause: building a school in Guatemala. These friends are turning their globe-trotting dream into something that will truly make a difference in the lives of others. It’s a heartwarming journey of friendship, dreams, and giving back.
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