Who doesn’t enjoy cuddling up on the couch with a good book or movie, particularly one about riding, to read or watch? As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the United States, this is very important.
Here are 26 of the best cycling movies that will keep you interested in your favorite activity, make you giggle, and make you want to go for a ride afterward.
1. BREAKING AWAY
This poignant and entertaining Academy Award winning film follows Dave and his friends as they try to outrace a group of local college boys in their town’s annual bike race.
RAD, a cult classic, tells the story of Cru Jones, a BMX racer from a tiny town who takes his SATs to compete against the pros in the Helltrack competition. With its beautiful, slow-motion BMX choreography interrupting your high school dance, you’ll never want to dance again.
3. A SUNDAY IN HELL
The 1976 Paris-Roubaix in all its dirty, cobbled glory is vividly depicted in this classic Danish film. Insider footage of major victories, crashes, and some of the biggest names in cycling at the time, including as Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, and Freddy Maertens, can be found here. When it comes to feeling the excitement of the spring classics in person, this is a close second.
4. HALF THE ROAD: THE PASSION, PITFALLS, & POWER OF WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL CYCLING
For whatever reason, the attention, fan support, and financial support that professional women’s cycling merits simply aren’t there. It’s a problem that Half the Road tackles with wonderful sensitivity, humor, and hope for the future. Kathryn Bertine, the film’s director, captures the highs and lows of battling for gender equality in a male-dominated sport in a compelling and insightful way.
5. BICYCLE THIEVES
Italian classic The Bicycle Thief, also known as The Bicycle Thief, depicts the narrative of a working class man whose bicycle has been stolen. Numerous homages and remakes have been inspired by this classic picture, which is routinely included in lists of the best films of all time.
6. PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE
It’s been dubbed “the best bicycle movie ever filmed” by some. As for the rest of us, we’re simply here to laugh at the man-ridiculous boy’s quest to recover his stolen cherry-red vintage Schwinn. Even though it lacks the seriousness of Bicycle Thieves, this is nevertheless an endearing recreation of the story.
7. THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE
A Tour de France racer’s grandson is abducted and kept hostage by the French mafia in this French animated comedy. She starts on a mission to save him with the help of three old singers. Fans of bicycle animation should not miss this 2003 Oscar-nominated feature.
8. 2 SECONDS
After a disastrous performance in a race, elite downhiller Laurie declares she no longer has a passion for the sport. In Montreal, she finds work as a bike courier after being sacked from her previous job. With the help of a gruff old bicycle technician, she rediscovers her love of riding bikes. If you’re a fan of cycling and the LGBTQ community, you should definitely check out this French-language film, which has been missed and underappreciated in the United States.
9. RISING FROM ASHES
Looking for a motivational cycling film to watch? This documentary covers the tale of Rwanda’s 2012 Tour de France cycling squad and their struggle to establish hope and be competitive in the face of genocide.
10. AMERICAN FLYERS
“American Flyers,” written by the creator of “Breaking Away,” portrays Kevin Costner as a cyclist and sports doctor who pushes his younger brother to train for the “Hell of the West” three-day bicycle race through the Rocky Mountains. There are some amusing racing scenes, but it’s typical ’80s over-the-top insanity.
If you’ve ever worked as a bike messenger, Quicksilver is a movie worth seeing once—especially if you’ve never seen it before. When Kevin Bacon’s character becomes entangled in some illicit matters, he unleashes remarkable bicycle choreography. With American Flyers, it’s a great ’80s double feature.
12. BEIJING BICYCLE
This Chinese film, like Pee-Big wee’s Adventure, is a loose adaptation of Bicycle Thieves. After his bicycle is stolen in Beijing, a teen courier sets out on a mission to find it. Viewers get a fascinating insight at China’s class system and the contrast between rural and urban life as they progress.
13. 30 FOR 30: SLAYING THE BADGER
This 2014 episode of ESPN’s documentary series focuses on Greg LeMond, the only American winner of the Tour de France. Bernard “the Badger” Hinault, a former teammate and adversary of Greg LeMond, reflects on his historic victory in 1986.
14. BICYCLE DREAMS
For those who are curious about the Race Across America, here’s all you need to know: In this video, you’ll get a firsthand glimpse at the sleep deprivation and brutal consequences of attempting to bike 3,051 miles in nine days in the legendary cycling event. On the 2005 edition of the RAAM, Bicycle Dreams follows a group of riders who will do anything to win it.
15. PANTANI: THE ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF A CYCLIST
Following Marco Pantani’s climb to cycling stardom in Italy, this 2014 documentary tells the narrative of his breakdown and subsequent drug addiction.
16. CHASING LEGENDS
Team Columbia-progress HTC’s throughout the 2009 Tour de France is the focus of the documentary Chasing Legends. Seeing what the team’s leaders, as well as the racers, are doing in order to keep their jerseys in contention is a thrilling experience. Both Jens Voigt and Mark Cavendish make an appearance.
17. MY ITALIAN SECRET: THE FORGOTTEN HEROES
While training for the Tour de France in World War II, Gino Bartali would ride his bike to deliver fake paperwork to Jewish resistance fighters. Bartali risked his life to aid the underground and saved more than 800 Jews from the Nazis, an extraordinary act for which he never sought praise while he was still alive.
Former World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited Moscow drug testing laboratory chief Grigory Rodchenkov helped cyclist and filmmaker Bryan Fogel video himself doping to show how unreliable the sport’s drug testing may be. As a result, though, Fogel unearths a massive scandal. (Also, it won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2018).
19. BLOOD ROAD
Huyen Nguyen, an endurance mountain biker, and Rebecca Rusch, an endurance mountain biker, ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a 1,200-mile route through Vietnam. To what end? To visit the graveyard of her late father, a U.S. Air Force pilot who was killed in action during the Vietnam War.
20. THE FLYING SCOTSMAN
When Graeme Obree set a new one-hour distance record on a bicycle built out of scrap metal and bits from a washing machine, The Flying Scotsman tells his story. Despite his struggles with mental illness, Obree makes a comeback in the sport and takes back his previous record.
21. PREMIUM RUSH
In this suspenseful film, a New York City bike messenger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) picks up an envelope that attracts the attention of an NYPD detective (David Harbour). This is a race against time to avoid being caught by the investigator.
Seeing a bike for sale in her Saudi Arabian neighborhood, 10-year-old Wadjda decides to buy it so she may outrace a boy. Her mother, on the other hand, will not get her a bike because in their society, riding a bike is considered inappropriate for girls. It is up to Wadjda to raise the funds, so she decides to take matters into her own hands.
23. LANCE (ESPN 30 FOR 30)
In 2020, ESPN produced “LANCE,” a documentary on Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall as a cyclist. The film is the latest in ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary series and clocks in at a whopping four and a half hours.
This film has interviews with historians, bike designers and builders, and Olympic competitors as it chronicles the development of the bicycle and the sport of cycling from the Victorian era to the present day.
25. CYCLING WITH MOLIÈRE
Only their love of riding bikes unites them in this comedy, which follows the lives of Gauthier and Serge. To get Serge to join him, Gauthier takes them on a bike ride around France’s Île de Ré island.
26. TOUR DE PHARMACY
It’s almost comical how horrible doping has been in the sport for so long. Make fun of it with the help of Andy Samberg’s Lonely Island group and some entertaining cameos…including Lance..
27. ALL FOR ONE
To become Australia’s first professional tour cycling team, this documentary follows a bunch of Australian cyclists.