Cin­e­matic sad­dle-up

The bikes were the stars, writes Mark Hinchliffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Top Ten -

1 Easy Rider (1969) Peter Fonda checks his watch, throws it aside then he and Den­nis Hop­per roar off on their Har­leys in search of free­dom to a sound­track of Step­pen­wolf’s Born To Be Wild. The bikes, gleam­ing in the US sun, were filmed against a stun­ning post­card back­drop ac­com­pa­nied by rock clas­sics. Con­veys the sense of free­dom of bike rid­ing like no other film. 2 Stone (1974) Aus­tralian film with a ridicu­lous plot about an undercover cop who in­fil­trates the Grave Dig­gers Mo­tor­cy­cle Club to find out why they are be­ing killed one by one. But it fea­tures some mem­o­rable bike scenes such as a race along Syd­ney clifftop roads and a bikie fu­neral cortege up the F3 over the Hawkes­bury River. Fea­tured bike is the famed Kawasaki Z900 with four ex­haust pipes. 3 The Great Es­cape

(1963) Not strictly a bike film but it in­cludes cin­ema’s most mem­o­rable bike chase. Es­capee Steve McQueen steals aBMW bike from the Ger­mans who chase him to the Swiss bor­der. McQueen, who had rep­re­sented Amer­ica in bike tri­als, did most of the stunt work— Bud Ekins did the fa­mous jump over the barbed wire fence. They rode a Tri­umph TT Spe­cial 650. 4 The Wild One (1953) Mar­lon Brando as Johnny Stra­bler, leader of the Black Rebels Mo­tor­cy­cle Club, is the ultimate in biker cool on his 650cc Tri­umph Thun­der­bird and his jacket be­came known as ‘‘ the Brando’’. 5 The World’s Fastest In­dian (2005) Hol­ly­wood’s ver­sion of the in­cred­i­ble but true story of Kiwi Burt Munro’s ob­ses­sion with mak­ing his 1920 In­dian Scout go faster. He stunned the world when he set a class land-speed record at Utah’s Bon­neville Salt Flats in 1967. His 329.9km/h still stands. Two of his bikes in the film are ac­tu­ally Du­catis. 6 Top Gun (1986) Tom Cruise has rid­den mo­tor­cy­cles in sev­eral films, in­clud­ing his Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble tril­ogy, but the last­ing im­age is of him rac­ing his Kawasaki Ninja 900 down the run­way be­side a Tom­cat jet. The lack of US hel­met laws means his smile and lus­trous hair are ever-present. 7 On Any Sun­day

(1971) Doc­u­men­tary film maker Bruce Brown had scored a huge hit with his surf­ing film, End­less Sum­mer. When he fo­cused his skills on mo­tor­cy­cles he turned on a whole gen­er­a­tion to bike rid­ing. Scores of mo­tor­cy­cles are fea­tured but what cap­tures the essence of bik­ing fun is the clos­ing scene where Steve McQueen and off-road rid­ers David Evans and Mert Lawwill sky­lark on their small-bore Ja­panese bikes on the beach at Marine Corps Base Camp, Pendle­ton, Cal­i­for­nia. McQueen used his charm to get per­mis­sion to film there. 8 Quadrophe­nia

(1979) Many Bri­tish bikes are in­cluded but Ital­ian Lam­bretta and Vespa scoot­ers fea­ture in this film ver­sion of The Who’s 1973 rock opera. Scoot­ers and bikes rep­re­sent the cul­ture of free­dom, re­bel­lion and be­long­ing to a gang. The film de­picts the ri­valry be­tween scooter-rid­ing Mods and bik­erid­ing Rock­ers, which re­mains but in a much friend­lier way. 9 Mad Max (1979) The men­ac­ing Toe­cut­ter Gang rides into town on mainly Ja­panese su­per­bikes, the epit­ome of law­less bikies. Mem­bers of Mel­bourne bikie clubs such as the Vig­i­lantes per­formed many of the stunts. Some of the wild chase scenes were cap­tured by a cam­era­man rid­ing pil­lion. 10 Wild Hogs (2007) A par­ody of the 1953 Brando film, but this time on Har­leyDavid­sons, it good-na­turedly sends up the tough pos­tur­ing of to­day’s mid­dle-class wannabe bikies. In a ver­sion of Fonda’s watch-toss­ing scene in Easy Rider, the ac­tors fling their mo­bile phones away be­fore head­ing out on the open road, look­ing for ad­ven­ture and what­ever comes their way.

Easy Rid­ers (left): Peter Fonda and Den­nis Hop­per in the quin­tes­sen­tial bike flick

Also rode: An­thony Hop­kins (top), Steve McQueen and Mar­lon Brando

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.