02 / BMX BANDITS
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)
If the first over-the-moon flying bike ride in Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece is pure enchantment, the second, at the end of the film, is complete and utter exhilaration. Elliott (Henry Thomas) and his buddies are on BMX bikes, furiously peddling E.T. to meet the aliens’ spaceship. Chased by the Feds on foot, they are confronted by a road block of police cars and barriers cutting off their escape. All looks lost — Spielberg cuts twice, moving closer each time to Thomas’ face to heighten the sense of impending doom — until E.T. magically lifts the entire group up, bikes included, off the ground and into a blazing orange sunset. The threat was diminished in the 2002 20th anniversary reissue when Spielberg digitally transformed the guns of the government agents into walkie-talkies, but either way, the (literally) uplifting ending is the stuff cinematic dreams are made of.