By Genevieve Walker
When it’s cold out, remember that there are ways to enjoy cycling from your couch. Treat your sweetie to a night in and enjoy a little cinematic bike action (otherwise known as a bike-themed movie night). Bike movies are admittedly few and far between, but we have compiled a short list that will give you, at the very least, a glimpse of your favorite machine on the screen.
Suggested date timeline:
(Prep time: 30 minutes to an hour)
Secure movies via your preferred method
Pop popcorn and pour beverages of choice
Start the first film
Enjoy one or more selections below
Inspired, go out for a slow, nighttime ride — never mind the weather
Bicycle Thieves, 1948
This is a classic for film buffs and bike enthusiasts, alike. The story revolves around a bicycle that a man needs for work and well, it gets stolen. The movie is charming and beautiful…and in Italian, so be prepared for subtitles.
Breaking Away, 1979
This is a must-see cycling movie. It’s a coming-of-age story that centers on one teenager’s passion for cycling. This film inspired me as a pre-teen to buff my old 10-speed and ride laps around my California suburb. Bonus: features a very young Dennis Quaid.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969 (photo above)
Ok, this falls under the “glimpse” of a bicycle category. If you haven’t seen the movie then it’s probably time you added it to your repertoire. (It comes up in dinner party conversation from time to time). To summarize: outlaws, the west and gorgeous men.
BMX Bandits, 1983
There’s something for everyone out there. BMX Bandits is pure ‘80s glam-action: bank robbers, wheelies and elbow pads. Bonus: a young Nicole Kidman.
It’s about a “market whiz kid” (Kevin Bacon) turned bike messenger. Need we say more? OK, fine, we will: think leg warmers, San Francisco hills and break-dancing on bikes. It’s practically the Footloose of cycling. But not.
Sure this film is animated, and there’s song and pantomime, but it’s not for kids. This Academy Award-nominated French comedy centers on Madame Souza’s search for her cyclist grandson Champion, who is kidnapped during the Tour de France by gangsters with a gambling plot in mind. Soak in the retro charm of Souza’s quest in the company of aged, dance hall-singer triplets and a beloved pooch.
And if you’re not sold on the above films, here are a few more choices that can legitimately make your movie night bike-themed, even if the bike scenes, in some cases, are short and sweet:
Bill Cunningham New York, 2010
Cinema Paradiso, 1988
The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, 2005
Napoleon Dynamite, 2004
The Shining, 1980
Wizard of Oz, 1939