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.

Quicksilver, 1986

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.

The Triplets of Belleville, 2003

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:

Big, 1988

Bill Cunningham New York, 2010

Cinema Paradiso, 1988

E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982

The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite, 2004

Pee-Wee’s Great Adventure, 1985

Rushmore, 1998

The Shining, 1980

Wizard of Oz, 1939

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7 Responses to countdown to a cozy bicycle-film date night

  1. Karen says:

    Eat Pray Love has a few fleeting biking scenes through Bali, and a pivotal bike crash scene between Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem.

  2. […] movie featuring bicycles? There’s actually quite a lot of them and these movies are great! Read the whole article here for the list of bike movies! […]

  3. […] by Genevieve’s recent post on classic bicycle films, I recently watched one that had been on my to-view list forever: A Sunday in Hell, the epic […]

  4. Liz says:

    You forgot to include the Bill Cunningham documentary! Watched it with my husband last night. His first time, my second.

  5. Thurstan says:

    Hi – For the cycle movies, I think you might add these:

    A Sunday in Hell 1977 – by Jorgen Leth
    Documentary about Paris Roubaix 1976

    Premium Rush 2012
    Drama about cycle messenger in New York, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez

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