The best movies for cyclists generate feelings of admiration for their subjects. They illustrate the grit and dedication that all cyclists must demonstrate in order to achieve their goals.
Whether it’s winning a Grand Tour, breaking a world record, or simply exploring Australia’s outback, leaving you feeling inspired to go for a ride.
However, cycling is not only one of the most difficult and beautiful sports in the world, but it also provides excellent filming opportunities. Below is a list of the best movies for cyclists.
Table of Contents
- 1. Wadjda (2012)
- 2. Tour De Pharmacy (2017)
- 3. Jour De Fête (1949)
- 4. The Kid with a Bike (2011)
- 5. BMX Bandits (1983)
- 6. Breaking Away (1979)
- 7. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
- 8. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
- 9. Beijing Bicycle (2001)
- 10. American Flyers (1985)
- 11. Premium Rush (2012)
1. Wadjda (2012)
- Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
- Star casts: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, and Abdulrahman Al Gohani
- IMDb ratings: 7.5
Wadjda is a ten-year-old Saudi Arabian girl who lives in Riyadh. She is desperate for a bicycle so that she can race against her next-door neighbor, Abdullah.
Her mother is adamant about it, telling her that she won’t be able to have children if she rides a bike. So Wadjda resolves to raise the funds necessary to purchase a bicycle on her own.
Wadjda is notable for being the first movie shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, a country without cinemas. It was also the first movie directed by a woman in Saudi Arabia.
It does, however, merit a spot on this list of the best movies for cyclists in the world since it is packed with incredible realism, drama, and a touching conclusion.
You will enjoy the glimpses into Saudi life, the fact that you get to see Riyadh, and the insightful reflection on women’s role and status in Saudi culture.
2. Tour De Pharmacy (2017)
- Director: Jake Szymanski
- Star casts: Andy Samberg, Orlando Bloom, Freddie Highmore, and Joe Bluck
- IMDb ratings: 7.1
In the days leading up to a fatal crash during the 1982 Tour de France, the lives of cyclists JuJu Peppi, Marty Hass, Adrian Baton, Slim Robinson, and Gustav Ditters are explained.
The movie is a cutting satirical look at the world of cycling, addressing themes such as bribery, doping, and general dishonesty.
Despite its status, the movie has a passion for cycling. The jokes are funny and manage to be both period-appropriate and modern-day relevant.
3. Jour De Fête (1949)
- Director: Jacques Tati
- Star casts: Jacques Tati, Guy Decomble, and Paul Frankeur
- IMDb ratings: 7.2
Jour de Fête is a brilliant French comedy that has influenced and been mentioned in many movies, including The French Dispatch.
Through his troubles and achievements, the story follows François (Jacques Tati), a small-time messenger. François, despite his best attempts, is a bumbler who proves to be an ineffective way of letter delivery.
That is, until one day, he sees a movie about the United States Postal Service and decides to emulate their methods.
Tati puts on an incredible show, zipping through town on his bicycle at a breakneck speed. His act and the movie as a whole have a wonderfully comic quality to them.
4. The Kid with a Bike (2011)
- Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
- Star casts: Thomas Doret, Cecile de France, and Jeremie Renier
- IMDb ratings: 7.4
Cyril, a 12-year-old boy who is abandoned by his father and placed in a children’s home, is the protagonist of The Kid with a Bike.
Cyril flees on his bike and befriends a neighborhood hairdresser, who graciously agrees to watch after him on weekends. After a lengthy search, Cyril locates his father, who once again rejects him.
As a result, Cyril becomes friends with a local gang leader, who takes him down the wrong path. Be advised that cycling is not the main plot of this movie; it is also in French with English subtitles, which you will hardly notice because the story is so riveting and heartbreaking.
In many ways, The Kid with a Bike and Wadjda are similar in that both children fight misfortune to find pleasure, supported by their beloved bicycles. This is one of the best movies for cyclists.
5. BMX Bandits (1983)
- Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
- Star casts: David Argue, John Ley, Nicole Kidman, and Angelo D’Angelo
- IMDb ratings: 5.4
Have you ever wondered how good a BMX rider Nicole Kidman is? This is exactly what the BMX Bandits have to say about it.
After stealing and selling their walkie-talkies, young BMX motorcyclists P.J, Goose, and their new acquaintance Judy become involved with some bank robbers.
The Boss, enraged that his radios have been stolen, dispatches his goons to track them down. On the other hand, the movie is the kind of charming, cheerful cheese that audiences can’t help but fall in love with.
6. Breaking Away (1979)
- Director: Peter Yates
- Star casts: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley, Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley, and Robyn Douglass.
- IMDb ratings: 7.7
Breaking Away is a comedy-drama about four misfit teenagers in Bloomington, Indiana, one of America’s largest college cities.
It’s a heartwarming story about young men finding their way in a world where they don’t belong among the wealthy, snobby college students.
After winning a Masi bike, a teenage biker named Dave Stohler discovers his enthusiasm for Italian road riding.
The friends organize a cycling team for the University’s Little 500, and they are the only “townie” team competing against the College students.
This critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning, iconic cycling movie is one of the best movies for cyclists. It’s a movie that you’ll watch again and again because it explores a variety of themes beyond cycling.
Such as the transition from aimless childhood to adult responsibility, class differences, parental expectations, the importance of family, and life in small-town America.
7. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
- Director: Vittorio De Sica
- Star casts: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, and Elena Altieri
- IMDb ratings: 8.3
Bicycle Thieves is a dramatic and passionate work of art that is one of the best movies for cyclists. It portrays the story of Antonio, an unemployed man who finally finds work hanging posters in postwar Rome. The only requirement is that he must own a bicycle.
When Antonio’s bicycle is stolen, he desperately searches the streets with his son. This great Oscar-winning movie has had a lasting impact on global cinema and is included in a variety of “best movies” lists. It offers some beautiful pictures of Rome in the 1940s and a really moving story.
8. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
- Director: Tim Burton
- Star casts: Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, and Mark Holton
- IMDb ratings: 7.0
This children’s favorite, directed by Tim Burton, is partially based on Bicycle Thieves’ previously mentioned movie. Both stories revolve around men who are desperate to reclaim their motorcycles.
But that’s about the extent of the similarities. Pee-Big Wee’s Adventure is more in the vein of a Jour de Fête comedy.
It’s a slapstick comedy with a joyful tone and a cast of outrageous characters, including the titular Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens).
9. Beijing Bicycle (2001)
- Director: Xiaoshuai Wang
- Star casts: Lin Cui, Xun Zhou, and Bin Li
- IMDb ratings: 7.2
This is another movie based on the famous movie Bicycle Thieves. Beijing Bicycle tells the stories of Guei (Lin Cui) and Jian, two young boys (Bin Li).
Guei, a newcomer to Beijing, works as a courier until his bike is stolen one day. Jian is yearning for a bike so he can ride around with his crush.
Finally, he purchases a bicycle, only for Guei to show up and claim it as his. The movies of Wang Xiaoshuai are noted for being serious reflections on the reality of modern Chinese living.
While the plot is based on Thieves, the novel is entirely focused on its protagonists’ financial and personal realities.
The movie was a critical and commercial success on a global scale, and it was awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. This is one of the best movies for cyclists.
10. American Flyers (1985)
- Director: John Badham
- Star casts: Kevin Costner, David Grant, Rae Dawn Chong, Alexandra Paul, and Janice Rule.
- IMDb ratings: 6.4
American Flyers stars Kevin Costner as sports physician Marcus Sommers, who persuades his younger brother to join him in training for a three-day bike race over the Rocky Mountains.
The plot centers on the possibility that one of the two brothers has a congenital brain disorder that could render them paralyzed at any time.
This movie features some fantastic bike racing footage and a big portion of 80s cheesiness, terrible mustaches, uncomfortable sex scenes, and nasty crashes.
Aerial filming of the beautiful red rock environment is also featured and a surprise appearance by Eddie Merckx.
11. Premium Rush (2012)
- Director: David Koepp
- Star casts: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, and Sean Kennedy
- IMDb ratings: 6.5
This movie takes being a bike messenger to a whole new level. Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a bike courier with a flair for getting goods delivered quickly and a passion for cycling.
Wilee is forced to cycle for his life after being requested to “premium rush” an envelope across town in 90 minutes by crooked detective Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon).
The movie is 92 minutes long, exactly 2 minutes longer than Wilee’s disastrous delivery deadline. The action moves quickly, and the bike stunts are entertaining to see.
While it isn’t one of Gordon-most Levitt’s well-known movies, he does a fantastic job in it, embracing the stunts and giving the character and his motorcycle a true feeling of physicality.