Riding a motorbike provides a sense of freedom. The image of a rebellious biker has become an iconic part of popular culture, especially in film. There’s been a number of successful motorbike movies over the years such as The Wild One to Easy Rider. But a film can become even more exciting by the people in it. From Marlon Brando to Arnold Schwarzenegger, here are some of the most iconic bikers in film history.
Marlon Brando in The Wild One
Considered the original outlaw biker film, The Wild One came out in 1953. It starred Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler, the leader of the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club. His bike of choice was a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T. Brando sported long sideburns, a leather motorcycle jacket and tilted cap. The role is one of his most famous and influenced people like James Dean and Elvis Presley.
Peter Fonda in Easy Rider
Peter Fonda stars as Wyatt in the 1969 counterculture film Easy Rider. Nicknamed Captain America, Wyatt is a biker who’s travelling with his friend Billy. Ultimately, their story ends in tragedy, but the film is one of the most influential of all time. The motorcycle that Fonda rides is a ‘Captain America’ chopper that features ape-hanger handlebars, upswept mufflers and a stars & stripes paintjob.
Jack Nicholson in Hells Angels on Wheels
Made in 1967, Hells Angels on Wheels features Jack Nicholson as a petrol station attendant called Poet. He has a run in with the Hells Angels and eventually joins the club. Poet is drawn into a world of violence and partying until he’s eventually forced to fight the leader of the Angels, Buddy.
Steve McQueen in The Great Escape
In The Great Escape, Steve McQueen plays a WWII POW called Captain Virgil Hilts. While escaping from the Germans, Hilts jumps over a section of barbed-wire fence on a motorcycle. McQueen’s stunt double, Bud Ekins, made the jump. The motorbike used is a Triumph TR-6 Trophy 650cc.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgement Day
In his most famous role, Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator and acts as a guardian for the young John Connor. The bike he rides is a 1990 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy and it was involved in one of the most iconic chases in film history. Schwarzenegger’s stunt double Peter Kent performed a 3m jump from the top of a storm drain while riding the Fat Boy. The bike was supported by cables that took away a lot of the bike’s weight when it landed.