I’m wanted, dead or alive.”
When you mount your steel horse (whether you’re ‘wanted’ or not) remember, it’s Slippery When Wet. Rain’s a bit of a killjoy when you’re pumped for your next motorcycle adventure. Not the best riding weather. But it happens. More often than not, at the weekend. After a week of sunshine. As you sit at work, staring out the window, daydreaming, wishing for the sunshine to last till the weekend, itching to jump in the saddle and explore miles of curvy routes, your weather app says, no. Forecast: heavy rain. Everywhere. 48hrs. Non-stop. Damn, that’s a bummer. So what do you do? How do you feed your bike habit when you have to go cold (wet) turkey? Like those rainy days at school, it’s time to roll out the TV, dust off the VCR, and settle in for some of the best biker movies ever (on DVD, or your streaming service of choice — no one has a VCR anymore)!
Don’t let the rain dampen your spirits. Get your motorcycle fix with these absolute classics. Tales of adventure, discovery, exploration, counterculture, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and bikes!
“It begins here for me on this road. […] This is where it begins for me, right on this road.”
We begin where it all began (more or less). Considered to be the original outlaw biker film, The Wild One remains one of the best biker movies to watch on a rainy day.
Grab a cold bottle of beer, warm up some cheesy nachos, and get comfortable.
The Wild One features a powerful performance by Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler (leader of The Black Rebels Motorcycle Club). The film follows the wreckage Johnny and The Black Rebels leave in their wake as they ride from town to town intimidating locals, racing through the streets, and riding a thin line on the edge of the law.
As the rain pours down outside, enjoy motorcycle gang warfare at its Classical Hollywood best. If nothing else, you can just sit and drool over the classic Triumph Thunderbirds.
“We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man!”
Outlaw bikers tend to be a bit of a theme in Hollywood. Perhaps it’s because bikes are dangerous, loud, and made for adventure. Especially Harley-Davidsons. And this film is full of them.
The Wild Angels stars Peter Fonda as ‘Heavenly Blues’, the leader of the fictitious Hells Angels San Pedro, California chapter. With his girlfriend, ‘Mike’ (played by Nancy Sinatra), wrapped around him on his ’57 Panhead Chopper, Fonda’s ‘Blues’ leads his Angels on revved up sprees across California. Drugs, brawls, sexual assault, police chases, and loud Harleys make up the ingredients for one of the best biker movies to add to your rainy-day watchlist.
And it’s not the only one on our list to feature Peter Fonda.
“Now you know the thrill of wrapping your legs around a tornado of pounding pistons.”
Before she had a Dragon Tattoo, the Girl had a motorcycle. Only kidding. But if you’re looking for one of the best biker movies featuring a strong female lead, The Girl on a Motorcycle is it.
Starring Marianne Faithfull as Rebecca (the girl in the title), this biker movie is all about the leather bodysuit, the 1967 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, and extra-marital sex. In it, free-spirited Rebecca, suffocated by her dull marriage, jumps on her Harley to drive across Europe, leaving her husband for her lover.
Just in case you were wondering, this biker movie is also known as Naked Under Leather. Let’s just hope she had enough talc to hand. Imagine the chafing and saddle sores.
“What you represent to them is freedom.”
Bet you were wondering when this bad boy was going to appear. And rightly so. It’s impossible to have a list of the best biker movies to watch on a rainy day without including the most famous biker movie of all time — Easy Rider.
Two hippie bikers Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) ride across America, from L.A. to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Their epic road trip is a personal odyssey, as they seek to discover themselves and a way to lead their alternative lifestyle within a narrow-minded society.
If you fancy feeding your wanderlust with amazing scenery, famous roads and landmarks, and the sight and sound of classic Harleys ripping up the American Highway, then book a date with Easy Rider. The soundtrack alone is guaranteed to get you planning your next motorcycle adventure.
“I hate that motorcycle they make me ride. I’m here to tell you there ain’t nothing in the world I hate worse than that elephant under my ass.”
Ok. So, this is not what you’d call a stereotypical biker movie, but it makes this list of the best biker movies for a rainy day because it’s not stereotypical. It has a lot more about it.
Electra Glide in Blue centres around the existential crisis experienced by its protagonist, John Wintergreen (Robert Blake) as he struggles with the burden of being a (short) lonely motorcycle cop, desperate to make it as a detective. His easygoing nature and empathy for hippies put him at odds with his colleagues and companions. And, he’s not a fan of his motorbike.
If the plot doesn’t intrigue you, the motorcycle chases set against the stunning backdrop of the Arizona desert will have you dreaming of adventure and discovery on your own set of wheels.
“You gotta be somebody, ain’t ya, or you might as well jump in the sea and drown.”
Again, not strictly an orthodox motorcycle movie, Quadrophenia is an iconic film with an equally iconic soundtrack.
Jimmy (Phil Daniels), is a young 1960s Mod. Full of teenage angst, he hates the drudgery of life as a mailroom boy and rebels against his conformist parents. His only escape is amphetamine-fueled partying, riding his scooter, and brawling with motorcycle-riding Rockers.
Relive your youth and rediscover a time when the world was full of possibilities and excitement. Maybe take your bike down to Brighton once it stops raining. But try to avoid any mass brawls on the beach.
“We travel just to travel.”
Be inspired by this epic four-month, 8,000km motorcycle trip around South America. If you’re looking for the best biker movies to inspire travel, adventure, and discovery astride a motorbike, The Motorcycle Diaries is it.
Join the young Che Guevara as he embarks on a quest across South America, from Buenos Aires (Argentina) to Guajira (Venezuela). It’s a coming-of-age tale full of discovery and exploration played out along an ambitious route across some truly stunning landscapes.
Definitely, one of the best biker movies to help you forget the pouring rain outside your window and dream of your next motorcycle adventure.
“You coming back through?”
“Maybe. A biker never knows. A week, a month.”
So far, all the films on this list of best biker movies have been fairly serious and intense. Sometimes, when it’s raining, you just need a laugh. Enter Wild Hogs.
When that middle-age crisis hits, what else is there to do? Get your bike, saddle up, and go on a road trip. Frustrated with the pace of suburban American life, that’s exactly what four middle-aged wannabe bikers do. With hilarious consequences.
This is a motorcycle adventure like no other. And certainly, one to cheer up a dreary weekend.
“I got things to go and places to do.”
We round off our list of the best biker movies for a rainy day with a (reasonably) modern take on the classic biker gang movie.
Boasting Quentin Tarantino as Executive Producer, and starring Dennis Hopper, Michael Madsen, David Carradine, and Vinnie Jones, this high-octane biker movie is everything you need for a wet weekend in front of the TV.
Watch two rival bikers gangs tear each other apart on the open road atop some beautiful classic rides. Hell Ride is one hell of an homage to the original outlaw biker movies at the top of this list.
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
So, there you have it. When it’s slippery on the roads and the rain ruins your biking plans, why not curl up on the sofa with a biker movie or two?
Or, if the rain persists there’s always Sons of Anarchy to fall back on. Sure, it’s not technically a biker movie. But if it’s a rainy week (or month), and there’s not much road action to be enjoyed, then SOA is good for a binge-watch.
Whatever you end up doing when it’s a washout, sitting down with some of the best biker movies lets you live vicariously through the adventures of others.
Be inspired to ride some of the classic routes and explore some of the films’ locations when planning your next motorcycle trip.
After all, the rain’s got to dry up sometime.