Two Wheels in Film

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The library carries all sorts of books about the bicycle—books on bike culture, history, repair, and even fiction centering largely on the will to pedal. We also have movies about biking, and I’ve gathered a few of my favorites here for your perusal here.

Bicycle Thieves

In this film from 1948, the bike is not simply a means of transportation—it is an opportunity for work and economic improvement. Unemployed family man Antonio Ricci finds a job that requires a bike, but then has his bike stolen on his first day of work. Major bummer. He then spends the greater part of the movie searching with his son for the stolen bicycle.

Bikes vs. Cars

This documentary examines the intricacies of transportation and city planning, and how it affects bike riders around the world.

Breaking Away

Dave wants to be an Italian bicycle racer someday—his only problem being that he’s not Italian. With the help of his three working-class best friends, Dave takes on the college kids in a final bike race not to be missed. And of course, there’s also that great truck racing scene set to Italian classical music. Ciao, papa.

Hell on Wheels

This documentary goes behind the scenes with two German cyclists as they prepare for the 100th anniversary Tour de France.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure

The ultimate story about a boy and his bike. This was Tim Burton’s first feature film, and the sets and costumes are a delight, along with the music score by Danny Elfman.

Premium Rush

A thrill-seeking bike messenger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is put in serious danger after being tasked with delivering a package that comes with some deadly strings attacked.

 

Quicksilver

After losing his hotshot stock market job, Kevin Bacon takes a job as a bike messenger. He hangs out with wacky coworkers, gets involved in some low-level intrigue, and like, totally grows as a person.

Rising from Ashes

The unlikely story of a professional cyclist who moves to Rwanda to help a group of genocide survivors create a national cycling team.

Slaying the Badger

The story of Greg LeMond, the first and only American to ever win the Tour de France, and his rivalry with Bernard “the Badger” Hinault.

Triplets of Belleville

Madame Souza and her beloved pooch Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters—an aged song-and-dance team from the days of Fred Astaire—to rescue her grandson who was kidnapped during the Tour de France. Lots of bicycle racing, and lots of wonderful music. Essential viewing for all ages.