From The Wild One, To Mad Max, to Wild Hogs, motorcycles are part of Hollywood history. Yet the movies don't just feature any old motorcycles. Just like cars, motorcycles are selected for their ability to reflect the personalities of the actors and actresses in each film. For instance, in the 1953 iconic film, The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando, Brando's character, Johnny Strabler, rides a 1950 6T Triumph Thunderbird. The film is considered to be the first from Hollywood depicting outlaw motorcycle gangs and the violence that all too often accompanies them. On the other end of the spectrum, the 2007 film, Wild Hogs, showcases a "gang" of middle-aged riders (Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy) astride some impressive Harley Davidson bikes.
Clearly, only the best movie rebels ride motorcycles. But, have you watched enough of these types of movies to be able to identify the bikes in them? You'll need to be both a movie buff and a bike boffin to get them all right. Do you think you can identify each of the 50 motorcycle images in this quiz?
Let's find out if you know as much about motorcycles as you think you do!
Motorcycle: 1981 Honda Hondamatic CB400A; Prince starred opposite Apollonia Kotero in this highly successful rock musical drama. His custom Honda motorcycle was colored purple in keeping with the name of the movie.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson FLSTFSE Fat Boy; The Wild Hogs may have garnered some pretty harsh and negative reviews, but it did pretty well at the box office. That may have something to do with all the Harleys featured in the film and how everybody just looked so much cooler riding them.
Motorcycle: 1967 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide; This 1968 British-French film is also known by the name Naked Under Leather. The film starred Marianne Faithfull as a young wife who rides away from her husband to visit her lover.
Motorcycle: BSA Lightning A65-L; Thunderball is a James Bond film starring Sean Connery as Agent 007. In the film, Luciana Paluzzi portrays Fiona Volpe, a motorcycle-riding SPECTRE agent and assassin. Her BSA Lightning A65-L motorcycle is perhaps her deadliest weapon, thanks in part to its missile launchers.
Motorcycle: 2009 Triumph Street Triple R; Angelina Jolie plays the role of title character, a CIA operative, in this action thriller. The motorcycle she rides in the film is described as a “streetfighter”, meaning it’s been customized to have a more menacing appearance than usual.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson 1986 FXR Super Glide (customized); This customized 1986 FXR Super Glide, nicknamed Grace, was only in one scene in the movie – but it was enough to make a lasting impression. As Butch (Bruce Willis) patiently points out twice to his girlfriend, Fabienne (Maria de Medieros): “It’s not a motorcycle, baby – it’s a chopper.”
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson WLA; The “A” is this motorcycle’s name stands for “Army” since the bikes were made to U.S. Army specifications. Meat Loaf rides one as Eddie, an ex-delivery boy, in this the longest-running theatrical release in history (thus far).
Motorcycle: The Mighty One, Norton 500; Motorcycles definitely play a big role in The Motorcycle Diaries. What might be surprising to some is that the movie has nothing to do with biker gangs, a counter culture of any sort, or action scenes with blazing guns.
Motorcycle: 2009 Aprilia RS 125; In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, actress Megan Fox (as expert mechanic Mikaela Banes) rescues her co-star Shia LaBeouf (playing Sam Witwicky). Her lightweight motorcycle is up to the challenge, thanks to its powerful two-stroke engine.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson 1989 FXR; Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson go easy riding on their 1989 FXR and 1989 Honda PC 800, respectively. The film was a box office failure and widely panned by critics, but it turned out to be a cult classic. No doubt, those two bikes deserve some of the credit.
Motorcycle: 1985 Kawasaki GPZ 900 R; Tom Cruise’s character, Maverick, may have been an ace pilot of fighter jets but it was his motorcycle which garnered enough attention from moviegoers to become a cultural icon. The popularity of the movie lead to the Kawasaki GPZ 900 R actually outliving several of the newer models which were meant to replace it.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson FLHTP Electra Glide; Harleys and the police force really do go together quite well – both in real life and in film. One scene in this movie which clearly depicts that relationship shows two rows of cops on Harleys escorting the president’s car.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson Sportster; Snake Plissken (portrayed by Kurt Russell) in Escape from New York and then Escape from L.A. is about as “bad” as a “good guy” can get. Helping to send his badness straight through the roof is the Harley-Davidson Sportster he takes on his wild ride.
Motorcycle: Confederate X132 Hellcat; Chinese film actor and martial artist Jet Li stars as Rogue, an assassin pursued by John Crawford, an FBI agent (portrayed by Jason Statham). The Hellcat Li rides in the film is manufactured by U.S. company Confederate Motors whose other motorcycles go by the names Combat Bomber, Combat Fighter and Wraith.
Motorcycle: Springer Softail Classic; The Springer Softail Classic is a good choice wherever you need to ride. Mutt Williams (portrayed by Shia LaBeouf) sure seems to think so as he takes his Springer right through the Marshall College campus library while rescuing Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford).
Motorcycle: 1974 Super Glide; In the film, Pee-Wee Herman (played by Paul Reubens) bumps into a 1974 Super Glide belonging to a biker gang member and subsequently knocks over ALL of the gang’s bikes. He doesn’t get beat up for it, however, as they end up sending him along his merry way on a Yamaha XS 650 Special. Needless to say, he immediately crashes it into a billboard.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson Shovelhead FL Electra Glide; The movie is about a traffic cop – which clearly explains its name, if you know the connection. Apparently, the Electra Glide is commonly issued to traffic cops – lucky them!
Motorcycle: Yamaha XT 250; First Blood is the first film in the Rambo series. It stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, who rides a Yamaha XT 250 as he escapes from a crooked small-town sheriff. The Yamaha XT 250 is also featured in an episode of the TV series Knight Rider.
Motorcycle: 1977 Kawasaki KZ 1000; A total of 14 Kawasaki KZs are featured throughout this film, most of which are ridden by members of a biker gang. The rider of one KZ, however, is Jim "Goose" Rains, a cop and Max’s partner.
Motorcycle: “Captain America” chopper, custom Harley-Davidson Hydra Glide; Peter Fonda stars as Wyatt (nicknamed Captain America) in this road drama. The bikes, which, play a major role in the film, were the work of chopper builders Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy with some design input from Fonda.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle; Seth Rogen and Jay Chou star as the Green Hornet and Kato (his mechanic), respectively. At several points in the film it is up to Kato to save the superhero – which he does on his V-Rod.
Motorcycle: Custom Police Hoverbike; Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) gets plenty of attention on his custom-designed bike but some other bikes in the film also roused quite a bit interest. They are the futuristic hoverbikes of the Iowa Police in the year 2240.
Motorcycle: 1973 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson 350 SS; The Aermacchi motorcycle division was bought by Harley-Davidson in 1960 and sold off in 1978. While some motorcycle enthusiasts might not view the Aermacchi as “real” Harleys, it doesn’t stop the fact that the bikes made a pretty good name for themselves in this James Bond film.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson Softail Cross Bones; Harley-Davidson made the WLA motorcycle specifically to suit the requirements of the U.S. Army during the Second World War. It therefore stands to reason that Captain America would ride one. In the movie, however, they use a Softail Cross Bones and customize it to look like a WLA.
Motorcycle: Sportster-based Chopper with Sidecar; It was way cool how this Clint Eastwood movie grossed close to $100 million after being made on just a $5 million budget. Adding to its coolness, of course, are the many Harleys featured in the film, including a Panhead, an Electra Glide and several Sportsters.
Motorcycle: Montesa Cota 4RT; James Bond (portrayed by Daniel Craig) skillfully rides this trail bike in the movie. That’s no surprise really, since the ultimate secret agent is an expert at handling all types of vehicles.
Motorcycle: 1990 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy FLSTF; Many Terminator fans and motorcycle enthusiasts won’t soon forget that famous jump made by Arnold Schwarzenegger (as The Terminator) on his H-D Fat Boy. He was chasing John Connor (played by Edward Furlong) who wasn’t doing too badly on his Honda XR 125.
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson 1987 FXRS-SP Low Rider Sport Edition; Truth be told, the motorcycle didn’t really have many scenes in the film. What’s also true, however, is that it had the all-important role of making Christian Slater’s character, Jason “J.D.” Dean, look ultra-cool as he makes his first appearance in the film doing a slow ride through town on the bike.
Motorcycle: 2001 BMW R1150 R; Milla Jovovich is underground resistance fighter Violet in this action thriller. A big part of that “action” is her R1150 R and an antigravity chase scene that many viewers will remember for a long time to come.
Motorcycle: Honda CBX; Knightriders is what happens when biker culture meets Camelot – you end up with armor-clad knights jousting on bikes. As odd as that may sound, it makes for quite a compelling film with a real tear-jerker of an ending.
Motorcycle: Custom-fabricated based on Suzuki Gladius; Paul Bettany is Priest – a vampire hunter in an alternate universe. The character is taken from a Korean comic of the same name. One notable difference is the awesome Gladius Bettany rides in the movie whereas in the comic, Priest goes about on foot.
Motorcycle: Kawasaki ZZR 250; Uma Thurman is dressed to kill in that famous yellow suit she wears as Beatrix Kiddo in this martial arts film. Just as recognizable is the color-coordinated ZZR 250 she rides off on to fulfill her mission of payback!
Motorcycle: 1938 Indian Chief; The style of this modern-day outlaw biker gang film pays homage to all the classic films in the genre. Many bikes are shown but the 1938 Indian Chief is a real standout among them. It featured several tweaks and improvements to the 1937 model.
Motorcycle: Triumph Daytona 955i; Motorcycles abound in this racing action film starring Martin Henderson and Monet Mazur. One ride that certainly draws attention is the Daytona 955i their co-star Ice Cube rides. By the way, he revealed in an interview that he didn’t fall while filming – not even once!
Motorcycle: Custom-animated design; The bike Mitsuo Iwata rides is this Japanese adult animated science fiction film may be just as fictional as he is, but that hasn’t stopped fans from falling totally in love with it. There have been numerous real-life replicas built by the film’s fans over the years.
Motorcycle: Harley-based Chopper; This movie was chock full of action stars and certainly not short on impressive action sequences. One of the movie’s more macho scenes, however, has to be when tattoo artist Tool (Mickey Rourke) adds some ink to Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) with his chopper doing double duty as the artist’s chair.
Motorcycle: Custom light cycle; The custom light cycles featured in the TRON: Legacy film do a pretty good job of blending in with and enhancing the film’s science fiction theme. Even better, they really up the adrenaline factor in the show’s “action” department, as well.
Motorcycle: Custom design based on the Ducati Hypermotard 1100; The Mototerminators definitely have the edge in this fourth instalment of the Terminator franchise. They are self-propelled with built-in wheels and so basically ride themselves – way cool!
Motorcycle: West Coast Choppers Grindhouse Chopper; Top-notch auto repair shop West Coast Customs is credited with building this awesome-looking chopper. It’s certainly cool enough to be the ride of choice for Rose McGowan’s character, Cherry Darling, in the film
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson 1978 FLH Electra Glide; The FLH Electra Glide features prominently in the film as Rocky Balboa’s preferred mode of transport. The motorcycle is further distinguished by the fact that Barbara Walters got to ride on it with Sylvester Stallone during a TV special.
Motorcycle: 2001 Ducati 996; This sports bike was produced between 1999 and 2002 with several updates offered during that time. There is an unforgettable scene in this movie where Carrie-Anne Moss (as Trinity) accomplishes a heart-stopping freeway rescue of a business man aboard a “borrowed” Ducati 996.
Motorcycle: 1961 Triumph TR6 Trophy Bird; Just how awesome is Steve Mcqueen’s handling of this TR6? So awesome that there’s even a scene in the movie where he’s actually chasing himself – thanks to clever editing, of course. McQueen, in fact, was an accomplished motorcycle racer, with much of the riding action in the film simply showing off his natural talents.
Motorcycle: Bat-Pod (custom-built); Over the years, the caped crusader (a.k.a. Batman) has gone through several generations of motorcycles both in the comics and on the screen. There has been the Batcycle, Batblade and Batpod – each one amazing in its own right. The Batcycle (from the 1960s TV series) even had a self-propelled sidecar for Robin.
Motorcycle: 1920 Indian Scout "Burt Monro Special"; One promotion poster for the film reads “Based on one hell of a true story.” That true story is the life of New Zealander and bike racer Burt Munro. He set several land speed records on his highly modified Indian Scout – one of which still stands to this day!
Motorcycle: Hell Cycle with custom-built frame; What’s in a name? Plenty, it turns out as shown when “Grace” Johnny Blaze’s customized hardtail chopper transforms into the Ghost Rider’s “Hell Cycle” taking actor Nicholas Cage on a blazing hot ride.
Motorcycle: Lawmaster, custom based on Suzuki GSX 750; Dredd is judge, jury and executioner as he ably carries out his duties on a futuristic Lawmaster bike. The bike may not quite resemble the one Sylvester Stallone rode when he took on the role in Judge Dredd (1995) but that doesn’t mean it’s any less cool!
Motorcycle: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10; This 2014 remake changes several elements in the original 1987 RoboCop film. Among them is the fact that the original RoboCop rode around in a squad car while the new guy gets this awesome ZX-10 to be his main ride.
Motorcycle: 650cc Triumph Thunderbird; “Bad boy” roles always seemed perfectly suited for Marlon Brando, and so too did the Thunderbird he rode in The Wild One which, by the way, was his own personal bike. The film is widely regarded as the beginning of the outlaw biker gang genre of movies and there perhaps wasn’t a better pair (Brando and his Thunderbird) to do it with!
Motorcycle: Harley-Davidson FXSTC Softail Custom; There’s a scene in the movie where RoboCop (played by Peter Weller) grabs an FXSTC Softail and chases after the bad guy (a.k.a. Cain, a.k.a RoboCop 2). Never mind that the bad guy is driving a huge box truck, it’s a pretty safe bet that RoboCop and the softail are up to the challenge.
Motorcycle: Sportster; A long list of celebrity actors and actresses made The Cannonball Run a must-see for many movie goers. Motorcycle fans got an extra treat, however, as Peter Fonda made an appearance (credited as Chief Biker) as a throwback to his role in the motorcycle movie classic Easy Rider.