Guide to cycling-themed films

Bartosz M. Kowalski's 'Unstoppables'
Whether you're self-isolating, in quarantine, social-distancing, or just looking for a movie-marathon, grab the popcorn and get comfy, there’s something here for everyone.

Top Documentaries

Unstoppables (2015) 1h 7m

This Spanish film with English subtitles is about a group of disabled cyclists in the lead up to the 2012 Paralympics. With one leg each – Juanjo has one arm too – they call themselves "The Pirates". Uplifting stuff.

Available to rent on iTunes from $0.99

Divided (2018) 39m

Follow Cycling UK affiliate group Adventure Syndicate members Rickie Cotter and Lee Craigie on the 2017 Tour Divide, the 2,745-mile bikepacking race from Canada to the Mexican border.

Available to rent on Vimeo for £5.38

Mountain Biking – The Untold British Story (2016) 1h 9m

Talking heads and a mix of archive and up-to-date footage take us from 1950s’ rough stuffers through to the Athertons and Danny MacAskill. Required viewing for MTBers of a certain age.

Available to rent on Vimeo for £3.99

Janapar (2012) 1h 19m

Part cycle-touring travelogue, part love story, Janapar is twenty-something Tom Allen’s journey in both senses. After setting off to ride around the world, his video diary – and his life – change tack after a chance meeting in Armenia.

Available to rent on Janapar for £5

Paris-Brest-Paris: The Incredible Journey (2007) 57m

Paris-Brest-Paris follows British audax cyclists from their qualifying rides in the UK to the finish in Paris in 2003 in this film about one of the world's oldest and toughest rides.

Available to buy (DVD) from PBP Films for £7

Half the Road (2014) 1h 52m

A cri de cœur for women’s professional cycling to have parity with men’s, there’s plenty of racing footage, and contributions from, among others, Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley, Rochelle Gilmore.

Available to rent on Vimeo for £2.30

Fixation (2012) 40m

More about fixie culture than the bikes, it features messengers, commuters, track racers, and some very ill-advised brakeless riding.

Available to rent on Vimeo for £2.01

The Armstrong Lie (2013) 2h 4m

We all know the Lance Armstrong story: the pro rider, turned cancer patient, turned greatest Tour de France rider of all time, turned most hated cyclist of all time. ‘The Armstrong Lie’ looks at how Armstrong himself managed to create this chapter of the sport’s history.

Available to rent on Youtube from £2.49

Rising from The Ashes (2012) 1h 20m

Rising from the Ashes is the real story of former professional racer Jacques ‘Jock’ Boyer as he moves to war-torn Rwanda to help form a national cycling team. With more than a dozen awards to its name, ‘Rising From The Ashes’ shows how camaraderie in sport can be the catalyst that reveals the very best of the human spirit.

Available to rent on iTunes from $3.99

Bicycle (2014) 1h 27m

Directed by BAFTA-winning filmmaker and self-confessed bike obsessive Michael B. Clifford, ‘Bicycle’ is a uniquely British look at the history and impact of the bike, and cycling on these shores. The contributors include such legends of the two-wheeled world as Mike Burrows, Sir Chris Hoy, Tracy Moseley, Chris Boardman and Sir Dave Brailsford. You can download it from Bicycle's website.

Available to rent on Amazon from £3.49 (free with Prime)

Top Fiction

Breaking Away (1979) 1h 41m

A coming-of-age movie about 19 year old Dave. Obsessed with Italian racing bikes, he and his three friends form a cycling team. It’s a real triumph-over-adversity story, with a cast that includes Dennis Quaid and Dennis Christopher, and a screenplay that won an Oscar in 1979. In fact, it’s so good it was among the nominations for best picture at the Oscars that year.

Available to rent on Youtube from £3.49

Belleville Rendez-vous (2003) 1h 20m

A heart-warming animated film, the story focuses on Madame Souza, who helps coach her grandson Champion to become a professional cyclist and eventually race in the Tour de France. When Champion is kidnapped by the French mafia while competing in the Tour, Souza goes looking to rescue him. Charming, with affectionate nods to cycling culture throughout ‘Belleville Rendez-vous’ is proof that cartoons - like bikes - can be enjoyed by everybody.

Available to rent on Youtube from £2.49

Boy And Bicycle (1962) 28m

Ridley Scott’s very first film offers a snapshot of life for a teenager in a bleak 1960s English northern seaside town. The short film follows Ridley’s late brother Tony — who would also go on to become a Hollywood director in his own right — as he skips a day off school and cycles around West Hartlepool and Seaton Carew. Funnily enough, in 1973 Ridley Scott made possibly the most famous cycling-inspired advert of all time for Hovis bread.

Available on the BFI website for free.

Top Biopics

The Flying Scotsman (2006) 1h 42m

A biopic of Hour Record hero Graeme Obree. With an all-star cast, not least Jonny Lee Miller as Obree, this dramatised version of Obree’s best-selling autobiography reveals all the varied and complex failings and achievements, both personal and sporting, of a very rare but very real genius.

Available to rent on Youtube from £2.49

Looking for something new?

Calling all outsiders, cyclists, bikepackers, tourers and armchair adventurers.

Fill up your favourite enamel mug and head to the Scottish Highlands for 17-minutes of escapism - following a group of cyclists as they head off on an opportunistic wintry journey to ride the old-established network of gravel drove roads, only to find themselves bogged-down exploring the alluring voids in between.

Expect sleeper trains, rain, snow, magical munro-mountains, gravel, cullen skinks, cranachans, bogs, bridges, and la-di-dah land-owners...​

Watch party [n.]

When folk ‘get together’ to watch the same video/film online, in real-time.

Set your reminders and click through to this link on 25 March to watch live the film from our friends over at Pannier.

More movies for your marathon

Icarus (2017) 2h 1m

In his Oscar-winning film, an American cyclist -Bryan Fogel - plunges into a vast doping scandal involving a Russian scientist – Putin’s most-wanted whistle-blower.

Stop at Nothing (2014) 1h 40m

An athlete dupes the world with his tale of miraculous recovery from cancer, becoming a sports hero and beacon of hope, but can he outpace the truth?

Pedal the World (2015) 1h 24m

Over the course of one memorable and adventure-filled year, Felix Starck documents his 18,000 km bicycle journey across 22 countries.

Iron Cowboy (2018) 1h 16m

A record-setting triathlete dares to complete 50 Ironman races in 50 days across 50 states.

Where the Trail Ends (2012) 1h 21m

The worlds’ top freeride mountain bikers as they search for an un-ridden terrain around the globe, ultimately shaping the future of big mountain freeriding.

The Hammer (2016) 1h 15m

On day three of the toughest race in the world, the rookie cyclist, Jason “The Hammer” Lane, gets run over by a car. Feuding with his crew and the documentarians following him, he must fight against all odds to win the Race Across America.

The Road Uphill (2011) 1h 29m

This beautifully composed Documentary takes a rare look behind the scenes during the prestigious 2011 Tour de France, following top professional cycling team Leopard Trek and two of the world’s best riders: Andy and Frank Schleck. An intimate cinematic portrait of the two brothers and a team under pressure.

Murder of Couriers (2014) 1h 17m

Documents a group of bike messengers over a nearly three-year span. The film was made by couriers, about couriers, for a wide general audience and offers the chance to experience a lifestyle that not many get to enjoy.

The Program (2015) 1h 43m

From Academy Award nominated director Stephen Frears, comes the true story of the meteoric rise and fall of one of the most celebrated and controversial men in recent history, Lance Armstrong.