There’s nothing like a high speed chase scene in a movie to get the blood pumping, and it’s even more intense when there’s a motorcycle involved.
Now, a recent study has revealed the pinnacle of movie motorcycle scenes.
There’s something about a motorcycle which adds cool points to a movie scene – there’s no car doors to hide behind, the motorcyclist risks extra danger by weaving through traffic, and they usually come to a screeching halt just millimetres from danger.
So all in all, usually a great bit of action for a film.
A study commissioned by motorcycle insurer, Lexham Insurance, looked into the public’s favourite motorcycle scenes, revealing the top 20 best moments.
A spokesperson from Lexham Insurance said:
Nothing embodies the same level of chaotic cool as a well-choreographed bike stunts on-screen, and there’ve been some classic two-wheeled moments throughout the history of cinema.
Some of the top 20 might be a little unexpected when it comes to thinking of ‘classic’ motorbike scenes. For example, Wallace and Gromit probably wasn’t the first thing to spring to mind, but the chaotic animated sheep rescue in A Close Shave was actually ranked the third best bike scene ever.
In second place came Maverick’s motorcycle scene in Top Gun, which sees Hollywood star Tom Cruise bombing around the airfield ahead of a mission.
But taking the top spot for the greatest movie motorcycle scene ever was Steve McQueen’s dramatic fence-jump, in the 1963 classic The Great Escape.
The high-speed leap was made on a Triumph TR6 Trophy by stunt double Bud Ekins, after McQueen crashed attempting the stunt himself.
The scene was described by the voting panel as the ‘quintessential motorbike stunt’.
The spokesperson added:
Steve McQueen’s fateful leap is not only the most iconic scene from The Great Escape, but has now been named the best appearance of a motorbike in any movie.
The study also found two in five Brits think motorcycle stunts or chases enhance movies, while thirty per cent have been to see a movie purely because of the stunts shown in the trailer.
One in four gladly admitted they were drawn to a film based on the promise of a dangerous or spectacular bike stunt.
The research revealed a Harley Davidson is considered the most ‘watchable’ motorcycle in films, though one in five said they would prefer to watch a sporty super-bike tearing up the tarmac in a blockbuster.
One in four of those surveyed in the OnePoll.com study said they enjoy a motorbike stunt because they seem tougher for the stunt rider to pull off, compared to other vehicular stunts.
As well as seeming tougher, 23 per cent feel a motorcycle stunt helps to inject a scene with a sense of real danger.
Of course, motorcycle stunts in films are used for entertainment value –Wallace and Gromit just wouldn’t have been as gripping without its intense motorbike chase scene – meaning three in five of those surveyed believe bikes on screen give a poor representation of what it’s like to ride and crash on a real motorbike.
It was revealed 23 per cent of those in the study currently own a motorbike or have owned one in the past, and a further 14 per cent would consider owning one in the future.
The spokesperson for Lexham Insurance continued:
While an entertaining spectacle in film, it’s important to keep the realities of riding motorbikes in mind.
Real life isn’t Hollywood, and it is important to observe road safety and resist mimicking the heroes and stunt riders on screen.
As cool as it may be, recreating Steve McQueen’s fence jump just probably isn’t worth the pain you would most likely endure as a result of it.
Check out the Top 20 Best Motorcycle Scenes here:
1. Steve McQueen’s fence jump in The Great Escape, 1963
2. Tom Cruise riding around as fighter planes take off, Top Gun, 1986
3. The sheep rescue in Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave, 1995
4. The Los Angeles creek truck/motorbike chase in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991
5. Escaping the Germans in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989
6. James Bond’s Saigon motorbike chase in Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997
7. If you want to be a bird,’ Easy Rider, 1969
8. Chris Pratt’s velociraptor ride in Jurassic World, 2015
9. The mods v rockers scene in Quadrophenia, 1979
10. Audrey Hepburn’s Italian Vespa ride in Roman Holiday, 1953
11. James Bond’s chase in Never Say Never Again, 1983
12. The ‘Bat Pod’ scene in The Dark Knight, 2008
13. The ride out to Brighton, Quadrophenia, 1979
14. Zed’s Dead,’ Pulp Fiction, 1994
15. Vampire bike chase, The Lost Boys, 1987
16. The motorcycle chase in Mission Impossible 2, 2000
17. John Rambo’s police getaway, Rambo: First Blood, 1982
18. Motorcycle chase, Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015
19. The freeway chase, The Matrix Reloaded, 2003
20. Riding the Great Wall of China, Tomb Raider 2, 2003
Take Lexham Insurance’s poll to give your opinion on the best motorcycle scene here.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.