Your Essential Must-Watch Guide: 21 Days, 21 Cycling Movies

21 days of lockdown - so here are our favourite 21 cycling must-watch movies of all time. What have we left out?

By Caitlin Giddings and Danielle Zickl |

Who doesn’t love curling up on the couch to a must-watch movie—or more specifically, a good cycling movie? We rounded up 21 – one a day for the looming lockdown – that are sure to inspire you, make you laugh, make you think, and ultimately want to head out for a ride after you’re done staying safe.


Breaking Away

Year: 1979
Score on IMDB: 7.7

The big dog of Hollywood cycling movies, if documentaries aren’t your thing, and the movie that started it all for many of us: follow Dave and his friends as they attempt to beat a group of local college boys in their town’s annual bike race in this touching, funny Academy Award-winning film.

A Sunday in Hell

Year: 1977
Score on IMDB: 7.8

This classic Danish documentary paints a memorable image of the 1976 Paris-Roubaix in all its gritty, cobbled glory. A must-watch for the insider footage of big wins, crashes, and some of the biggest names in cycling at the time, including Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, and Freddy Maertens. It’s the next best thing to traveling back in time and experiencing all the action and ambience of the spring classics firsthand.

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Bicycle Dreams

Year: 2009
Score on IMDB: 7.5

Ever wondered what it takes to compete in Race Across America? This documentary might just crush your hopes of ever participating in the storied cycling event, with an insider look at all the sleep deprivation and grueling consequences of trying to ride 4 500km in nine days. Bicycle Dreams focuses on the 2005 edition of RAAM and the cyclists willing to literally go crazy to win it.

Half the Road: The Passion, Pitfalls, & Power of Women’s Professional Cycling

Year: 2014
Score on IMDB: 8.8

Why doesn’t pro women’s cycling get the media attention, crowd support, and financial sponsorship it deserves? Half the Road explores the issue with great depth, humor, frustration, and hope for change. Directed by Kathryn Bertine, it’s an excellent window into the highs and lows of fighting for equity in a male-dominated sport.

American Flyers

Year: 1985
Score on IMDB: 6.3

Written by the author of Breaking Away, American Flyers stars a mustachioed Kevin Costner as a cyclist and sports doctor who convinces his younger brother to train for a three-day bike race through the Rockies called “the Hell of the West.” It’s pure ‘80s, over-the-top silliness with some entertaining racing scenes. Must-watch scenes include training with Eddy, and “enough of this Sunday strol, let’s hurt a little”.

Bicycle Thieves

Year: 1948
Score on IMDB: 8.4

Also called The Bicycle Thief, this Italian classic tells the simple, beautiful story of a working class man in pursuit of his stolen bicycle. It’s frequently ranked as one of the top films of all time and has influenced several homages and reproductions. Our not-so-token black-and-white must-watch.

The Triplets of Belleville

Year: 2003
Score on IMDB: 7.8

In this quirky French animated comedy, Madame Souza’s grandson, a Tour de France racer, is kidnapped and held hostage by the French mafia. With the help of three elderly singers, she embarks on a mission to save him. This film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 and is a must-see for animation fans who love cycling. Why a must-watch? See how many famous pro’s you can see caricatured – Merckx is there, Anquetil…

2 Seconds

Year: 1998
Score on IMDB: 6.7

Laurie is a professional downhiller who chokes in a race and decides her heart isn’t in the sport. After being fired from her team, she moves to Montreal and picks up work as a bike courier, rediscovering her love of riding bikes with the help of a gruff old bicycle mechanic. This French language film has been largely overlooked and underrated by both LGBT and cycling audiences in the U.S., but it’s worth tracking down.

Rising from Ashes

Year: 2012
Score on IMDB: 7.5

Need an inspirational pick-me-up cycling film? Rising from Ashes tells the 2012 story of the Rwandan cycling team—and its fight to build hope and Tour de France contention amid the emotional horrors of genocide. An African must-watch.


Year: 2017
Score on IMDB: 8.0

Cyclist and filmmaker Bryan Fogel originally set out to film himself doping—with the help of Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the World Anti Doping Agency-accredited Moscow drug-testing laboratory—to prove how unreliable the sport’s drug testing can be. But Fogel ends up uncovering a huge scandal as a result.

30 for 30: Slaying the Badger

Year: 2014
Score on IMDB: 7.8

Technically a TV episode, this 2014 edition of ESPN’s documentary series hones in on Greg LeMond—the USA’s first (and now only) Tour de France victor. LeMond looks back on his historic 1986 win, as well as his rivalry with teammate and competitor Bernard “the Badger” Hinault.

Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist

Year: 2014
Score on IMDB: 7.0

This 2014 documentary traces the story of Marco Pantani, from his rise to the Italian cycling spotlight and triumphant 1998 Tour de France and Giro victories to his subsequent downfall and drug addiction.

Chasing Legends

Year: 2010
Score on IMDB: 7.7

Chasing Legends is a look at the 2009 Tour de France through the progress of Team Columbia-HTC. It’s a thrilling window into what everyone—from the team leaders, to the racers—does to keep the team in jersey contention. Jens Voigt and Mark Cavendish are both featured.

My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes

Year: 2014
Score on IMDB: 7.9

This documentary tells the incredible story of Gino Bartali, a two-time Tour de France winner who spent his training rides transporting forged documents to the Jewish Resistance during World War II. By risking his life to help the underground, Bartali saved more than 800 Jews from the Nazis—an incredible feat for which he never sought credit while alive. A must-watch for history buffs and cyclists, alike.

Blood Road

Year: 2017
Score on IMDB: 6.8

Follow Rebecca Rusch, an endurance mountain biker, and her riding partner Huyen Nguyen, as they tackle the 2 000km Ho Chi Minh Trail. Their end goal? To get to the site where her father—a U.S. Air Force pilot in the Vietnam War—was shot down and buried.

The Flying Scotsman

Year: 2006
Score on IMDB: 7.1

The Flying Scotsman tells the true story of cyclist Graeme Obree, who broke the world one-hour distance record on a bike he designed and made from scrap metal and parts of a washing machine. The film shows Obree’s battle with mental illness and his eventual comeback in the sport, where he regains the record he once held. A mad-inventor-makes-good must-watch


Year: 2012
Score on IMDB: 7.6

Wadjda, a 10-year-old girl who lives in Saudi Arabia, sees a bike for sale in her neighborhood and wants to buy it to beat a boy in a race. But her mom won’t buy it for her since their culture sees riding bikes as something girls shouldn’t do. Taking matters into her own hands, Wadjda decides to raise the money herself.


Year: 1986
Score on IMDB: 5.5

Quicksilver is the kind of so-bad-it’s-almost-good movie that’s worth seeing once—particularly if you’ve ever worked as a bike messenger. Kevin Bacon plays a stock broker-turned-San-Francisco courier who gets tangled up in some criminal affairs and unleashes memorable bicycle choreography. It makes for an excellent ‘80s double feature with American Flyers.


Year: 2014
Score on IMDB: 7.5

This documentary examines the history of both the bicycle and the sport of cycling from its birth in the Victorian era all the way up to today, with interviews from historians, bike designers and builders, and Olympic athletes.


Year: 2018
Score on IMDB: N/A

This documentary tells the story of three Nepali women who are pioneers in the country’s mountain biking scene. Follow them as they compete in races all over Asia, motivating other women to get into the sport as they go. A final inspirational must-watch.

Bicycling with Molière

Year: 2013
Score on IMDB: 6.6

This comedy follows two friends and actors, Gauthier and Serge, who are different in almost every way possible, except for their love of riding bikes. They bike around France’s Île de Ré as Gauthier tries to convince Serge to be in a play with him.



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