From “Easy Rider” to “The Terminator”: The Hottest Motorcycle Actors


Motorcycles remain the quintessential sign of the rebellious spirit — although they’re nowhere near their level of Hollywood glory from the 1960s and ’70s. However, a comeback just might be on the horizon! Fueled by films in which cool-talking dudes ride snazzy bikes while wearing sweet motorcycle helmets, the return to the motorcycle age offers excitement for enthusiasts of all ages. It also means a renewed interest in such classics as “The Great Escape” and “Easy Rider” — films perfect for inspiring and fostering that enduring motorcycle spirit.

Steve McQueen in “The Great Escape”

Steve McQueen’s motorcycle stint in “The Great Escape” is arguably the most iconic motorcycle jump in cinema history. First, the 1961 Triumph TR6 Trophy Bird had to undergo significant changes before it became an integral part of the film. Set in World War II Germany, the film would not have worked with a 1961 motorcycle. Instead, set designers painted it an unobtrusive gray to hide the anachronism — not that such efforts stopped McQueen’s biking antics from stealing the show! To be fair, McQueen didn’t actually take part in the iconic fence jump for which “The Great Escape” is still remembered. A stuntman stepped in for those honors, leaving McQueen the enviable task of riding a sweet bike in all the ‘easy’ scenes.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator”

Say what you want about Arnold Schwarzenegger, or rather, “Ah-nold,” you must admit he looks pretty snazzy on a motorcycle. In “The Terminator,” the beefcake movie star brought Austrian appeal to his Honda 750, with which he chased the adorable (but surprisingly effective) Honda Scooter carrying Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor. Later films included equally impressive bikes, such as the Indian Motorcycle from “Terminator 3.” According to USA Today, Schwarzenegger reunited with the beloved Indian Motorcycle during a 2010 visit to Simi Valley.

Marlon Brando in “The Wild One”

Bad boy Marlon Brando captured the hearts of millions of teens with his 1953 appearance in “The Wild One.” Although not necessarily his best film, photo stills from the movie continue to elicit female interest — both from Brando’s Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle and his soulful eyes. Enthusiasts at the Daily Mail claim that Marlon Brando and his Triumph Thunderbird are in the midst of a revival, posting record sales of 49,000 bikes in 2009 alone.

Peter Fonda in “Easy Rider”

No list of the hottest motorcycle stars is complete without Peter Fonda and his Captain America Harley-Davidson from the classic rebel film “Easy Rider.” Considered the ultimate motorcycle movie, “Easy Rider” set the standard for all later biker films. Although Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper also offered their acting expertise (and sweet bikes) to the effort, Peter Fonda proved most successful in raising heart rates. Sadly, according to KVUE ABC News, a 2010 fire destroyed Fonda’s iconic “Easy Rider” bike, along with a whole host of other vintage automobiles and motorcycles. Fortunately, Peter Fonda did not suffer the same fate.

This guest post was written by William Martin.

William Martin knows a thing or two about video marketing. Chances are, you’ve seen the work he’s done for his clients on YouTube ads.

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