For the majority of the history of cinema bikers have often been portrayed as outlaws in the films that depict them. This was first seen during the 1960’s when motorcycle riders were viewed by many as a danger to traditional societal norms. This was due to the emergence of a number of notorious biker gangs during this period.
However in recent decades this moral panic has faded. Consequently bikers have been shown in a more positive light. Rather than being shown as dangerous several movies depict them as harmless thrill seekers. Films have also been inclusive when it comes to showing gendered motorcycle riders. This trend is seen as early as 1968’s The Girl on a Motorcycle. Most recently Uma Thurman’s character is shown riding a Kawasaki sports bike.
The Motorcycle Diaries stands out as one of the best films to tackle the subject. It depicts two medical students who travel across Argentina on an old bike which they dub “the Mighty One”. It is a refreshing look at bikers that does not descend into needless violence. Since release it has been placed on the BFI’s list of Great Biker Films.