Summer Road Movies – On Any Sunday (1971)

Indulgent we know, but when you are riding close to the edge every day it’s hard not to imagine yourself as the protagonist in a cool summer road or action movie. You can’t ride a machine all day long as a Manchester courier and not feel some sense of freedom and supremacy. So while the sun is shining we’re going to indulge of two-wheel fancies with our favourite Summer road movies. This week a real classic – On Any Sunday (1971)

On Any Sunday is an Oscar-nominated documentary by Bruce Brown that looks at why motorcycle racers and enthusiasts risk their lives.

Perhaps the best-known thing about it is that it stars Steve McQueen. This is an oldie but a goodie. A rather indulgent look at motorcycling that focuses on why motorcycle racers and enthusiasts risk their lives for their love of motorbikes.

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Good question. Why do any of us do it?

Pausing that thought for a minute, this is a bike movie with a difference: because it’s all about good clean motorcycling fun.

There’s no doubt that any professional motorcycle racers must be a daring, violent and occasionally dangerous lot. But Brown portrays them as enjoying themselves. In spite of the danger, that’s exactly what they are doing. Whether it’s ice-racing, enduro, moto-cross and road racing to the spectacular, crash-ridden American speciality, dirt-track racing we get to glimpse it all.

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Some of the best bits are when Brown follows the progress of Mert Lawwill, one of America’s top dirt-trackers, as well as offering footage of Steve McQueen playing at moto-cross and desert racing. Without McQueen’s finance it would have been hard to get a lot of the footage because a two-mile motorcycle race requires thousands of feet of footage from several cameras to be adequately covered.

This is an artistic film to be true. It’s shot with intelligently applied stop-frame, slow motion and colour treatment knick-knacks, which heighten the excitement and visual impact. It’s a beauty of a film for any motorcycle enthusiast. Just check out the pictures. Glorious!

We love it. It’s up there in our Top 10.

WARNING: After watching this film you might want to buy a motocross bike.
PS: If you liked TT: Closer to the Edge you’ll like this.

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