Cine-Wheels Through the Years: Our Pick Of The Iconic Movie Biking Scenes That Made It All The Way To The Oscars | The Fan Carpet

Cine-Wheels Through the Years: Our Pick Of The Iconic Movie Biking Scenes That Made It All The Way To The Oscars

08 March 2018

Images: Copyright Proviz Sports 2018

A sober thread underpinned the usual Oscars glamour and gossip this year, with the ongoing Time’s Up message coming through in full force, and disability taking centre stage via headline-hitting winner, The Silent Child. Seeing such serious issues take centre stage can only be welcome. But it’s always good to enjoy the usual light-hearted moments as well, not least the promise of a Kawasaki Water Bike to reward the shortest acceptance speech of the evening.

Meanwhile, the deeply touching Call Me By Your Name was just pipped at the post for Best Picture by The Shape of Water this year. A defining motif in the movie is the romantic use of cycling to highlight the stunning visual scenery. So The Fan Carpet thought we’d delve deeper into what’s actually a longstanding relationship between films and cycling, by looking at six moments that pedalled their way to Oscars glory, and why we love them so much.

So here we go, the nominees are…

AT SIX: Breaking Away

The Credits:
Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay, 1979
Golden Globe Best Film 1979
Number 8: America’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies 1979

A young Dennis Quaid joins Dennis Christopher ad Robyn Douglass in this coming-of-age classic. Lovestruck Dave (Christopher) is obsessed with Italian cycling – culminating in the climactic scene where he competes in the Little 500. Our favourite moment, though, is the race scene where Dave’s thrill at the chance to race against a professional Italian team quickly turns to disillusionment, as they cheat to win. It’s a panoramic treat, made more compelling by the perfectly chosen Rossini soundtrack.



AT FIVE: The Great Muppet Caper



Image copyright: Proviz Sports 2018

The Credits:
Oscar nominated for Best Music, Original Song (1981)

Audiences have been glued to Kermit and Miss Piggy’s tempestuous courtship for generations, and The Muppet Caper doesn’t disappoint. On a mission to stop a London jewel heist, the unlikely twosome rekindle their courtship on two wheels in Battersea Park, to the soundtrack of Couldn’t We Ride. Before long, the entire muppet crew is pedalling alongside – a sequence that, by creator Jim Henson’s own admission, involved an immensely complex mix of puppetry and animatronics. It’s a prime example of what makes the muppets so enduringly believable – and endearing.



AT FOUR: Ladri di Biciclette (Bicycle Thieves)

The Credits:
Academy Awards nominations for Best Writing, Screenplay (1950)
Honorary Academy Award, Most Outstanding Foreign Language Film (1950)
Golden Globes Best Foreign Film (1950)

Vittorio De Sica’s Italian post-war masterpiece follows the misfortunes of father and son team Antonio and Bruno as they search Rome for the stolen bicycle that will save the family from poverty. De Sica famously chose an amateur cast for the film, which still holds it accolade (amongst many others) as one of the BFI’s 50 films you should see by the age of 14. Perhaps the most heart-breaking scene is the final one – where Antonio’s desperation drives him to commit an ironic misdemeanour, stealing an unattended bike before narrowly escaping arrest. Actor Lamberto Maggiorani (Antonio) didn’t win any more acting roles, but he certainly made movie history in this iconic tale.



AT THREE: The Wizard of Oz



Image copyright: Proviz Sports 2018

The Credits:
Oscar nominated in six categories - lost Best Picture to Gone with the Wind (1940)
Winner of best Original Score and Original Song (1940)

Is there a bike scene? Really? Well, yes, in amongst the flying monkeys and tornado-driven capers, a bike does take centre stage at one point during this favourite childhood classic. Enter Miss Almira Gulch (played, incidentally, by the same actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West) who arrives on her bike, ready to deal out revenge with her sheriff’s order to put Dorothy’s beloved Toto to sleep. He escapes, of course. The later sight of the mean Miss Gulch, still pedalling furiously as she’s whisked away by the tornado, is a classic example of movie justice at its best.



AT TWO: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The Credits:
Oscar nominated in seven categories, with an impressive haul of four trophies, including Best Cinematography

Considered by many the definitive Western, this iconic tale of Wild West outlaws includes a true delight of a scene, as we see a young Paul Newman cavorting on his bike in an attempt to impress his beau (Katharine Ross) – only to end up unintentionally playing the clown. The bike, of course, was pretty new in the 1890s American West – and Newman does a fine job of the resulting japery, reportedly performing all of his own stunts in the wake of a stunt man who wasn’t up to the job as he couldn’t ride the bike!



AND THE WINNER IS: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial



Image copyright: Proviz Sports 2018

The Credits:
Nine Oscar nominations
Won four Oscars including Best Sound, Best Visual Effects and Best Music

It was always going to be the number one choice for number one. The defining film of a generation, E.T. leads the way in history-making use of bikes in film. So much so, in fact, that an exclusive agreement between Universal Studios and BMX maker Kuwaharasaw led to mass panic orders for Elliott’s Model 3003 BMX from more than 1,000 retailers once the film was released. And the public demand is hardly surprising. The bikes here are what makes it possible for the kids to be the star of the movie – not just in the notorious flying sequence, but also in the infamous BMX chase scene that had every kid of that generation desperate to jump on a BMX of their own.


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