From Arnie to Enzo, Hollywood Loves a Hunk on a Motorcycle

What is it that is so alluring about seeing our favorite movie stars cruising across frame on a meaty motorcycle? There’s something dreamy, all-American, and deeply evocative about this iconic sight. Perhaps we feel that Arnie’s T-800 is coming to protect us just as ferociously as he did John Connor, or maybe we’ve simply got a taste for the liberating, edgy, and seminal tone of cult classic Easy Rider.

Either way, for sure, few movie motifs have had such impressive longevity. We see this timeless trope reincarnated time and time again, in examples such as the constant revisits of ultra-cool motorcycle moments in Tom Cruise’s most recent hit movies, or the sleek shots of a star speeding through the desert in the exhilarating first-look trailer for Enzo Zelocchi’s upcoming pulse-racing action feature The Source.

A Lasting Legacy of Stars on Muscle Bikes

So, where did this enduring affection for a leading man on two wheels begin? We can likely trace our eternal affection for the handle-bar-holding heartthrob back to Marlon Brando’s turn as Johnny Strabler in The Wild One. This 1953 hit introduced us to the vision of a handsome anti-hero on a bike, clad in the now-synonymous stylish and tough-looking leather jacket.

Jumping forwards to the 1980s, the look of the leading man on a motorcycle got a slight overhaul when Tom Cruise’s Maverick expanded the motif beyond the realms of the rebellious biker and into the sphere of the military man. In the 1986 hit film’s opening scene, we meet Cruise riding his bike on the airstrip in a bomber-style flight jacket rather than the classic stud and zip-adorned leather piece.

Of course, any discussion of action stars on motorcycles would be lacking without a special mention of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic 1991 performance in Terminator 2 on his Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. Here, we saw a happy return to leather as the original trope was re-energized. Soon enough, we also saw that same appeal captured with leading ladies, perhaps most notably with Carrie-Anne Moss’s impressive stunts in The Matrix and Uma Thurman’s bright yellow Kawasaki in Kill Bill Volume 1.

Heroes on Motorcycles Are Here to Stay

When fans went to see the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick in 2022, they were treated to a truly fitting tribute scene. Cruise was back on a motorcycle with a jet in the background, reminding us that the truly iconic never goes out of fashion.

Continuing to honor this legacy in style, we most recently saw action star Enzo Zelocchi don a leather jacket and dark shades in order to ride a black and chrome chopper across a surreal desert landscape for his mysterious sci-fi motion picture The Source.

This perfect salute to Arnie’s ultra-cool poise on a motorcycle—and all who rode before him—is spot on, and suggests that Zelocchi might have just become the next leading man to carry the torch for a beloved trope that has been held so superbly by Brando, Schwarzenegger, Moss, Thurman, Cruise, and many more besides over the last 70 years.

If you adore seeing a movie star on a motorcycle, grab your leathers and follow Enzo Zelocchi on Instagram @enzozelocchi to stay up to date with release info for The Source and much more.