The Bikeriders parents guide

The Bikeriders Parent Guide

This is yet another film that elevates style over substance.

Overall C-

Theaters: A Midwestern motorcycle club in the 1960s starts as a social club for outsiders, but finds itself drawn into a criminal underworld.

Release date June 21, 2024

Violence D
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is The Bikeriders rated R? The MPAA rated The Bikeriders R for language throughout, violence, some drug use and brief sexuality.

Run Time: 116 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Kathy (Jodie Comer) is respectable, until a chance encounter with the roguishly charming Benny (Austin Butler), a dedicated member of the outlaw Vandals Motorcycle Club, changes everything. She falls in with the biker gang, getting to know the other riders and their wives. Life in the club centers around two things: riding bikes, and Johnny (Tom Hardy). The founder and chairman of the club, Johnny is the driving force that keeps all these rebels, outlaws, and misfits together. As the late 60s stretch into the early 70s, however, the atmosphere in the club starts to change, and Benny is increasingly pulled between the troubles of the club and Kathy’s desire for a less chaotic life.

Based on the photobook of the same name by photojournalist Danny Lyon, who also appears as a character in the film’s frame narrative, the film offers an interesting look at the bourgeoning culture of motorcycle gangs during the early years. The club and the characters are gradually forced to balance exactly what the Vandals and its culture mean to them versus the growing violence and drug use among new members. As the club expands, Johnny has less control over membership, and the character of the gang changes dramatically.

Unfortunately, the film feels like it’s come up short. Sure, it’s got a red-hot cast, but the script doesn’t actually seem to have much to say about the characters. Despite being so central to the conflicts of the story, Austin Butler has very little to do except look like a Calvin Klein model in leathers and grunt occasionally. He’s almost more a symbol than a character, and his obsession with freedom notwithstanding, he has almost no influence on his own destiny. If that’s supposed to be ironic, it’s unclear from the way the story is told. It’s frustrating to watch because there’s so much potential here, and it just isn’t used.

Obviously, the life and times of outlaw motorcycle gangs are not fit viewing for family audiences, and such audiences can expect better than 80 f-bombs, frequent physical violence, and constant drinking, smoking, and drug use. This should not come as a surprise to anybody. There is rather less sex than I was expecting, but there are references to sexual violence.

If you just want the sound and the fury of bike gangs on the big screen, then this is the film for you. It’s well shot, well cast, and has a great premise – I just wish it had delivered a more impactful story. Or, at least, given Michael Shannon more screentime. I think he’s in this for all of ten minutes, as Zipco the Latvian-born biker, and they were my favorite ten minutes of the film.

Directed by Jeff Nichols. Starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy. Running time: 116 minutes. Theatrical release June 21, 2024. Updated

The Bikeriders
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Bikeriders rated R? The Bikeriders is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, violence, some drug use and brief sexuality.

Violence: People are frequently violently beaten, sometimes resulting in broken limbs. There are depictions of domestic assault. People are stabbed and cut. Several individuals are shot. A person is killed in a car collision.
Sexual Content: There are several references to sexual assault, and a depiction of an attempted sexual assault which is quickly stopped by another character. Background characters are briefly seen having sex on a picnic table without nudity.
Profanity: There are 88 sexual expletives, 26 scatological terms, and frequent use of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking alcohol, smoking both tobacco and marijuana, and on one occasion, shooting heroin intravenously.

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The Bikeriders Parents' Guide

For more about the real people who inspired the film, check out this article:

Time: The Real Motorcycle Club That Inspired The Bikeriders.

Loved this movie? Try these books…

This movie is based on The Bikeriders, a book published by photojournalist Danny Lyon in 1968.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Obviously, the prototypical film about bikers in the 60’s is Easy Rider. Other options for motorcycle fans include The Wild One, Chips, The Place Beyond the Pines, Supercross, The World’s Fastest Indian, and Wild Hogs