Coming Attractions: The Bikeriders Offers A Fictional Twist On Danny Lyon’s Photography

The BIkeriders
Austin Butler stars in The Bikeriders. Photo: 20th Century Studios

In the mid-1960s, around roughly the same time that Hunter S. Thompson was penning Hells Angels: The Strange And Terrible Saga Of The Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, another artist was telling the one-percenter story from a different perspective. In 1968, Danny Lyons published The Bikeriders, a photo-book detailing his months with the Outlaws in Chicago. And now, director Jeff Nichols has based a film on that book—sort of—to be released this winter.

There will be some major differences, particularly because the original photo-book had no real narrative arc; it just featured candid photos of motorcyclists and their friends and families. The back of the book also had several pages of interviews with one-percenters and other insiders, but nothing you’d get an actual plot from.

Perhaps Lyons (who also wrote the new movie, along with directing it) has used those wild, violent and tragic episodes from the back of the book to flesh out his film. Whatever the case, he has attracted some well-respected acting talent to the project, including Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon, Mike Faist, and Norman Reedus. The Bikeriders debuted at Telluride on August 31, 2023, and will be screening again at the Chicago International Film Festival in October. The public theatre debut comes on December 1, 2023.

Will this movie stink? Hard to say, but critics seem to like it so far, and the actors involved are pro. Nichols has a good reputation as well. Chances are this is no Sons of Anarchy-style schlock, but whether it’s something that non-outlaw motorcyclists will enjoy is another question indeed…


  1. No amount of Rolling Stones soundtrack can validate this turkey. Two minutes of cliche
    after cliche on film(?) and moth-eaten dialogue should be self evident to avoid this mess.
    And for the cine-philes showing it at a film festival means nothing. Lyon’s book was good
    because the subjects put up with his hang-around status. FYI there is an imminent release
    of Enzo Ferrari’s biography….also I’m certain to be a tabloid style expose of a film.

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