The Bikeriders: everything you need to know about the Tom Hardy movie including cast, story and release date

Evocative drama The Bikeriders conjures memories of a bygone era of denim jeans, leather jackets and petrol-scented road trips. Set in the 1960s at a point when American culture was changing, it's a brutally charged yet loving ode to a period of transitioning standards, fashions and attitudes.

Released this June, The Bikeriders sports an excellent cast and has a talented director at the helm to do the period justice. Scroll down for everything you need to know including the story, cast and release date.


What is the story of The Bikeriders?

After a chance encounter at a local bar, strong-willed Kathy is inextricably drawn to Benny, the newest member of the Midwestern motorcycle club, the Vandals led by the enigmatic Johnny. Much like the country around it, the club begins to evolve, transforming from a gathering place for local outsiders into a dangerous underworld of violence, forcing Benny to choose between Kathy and his loyalty to the club.


Who stars in The Bikeriders?

Acclaimed star of stage and screen Jodie Comer portrays Kathy. Comer has recently been seen in apocalyptic drama The End We Start From and Ridley Scott's harrowing historical thriller The Last Duel. Benny is portrayed by the fast-rising Austin Butler who adds to his roster of eye-catching roles in the likes of Dune: Part II and Elvis, for which he was Oscar-nominated.

Johnny is played by the ever-merurial Tom Hardy who pulls another eccentric vocal register from his repertoire. Hardy is famous for straddling films as diverse as Mad Max: Fury Road and the gruelling wilderness epic The Revenant. The strong supporting cast includes Challengers' Mike Faist, Nocturnal Animals' Michael Shannon (a regular collaborator with director Jeff Nichols, more on whom below) and The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus.

Image of The Bikeriders movie poster


Who inspired The Bikeriders?

The Bikeriders is primarily inspired by the photo book of the same name by photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon. The author's intimate chronicle of 1960s counterculture captures the period's civil unrest, youthful rebellion and period detail in remarkable detail, all of which subsequently feeds into the movie. This was a period of rock and roll and youth-oriented pop culture, and the latter end of the decade was marked by the rampaging Hell's Angels biker gangs that were chronicled by the likes of journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

On a purely cinematic level, The Bikeriders owes itself to the legacy of icons like Marlon Brando. The Oscar-winning actor's appearance in The Wild One, in which he played a rebellious yet chic cool member of a motorbike gang, is evidently imprinted on Hardy and Butler's look and demeanor in The Bikeriders. 

One must also cite the enduring influence of James Dean, the ill-fated and short-lived but hugely influential actor who helped popularise the notion of the rebellious on-screen teenager. Dean's star turns in the likes of Giant (1954) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955), tragically undercut by his premature death in a car accident at the age of just 24, helped give a voice to the voiceless, particularly during the period in which The Bikeriders is set.



Who directs The Bikeriders?

The Bikeriders is helmed by Jeff Nichols who has established himself as a provocative chronicler of the American interior and small-town life. His 2011 film Take Shelter starred Michael Shannon as a man attempting to convince his community that the apocalypse is coming while 2016's tender Loving explored the real-life interracial marriage between Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court (the Warren Court) decision Loving v. Virginia.

Nichols' films are distinguished by their discreet atmosphere with a distinct, Terence Malick-esque sense of the great outdoors and the American expanse. He also regularly elicits career-best performances from his actors. This includes Matthew McConaughey's career-rejuvenating performance as a noble drifter destined to help two outcast kids in the emotive Mud (2012).


When is The Bikeriders released?

The Bikeriders is released on June 21st. Watch the trailer below.