So far, 2024 has been blessed with several great films boasting star-studded casts – from Dune: Part Two to The Fall Guy – and it's safe to add The Bikeriders to that list.


Jodie Comer, Austin Butler and Tom Hardy all have key roles in the film – in addition to supporting parts for Mike Faist, Norman Reedus and Michael Shannon – with most of those stars playing characters based on real-life figures.

Those figures are taken from Danny Lyon's 1967 photobook of the same name, which chronicled the lives of the members of an Illinois motorcycle club called Outlaws MC – the name of which has been changed to Vandals MC in the film.

But just how much are the events seen in the film based on real life? Read on for everything you need to know.

Is The Bikeriders based on a true story?

The short answer is that the film is inspired by a true story, rather than based directly on one. Writer/director Jeff Nichols used the aforementioned photobook as a jumping off point to write a fictionalised story using imagined versions of some of the people captured in Lyon's images – but it is not a factual account of Outlaws MC.

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"I found the book in 2003," Nichols told during an exclusive interview.. "And I didn't sit down and really start writing the script until 2019. So that's 16 years of carrying this thing around, it actually felt like a bit like a party trick. You know, I could go up to someone and say, 'Hey, do you want to hear my '60s biker film idea?'

He added: "But the substance wasn't really there yet. The work wasn't really there. It wasn't until I sat down and said, 'Okay, how much of this thing do I fictionalise? How much do I keep? What am I really trying to do with this film?' Which ultimately came down to... I want to get to the human beings that Danny captured, I want to get whatever their essence is, I want to try to get that out on the page. And it took a while to say the least."

Austin Butler rides a motorbike in front of a fleet of other bikers, in the new trailer for film The Bikeriders
Austin Butler in The Bikeriders.

Nichols further explained that Lyon himself (who appears as a character in the film as played by Mike Faist) came to set one day to watch it being filmed – and that he was happy to give it his stamp of approval.

"It was nerve racking, you know," Nichols explained. "Danny has been extremely generous with me and... he's a '60s radical, you know. He's a contrarian. So from the beginning, I was like, 'You're gonna hate this. This is gonna be terrible.' Just so I could hear him say 'Nah, no, I'm not.'

"He was so generous with everything he gave to us, you know. But the night that he visited set it was kind of cool to see him walk into our set and and feel like it got his stamp of approval, you know, which he gave. And it meant a lot when I showed him the film finally, he really loved it. He just thought his character should have been dirtier!"

The Bikeriders is now showing in UK cinemas.


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