Last Updated on December 23, 2023 by Randall
The world of television has long been fascinated by the raw, untamed spirit of biker gangs. These shows, weaving through tales of brotherhood, rebellion, and survival, capture a unique slice of life that is both intriguing and exhilarating.
The allure of biker gang culture on TV lies in its ability to blend high-octane action with deep, compelling drama, creating a tapestry rich in both adrenaline and emotion.
At the heart of these shows are the complex character portrayals – individuals bound by loyalty and a shared code, often standing on the fringes of society.
These characters are not just rebels on bikes; they are multi-dimensional figures, battling with internal and external conflicts, making choices that often blur the lines between right and wrong. Their stories delve into themes of family, loyalty, betrayal, and the quest for freedom, resonating with audiences in profound ways.
From the rumble of engines to the intricate dynamics of gang politics, these TV shows offer more than just entertainment. They invite viewers into a world where the roar of motorcycles symbolizes a larger quest for identity and belonging.
As we embark on this exploration of the top 15 biker gang TV shows, we delve into a realm where every ride is more than just a journey – it’s a narrative of life on the edge, told through the lens of some of the most captivating characters ever seen on television.
Best 15 Biker Gang TV Shows
1. Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014)
“Sons of Anarchy” stands as a towering figure in the landscape of biker gang TV shows. Set in the fictional town of Charming, California, the series revolves around the lives of the members of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (SAMCRO). The protagonist, Jax Teller, is torn between his loyalty to the club, led by his stepfather Clay Morrow, and his growing unease with the gang’s illegal activities. The show skillfully navigates through themes of family, loyalty, and justice, painting a vivid picture of life inside a motorcycle gang.
The characters in “Sons of Anarchy” are deeply layered, each bringing their complexities and internal struggles to the narrative. From the matriarchal Gemma Teller Morrow, whose fierce protectiveness of her family knows no bounds, to the diverse array of club members, each character contributes to the intricate tapestry that is SAMCRO.
The impact of “Sons of Anarchy” on the genre cannot be overstated. It not only garnered a massive following but also paved the way for more shows about biker culture. Its raw portrayal of life within a biker gang, combined with high-stakes drama and moral quandaries, set a new standard for storytelling in this genre.
2. Mayans M.C. (2018-Present)
“Mayans M.C.” is a compelling spin-off from the “Sons of Anarchy” universe. Set in a post-Jax Teller world, this series shifts the focus to the Mayans Motorcycle Club, which was featured periodically in “Sons of Anarchy.” The story centers around Ezekiel ‘EZ’ Reyes, a prospect in the Mayans M.C. charter on the California-Mexico border. EZ’s journey is one of vengeance and redemption, as he grapples with his new identity within the club and the complex relationship with his brother, Angel.
What sets “Mayans M.C.” apart is its exploration of Latinx culture and issues, providing a fresh perspective within the biker gang genre. The show delves into themes of Latino identity, border politics, and the challenges faced by those living on the margins of society. This cultural focus adds depth and authenticity to the narrative, making “Mayans M.C.” a standout show that both complements and expands the world created in “Sons of Anarchy.”
3. The Devil’s Ride (2012-2014)
“The Devil’s Ride,” a reality TV series, offers a glimpse into the real world of motorcycle clubs. Focusing on the San Diego-based Laffing Devils, the show provides an unscripted look into the lives of club members, capturing the brotherhood, conflicts, and daily operations of a biker gang. Unlike scripted dramas, “The Devil’s Ride” brings a sense of authenticity to the portrayal of biker culture, showcasing real-life personalities and situations.
Throughout its run, the series highlighted the internal politics and power struggles within the club, as well as the challenges faced in balancing personal lives with club commitments. “The Devil’s Ride” stood out for its raw and unfiltered depiction of a motorcycle club, offering viewers an inside look at a world often shrouded in mystery and stereotypes. While it lacked the scripted drama of fictional shows, its realness provided a different, often more relatable perspective on biker gang culture.
4. Gangland Undercover (2015-2016)
“Gangland Undercover” offers a thrilling and unique perspective within the biker gang genre. Based on the true story of Charles Falco, a former meth dealer turned ATF informant, this series plunges into the dangerous world of one man living a dual life. The plot follows Falco as he infiltrates one of the country’s most notorious biker gangs, the Vagos Motorcycle Club. His journey is fraught with risk and moral ambiguity, as he navigates the violent world of outlaw bikers while providing intel to law enforcement.
The show’s strength lies in its gripping portrayal of the undercover aspect, highlighting the constant danger and psychological toll on Falco. It’s a story of survival and deception, showcasing the lengths to which Falco must go to maintain his cover and protect his true identity. “Gangland Undercover” captivates with its intense, nail-biting scenarios, making it a standout series in the portrayal of biker culture.
5. Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels (2015)
“Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels” is a riveting documentary series that delves deep into one of the most infamous motorcycle clubs in the world: the Hells Angels. Told from the perspective of former members, including George Christie, a former Hells Angels leader, the series offers an unprecedented look inside the secretive world of the club. It uncovers the history, myths, and culture of the Hells Angels, revealing stories of internal politics, conflicts, and the club’s evolution over the years.
The documentary stands out for its first-hand accounts, providing viewers with a rare and authentic insight into the inner workings of the Hells Angels. It explores both the allure and the darker aspects of the club, presenting a balanced and nuanced portrayal. “Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels” is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of biker gang culture from an insider’s perspective.
6. The Last Chapter (2002)
“The Last Chapter” is a captivating Canadian mini-series that delves deeply into the intricacies of outlaw motorcycle club culture. Released in 2002, it stands out for its authentic and nuanced portrayal of the lives, politics, and conflicts within a biker gang. The series centers on Bob Durelle, a member of the Blackstone Motorcycle Club, and explores the intense rivalries, both internal and external, that define the club’s existence. It navigates complex themes of loyalty, power struggles, and the cost of a life governed by a unique set of rules and codes.
This mini-series is remarkable for its multi-dimensional characters and commitment to showing the human side of its protagonists, often contrasting with the typical media stereotypes of biker gangs. “The Last Chapter” presents a balanced view of the biker world, illustrating not just the violence and illegal activities associated with these groups, but also the strong sense of brotherhood and belonging at their core. Its engaging storyline and realistic portrayal make “The Last Chapter” a must-watch for those seeking a deeper understanding of the outlaw motorcycle club lifestyle.
7. Long Way Round (2004)
“Long Way Round” is an adventure documentary series that stands apart in the biker TV landscape. It chronicles the epic motorcycle journey of actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, as they embark on a challenging trek from London to New York, traveling eastward through Europe and Asia. This series captures the spirit of adventure and the bond formed through shared experiences on the road.
The show is more than just a travelogue; it’s a journey into the heart of diverse cultures and landscapes. McGregor and Boorman face numerous challenges, from navigating rough terrains to encountering different customs and people along their route. “Long Way Round” offers an inspiring look at the world through the lens of two friends on motorcycles, making it an engaging watch for both biker enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
8. 1% (2017)
“1%” is a compelling Australian film released in 2017 that delves into the raw and often brutal world of outlaw motorcycle clubs. The film’s title refers to the term “one percenter,” used to describe those in the biker community living on the fringes of the law. Set within the intense and tightly-knit world of an outlaw motorcycle gang, the story revolves around the power struggle between the club’s vice president, Paddo, and the president, Knuck, who returns from prison to find his authority challenged.
This movie stands out for its gritty and unflinching portrayal of biker gang dynamics, exploring themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the quest for power within the club. The characters are complex and deeply flawed, adding to the film’s raw authenticity.
“1%” doesn’t just showcase the violence and criminal aspects of the biker world; it also delves into the emotional and psychological depths of its characters, offering a nuanced and captivating depiction of life in an outlaw motorcycle club. With its intense narrative and powerful performances, “1%” is a significant addition to the biker genre, offering a stark and engaging portrayal of its subject matter.
9. Wild Hogs (2007)
“Wild Hogs,” a 2007 comedy film, offers a lighthearted and humorous take on the motorcycle road trip genre. Departing from the typical portrayal of hardcore biker gangs, it follows the story of four middle-aged friends who are suburbanites and weekend bikers. The main characters, played by John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy, decide to break free from their mundane lives by embarking on a cross-country motorcycle trip.
This film is celebrated for its comedic approach to the concept of a ‘biker gang.’ As the group sets out on their adventure, they encounter various mishaps and comical situations, which provide a stark contrast to the usual tough and gritty image associated with motorcycle clubs. “Wild Hogs” explores themes of friendship, freedom, and the pursuit of adventure, resonating with audiences who dream of hitting the open road and escaping routine. Its light-hearted narrative and humorous portrayal of novice bikers on an unexpected journey make “Wild Hogs” a refreshing and enjoyable entry in the motorcycle-themed film genre.
10. Long Way Down (2007)
“Long Way Down” is the sequel to the successful “Long Way Round,” continuing the motorcycle journey of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This time, their expedition takes them from John o’ Groats in Scotland, through Europe, and down through Africa to Cape Town, South Africa.
The series retains the adventurous spirit of the first, showcasing the challenges and exhilarations of overland travel. Viewers are treated to breathtaking landscapes, fascinating encounters with diverse cultures, and the unbreakable bond between the two friends. “Long Way Down” is more than a travel documentary; it’s a celebration of friendship, adventure, and the unique experiences that come from exploring the world on two wheels.
11. Road to Paloma (2014)
“Road to Paloma” is a film that offers a more narrative-driven look into biker culture. Directed and co-written by Jason Momoa, who also stars in the film, it tells the story of Wolf, a Native American on the run after avenging his mother’s murder. The film is set against the backdrop of the American West, and Wolf’s journey on his motorcycle becomes a metaphor for his search for redemption and freedom.
“Road to Paloma” skillfully blends the biker theme with a poignant story of justice and family, offering a nuanced look at the life of a man who finds solace and purpose on the open road. The film’s portrayal of the biker lifestyle is both authentic and respectful, making it a notable entry in the genre.
12. Beyond the Law (1993)
“Beyond the Law,” a film released in 1993, presents a gritty and intense depiction of biker gang culture. The plot is centered around Dan Saxon (played by Charlie Sheen), an undercover cop who infiltrates a biker gang to bring down its criminal activities.
The film is based on a true story and does an excellent job of capturing the raw and often dangerous world of outlaw motorcycle gangs. As Saxon becomes more integrated into the gang, the lines between his role as an undercover agent and his new identity within the gang begin to blur, creating a tense and gripping narrative. “Beyond the Law” offers a compelling look at the psychological toll of undercover work, as well as a realistic portrayal of the brotherhood and dynamics within a biker gang.
13. Hell Ride (2008)
“Hell Ride” is a film that pays a raw and gritty homage to the biker genre, particularly the exploitation films of the 1960s and 1970s. Directed by Larry Bishop, who also stars in the film, it captures the essence of the classic biker movie with a modern twist. The storyline revolves around the characters Pistolero, The Gent, and Comanche and their quest for revenge against a rival gang known as the 666ers.
The film is known for its stylized violence, dark humor, and unapologetic depiction of the outlaw biker lifestyle. “Hell Ride” stands out for its authentic portrayal of motorcycle club culture, complete with the rough-and-tumble attitude, loyalty among members, and the relentless pursuit of freedom on the open road. Its bold storytelling and visual style make it a distinctive and memorable contribution to the biker film genre.
14. Dead in 5 Heartbeats (2013)
“Dead in 5 Heartbeats” is an adaptation of a novel by Sonny Barger, a former Hells Angels member, which lends the film an air of authenticity and insider knowledge. The story is set in the world of an outlaw motorcycle club and follows the character of Patch Kinkade, who finds himself caught in a web of club politics and betrayal.
The movie explores the inner dynamics of a biker gang, including the brotherhood, loyalty, and the codes that govern their world. It’s a raw and honest look at the life and struggles within a motorcycle club, offering a perspective that only someone with real-life experience in such an environment could provide. “Dead in 5 Heartbeats” is notable for its realistic portrayal of biker culture and the complexities of maintaining honor and loyalty in a world often ridden with conflict and rivalry.
15. Easy Rider (1969)
“Easy Rider” is a seminal film in the motorcycle genre, released in 1969. It’s celebrated not just as a biker movie, but as a cultural icon that captured the spirit of a generation. The film stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, who also directed the movie, as two bikers who embark on a journey across America. Their quest is one of freedom and self-discovery, set against the backdrop of the social upheaval and countercultural movements of the 1960s.
What sets “Easy Rider” apart is its portrayal of the biker as a symbol of nonconformity and rebellion against mainstream societal norms. The film explores themes of freedom, the search for meaning, and the disillusionment with the American Dream. It’s renowned for its groundbreaking soundtrack, featuring music from bands like The Byrds and Steppenwolf, which perfectly encapsulates the mood of the era. “Easy Rider” not only defined a genre but also captured the ethos of the time, making it a timeless classic in the realm of motorcycle cinema and an influential piece in American film history.