Bruce Brown, the director and creator of On Any Sunday, passed away yesterday, December 10, at the age of 80.

A confluence of factors in the 1970s, like the demographic bulge of baby boomers and available land for off-road riding, helped create a strong demand for adventurous kids and adults to join the exploding motorcycle market. But no single piece of media did more to fire the imaginations for two-wheel fun than did Brown’s iconic film, released in 1971. OAS brought motorcycling into the mainstream and helped banish the misconception that motorcyclists were mostly bad-ass bikers to be feared by suburbia.

“I think many people changed their minds about motorcyclists after watching the movie,” Brown once said about the movie that nominated for a 1972 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

The film OAS brilliantly portrayed the the entertainment and enjoyment of motorcycle riding to a mainstream audience and helped kick of a boom for the many ways riders have fun aboard motorbikes. From the 1970 Grand National dirt-track season featuring Mert Lawwill to the film’s unforgettable closing scene in which OAS producer, Steve McQueen (who was convinced to finance the movie), rode Husqvarna dirtbikes with off-road legend Malcolm Smith on a beach at the Camp Pendleton marine base on the shores of the Pacific ocean, OAS made motorcycling look exciting and interesting to anyone who watched it.

“Bruce Brown’s influence on motorcycling in the 1970s was profound,” said American Motorcyclist Association President and CEO Rob Dingman in a media release. “On Any Sunday highlighted the unique talents needed for different forms of racing and showcased the fun that people find in motorcycling.”

Brown’s legacy continues on in the hearts and minds of people around the world who were introduced to motorcycling by Brown’s artful tales of the how and why motorcyclists love to ride on two wheels.

If you don’t yet have your own copy of OAS, we suggest bringing it into your video library. Check out this Holiday Gift Guide, which includes OAS, to find out how to order it.

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    For me, his opus shall always be “Endless Summer.”

    • And I agree. At almost the same age, for the past five decades I’ve been honored to share his name. My wife only agreed to go on a blind date with me because she had an Endless Summer movie poster on her dorm room wall – when she heard the name she didn’t hesitate.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        We’ve had this chat before, and I still enjoy it.

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    Does this mean he won’t be posting here anymore?

  • Well, that sucks.

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  • JWaller

    On Any Sunday stretching up, reaching high

    Leaving my Monday World behind

    I fire my rockets and explode in the sky

    Kick up my heels until I find, I’m Flyin’

    • Daninmontana12

      You said it! (or sang it?) I love the movie AND the soundtrack- on vinyl..!

      • JWaller

        I read the news Monday morning and then listened to the soundtrack on my way to work and on the way home. The soundtrack is always in my head riding my Triumph Scrambler or Ural, especially if I’m dual-sport riding. Those bikes look like they could have been in the movie, so the soundtrack just seems to be natural when I’m riding either of those bike.

  • Starmag

    In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

    – Abraham Lincoln

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      “If at first you don’t succeed, pull yer foreskin o’er yer heid”

      -Rabbie Burns … er …


      As well as a small marker on Malcolm Forbes’ estate which says “While alive, I lived”.
      Thanks for your enormous contribution to motorcycling, Mr. Brown!

  • Vrooom

    Wow, what a bummer. Sadly I’m old enough where icons of my life are starting to die frequently.

    • Pete Lucchini

      Ain’t that the truth.. One day your on top of the world 50+ years later you’re just a number.. I enjoyed every cut, rash and broken bone doing it..
      I miss the smell of Castor bean oil belching out of a down swept popping two stoker expatiation chamber.. I miss my Hero Danny “Magoo” Chandler..
      R.I.P. to all that have kicked ass..

    • Harold O’Brien

      Worse, .. icons of our youth…


    RIP Bruce Brown!

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      Shhh … he’s right above you and still very much alive.


        hopefully still riding!

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Seems so. Still posting here and loving his wife. GBH.

  • Harold O’Brien

    Geez, just another reminder that I’m getting old. OAS was one of the main reasons I started riding motorcycles. Truth be told when I saw the motorcycle jump in The Great Escape, that planted the seed. I was only bout 13-14 when I first saw OAS but it cemented the desire. I started riding as soon as I was old enough that my parents couldn’t forbid it and now pushing 60 I’m still riding daily and I can’t see not motorcycling. I’m fact I dread the notion that I might be within artillery range of a point when I might not be physically able to ride any longer.

  • John A. Stockman

    My grandfather took me to see it when it came out. I already had a great family of motorcyclists around me and got my first little bike, a 1968 Z50, at the age of 9. Even though an early model with no rear suspension, I rode that bike every day, rain, snow, sun etc. When that movie came out, I was dealing with a disability that was destroying my joint cartilage, eventually leading to not being able to ride at all. When your spine and both hips fuse together, no amount of help will get your legs apart enough to straddle the seat. Grandpa thought seeing OAS would give me hope. He was a huge influence on me as a motorcyclist. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I never let go of my dream to be able to somehow ride again. About 10 years later, I learned of some joint replacement surgeries. The rest some of you know, but in May ’83, after years of operations and excruciating physical therapy for the years of atrophied muscles, I got my first street bike. That movie kept me going through the vilification I got from many angles being a severely disabled guy who just wanted to ride a motorcycle. Labeled an idiot, a waster of resources/money, not worthy, because I wanted to ride. I learned not to tell anyone in the medical field what my goal was, and most of my friends also. It was all worth it. Thanks to Bruce Brown and all those that worked on that movie!