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.