What we know about Austin Butler’s new film The Bikeriders

A starry ensemble hit the road for a gritty biker drama

Tom Hardy and Austin Butler sat on the grass in a scene from The Bikeriders
Tom Hardy and Austin Butler star in The Bikeriders. (Universal Pictures)

He may be forever linked to Elvis Presley but Austin Butler has already hit the road with a host of new roles, with an appearance as a wild motorcycle rogue up next in The Bikeriders.

Based loosely on real events and inspired by the 1967 photobook of the same name by photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon, this gritty road movie gathers a cast of big-name stars to tell a story that chronicles the rise of a fictional motorcycle gang and their clashes with mainstream society and each other.

The Bikeriders has already revved up a host of positive reviews following its debut at film festivals in late 2023. Here’s everything you need to know about it before it speeds into a cinema near you, including its cast, plot, trailers and more.

Jodie Comer and Austin Butler stood in front a motorbike in The Bikeriders
The cast also includes British star Jodie Comer. (Universal)

The Bikeriders is out in UK cinemas now.

The film, directed by Midnight Special’s Jeff Nichols, landed on the big screen on Friday, 21 June. It was delayed from its original release date of December 2023 due to the Hollywood strikes.

“I build this from nothing… this is our family,” rasps biker gang leader Johnny in the first trailer for The Bikeriders. With this sneak peek, we find Hardy continuing his trend of imbuing his characters with unusual voices, this time doing his best Marlon Brando impression.

Arriving in September 2023, this brief look at Nichols’ latest shows Kathy recalling her story, with Butler and Hardy serving up their finest smouldering biker pouts.

They don’t last too long though, as things soon take a darker turn when the gang’s rebellious nature gets out of control. Watch it below.

A second trailer was released after The Bikeriders’ new debut date was announced, this time calling it “Goodfellas on Harleys” and showcasing the chaos that this biker gang can cause. Watch it below.

THE BIKERIDERS, from left: Emory Cohen, Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, 2023. ph: Kyle Kaplan / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection
Elvis star Butler has won praise for his latest performance. (Universal)

The Bikeriders hit the road following its London Film Festival debut in 2023 and a fresh batch of reviews are hot on its tail.

As Butler’s biggest release since Elvis, can he deliver another performance alluring enough to overshadow his work as the King? With a strong ensemble around him, he has a strong chance of pulling it off — and according to these early critiques, The Bikeriders is a quick hit.

The Guardian enjoyed seeing Butler, Jodie Comer and Tom Hardy meet in such a rich story, saying there is “such enormous potency and impact in everything they do onscreen.”

The Evening Standard was equally impressed with Comer’s performance, saying she “roars into her first Great American Film Role,” while The Telegraph praised Butler’s first post-Elvis performance, saying “it is just the kind of quietly magnetic, still-waters-run-deep performance that Elvis Presley would have killed to be able to give.”

The film has revved up an 82% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. Read our full review round-up below:

The Guardian: Potent ode to the violent lives of 60s biker gangs (4-min read)

Evening Standard: Jodie Comer roars into this full-throttle drama (2-min read)

The Telegraph: Tom Hardy channels Marlon Brando in a grubby blast of underworld machismo (2-min read)

Variety: Austin Butler and Tom Hardy Are Cool Personified in the ‘Godfather’ of Biker Movies (6-min read)

Austin Butler on a motorbike in The Bikeriders
The film is loosely based on the 1967 photobook of the same name. (Universal)

The Bikeriders takes audiences through the rise, fall, clashes and chaos of a fictional biker gang known as the Vandals that operated in and around the American Midwest throughout the 1960s.

Their decade-long story is told to us by Kathy, the wife of a reckless rider named Benny who watches the group go from bike-and-beer-loving outsiders to a more dangerous and violent organisation.

Surrounding them are a host of other bikers, including gang leader Johnny, someone whom Benny is fiercely loyal to — to the degree that Kathy feels she must compete for her husband’s attention.

However, what starts as an innocent celebration of independence from society quickly becomes something harder to navigate, as the film’s official synopsis explains.

“As life in the Vandals gets more dangerous, and the club threatens to become a more sinister gang, Kathy, Benny and Johnny are forced to make choices about their loyalty to the club and to each other.”

Story aside, Nichols aims to bring viewers into an era-authentic time-gone-by.

According to the movie’s official press release, it “immerses you in the look, feel, and sounds of the bare-knuckled, grease-covered subculture of ’60s motorcycle riders,” with many of its cast members doing their own riding on era-accurate motorcycles.

Tom Hardy wearing a blue denim jacket in a scene from The Bikeriders
Hardy plays gang leader Danny. (Universal)

Killing Eve star Jodie Comer will be our entry into The Bikeriders as Kathy, with Butler playing her wreckless bike-riding husband Benny. Venom star Tom Hardy will play Johnny, the gang’s leader and Benny’s loyal friend. He’s also the third part of Kathy and Benny’s complex relationship, with the former often feeling maligned in favour of the latter.

Nichols’ long-time collaborator, Michael Shannon, will also star as a character named Zipco, continuing his trend of appearing in every movie the Take Shelter filmmaker has made thus far.

Norman Reedus on a motorbike in The Bikeriders
The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus plays Funny Sonny. (Universal)

Fresh from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Boyd Holbrook will appear as Vandals’ rider Cal, alongside The Walking Dead favourite and no stranger to a motorcycle, Norman Reedus, as Funny Sonny.

West Side Story actor Mike Faist will play Danny Lyons, the author who created the photo book upon which the film was based, with Damon Herriman, Beau Knapp, Emory Cohen, Karl Glusman, Toby Wallace and Happy Anderson also starring.

The Bikeriders will be released in UK cinemas on Friday, 21 June