Taglines: Two brothers challenge the road. And life itself.
Sports physician Marcus persuades his unstable brother David to come with him and train for a bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains. Marcus doesn’t tell David that he has a brain aneurysm which could render him paralyzed or dead at any given moment. While David powerfully heads for the victory, Marcus has to realize that the contest is now beyond his capabilities. / Features great views of the Rockies and an insight in the tactics of bicycle races.
American Flyers is a 1985 American sports drama film starring Kevin Costner, David Marshall Grant, Rae Dawn Chong, Alexandra Paul, Janice Rule, Luca Bercovici and Robert Townsend about bicycle racing. It was directed by John Badham and written by Steve Tesich (who had previously won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for another film featuring a bicycle race, 1979’s Breaking Away).
About the Story
Sports physician Marcus Sommers (Kevin Costner) persuades his younger brother David (David Marshall Grant) to train with him for a three-day bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains known as “The Hell of the West.” There is a history of cerebral aneurysm in the Sommers family, which killed their father. Their mother (Janice Rule) is concerned that the condition may now be affecting David as well. Marcus convinces David to undergo testing at his sports medicine center. Following the test, David overhears a conversation in which Marcus says that he does not want to worry David about something. David assumes that he does have an aneurysm.
Marcus convinces David to embark on a cross-country journey to the bicycle race in Colorado, along with Marcus’ girlfriend Sarah (Rae Dawn Chong). Along the way, they pick up a beautiful, hippie hitchhiker named Becky (Alexandra Paul). Marcus realises that David needs to train to be prepared for the race. The brothers engage in fun training, such as practicing sprinting against an angry vicious dog. They even go so far as have an impromptu bikes vs. horses race. The group also has run-ins with some of Marcus’s old cycling rivals, including Sarah’s ex-husband, Muzzin (Luca Bercovici).
In the three-stage race in the Rockies, with mountain and prairie backdrops, the brothers compete against the world’s top cyclists on dangerous roads at breakneck speeds. David crashes his bike at the end of the first stage and barely qualifies for the next round. Marcus works out how much time David needs to regain and develops a strategy for the second leg of the race. During the race, it turns out that it is Marcus, intending to hide his condition from his brother, who eventually suffers an aneurysm during the second stage and drops out.
American Flyers (1985)
Directed by: John Badham
Starring: Kevin Costner, David Marshall Grant, Rae Dawn Chong, Alexandra Paul, Janice Rule, Luca Bercovici, Robert Townsend
Screenplay by: Steve Tesich
Production Design by: Lawrence G. Paull
Cinematography by: Donald Peterman
Film Editing by: Jeff Jones, Frank Morriss, Dallas Puett
Costume Design by: Marianna Elliott
Set Decoration by: Garrett Lewis
Music by: Greg Mathieson, Lee Ritenour
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: August 16, 1985