on-any-sundayLet’s face it. Bruce Brown is a maverick filmmaker. The Endless Summer is, without peer, the greatest surf documentary ever made and arguably one of the greatest documentaries ever made. So it stands to reason that any other endeavor he has taken on will be just as awesome. On Any Sunday does not disappoint.

Filmed over the course of months in the way way back (1971), the film chronicles the achievements of AMA riders decades before the XGAMES. It’s hard for people of a younger generation to realize that dirt bike racing was not only rare as hell back in the day, but also just as dangerous. Starting with a collection of horrific crashes where it is hard to believe that these incredible athletes simply walk away (and reminiscent of the major wipeouts Brown features in Endless Summer) this section is both intriguing, and difficult, to watch.

There were different types of races. Road racing was one where a precise and full throttle competition challenged even the most stalwart of motorcycle drivers. Gaining speeds up to 160 miles per hour, the races are epic and the crashes are even more so.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this documentary is that everyone involved did it simply for the love of the sport. Both the filmmaker and the participants. There were no mega sponsorships back then. These brave men had day jobs, and this was just an extreme hobby for adrenaline junkies, who were not out to impress anyone other than their fellow motorcycle riders.

Although some of the riders do manage to make a living. A few even managed to score up to 50,000 dollars a year riding (keep in mind, that was quite a bit in 1971). But these people are few and far between. And the technical aspect of the sport is also deeply delved into as well. From “tear away visors” to razor blade cuts in their tires (so specific it is mindboggling), Bruce Brown gets grimy and dusty with the riders and how they plied their trade.

And that is why Bruce Brown has been such a successful documentarian. He does what he loves and films it. The key bit though is that he ACTUALLY DOES IT! Unlike most documentary filmmakers, who, while passionate about their source material, don’t actually live it. Bruce does. He is a surfer, a bike rider and has a dry, sometimes corny sense of humor that makes otherwise dry material very entertaining.

It is also worth mentioning that Steve McQueen makes an appearance in the film, riding down and dirty with the other riders, risking a very lucrative film career for the love of racing. This is a very good documentary. Interesting for those who love motorcycle racing, and for those who are, it is always important to learn your roots. Extreme Sports have a rich history that Bruce Brown exhibits in fine form.