(1994) 70 min. 16mm. Color
Writer, Director and Producer:
Katharina Otto-Bernstein

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Featured at the opening ceremonies of the Marseille Bicycle Museum, the Beijing Bicycle Museum and the Amsterdam Bicycle Museum, this highly entertaining cult classic will have you on the edge of your seat as it follows America's hippest subculture, the hardcore bicycle messengers, through the gritty streets of New York.

"Either you get better, or you get dead" is motto of these cocky adrenaline addicts, who have made their job a lifestyle.

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Traffic laws do not apply, as these men and women brave the elements at speeds up to 70 mph. Whether it is hanging on to cars, pushing pedestrians out of the way or crossing police lines in rain and snow, nothing can stand in the way of getting the job done. "It is part of my pride getting there first. This is my private hell and my independence," says former stripper Steve the Greek who has been riding the roads for the past 10 years. "We are the last free spirits in America. I am Marco Polo doomed to New York."

The film was shot and directed out of a small two-seater convertible and from a specially rigged bicycle to keep up with the high-speed protagonists Steve the Greek, Bill Silverfox, Vicky Butterfly and the X-Men on their runs through New York City. "When a bicycle messenger dies, it's never pretty, it's never an open casket. I am not a break person and I don't stop for lights," says Joey Jo the Legend, leader of the X-Men, who is revered for his daring stunts. With unprecedented access, THE NEED FOR SPEED invites the viewer into this tightly woven community that exists outside mainstream society.

"We take care of our own, we police our own, and we protect our own. It's the unwritten law of the streets. We look out for each other, 'cause nobody else will!"

Copyright 1993 Film Manufacturers Inc