Two hippie bikers set out to discover "the real America" and wind up taking the ultimate bad trip. Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson star in the landmark American film.Starring PETER FONDA, JACK NICHOLSON, KAREN BLACK, DENNIS HOPPER
© 1969 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Is it a biker flick, a road picture, a cowboy movie, or a symbollic look at the battle between 60s counterculture and mainstream America (more specifically, southern America)? The film that was a cultural touchstone for the flower power generation manages to be all these things while also being a simple, quality indie-style film. And simple it is: the plot involves two hippy bikers (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) taking a trip from California to New Orleans for mardi gras and meeting the entire cross-section of the American population. Some greet them with open arms (the lost souls of a hippy commune) and some, like the southern cops, not so much. Maybe at times it does club you over the head with symbolism (a character called Captain America has an american flag on his leather jacket and rides a bike painted in the flag colors and has an american flag helmet- alright, we get it, hippies can be patriotic too... conservatives don't have exclusive rights to patriotism), but much like the rock music of the era, you can't help but appreciate the earnestness. Jack Nicolson has a scene-stealing supporting role as a drunken southern lawyer who decides to turn on, tune in and drop out with the two bikers. I read somewhere the actors were smoking real weed when sitting around the campfire, and Jack delivers some great UFO-inspired dialogue in that scene. Like most westerns, there's a saloon scene (well, actually it's a restaurant) where the heroes are bullied by the local ruffians, and a great scene towards the end where Hopper's character raises a literal middle finger towards death. At the advent of the seventies, it's a bittersweet ending to the flower-power generation's tale, as the rebels without causes get slowly lost to the winds.
- bottcorecords1, Wednesday, March 23, 2011
While its a great and important movie, Easy Rider didn't hold up on a second (or was it my third...?) viewing for me. Sure, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper did well in their roles and it probably paints an appropriately perfect and frightening portrayal of America in the late 60s. However there are points in Easy Rider where it merely comes off as a collection of beautifully photographed series of landscape music videos for the movie's brilliant soundtrack. Easy Rider gets more uncomfortable and subsequently more frightening as its short but sweet running time goes on with a climax that makes me think twice about saying I was born too late. Jack Nicholson is great and his campfire scenes with Fonda and Hopper are brilliant. Terry Southern's dialogue is magnificent and the Mardi Gras acid trip was cool, all while knowing when to let the viewer off the hook. A great movie but by no means a masterpiece.
- mjgildea, Wednesday, February 9, 2011
'Easy Rider' is unquestionably important, it's a seminal film. It was a large contributing factor to the birth of an era of burgeoning talent and art that produced many of the greatest films ever made. Easy Rider is a transgressive, political film; few creations have been so lauded for capturing the zeitgeist. However, to a modern audience, I feel it's more of an artefact than a film. To be frank, I didn't particularly enjoy it. I didn't find it that interesting, it didn't resonate with me that much. One connection it made with me was how it almost shattered that romanticised idea of riding the highways of America. Well, it didn't shatter it, but it certainly shows the potential emptiness of the experience. However, I'd still love to drive around America, but I'd gladly ditch the spirituality for clean hotel rooms and nice corpulent plates of Americana. I'd also prefer a muscle car. So, given its legacy, 'Easy Rider' is a hard film to judge. It would be ignorant of me to totally trash it, but I do think it's overrated, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it.
- Callahan441, Sunday, December 2, 2012