Box art for Easy Rider

Easy Rider


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

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    86%
  • Audience Score
    83%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
Sex
4 out of 5
Language
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
5 out of 5
Violence
4 out of 5
Consumerism
1 out of 5

Iconic 1969 road-trip movie with violence, drugs, sex.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that the release of Easy Rider in 1969 marked a significant change in American filmmaking. Never before had a low-budget, offbeat movie made such an impact on young audiences. Reflecting a chaotic time in a country that was deeply divided in its values, the film's frank treatment of alternative lifestyles, sexual "freedom," and drug and alcohol use (pervasive marijuana smoking, consumption of cocaine and hallucinogens, heavy drinking and drunkenness) struck a deep nerve. The film and its music are still considered classic and unequaled. Mild, infrequent swearing ("a--hole," "Yankee queers," "goddamn") is included. Sexuality and some nudity (no intercourse) are seen in both idyllic settings and in a frenzied acid trip. The few violent scenes are extreme, shocking, and bloody. (Spoiler alert: Important characters are killed by gunfire and a brutal beating).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Easy Rider as an outstanding example of the artistic blending of film and music. How did the music affect your understanding and enjoyment of the story? How did the music affect your visual experience of the road trip?
  • What do you think Wyatt (Captain America) means when he says, "We blew it," near the end of the movie?
  • Discuss the term "game changer" when it comes to describing a movie. Find out why this movie was considered a game changer and broke new ground in filmmaking when it was released in 1969.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    86%
    reviews counted: 0
    see all Easy Rider reviews
  • Audience

    83%

Audience Reviews

4 stars

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

4 stars

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

3 stars

Capturing a moment in time perfectly, this film is a time capsule to 1969. Though it now seems very dated to me, it does feature a truly great performance from Jack Nicholson.

- fb1664868775, Sunday, October 30, 2011