The Wild One (1953) Poster



The Triumph motorcycle that Marlon Brando rides in the movie was his personal bike.
A photo of Marlon Brando as Johnny is featured on the cover of the Beatles' album, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
This film was banned in Britain until 1968.
The name of Lee Marvin's motorcycle gang is "The Beetles." Although it has never formally been acknowledged as an inspiration for the name of the 1960s rock band, the scene from the movie where Marvin introduces The Beetles is used at the beginning of The Beatles Anthology.
Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin almost starred together again 19 years later in John Boorman's Deliverance (1972). They were cast together in the film until Lee Marvin told director Boorman that he thought he and Brando were too old for their roles. Boorman agreed and cast Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds instead.
Based on a 1951 short story in Harper's Magazine entitled The Cyclists' Raid, which in turn was based upon a real-life incident in Hollister, California in 1947. The actual incident, however, bore little resemblance to the events depicted in the movie. Although spirited, the cyclists did not run amok or become violent. In fact, the bikers were invited back to Hollister over the July 4, 1997 weekend for a fiftieth anniversary celebration of the original incident.
The film was rejected for a UK cinema certificate in 1954 and 1955 by the BBFC and was finally granted an X rating in November 1967 after a 13 year ban.
Pigeon, a member of the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club led by Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando) is played by an uncredited Alvy Moore. Moore would achieve greater recognition some twelve years later playing the absent minded county agent Hank Kimball on Green Acres.
This was the first film in which the manufacturer's logo on motorcycles was not blanked out. Johnson Motors, who imported Triumphs into the USA, protested at their product being linked with Brando and his Black Rebels, but the association served them well.
San Francisco Hell's Angels chapter president Frank Sadilek bought the striped shirt that Lee Marvin wore in the movie, and wore it when meeting police officials.
Marlon Brando's motorcycle is a 650cc Triumph Thunderbird. From stills, its registration number looks like 63632. Lee Marvin also owned a Triumph 200cc Tiger Cub upon which he competed in desert races. 'Jr Gil Stratton' was featured in a print advertisement for Triumph motorcycles in 1963. He later became a well-known TV sports reporter in Los Angeles for decades.
Lee Marvin could not ride a motorcycle at the time of filming, but determined not to be bettered by the star (Brando) he quickly learned, later becoming a keen competitor on his Triumph 200cc Tiger Cub in desert races.
A popular still from the film shows an off-set Marlon Brando astride a Matchless twin cylinder motorcycle, it's 'M' logo gas tank badge being secured upside-down to resemble a 'W'. This was stunt rider 'Wally Allbright''s motorcycle.
Lee Marvin based his character, Chino, on real biker Willie Forkner ("Wino Willy"). Forkner rode with the Booze Fighters Motorcycle Club, and is considered a legend among bikers.
Widely released as a double bill with The Big Heat (1953) in the US.
Marlon Brando and most of the Black Rebels ride Triumphs and other British motorcycles, while Lee Marvin and his boys ride Harley-Davidsons.
The leather jacket worn by Marlon Brando is a Schott NYC Perfecto 618, personalized by Brando by the addition of the epaulet stars. This style of jacket is still available.
The rock band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club take their name from one of the biker gangs in this film.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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