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Easy Rider (1969)

 -  Drama  -  26 June 1969 (Sweden)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 63,918 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 349 user | 101 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America.

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Title: Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider (1969) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: James Benning
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Antonio Mendoza ...
Jesus
...
Connection
Mac Mashourian ...
Bodyguard
Warren Finnerty ...
Rancher
Tita Colorado ...
Rancher's Wife
...
...
Lisa
Sabrina Scharf ...
Sarah
Sandy Brown Wyeth ...
Joanne (as Sandy Wyeth)
...
Jack (as Robert Walker)
Robert Ball ...
Mime #1
...
Mime #2
Ellie Wood Walker ...
Mime #3 (as Ellie Walker)
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Storyline

Wyatt and Billy are two motorcycle riders (bikers) on their way to Mardis Gras, and encounter hitchhikers, a drunken lawyer, a jail cell, a whorehouse and the death of a friend. Written by Aaron Horne

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This Year It's Easy Rider See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 June 1969 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Loners  »

Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Fonda got the idea for this movie after seeing a picture of himself and Bruce Dern on their motorcycles. He got Dennis Hopper (who was planning to get out of the acting business and become a teacher at the time) involved when he promised him he could direct the film. See more »

Goofs

Wyatt and Billy are going to the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. This indicates that they are traveling in either late January or early February, given that Mardi Gras usually takes place in mid February. Despite this, and despite the number of states they drive through, the men never drive through an area of cold weather. Many of the characters they meet are wearing summer style clothes, and the weather is most obvious in New Mexico, where the winters can be extremely hard with lots of snow. See more »

Quotes

Captain America: It's grass.
Captain America: You mean marijuana? Lord have mercy, is that what that is?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Henry Fonda: The Man and His Movies (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

When the Saints Go Marching In
(uncredited)
Traditional
Heard at the Mardi Gras
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Far Out Document of the late 60's Encapsulates Counter-Culture America.
20 January 2000 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

Not many films have documented an era of American culture the way it must have really been. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES captured the reality of the post-war 1940's. TAXI DRIVER is a masterpiece of social distortion and paranoia exemplary of the 1970's. No film other than EASY RIDER captures the late 1960's as seen by the American counter-culture. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper's story of two men who go in search of America and 'freedom' is a bona fide sign of the times. I may not have been around at the time, but it is great to see a film portraying the long-haired, hippie attitude towards an America in turmoil in the form of a biker flick, circa 1969.

EASY RIDER is an exploration of vast and desolate parts of the country. Of course, the stop at Mardi Gras is a necessity, but what Fonda and director Hopper are trying to tell us is that there was no 'freedom' as they saw it. The sprawling journey shows filmgoers the multiple frictions and shattered idealism of a generation in the midst of cultural change. Sex, drugs, and music were exploding socially and 1960's ideology may have come to an end in 1969, literally and figuratively speaking - much like it shockingly does in this film.

Peter Fonda plays cool "Captain America", otherwise known as Wyatt, while Hopper is a paranoid prophet of the hippies as "Billy the Kid". The stunning DVD version of the film notes the importance of Laszlo Kovacs, the director of photography. Much of the film consists of Kovacs' simple shooting of the riders as they travel spiraling highways and bigoted backroads. It is some beautiful footage and essential to the trip. A major deal is made, much grass is smoked, and the film takes off from there. Their ultimate goal is never clearly defined, but Fonda's final comment to Hopper may sum it up for viewers. Did they find what America was supposed to be about? I guess not according to Fonda.

There is a surreal experience at a commune the Kid and Wyatt stop at. These scenes are out of a Fellini film. One significant shot paints the commune with a 360 degree pan across the faces of the live-in hippies. The expressions on the faces all seem different, some grinning, others just zoned out. Kovac's amazing camera work (especially on the road with the bikes) along with a virtual who's who in rock music of the late 60's makes for a sometimes visceral filmgoing experience. The immortal 'Born to be Wild' blares over the opening title sequence and everyone from Hendrix to The Byrds are heard throughout.

EASY RIDER also contains one of Jack Nicholson's 2 or 3 most memorable performances, even to this day. As drunken lawyer "George Hanson", he creates an amazingly funny and perfect counterpoint to Hopper and Fonda. He realizes what the general public can think of the "long-hairs" and puts himself in danger just by traveling with them. A bizarre notion of alien presence in the U.S. government is part of a hilarious conversation Nicholson and Hopper have over Whiskey and smoke. His scenes on Fonda's chopper with the golden football helmet are absolute, cinematic classics.

Credit must be given to Fonda, Hopper, Nicholson, Kovacs, and Terry Southern for giving a new face to movie-making. They captured the era in a raw, jump cutting fashion. Maybe the hippies were not entirely right by trying to live off the land, or smoking dope all the time, but they may have been onto something.

RATING: ***1/2


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Easily one of the top three worst movies I have ever seen Beverwyk
ridiculous demonization of the American South eric102
Why does Wyatt say: We blew it? ahnenthor
recommendations for other films of this style? cexanatos
Jack Nicholson's acting choices- questionable??? shalise-begum
stranger on the highway sanookdee
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