Two young "hippie" bikers, Wyatt and Billy sell some dope in Southern California, stash their money away in their gas-tank and set off for a trip across America, on their own personal odyssey looking for a way to lead their lives. On the journey they encounter bigotry and hatred from small-town communities who despise and fear their non-conformism. However Wyatt and Billy also discover people attempting 'alternative lifestyles' who are resisting this narrow-mindedness, there is always a question mark over the future survival of these drop-out groups. The gentle hippie community who thank God for 'a place to stand' are living their own unreal dream. The rancher they encounter and his Mexican wife are hard-pushed to make ends meet. Even LSD turns sour when the trip is a bad one. Death comes to seem the only freedom. When they arrive at a diner in a small town, they are insulted by the local rednecks as weirdo degenerates. They are arrested on some minor pretext by the local sheriff and ... Written by
'Easy Rider' is much more than a 60s relic - it's still a great movie even today. I find it fascinating that Hopper and Fonda took Roger Corman material and gave it an arthouse approach influenced by Godard and the French New Wave. Combined with breathtaking visuals, a well chosen rock soundtrack and some classic, stoned, improvised dialogue this is still an impressive movie all these years later. Fonda had recently made 'The Wild Angels', Hopper the less remembered 'The Glory Stompers', and Jack Nicholson 'Hells Angels On Wheels', but 'Easy Rider' reinvented the biker movie, and things were never quite the same in Hollywood for the rest of the Seventies. The supporting cast is interesting and includes a great role for the fantastically underrated Luke Askew as the "Stranger on Highway", and cameos from the stars buddies Luana Anders ('Dementia 13') and Sabrina Scharf (Nicholson's love interest in 'Hells Angels On Wheels'), as well Karen Black and Toni Basil's New Orleans hookers, Phil Spector's coke snorting bit part, and a fleeting glimpse of a young Grizzly Adams. You either love this movie or you don't, and I'm most definitely in the former camp. A 1960s generation-defining counter-culture classic!
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