Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.
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
In an interview with The Guardian, Dennis Hopper claimed that Terry Southern wrote nothing in the film besides contributing the title, as he broke his hip in a fall. In an interview with Creative Screenwriting, Southern claimed, "Peter was to be the actor/producer, Dennis the actor/director, and a certain yours truly, the writer," Southern told Creative Screenwriting. "After they had seen a couple of screenings of it on the coast, I got a call from Peter. He said that he and Dennis liked the film so much they wanted to be in on the screenplay credits. Well, one of them was the producer and other was the director so there was no way the Writers Guild was going to allow them to take a screenplay credit unless I insisted." Not listening to the WGA, Southern allowed them to have their credits on the film, which was largely improvised. Peter Fonda said of Southern's contributions, "He gave us dark humour and a literary panache that Dennis and I did not have. "Having him with us as a writer on the script put it above periscope depth. People would say, 'Wow, Terry Southern co-wrote that. I wonder what that's about?'" See more »
Our heroes are heading east across the country in a trip, having started in LA. Yet in a town relatively far east on the journey, a Pacific Bell telephone logo is seen. See more »
We did it, man. We did it, we did it. We're rich, man. We're retirin' in Florida now, mister.
You know Billy, we blew it.
See more »
To me, a flawed masterpiece is a film that is not perfect but by the end achieves something so great it overcomes its' flaws. The two films I can honestly say that about are Lars Von Trier's Dancer In The Dark and Easy Rider. Easy Rider perfectly defines it.
The flaws: Well, the first half although entertaining it pointless. They basically just ride around and pick up hippies and go to a commune. Peter Fonda although he looks the part but for some reason something seemed missing from his character. Also, in the beginning there is a pretty annoying editing technique which they luckily soon abandon.
The film really gets astounding in the second half. The whole film is shot very well by DP Laszlo Kovacs and the music might be one of the best soundtracks ever in film. I might even buy it. The film is filled with genuinely poetic ideas. Jack Nicholson gives a star making performance and Dennis Hopper is once again and forever THE MAN. This film is filled with many biblical metaphors which never came off as pretentious but very powerful. The film is filled with very strong visuals. No wonder Dennis Hopper once wanted to work with Alejandro Jodorwsky. The ending is might be the best part of the movie. It is almost the ultimate "what the f*ck?' moment in history, but for such a chaotic film it fits perfectly. The ending is also powerful. It represented to me the end of a generation.
Well okay. This movie I know will definitely not please everybody but for those who are open minded and into visually driven films, this film will certainly live up to its' title as one of the most influential films in American history.
77 of 99 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?