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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was brought out to the Mojave desert, with my brother and sister, and
our mom driving.We were going to watch our father act in a movie he had
written with his then pal Tom Stern. I was 13 years old and I will
never forget that weekend. (nor will my mother!)The scene of the club
house fight was totally spontaneous. The cameras were still getting in
position and the director was blaring over the megaphone telling
everyone to stay in place until he yelled "action".And all of a sudden
you could hear some loud swear words and a lady started yelling and
before you could say action the fight began (for real). They just
turned the cameras on and got as much footage as they could! I also
thought it was funny watching the REAL HELLS ANGELS ride through the
desert on tiny Japanese dirt bikes in the final chase scene!
My dad is Jeremy Slate, and just passed away Nov. 18th. I will miss the life he was so full of.He found a place to fit in five decades of Hollywood. He did get into the b-biker films(were any of them A?)(OK....Easy Rider),check out "Born Losers",(the first Billie Jack Movie).
He played many a bad man in hundreds of westerns,(True Grit..he cuts off Denise Hoppers fingers..yeah!)
He played the suave second fiddle to Frankie Avolon(I'll take Sweden) and Elvis Pressly(Girls,Girls,Girls!).
Anyway I give the movie a "10". My Dad wrote it and starred in it.What did you think I'd give it? Rest in peace dad, jer
The Orson Wells of Motorcycle films, Tom Stern, turns in one of his
best performances. For nothing more than a "B" film, this turns into a
highly enjoyable robbery heist flick in the nature of Ocean's 11.
Stern teams up with his buddy Jerome Slate to play spoiled,bratty, millionaire brothers who decide to rob a Vegas hotel while posing as members of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. The story plot is surprisingly good and the acting and action scenes are very well done.
The Vegas of 1969 is captured, and boy has it changed! Hell's Angel leader Ralph "Sonny" Barger steals the show simply by playing himself. Overall an impressive effort by Tom Stern.
"Hell's Angels '69" takes the premise of "The Thomas Crown Affair" and
re-tools it as a biker flick. It's a clever idea, and "Hell's Angels
'69" is better than most biker flicks from this period, with a bit more
story, character development and subtext. Unfortunately, it's still not
much of a movie.
The movie's first misstep is revealing its hand from the beginning: Tom Stern and Jeremy Slate are crooks, not "real" bikers. Knowing this from the get-go removes an element of mystery, and the story might have been a bit more interesting had this fact been revealed later. Then again, the moment Stern and Slate hook up with the Hell's Angels -- featuring actual members of the notorious biker gang -- it's obvious they're not the rough n' tough bikers they claim to be. A big tip off: Slate asks the gang's sole "old lady," Conny Van Dyke, if she's ever considered settling down, getting married and raising children. Van Dyke is too clean-cut looking to really pass as a jaded biker chick (she looks much more at home in the powder blue dress and low-heeled pumps she dons later in the movie), but since that's the role she's playing one would assume she'd become suspicious when Slate starts talking like a high school guidance counselor. Apparently, these Angels were so impressed by Stern and Slate's bike tricks ("Watch this!") they're willing to overlook the guys' square tendencies.
Another misstep -- and one I'm surprised was allowed to happen -- is featuring real Hell's Angels and sanitizing them. In this movie, the gang just likes drinking Olys, riding their choppers and perpetrating vandalism, pretty much in that order. The guys get nasty in the final act, but for much of the movie they're presented as nothing more than 1950s juvenile delinquents with beards and a fondness for Nazi memorabilia.
Finally, "Hell's Angels '69" makes the same mistake of almost all biker movies: overestimating the entertainment value of guys riding bikes. You get plenty of footage of the gang riding down two-lane highways, riding through Vegas, riding through the desert, and, of course, riding through town while frightened squares look on. Yeah, they're bikers, we get it, but a little goes a long way, and it makes "Hell's Angels '69" go on a little too long.
After the success of Roger Corman's Wild Angels in the mid sixties,
there were probably a hundred or so biker movies flung out to the
masses. Most with Hell's Angels or some rip off version of The Angels'
name. All shared some degree of low budget schlock value. This movie is
completely different from the rest!
First, it has a decent and interesting plot and even some back story subtext between the two brothers in the movie. Secondly, it has an original soundtrack that, although slightly dated, isn't that bad. A sort of psychedelic garage band plays at the party at the beginning of the movie. Also the movie seemed to have a decent budget spent in all the right places. Lastly, The actual Oakland Hell's Angels appear in the movie as not only extras but speaking and acting roles and their actually not too bad.
So I highly recommend this to motorcycle movie and crime caper fans. If nothing else, it's got the most real Harley's and choppers you will ever see in a 60's/70's biker flick.
Like many of the low-budget hippy/biker/exploitation films of the late
'60s and early '70s, Hells Angels '69 is a stomach-turningly terrible
piece of movie making. From shot selection to sound to the acting,
virtually everything about this film will make the average movie-goer
wince in agony. I won't even go into the plot, because it's so dumb
that I'd lose I.Q. points just by attempting to explain it. Suffice it
to say that it's a typical biker movie of the era with a totally lame
caper thrown in.
When the idea for the film was initially pitched by its writer and eventual protagonist Tom Stern, it was turned down by every major studio he went to. To get the movie made, Stern had to finance most of it out of his own pocket, which makes one wonder what kind of "masterpiece" the guy thought he had written. It boggles the imagination.
The only redeeming aspect of Hell's Angels '69 is its plethora of classic custom choppers, the shots of which alone are more than enough to make most old school motorcycle enthusiasts go out and grab a copy for the nostalgia factor alone. Along those same lines, it's kind of surreal (albeit interesting) to see actual Hells Angels of the day playing themselves in the movie -- most notably a young, slender Sonny Barger, who gives one of the best performances in the film (which is not necessarily a compliment).
Bottom line: If you like old V-twin choppers and/or biker movies in general, you'll find at least some redeeming value in Hell's Angels '69. Otherwise, I don't recommend a viewing unless you just happen to surf across it on late night television.
So I kept waiting for Sonny to do a 69 with any of the other bearded
gays as the name says. They were gay. They were hanging around. And
that is about it. An action movie that is slow. Lost minutes with the
bearded gang going around. The most expensive part of the movie. And
probably the reason of its sales as biker porn. The acting is almost as
bad as an Eastern European action movie. The stunts are about the same,
but that was probably a way to calm down the extras. And the story?
There is no story. Only cardboard silhouettes moving around, stock
characters with no past or future. Sure, when you have read at least
one biography about Sony and his merry gang you can fill in the blanks
and make it look like a story. In the end this is the visual support
for a child's doll play. The bikes go vroooom! And there is a strange
girl to trick the censors into not label this gay propaganda.
Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @ bitmail.ch
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie begins with two brothers by the name of "Chuck" (Tom Stern) and "Wes" (Jeremy Slate) who mysteriously decide to head out west in order to meet the Oakland branch of the Hell's Angels. Donning a jacket with their own motorcycle club logo they manage to partially ingratiate themselves with the group and then proceed to coerce them into riding to Las Vegas. What the Hell's Angels don't realize is that these two brothers have a secret plan which carries a great amount of risk for all concerned. Now rather than reveal any more of this movie I will just say that it had a bit more mystery than most "biker films" out there and tended to get better as the movie progressed. Admittedly, the acting wasn't exactly top-notch but even so it was adequate enough. Likewise, there were a couple of scenes toward the end which seemed a bit too unbelievable but that's typical of Hollywood I suppose. In any case, I thought that this was a solid biker movie and because of that I rate it as about average.
Two brothers have a plan on how to rob the Ceasar's Palace in Las
They join a motorcycle gang and while the others are drinking and partying outside of town, they change their clothes and head off to rob the casino.
Of course, the police do not look for two well dressed criminals among the Hell's Angels.
Not a fan of this genre, but this is actually a good little movie with real Hell's Angels.
Interesting to take a look back at Las Vegas in the 60s too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I removed my first review and am "updating". I kind of gave it a scathing review first time. I just bought another $150's worth of "cheap biker movies" from White Horse Gear and this was one of them. It's the best "cheap biker movie" you can get and worth it. Real bikers instead of tattoo-free clean-cut actors. Tramp does an excellent job. Very nicely done. All he had to do was be himself! Keep your eye on "Tiny". Later in the movie, you can tell he's very drunk (no drinking on the set, Tiny!) He wobbles and staggers about but then again, just being himself. One scene, Sonny tries to start his chopper and kicks it while it's in gear. Good thing it didn't start! "Slatejer" said it was funny watching Angels on "tiny Japanese bikes" but there was only one in the desert scenes. Conny Van Dyke's character was on a Hodaka. The rest were vintage European and English bikes. Sonny's dirt bike was a huge Triumph (good choice, Mr. Barger!) You need this movie! It is kind of sad seeing the Angels in this movie who are not with us anymore.
This movie is about two dudes that most likely hung out with real
Hell's Angels after they became popular and sold-out in the late 60's
and came up with a "perfect heist" type movie using the Angels as props
for their caper.
Unfortunately for their characters, the Hell's Angels are a force of nature, similar to fire, and you can't play with them without eventually getting burned.
And unfortunately for you, I really can't tell much more about the movie without giving everything away. I'm not sure if the plot and character development was intended to develop over the course of the movie, or if they just made it up as they went along; but that was the main thing that made it interesting, so I'm not really able to tell you anything more without ruining it.
Oh, but the best part about the movie: they used real Hell's Angels to play the Hell's Angels. They even use their real names. And if you think that the REAL Oakland Angel's were going to be in a movie in which they end up the suckers, you've got another think coming. As I said, the Hell's Angels are a force of nature and are not to be trifled with. Just give them their due, and pray they let you walk away.
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