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Angels Hard as They Come (1971)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  September 1971 (USA)
4.7
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 220 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 3 critic

Sex, violence and bikers on an action filled ride, in this film produced and co-written by Jonathan Demme.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Long John
Charles Dierkop ...
General
James Iglehart ...
Monk
Gilda Texter ...
Astrid
Gary Littlejohn ...
Axe
...
Henry
Don Carerra ...
Juicer
Brendan Kelly ...
Brain
...
Vicki
Dirty Denny ...
Rings (as Dennis Art) (as Dennis 'Dirty Denny' Art)
Neva Davis ...
Clean Shiela
Cherie Latimer ...
Lucifer's Girl
Marc Seaton ...
Louie
Steve Slauson ...
Magic
John Raymond Taylor ...
Crab (as John Taylor)
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Storyline

A drug deal is foiled, when the cops show up. They agree to meet in a few days out in the desert and complete the deal. The Angels head for the meeting place. On the way they meet up with the Dragons and are invited to come party with some hippies in an old ghost town. The General, leader of the Dragons is a psychotic dwarf and his henchman Axe isn't to stable either. The trouble start when one of the hippie girls is murdered and the Dragons decide that one of the Angels did it. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Big men with throbbing machines... And the girls who take them on. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

September 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rolling Thunder  »

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Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)
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Connections

Referenced in Wanderlust (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a gritty, lost classic in the biker movie era
17 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

On the one hand, after watching Angels Hard as They Come, I could understand why it's not higher rated or even been seen anymore than the common garden-variety B-movie biker flick, as it is true shamelessly Corman-style. On the other hand, I ended really liking how it was executed. The collaborators, Joe Viola and Jonathan Demme, wring out plenty of dirty fun out of such violent and twisted material without 'softening' it up like some biker movies of the period. It's got almost no characters from the 'outside' world, just bikers, and maybe a few hippies (and yes, one of them an out-of-place and amusingly one-note Gary Busey). So part of the entertainment comes from bikers just being as rough and crazy as possible. But with this the writers come up with some unexpectedly funny moments, some more harsh than others, and sometimes even commenting on some of the absurdities of the Dragons. This is done dialog-wise many times- as Viola's style isn't nearly as strong or affecting as Demme provides- and sometimes through ideas shown and it all being realistic even as its crudely artificial.

One such scene, as a quick example, is when the leader of the pack General (Charles Dierkop as a well-played maniac) is seen from the waist up having short moment of pleasure, then as the camera pans down his motorcycle is getting a cleaning (pun intended, but then the title itself is almost there just for a goof). Or in having one of the side characters, the one black character of a story, adrift in the desert, almost putting to a stop the Corman rule of there being almost constant danger &/or fights &/or sex/nudity/et all. Other ideas abound in the crazy extremities that the Dragons go through against the three Angels (one being Scott Glenn in maybe the best 'acting' of the film), including a final idea that never does come to fruition. All through, the filmmakers basically acknowledge what kind of film they're making, and don't skimp out on the early biker movies might not have dealt with, at least as much. Rape, racism, torture, pure decadence and decay in the devastation. But the factor of it all having practically a Western-movie element to it, a B-Western at that, is not thrown away for a story without focus.

It's arcane and simplistic in music, usually exploitive in themes and character, and it's got the cinematic flavor of a beer soaked ashtray. But to hell if it isn't one of my favorites of its kind, if only on the most guilty-pleasure level.


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