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The Wild One (1953)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Romance | February 1954 (USA)
Trailer
3:09 | Trailer
Two rival motorcycle gangs terrorize a small town after one of their leaders is thrown in jail.

Director:

Laslo Benedek

Writers:

John Paxton (screenplay), Frank Rooney (based on a story by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlon Brando ... Johnny Strabler
Mary Murphy ... Kathie Bleeker
Robert Keith ... Sheriff Harry Bleeker
Lee Marvin ... Chino
Jay C. Flippen ... Sheriff Stew Singer
Peggy Maley ... Mildred
Hugh Sanders ... Charlie Thomas
Ray Teal ... Frank Bleeker
John Brown John Brown ... Bill Hannegan
Will Wright ... Art Kleiner
Robert Osterloh ... Ben
William Vedder William Vedder ... Jimmy
Yvonne Doughty Yvonne Doughty ... Britches
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Storyline

Cop-hating Johnny Strabler is recounting the fateful events that led up to the "whole mess" as he calls it, his role in the mess and whether he could have stopped it from happening. The Black Rebels, a motorcycle gang of which Johnny is the leader, cause a ruckus using intimidation wherever they go, with their actions bordering on the unlawful. On the day of the mess, they invade a motorcycle racing event, at which they cause a general disturbance culminating with one of the gang members stealing a second place trophy to give to Johnny. Despite not being the larger winning trophy, it symbolizes to Johnny his leadership within the group. Their next stop is a small town where their disturbance and intimidation tactics continue. Some in town don't mind their arrival as long as they spend money. Harry Bleeker, the local sheriff, doesn't much like them but is so ineffective and weak that he doesn't do anything to stop them, much to the annoyance of some of the other townsfolk, who see the ... Written by Huggo

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Taglines:

Hot feelings hit terrifying heights in a story that really boils over! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lee Marvin openly mocked Brando's style of acting, believing it to be overrated. See more »

Goofs

Wire holding handle-bar/throttle can be seen during side view of Johnny's run-away cycle before it hits and kills Jimmy. See more »

Quotes

Kathie Bleeker: Why are you trying to be so rude?
Johnny: I don't like cops!
See more »

Crazy Credits

[Opening credit] This is a shocking story. It could never take place in most American towns -- But it did in this one.

It is a public challenge not to let it happen again. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Waiting for God: Harvey the Priest (1994) See more »

User Reviews

Trend Setter For Rebel Outcasts
9 October 2009 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

There's really not much to the story. A motorcycle gang, led by Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando), roars into a small town and kicks up a ruckus. The older townsfolk don't take kindly to the invasion, and Johnny becomes the object of their wrath. But Johnny is smitten with a young woman who happens to be a cop's daughter. "The Wild One" is a character study of a moody young man who starts out as a juvenile delinquent but changes as the result of a sad, mournful young woman.

Costumes play a big part in this film. Motorcycle gang members wear jeans, T-shirts, motorcycle caps, and heavy leather jackets. That's their uniform, which visually defines their rebellion. Johnny starts out in a leather jacket, and ends up in one. I don't think he ever takes it off through the whole film.

Visuals convey the impression that most of the film was shot on studio back lots. The streets and buildings all look fake. And the cinematography is helped not at all by the use of rear screen projection. Yet, the B&W lighting is quite good, especially in the second half, with high contrast noir lighting.

The film's score is annoying. I could have wished for some early 1950's songs. Plot pacing is poor. And the casting of some of the motorcycle gang is laughable. Some of the "juveniles" appear to be at least 30 or 35 years old.

"The Wild One" is remembered mostly as a cinematic vehicle for Marlon Brando, and because the film was something of a trend setter, in that it helped usher in an era of films about American juvenile delinquents, youthful rebel outcasts who didn't fit in to the post WWII era of middle-America family values.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hot Blood See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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