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The Wild Angels (1966)

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3:02 | Featurette

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The "Angels", a San Pedro motorcycle gang, parties in the Coachella Valley's Palm Springs Indian Canyons, California, and wreaks havoc with the local police.

Director:

Roger Corman
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4,356 ( 10,003)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Fonda ... Heavenly Blues
Nancy Sinatra ... Mike 'Monkey'
Bruce Dern ... Joe 'Loser' Kearns
Diane Ladd ... Gaysh
Buck Taylor ... Dear John
Norman Alden ... Medic
Michael J. Pollard ... Pigmy
Lou Procopio Lou Procopio ... Joint
Joan Shawlee ... Momma Monahan
Marc Cavell ... Frankenstein
Coby Denton Coby Denton ... Bull Puckey
Frank Maxwell ... Preacher
Gayle Hunnicutt ... Suzie
Gina Grant Gina Grant
Art Baker ... Thomas - Mortician
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Storyline

Peter Fonda plays 'Heavenly Blues', the leader of the Angels, a motorcycle gang from San Pedro, California; Bruce Dern plays 'Loser', his best pal. When they both botch their attempt to retrieve Loser's stolen bike, Loser ends up in the hospital. When the Angels bust him out, he dies, and they bury him. Nancy Sinatra plays Mike, Blues' "old lady" and Diane Ladd plays Loser's wife (Dern's real-life wife at the time). The plot is basically a buildup to the last half-hour of the film in which Loser's funeral becomes another wild party. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bull... swinging a cycle chain in each hand and lusting for 'Action' See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug-related material | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM Studios [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 July 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

All the Fallen Angels See more »

Filming Locations:

Palm Springs, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$360,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was initially refused a UK cinema certificate in 1966 and eventually passed with cuts in 1972. Later video and DVD releases were fully uncut. See more »

Goofs

During the final party, Loser's corpse moves his arm towards his chest. See more »

Quotes

Medic: [said jokingly to girl dancing] Hey, don't get none of that on me!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ride the Wild Side (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The Loser's Burial
Written by Mike Curb and Davie Allan
Performed by Davie Allan and The Arrows
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An interesting, pioneering picture with some fun moments, but lots of boring filler.
3 April 2000 | by TgrainSee all my reviews

Roger Corman, the genius of low budget (no budget) exploitation filmmaking, decided to pioneer the 60's biker genre by making this picture about the Hell's angels. He spent time with writer Chuck Griffith hanging out with the Hell's angels, and hearing their stories. Then Corman hired the Angels, along with Peter Fonda (his first succesful movie), Bruce Dern, Nancy Sinatra (Daddy must have not liked this), and Diane Ladd, along with a few others who knew how to deliver their lines when asked for.

The result is a decently entertaining picture (which most Corman films tend to be), but overall full of filler material that gets boring after a while (such as party sequences that go on for a very long time) as a substitute for character and story development (another Corman trademark as well). As the saying goes, "Good, quick, and cheap - pick two". This film, however, wasn't inexpensive according to Corman standards - it cost almost 1 million to make (and it raked in over 3 million in its first week alone, with many bikers rolling in to drive-in cinemas to see it).

For 1966, the content (people clad in swastikas, partying and drinking their lights out in a protestant church, women scantily clad in their underwear, passing the occasional joint, and 2 inexplicit rape sequences) was obviously a shocker. Today a film like this would have been ten times more disguisting and explicit, and the church scene would be milked for it's offensive potential (and it wouldn't be able to earn the profit this one did, given today's consolidated theater market).

The film's visual style is exciting, with some interesting camera movement and handheld camerawork, lending a documentary feel (complete with soft focus shots). The soundtrack does not feature any exciting 60's music, only the usual film score by a jazzy rock band. The performances are not as bad as the dialogue itself - if the judges at the Venice Film Festival spoke English, it is unlikely this film would have made it in. Peter Fonda does not come off as a great Hell's Angel, and his performance is on the stiff side (probably afraid of how his dad might react). However, this film - and Corman's next film, "The Trip" - inspired Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper to make Easy Rider (which Corman tried to help finance), a considerably better developed, more meaningful picture than this one - in all departments.


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