Netting a hefty profit from their latest drug deal, hippies Wyatt and Billy decide to outfit themselves with among other things motorbikes - Wyatt complete in what they call his Captain America gear and similar motif on the bike - and chucking any structure in their lives beyond the want to get there for the event, cycle from their home base of Los Angeles to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in just over a week. They don't plan to spend their proceeds on this trip - they saving that for a more carefree life in Florida after the fact - they sleeping in the great outdoors along the way. While Wyatt is more easy going, believing in the karmic nature and practicality of helping others when they can and in turn asking for help when they need it, Billy is a little more suspicious of the people they encounter, especially in hiding their wad of cash that is stuffed into the gas tank of Wyatt's bike, that money their future. They will find that not all counter-culturalists have the exact same ...Written by
The rednecks in the Louisiana coffee shop who taunt the boys, and the two in the pickup truck at the end of the movie, were all local residents recruited by the filmmakers. In the case of the coffee shop denizens, the filmmakers were preparing to audition a group of local theater people, when Dennis Hopper saw Buddy Causey, Jr., Duffy Lafont, and several others watching them, and making wisecracks, and decided to use them instead. See more »
In the commune Billy walks in front of one of the tents and the bright sunlight of the reflector moves with him on the tent. As he walks back the it follows him back. See more »
That's what it's all about, man, I mean, like, you know. You go for the big money, man, and you're free! You dig?
We blew it. Good night, man.
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There is so much going on in the multi-layered Easy Rider. For one thing, it doesn't glorify hippies. In fact, Hopper and Fonda are really just businessmen, out to make the big score. They're quintessentially American -- Fonda calls himself Captain America, and wears an American flag on his leather jacket, and has red, white and blue painted on his chopper's gas tank. These guys really just want to make money, not change society. If it were the 80's, they'd be selling computers. Also, some interesting symbolism -- Fonda puts the stash of money resulting from the drug sale in his gas tank -- in other words, money fuels the American dream.
This film is also an anti-Western. Instead of heading west, these guys head east. They pass through Monument Valley, site of many John Ford westerns. At an early point, they fix their choppers in a barn while a farmer fixes the horseshoes for his horse.
There is a structure to this seemingly freewheeling tale: the trip starts out idealistically. After they go to the commune, Fonda and Hopper skinny-dip with two hippie chicks in a bucolic, peaceful setting. The music is laid-back, the Byrds, the drug used is marijuana. It's an idealized example of "free love." Later, in New Orleans, our two heroes hook up with two prostitutes -- so much for free love. Fonda breaks down during an acid trip, and instead of music we hear the jarring sounds of an industrial, urbanized landscape -- geographically and symbolically far away from that Arizona commune.
This film doesn't glorify the hippie ethos -- in fact, it almost seems like a neo-conservative critique on the limitations of the hippie experience. Late in the film, Fonda tells Hopper, "We blew it," a line that prefigures the ultimate disillusionment that set in during the early 70's, when the Age of Aquarius gave way to Watergate, malaise, Reagan and rampant consumerism.
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