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Easy Rider (1969)

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Through the open country and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A to New Orleans, and along the way, meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap they are unaware of.

Director:

Dennis Hopper
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Popularity
2,510 ( 1,121)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York City to seek personal fortune but, in the process, finds himself a new friend.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Fonda ... Wyatt
Dennis Hopper ... Billy
Antonio Mendoza Antonio Mendoza ... Jesus
Phil Spector ... Connection
Mac Mashourian Mac Mashourian ... Bodyguard
Warren Finnerty Warren Finnerty ... Rancher
Tita Colorado Tita Colorado ... Rancher's Wife
Luke Askew ... Stranger on Highway
Luana Anders ... Lisa
Sabrina Scharf ... Sarah
Sandy Brown Wyeth Sandy Brown Wyeth ... Joanne (as Sandy Wyeth)
Robert Walker Jr. ... Jack (as Robert Walker)
Robert Ball Robert Ball ... Mime #1
Carmen Phillips ... Mime #2
Ellie Wood Walker Ellie Wood Walker ... Mime #3 (as Ellie Walker)
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Storyline

Two young "hippie" bikers, Wyatt and Billy sell some dope in Southern California, stash their money away in their gas-tank and set off for a trip across America, on their own personal odyssey looking for a way to lead their lives. On the journey they encounter bigotry and hatred from small-town communities who despise and fear their non-conformism. However Wyatt and Billy also discover people attempting 'alternative lifestyles' who are resisting this narrow-mindedness, there is always a question mark over the future survival of these drop-out groups. The gentle hippie community who thank God for 'a place to stand' are living their own unreal dream. The rancher they encounter and his Mexican wife are hard-pushed to make ends meet. Even LSD turns sour when the trip is a bad one. Death comes to seem the only freedom. When they arrive at a diner in a small town, they are insulted by the local rednecks as weirdo degenerates. They are arrested on some minor pretext by the local sheriff and ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's Here - EASY RIDER - the Biggest Hit in the Cinema Today! (British Quad) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 June 1969 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Loners See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$41,728,598

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$60,000,000, 31 January 1972
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1998, Dennis Hopper appeared in a car commercial alongside his younger self of 29 years before, by exploiting selected footage from this movie. See more »

Goofs

In the whorehouse scene, Karen enters through the door wearing black stockings. When she moves to the couch with Billy, she is instead wearing fishnet stockings. See more »

Quotes

George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.
Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened. Hey, we can't even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we're gonna cut their throat or somethin'. They're scared, man.
George Hanson: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.
Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bad Girls: Love Hurts (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Born to Be Wild
Performed by Steppenwolf
Composed by Mars Bonfire
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Far Out Document of the late 60's Encapsulates Counter-Culture America.
20 January 2000 | by Donald J. LambSee all my reviews

Not many films have documented an era of American culture the way it must have really been. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES captured the reality of the post-war 1940's. TAXI DRIVER is a masterpiece of social distortion and paranoia exemplary of the 1970's. No film other than EASY RIDER captures the late 1960's as seen by the American counter-culture. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper's story of two men who go in search of America and 'freedom' is a bona fide sign of the times. I may not have been around at the time, but it is great to see a film portraying the long-haired, hippie attitude towards an America in turmoil in the form of a biker flick, circa 1969.

EASY RIDER is an exploration of vast and desolate parts of the country. Of course, the stop at Mardi Gras is a necessity, but what Fonda and director Hopper are trying to tell us is that there was no 'freedom' as they saw it. The sprawling journey shows filmgoers the multiple frictions and shattered idealism of a generation in the midst of cultural change. Sex, drugs, and music were exploding socially and 1960's ideology may have come to an end in 1969, literally and figuratively speaking - much like it shockingly does in this film.

Peter Fonda plays cool "Captain America", otherwise known as Wyatt, while Hopper is a paranoid prophet of the hippies as "Billy the Kid". The stunning DVD version of the film notes the importance of Laszlo Kovacs, the director of photography. Much of the film consists of Kovacs' simple shooting of the riders as they travel spiraling highways and bigoted backroads. It is some beautiful footage and essential to the trip. A major deal is made, much grass is smoked, and the film takes off from there. Their ultimate goal is never clearly defined, but Fonda's final comment to Hopper may sum it up for viewers. Did they find what America was supposed to be about? I guess not according to Fonda.

There is a surreal experience at a commune the Kid and Wyatt stop at. These scenes are out of a Fellini film. One significant shot paints the commune with a 360 degree pan across the faces of the live-in hippies. The expressions on the faces all seem different, some grinning, others just zoned out. Kovac's amazing camera work (especially on the road with the bikes) along with a virtual who's who in rock music of the late 60's makes for a sometimes visceral filmgoing experience. The immortal 'Born to be Wild' blares over the opening title sequence and everyone from Hendrix to The Byrds are heard throughout.

EASY RIDER also contains one of Jack Nicholson's 2 or 3 most memorable performances, even to this day. As drunken lawyer "George Hanson", he creates an amazingly funny and perfect counterpoint to Hopper and Fonda. He realizes what the general public can think of the "long-hairs" and puts himself in danger just by traveling with them. A bizarre notion of alien presence in the U.S. government is part of a hilarious conversation Nicholson and Hopper have over Whiskey and smoke. His scenes on Fonda's chopper with the golden football helmet are absolute, cinematic classics.

Credit must be given to Fonda, Hopper, Nicholson, Kovacs, and Terry Southern for giving a new face to movie-making. They captured the era in a raw, jump cutting fashion. Maybe the hippies were not entirely right by trying to live off the land, or smoking dope all the time, but they may have been onto something.

RATING: ***1/2


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