16 user 5 critic

Angels Hard as They Come (1971)

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


Joe Viola


Jonathan Demme (screenplay), Joe Viola (screenplay)




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


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


They ripped off his mama... so he tore chopper city apart! See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Co-Writer and co-Producer Jonathan Demme directed Scott Glenn in Fighting Mad (1976) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991). See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Teen-Age Strangler (1993) See more »

User Reviews

a gritty, almost lost classic in the biker movie era
17 July 2006 | by Quinoa1984See 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 exploitative 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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Release Date:

July 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rolling Thunder See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

New World Pictures See more »
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Color (Metrocolor)
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