Motorcycle Trips If you a motorcyclist and haven't seen this classic film yet, what are you waiting for?
"We blew it Billy"....more info
Defined an Era Easy Rider is a movie that defined an Era, and more over brought closour to it, the disturbing ending left audiences wondering what Fonda and Hopper were trying to say, regardless of how you interpret it, it's a strong film. The mythical Billy and Wyatt riding into the sunset through the desert on their choppers, reminding us of the outlaws that once road through the very same land on their horses, as though Billy and Wyatt are outlaws themselves, in a sense. No matter how you cut it, this movie is powerful, regardless of which side of the spectrum your looking from....more info
Nicely defined history in symbolism I must say, this movie was interesting in how it carried itself. It reflected a nice idea of how the sub-culture of freedom was mashed with the majority of close-minded fools. It had some of the same ideals I tend to have about the mixing of beliefs.
The movie gave you plenty of images of how Wyatt and Billy's life could be. Buying their own farmland, living on a commune, or even catering to the majority and living in an all prejudice town. It even talks about the idea of perfect communism (Which is unachievable by man) in Jack Nickolson's UFO speech. You look at the lifestyles of the commune and the two bikers and see how redneck bigotism treats this change from the socially acceptable. There are plenty of subtle messages in this movie that you would have to think about to understand.
I bet almost anyone would tell you that Jack Nickolson portrayed George Hanson better than any being on earth. That's because it's true. Unless you are the redneck bigot as explained above, you can't help, but like George. Sure, he may be a drunkard, but he is the embodiment of activism for freedom and sanity in this world. He just wants everyone to get along. He also shows that even someone from the south does have common sense. This is perfect, considering many pre-judgements upon southern people. You just wish he didn't have to die, but because of how pro-freedom minds were treated, it was inevitable.
Although this movie has wonderful ideas and promotes a humanitarian view, it doesn't quite always get the ideas down well. I found the movie to be very plain in the beginning, because I found that to be one of the most boring drug runs I've ever seen on movie. I might have missed something with the planes going over the car, but that seemed like a waste of time to me. It trails you off until you reach the farm and start to see some ideas grow. Another part was Mardi Gras. I felt like that man could have done anything better than he did. It wasn't the drugs that bothered me. It was how they enacted self-demoralization, which I felt wasn't really important to what the movie was trying to say. I was so excited for Mardi Gras and a big let-down fell over me when I saw it. The prostitutes were fun, the idea of going out was amazing, and BAM! I already get proselytized enough. If these things were out of the movie, I would have enjoyed it more.
The ending couldn't have been more true. This was really the way it had to be, considering the time-frame they want to cover. It had all the things to leave you feeling cold inside. That's the way a strong tragedy ends. This ending was so good, it was covered by the Venture Brothers in the last episode of the first season where the two boys die.
To head onto the book, I found it almost pointless. It just seemed like a bunch of vanity rolled into ready made bong material. The book could have been perfect if it just had explained all the signs in the movie. No one cares about Fonda picking his nose. Unless you want to, of course.
The biggest failure of this movie is how corporate capitalism rips off the public with it's "songtrack". People want to watch the movie and if they like the music, listen to the full version soundtrack. If you want to buy this, get the non-special edition.
Overall it was worth watching and maybe more of a rentable than a buyable....more info
easy Great uncomplicated movie and nice to just sit back relax and watch somthing that wasnt to complicated...more info
Easy Rider I bought it because my brother was coming to visit and it was a big hit when we were kids. I thought it would be a very pleasant "blast to the past" for the two of us.
The DVD was flawless and the movie is STILL and Classic....more info
You'll either love it, or hate it. This film is wildly popular with a certain type of person, but it's just as easy to find "that" other type of person who can't stand Easy Rider and see nothing positive about it. After watching this film, you will no doubt have realized that there was two main kinds of characters in this story. One was the character that was open minded, tolerant, and accepting of the world. The other type of character was hateful, close-minded, violent, and very scared of character number one and all the things that those kind of characters represent.
First off, this is what today we would call an independent film. This movie was very renegade when it came out in the market. This particular DVD has a documentary called "Shaking the Cage" inside the extras sub menu. Great documentary, and the title says it all. Hopper and Fonda showed classic American balls by making this movie, and making it in the manner they did. Can you tell whose side I'm on yet?
The photography is amazing. All of the road shots in this movie are stunning to look at, and the locations throughout the film are real, gritty, and distinctive. I imagine that even if this film would have had a huge budget, it still would have appeared to be very raw. Hopper obviously wasn't making a fantasy movie here, he crafted a very real story and placed it in the real world. This is a film that is intended to get the audience thinking, get them asking questions, and yes, probably make you a little angry. The activism that was born and raised in the 60's is still there in Hopper and Fonda's creation. These two men have always been involved in what has been called the "counter-culture" movement, and I guess this film is what made them household names for doing so.
Awesome soundtrack as well, and how could there not be. I own the double CD of this film's soundtrack, and it's just beautiful music to listen to. Again, listening to it makes me think, and it makes me ask questions about my country and my world. In my opinion, anyone who considers themselves a truly free U.S. citizen should be a thinker, and should always have a little skeptic sitting on their shoulder asking questions about what is going on in the world around them.
I think this film will stand the test of time as not only an entertaining film, but a fairly accurate historical document that covers a very turbulent and important time in our nation's social history. If for no other reason than to take a glimpse into the late 60's to early 70's, this film is worth watching. You will no doubt find yourself clearly on one side of the fence or the other about Easy Rider, there is no fence sitting. If you like it, it's brilliant, but if you hate it, it's boring hippie garbage. It is what it is.
Easy Rider The ultimate counter-culture classic, Hopper's " Rider" jolted a Hollywood in transition when it became an unexpected hit in 1969, encapsulating the freewheeling spirit of the times and the divide between the youth culture and the Establishment. Nicholson became a bona-fide star playing football-helmeted, hard-partying lawyer George Hanson, for which he earned a Best Supporting Actor nod, while Hopper and Fonda merely amped up their reputations as iconoclasts. Along with its pulsating rock soundtrack, "Rider" endures as the ultimate psychedelic road-trip....more info
I didn't like it, man. I finally got around to watching this "landmark" - this "generational touchstone." After 35 years of cultural saturation - the music, the Academy Award montages, the one-liners - I watched it. Or at least I tried. It was extraordinarily disappointing. I'll bet I "had to be there."
Here's a movie which deliberately portrays late-sixties counter-culture with the "counter" component completely missing from the self-awareness of its participants. The characters are portrayed not as culturally savvy human beings who have tuned in, turned on and dropped out, but rather as pie-eyed mildly retarded adults on chrome-moly hobbyhorses frolicking across the country occasionally bumping into folk who misunderstand their unmeasured, playful skinny-dipping innocence. If this film weren't so revered it would be endearing as an interesting museum piece - not as a cinematic record of 60's culture, but as an unwitting artifact of 60's culture. As a film to be revered it fails. As an artifact it is as successful as a piece of Sumerian cuneiform.
But the film is preachy - in the non-verbal way that films can be - in the way that the choir can never quite notice. The scene where Jack Nicholson smokes "grass" is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. Here's an early-thirties ACLU lawyer in 1969 written to act all agog at the sight of weed. "You mean...mar-i-wa-na??" he gawks like he's being offered the ignition key to an alien spacecraft.
In fact the only salient problem with this movie is that it tells a small, feeble lie - and does so in a silly sales-pitchy way. It lies by underplaying the deliberate and wry character of 60's counter-culture in an effort to intersect its participants' motivations with traditionally appreciated dispositions like joy and innocence and googly-eyed curiosity - and it does so with a dishonest straight face. It is the inverse of Reefer Madness pitched dry. All bitternes, measurement and calculation is attributed to the capitalists, rednecks, homophobes and jingos who litter the woods, the coffee shops and the highways. The net-effect this film had on American culture was as a springboard for the American motorcycle aftermarket industry - as anyone who is IN that industry, such as myself, can attest to. Thousands of would-be Captain Americas rebelled against "the man" by giving "the man" their paychecks in exchange for fork tubes, flag helmets and chopper 'zines. Ka-ching!
Easy Rider, timeless movie made better on DVD The picture and sound quality of the DVD transfer are very high quality, and the special features on the disk make what was already a good movie even more enjoyable and much more meaningful.
There are modern day interviews with most everyone in and involved with the making of the film that offers a lot of insight into the symbolism, and the day to day occourance of what went into making the film, as well as the mind set of those involved at the time.
THIS MOVIE! OH MAN THIS MOVIE! MAN!!! i watched this work of art in Film as literature yesterday and i was hypnotized. when my teacher said we wear going to watch easy rider i was exited because i had always wanted to see it and oh god this movie is to good to be true, from the style, the cinematography and the narrative, to the fantastic soundtrack. i have always thought Dennis Hopper was a genius and after seeing this i am positive. this film goes so well with the authors i've been reading, Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginberg, and Hunter s. Thompson. oh how i wish i could live as these authors and captain america and billy lived, to travel on an endless journey of self discovery, but i can't due to laws against hitchhiking, camping wherever and freedom, how i wish i lived in their era. i can't, so i live these dreams through books and movies such as this. buy Easy rider its an american masterpiece....more info
The "song-track" is disappointing Well, I hadn't seen this movie in ~20 years, never owned the video OR an earlier DVD, so it was worth purchasing. But I WAS disappointed in the "song-track" (as a previous reviewer so aptly put it), why wasn't the other music from the movie, and especially "Ballad of Easy Rider" (a personal favorite) included? And the book is a little dry for my liking - focused too much on the film-industry aspects and not enough on the times that generated the movie and what it meant to all of us who lived (even partially) during those times.
On the positive side, I'd never seen the documentary about the making of the film, and it was affirming to learn that most of the actors really were stoned out of their minds while they were making the movie...one always wonders about these things.
Overall, I'm happy to have finally added this to my collection, and to be able to share it with all my similar-generation friends....more info
Woodstuck! I have loved this film since it was first released and began playing at drive-ins all over America back in the 60s. The teaming of Peter Fonda (his top film), Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson was pure brillance in casting.
The story is about two free spirits who score a big dope/cash connection in Mexico and then head east, cross-country on their chopper motorcycles, for New Orleans where they intend to celebrate Mardi Gras with the masses. Along the way, they encounter all manner of people and societies including poor Mexican families, hippies in a commune, really mean rednecks, and many more.
The larger theme here is the perceived freedom of the sixties, which turns out at every intersection to be little more than a fantasy. But I need to say right here that the filmscore for this movie represents one of the top Classic Rock albums of the 20th Century. Jimi Hendrix, Steppenwolf.... need I say more?
The top performance in this film, no question, was by Jack Nicholson who plays a drunken, seedy, small-town lawyer who throws caution to the wind and permanently forsakes his small-town life to ride with the boys to Mardi Gras, his pilgrammage of sorts.
If you have any interest whatever in the 60s, in rock music, or in the sociology of the free-love society, you really cannot afford to miss this incredible art-film. It's just superb!...more info
Classic I love the bikes in the movie. The special feature w/ the interviews of the actors was really interesting. ...more info
We want more Ok so in 35 years there is still no director's cut? I've heard that this version we all know and love of easy rider is only about 40% of what was the original director's cut. If someone is going to put out a special edition, then supposing we finally see a second disk with the 3 or so hours of deleted scenes? And I mean- a director's cut movie, not just a bunch of isolated deleted scenes. Also, if you're going to add bonus soundtrack items, how about including the Hendrix tune from the movie, which I think is about the only one i remember from the movie that is not in the original movie soundtrack lp. But.. besides me wanting to know what the other 3 hours was like, this movie is all time classic independent american cinema and highly recommended to anyone over 18. It has great performances by many folks down to the louisiana locals who were used to make the movie more authentic. The trip scene was bizare for its time and arguably even for today, but very relatable, if you are 'experienced'. The scenery is absolutely stunning (watch it in WIDEscreen). And it's a great look at a country polarized by cultures and an unpopular war (sound familiar?) Buy the movie but save on the 'extras' till the 'extras' means the whole 4+ hours movie. ...more info
guess you have to be stoned... I don't expect anything more of a movie than to enjoy it and be entertained. I don't seek to psychoanalyze or offer up in-depth critique, it's only a movie. I either enjoy it or I don't. I did NOT enjoy this, and I ride, so I assumed I would like this. I guess you have to ride AND use drugs to appreciate this.......more info
You had to be there Easy Rider captures a time and spirit in America when the people on the left were the voices of true liberation, individuality and total freedom while those on the right stood for thought control and conformity. My how times have changed. Now the lefties are all about political correctness and repressive government taxes and regulations and the rightists "say" they want less intrusive government even though they are building a police state to protect us from enemies we can't seem to find. Basically, the home of the brave and the land of the free the two main characters were trying to find in this movie is even harder to find today.
This is partly why the themes in this movie should actually be seen as timeless even though the action takes place in a very abbreviated time in our history. In fact, the story line has a Don Quixote quality to it that may not seem obvious to those who did not live in the 60's and share the initial dream of a utopian hippe society. It is a movie about idealism though it may not seem like it on first viewing. In fact, if you did not live in this era you might find the whole premise of the film challenging because the values it celebrates are so thoroughly buried today.
For those of you who don't "get" this movie, here's the deal:
The boys start out buying drugs from some poor Mexicans and selling them to a rich dude to finance their freedom. Not necessariy the best way to budget for a road trip, but definitley an anti-establishment approach to financial liberation in days when most drug deals were between friends and violence wasn't a factor. With the proceeds of this transaction, they purchase their freedom in the form of two beautiful custom chopper motorcycles they ride throughout the movie. After Wyatt throws his watch in the dust and he and Billy hop on their rides - today they are probably the two most recognized bikes in the world - their search for true freedom in America begins. This is why they are on motorcycles in the first place, riding through the empty expanses of the southwest, visiting a small ranch (a conventional approach to a sort of independence) and a hippie commune(a non conventional approach that doesn't work out so well either).
When the two meet up with Nicholson, they find a lost soul who also longs to escape the confines of his environment by joining the hippies, but ultimately can't escape his local culture. As great as Jack's role is, he is merely a prop in the overall story to illustrate the complex emmotions and reactions society had about the 60's counter culture as embodied in Wyatt and Billy.
The bordelo and drug sequence too is about exploring and exploding two of the most sacred myths of the hippie movement. This is the idea that free sex and drugs are liberating to the human spirit. Our friends find that ultimately they are not. Instead they see the experience as confusing and hurtful and lead Wyatt to say "they blew it" after the episode is done.
This movie is ultimatley a tragedy as everyone who has seen it knows, just as the hippie movement itself was a beautiful dream that ended in tragedy for many in our society.
The folk and psychodelic rock music selected for this film could not be better, and the sequences of our protagonists cruising the open roads of northern Arizona and New Mexico to the sounds of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" and Hendrix's "If Six Were Nine" are among the most unforgetable on film.
FREEDOM WELCOMES YOU BACK AT ANY TIME I just bought the DVD to watch on a new big television when i get around to choosing one.
I can remember when the film came out. It was even adverised in Readers Digest.
By the time I had bought my first Harley and began to turn on it was the early 70's and the 60's were regarded as a definitive and Golden Time.The film was shown in Dampier in 1972 in a landscape similar to Southern California,.Red scrubby rocky hills brooding on Time. Stained rivers run through sand.Startling glaring sunshine.
So I could relate to the landscape really well, and the tolerant stoned behaviour and the bigotted persecution.
The intolerance is noticed because as Hippies you want to make connection and seek recognition and acceptance from all the community.
You have something major to contribute, namely perception free of attachment.
Thus you are working on being truly free.
The structures in society are not fully based on an authentic rational psychology, they are based on inflationary projection of influential people usually in a state of denial. The broader societal culture needs to allow individuals to experiment,to get things wrong, to apologise without wanting a pound of flesh. It needs to nurture and us and to maintain authentic nurturing behavioural examples that guide us.
It is that insight and the practice of sincere positive sorting out your mind and your actions that makes Free people a threat to
any one in Denial.
Control freaks need to control the culture of society around them in order to maintain their equilibrium.
This is one of the messages of the film. In a conservative confomist culture like the USA what are social democratic norms in countries like Australia or Europe were and are seen as a threat to that society's status quo. The National Denial Structure is about to be unravelled. The conceptual reality is about to be changed and they dont seem to have to tools to travel into new ways of perception.
Any way would like a cd player on my Triumph so I can listen to the great soundtrack from this film.
Technically it may have its faults but overall it got the spirit correct.Also the documentary is invaluable.
Peace and go for a long ride man....more info
Wow! What A Great Film! Too Bad About the DVD! This is certainly the best independent film ever made and is also one of the best films ever. This film succeeds in documenting the 60s counter-culture a.k.a. hippy generation very well and explores even deeper issues in addressing questions such as what is freedom and does it really exist in the "land of the free and the home of the brave?" Fonda and Hopper play a couple of bikers who ironically in trying to live a free life become hated by the mainstream who fear what this freedom represents. This eventually results in their persecution and destruction. I really enjoyed all the symbolism that inundates throughout the film from the insertion of the money into the gas tank painted with the Stars and Stripes symbolising how drug money obtained from drug pushing is effectively screwing the nation for example to the murderous scenes at the end symbolising the hypocrisy of a nation that espouses freedom that kills the very citizens that strive to practice it in its purest form.
Jack Nicholson is excellent here as the drunken lawyer who is sympathetic to the bikers at the ultimate personal cost although the entire cast I thought was very good. This film also must contain what must be one of the best ever movie soundtracks which has been very well remastered into Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound quality. The only unfortunate thing about this dvd version though is the poor picture quality which is full of imperfections such as white spots throughout. Here's hoping the future Blu-ray release will address this issue.
Otherwise, this is an excellent film that attempts to hide nothing and to fully show life in a certain period of the 60s warts and all. No film buff's dvd library should be without this title but wait for a properly restored version perhaps on Blu-ray to surface and give this version a miss.
Inspired film-making that rewards repeated viewing....more info
Nightcrawlers live forever. There are no easy riders, for we all die the death at the hands of the living. But it is the night Lords who give everlasting undeadness, and prolonged existence. This movie fails to show that in it's hunt for freedom. Fools. There is no freedom in the day. IT IS IN THE NIGHT!!! Their deaths lead to nothing but repugnance of the living. Join us, oh seekers of the easy rider. We fly, and nightcrawl. Leave your helmuts behind....more info
A symbol and a memoir of its time... Where Easy Rider is concerned, what can be said that hasn't already been said - it is both a metaphor and a history of its time... and of today, if you're still part vagabond and spend any real time in the saddle - poseurs need not apply, this movie isn't about them.
The superb music sounds like a replay of AM radio of that era, and the scenes still bring a hunger and longing of wanderlust and desire to crank up the bike. The acting is, of course, what it is - a tad contrived in spots, artful in others, but comes together in mildly appalling reminiscences of those smoky campfire scenes of yore - how did we ever survive those years!
Although the couch potatoes often think so, the movie ending hostility and brutality wasn't all that contrived, and I can vividly recall being bodily run out of a much needed gas-stop in rural Mississippi back then, just for the crime of showing up on a bike wearing leather (it was November...) -- and even today, not every motel looks kindly on bikes unless they're of the Tupperware barge variety. Never mind that Easy Rider starts with a drug buy, we were pretty naive back then, the general peaceful wandering of the two says as much about the era, and those of us who were too wiped out to truly remember the 60's, as, say, Star Trek says about the social issues we attempted to wrestle with...
Not real history, but well worth the time, even if it really isn't much of a motorcycle movie...
EASYRIDER EXC MOVIE AND GREAT MOTORCYCLE TYPE FLIK FROM EARLIER DAYS. HIGHLY RECOMENDED TO THE 40,S TO 60,S CROWD....more info
The extra Documentary and Music CD make this a good buy The extra music CD is a nice feature and brings back memories. The added documentary of making the film is the best feature. I truly enjoyed it though I wasn't a heavy pot smoker type in those days. I love bikes and the idea of riding across the country in the 60's was much more of an adventure than it is today. Believe me.
The philosophical viewpoints being expressed by Hopper and Fonda are a close look into the basic feelings many young Americans had in those days. The conflict in one's mind of the idea of what freedom means to different people is excellent reference material for anybody analyzing where they stand on such matters. It was amazing Dennis and Peter didn't want to make judgment on the Viet Nam War by talking about it or showing scenes they could have included. See the CD to see what I mean. I believe that was good choice. College profs should make a lesson plan based on this movie. Us old guys remember the times like it was yesterday. New young whippersnapper college students will see this as ancient history.
The best part of the documentary is the inclusion of real people along the way picked on the spur of the moment by Hopper. They give the film far and above what any actor could bring to the screen for authenticity. That's what makes this film a cult classic...a legend in the movie business if you will. Those real people are incredible. See it for yourself as they go over those scenes - shear brilliance on Hoppers part. Hopper is a brilliant actor too and he really gets your emotions bubbling.
Easy Rider This was the biggest waste of time and money ever! I can't understand why it won so many awards. I guess you have to be a pot smoking hippie to enjoy it!...more info
Limestone Cowboys This is one of the best road pictures ever made. With elements of realism, art style cinematography and a great sounding psychedelic country rock soundtrack that drives this film along the two lane highways of the southwest and deepsouth in this modern day western from the late 60's.
Truly an american original film masterpiece and worth owning for your film collection....more info
Great Movie!!! It is an awesome movie and i loved that it was an anniversary edition, it had a sound track disk in it. ...more info
You had to be there to get it... Having read many of the worst reviews, I can fully appreciate where the kids are "coming from". They don't really get it because it was too full of the symbols of the time in which the film was shot. It is obviously not a piece of timeless art intended for future generations. It was for that time and it accomplished its goal, which was to wake up a new generation to the possibilities of life. Choices. the music was current and dynamic and added to the power. Unless you are old enough, or have submerged yourself in the period, I would not expect you to enjoy it. If Woodstock The Movie, or The Last Waltz have meaning for you, you'll probably get something from it. Otherwise, just assume that you don't get it because YOU HAD TO BE THERE. Film classes might be able to put into context for you....more info
OVERRATED! Can somebody please explain to me how this awful movie became one of the signature movies of a generation? Did this movie come out during a lull in full-length film productions? Were there no other movies that had a decent story or camera work? The cameraman appears to have seveal seizures during the filming, and apparently, Dennis Hopper was too strung out on coke to realize this during the editing process. Also there appears to be a huge gap in the plot line--a lack of decent ideas and dialogue that doesn't make me laugh at it's pathetic attempt to be hip and/or serious. There are only two things good about this movie: the soundtrack and the fact that this movie propelled Jack Nickolson's career. Other than that, this movie should be burnt, or at least end up like the main characters do.
Chopper Pleasure It's all about wide open spaces, the open road, freedom, and of course: choppers. The soundtrack is a gem....more info
5 stars for the heart and soul of a different America "Get your motor runnin'. . . . " was more than the opening theme song of this the creation of two then little known counter culturalists, Hopper and Fonda, and their sidekick Nicholson. You have to remember when this was created, the summer of 1969 to 1970, we were faced with all sorts of stains on the theme of America, or as Codeleesa Rice once quipped, America with 'its birth defects.'
Captain America and Billy score big in a drug sale and take us on a tour of America, heading for Mardi Gras. Along the way they hit the highs and lows of the then American Dream. In a time only a few years after the murder of the Civil Rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, Brown versus The Board of Education, and still dual drinking fountains, Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) try to get served in the South, pick up Nicholson, smoke a lot of herb, and eventually are crushed by their dream. It's a poetic piece which meant a lot to us when we saw it. Regrettably, there were wrongs with that America and Fonda and Hopper were subtle enough to point some of them out without being too heavy handed. They let us see the South they saw and listen to the rather haunting words of Nicholson.
The picture has now become a milestone for low budget producers saying sopmething worthwhile. See Crash; See 11:14.
The movie has its flaws but not in it's spirit. And a damn good sound track to boot. ". . . . . and get out on the highway." 5 stars. Larry Scantlebury...more info
EASY RIDER AND KATRINA AMC broadcast Easy Rider shortly after the KATRINA disaster. Was this bad timing or brilliant programming?
Easy Rider is, overall, a story about death. Capt. America (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), like a modern day Don Quixote, set out for Mardi Gras and the American Dream (freedom).
Instead, they wind up tripping in the Old Cemetery, with flashforwards to Capt. America's burning motorcycle. In the final campfire scene, Peter Fonda remarks, "We blew it".
The film represents the death of the American Dream; but, in respect to the KATRINA disaster, represents the death of New Orleans, and the Death of America itself in the aftermath of the hurricane. Capt. America comes to this realization, as did so many Americans in late August 2005, that "We blew it".
So, was it just bad timing by AMC or extraordinarily brilliant programming? Watch the film for yourself....more info
Wandering and Wonder over Worrying and War Wandering and Wonder over Worrying and War
When it came time to review this movie, I could not do it. That is, I could not do it without also reviewing it within the context of two other movies that I had just recently watched because all three of them have such a similar theme. In fact, they all have so many things in common that I decided to review all three of them at the same time as a medley, something I have never done before but which seems called for. If you'll follow me, you'll see what I'm getting at.
I was recently talking to a friend of mine at work when we happened to run into each other in the men's room. He asked me if I had ever seen the film EASY RIDER, and I answered that it was interesting and very synchronistic that he should ask me that because it was the last movie that I had just enjoyed watching at home on DVD. I said, "Man, you know, I was JUST watching that last week! I LOVE that movie. I wanted to get the deluxe edition but I could not find it anywhere, so I just picked up the regular one at GIANT (the local supermarket) in the bargain bin for nine bucks." My friend, Ian, then said, "I only own three movies in my collection: EASY RIDER, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, and INTO THE WILD. Have you seen the other two?" I answered that I had not and that I had always wanted to see the both of them, to which he quickly replied, "You can borrow mine, man. I'll bring them in tomorrow for you." "Hey, thanks a lot, man," I replied with gratitude, and we both went back to work.
I watched both of those movies Ian let me borrow over the weekend of April 10, 11, 12, 2009 right on the heels of having watched EASY RIDER just weeks before. The amazing amount of similar themes running through all three of these films is impressive. All three of these movies express a preference for wandering and wonder over worrying and war for the characters involved. Each of them seems to express the plight of characters dealing with their own, personal rejection of the reality of petty worries and war (The Iliad), and choosing, instead, a life of venturing forth into the unknown world of wonder and wandering (The Odyssey). The characters in all three of these movies depict a great love of adventure and a great joy of being out on the open road. Jack Kerouac, author of ON THE ROAD, would have loved all three of these fantastic films, especially INTO THE WILD, as he was a great lover of the books of Jack London. Also, they all have a great, cinematic and panoramic, wide-angle viewpoint of the world. Watching these films gets one out of one's own head and puts one right into the world of the film. The scenery in all three films is stunning and absolutely breathtaking. The viewer is immediately projected "into the wild" world (if you will) of the characters. It's intense! You get taken along for a ride that goes not only far and wide out into the world but, also, deep into the hidden spaces of one's heart and mind. All three of these films will make you think about your own life in particular as well as the greater meaning of life in general. They are deep, psychological films that demand conscious labor of intellectual thought and emotional soul searching on the part of the viewer. You get taken for a ride, but it is definitely NOT "easy!"
In my case, watching these films - especially INTO THE WILD - brought me back to a time when I myself, like the character in the movie, was 22 years old and questioning my place in life: what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live, how I wanted to live, and who I wanted to be with. I realize now that I was seeking a sense of place to fit in and a community to be a part of that I felt comfortable in more than merely trying to "find myself." But understanding that when you are going through it is another thing altogether. Watching INTO THE WILD hits home on all these points and more! I remember having just seen The Grateful Dead in concert in Hartford, Connecticut with my good buddy, Jimmy, in May of 1997, and feeling like I wanted to just bust loose of all of the constraints of society that seemed to be holding me back from my true calling - whatever that was. I was feeling like a wild animal caught in a trap, and I wanted to be free. I had dropped out of college almost two years before, and I had been working at two jobs back in my hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. That summer, like the kid in INTO THE WILD, I planned to get away and I bought a bunch of camping equipment, quit my jobs, and hit the road. I first went up north to New York State to camp out with some members of the Neo-American Church in the region of Cranberry Lake. When I decided not to stay and started to trek back out to head off somewhere else, my glasses fell off of my head and into the muddy, swampy muck I had found myself in along the water's edge. It took me an hour to find them. I realized then and there that I was handicapped for this kind of wandering around with all this heavy weight on my shoulders. So, I hitchhiked back home, feeling just as lost and just as confused as ever. I continued to read hundreds of books to find an answer to my quest for authenticity and community, only to learn that I was just making the book stores richer. I tried yet again to break away that fall, and went back to western Massachusetts to see if I could find work out near my friends who were still going to school there. I could relate to the scene in INTO THE WILD where Christopher writes in his diary of all freedom seekers in the history of this country seeking it by going out "west." Whenever I would hear the lyrics to "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, when Robert Plants sings: "There's a feeling I get when I look to the west and my spirit is crying for leaving," I would feel an urge inside me to head out west before I got too old to do it. Indeed, Christopher tries to inspire the old man who wanted to adopt him in the film (Hank Holbrook) to do the very same thing! After spending two weeks looking for work with no luck, and deciding not to move into a deserted cabin or tepee built out in the back woods of a local farmer's land because of the weather and being all alone, I left the generous hospitality of my good friend, Greg, and once more headed back home to find my way that way. Years later, after working an assortment of odd jobs over many years, I eventually ended up opening my own health food store in the summer of 1989 after deciding not to buy some land way up north in Maine or Vermont near the Canadian border - the only place I could afford land at the time. I concluded that if I bought the land, I would never be able to later do the health food store (one of the last business bastions left of hippiedom in corporate America), but if I opened the store and did not like it, I could always cash-in and then go off and buy some land somewhere out in the woods. I was always talking about "moving to Alaska," to live in freedom and stuff like that - so I can really relate to what Christopher McCandless (the real character and promising young man of the true story of INTO THE WILD) was going through. I felt like I was looking at myself re-living my past. He took the path I almost took. I turned back. He never got the chance to. God only knows where he would be today if he had lived to tell his story!
I have a cousin who actually did the same thing once. He was even younger than me when he did it. My cousin, George, actually made it all the way to Alaska, and then Hawaii, and then Europe as well. He went all around the world. When he reached Alaska, he hooked up with some of his old friends from Dunstable, Massachusetts who had also moved up there to make money working on the pipeline and on fishing boats. He found work up there for a while, too, just like some of the characters in these three films. They worked along the way to help to make their journey. George ended up finding his friend, Jim Lavrakas, a famous photographer today for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. Ernesto and Alberto worked in a Leper Colony for a while in Peru. Christopher McCandless worked out in the fields cutting grain for a while to help pay his way. I have a good friend named Phil who actually did do what I had once intended on doing myself. He worked his butt off for years, saved a bunch of cash, and bought himself 25 acres of land up in Maine where he lives off the grid out in the woods as an independent, organic farmer and orchard grower. He says he did it to be able to live like a free man out on the land away from all of the social evils and urban ugliness of the city. He also wanted to be free and independent of his family, like Chris in INTO THE WILD. He did it. I guess I was too much of a homebody and a Hobbit to live alone all by myself out in the woods somewhere where no one knew me. It takes courage to live alone like Thoreau out in the wild. You need guts to do this kind of stuff. I know that one reason why I returned back home from my meager attempt at wandering through the woods was that I really missed music. I am a musician. There is no way to jam with other people and enjoy music and dance when you live alone out in the woods. It is impossible. Nevertheless, till this day, the TV series that ran in the early nineties about life up in a small town called Cicely, Alaska - NORTHERN EXPOSURE - is still my all-time, favorite television program. It had colorful characters. I guess some romantic ideas die hard.
It takes a lot of courage to leave the comforts of home and cut loose from all of your support system of family and friends and to just take off and hit the road to God knows where. It's a "wild world," as Cat Stevens sings, and you've got to take care. All three films show the major characters getting into trouble out on the road. "Alexander Supertramp" (the vagabond name Christopher McCandless chose for himself after cutting up his social security card and all of his other documents of official identity before he hit the road) got the hell beaten out of him by railroad man one dark night when he was hobo-ing it out on a train. Both Ernesto and Alberto got chased out of town by a jealous husband and all of his hometown buddies after one of his friends saw the husband's wife flirting and dancing with Ernesto on the dance floor. In EASY RIDER, Peter Fonda's motorcycle gets a flat tire (the least of their troubles) just like Alberto's motorcycle kept on breaking down and eventually dying on them in THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES. These young characters in all of these films were not exactly experiencing the metaphysical revelations of Robert M. Pirsig in his masterful ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE - at least not at first - but they certainly all ran into a lot of trouble. The spiritual revelations began to come to them later, along the way. Indeed, all the major characters have major transformational experiences in one way or another as a result of their personal quests and traveling adventures. The road changes you. Also, there are many forks in the road, as Neil Young most recently informs us. It's hard to decide sometimes which way to go.
This changing of one's name seems to be a prerequisite to being a beat, road warrior out on the highway. Not only does Christopher change his name, but in EASY RIDER, the character played by Peter Fonda changes his name from Wyatt to "Captain America," and the character played by Dennis Hopper begins to call himself "Billy the Kid," both taking on the persona of Wild West characters of historical, American lore. In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, Ernesto begins to be called "Fuser" and "Che" (the name that stuck with him for the rest of his life!) while his buddy, Alberto, begins to be called "Mial." It's almost as if one has to shed one's former identity as a snake sheds its skin in order to take on one's true identity - and this requires the taking on of a new name, one which reflects one's true identity.
Another thing these movies have in common is the pairing of a more sensitive and reflective character with a more rough & tumble and more aggressive character. In the case of INTO THE WILD, the character - who is very sensitive and contemplative - is paired up against the people he meets on his journey along the way, many of which tend to be less graceful and sensitive as he is. In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, Ernesto is very much like the character that Peter Fonda portrays in EASY RIDER, and Alberto is, also, very much like the character that Dennis Hopper plays. The likeness is astounding. Ernesto, like Christopher McCandless in INTO THE WILD, is always writing in his journal and thinking about the deeper meaning of things. Peter Fonda, as well, is portrayed as the more thoughtful and contemplative one than the rambunctious and womanizing Dennis Hopper. One character is graceful and patient, full of compassion for other people, while the other is less refined and always in a hurry, and somewhat more selfish. They are like The Odd Couple - but riding on motorcycles!
Another theme that runs deeply through all three films is the powerful and destiny changing power of rivers! The awesome power of the natural world, exemplified by a river in all three films, is undeniable. You can't miss it. In the case of INTO THE WILD, it was the raging force of the rolling river rapids that prevented Chris from crossing back in the spring to the other side from which he came. It was too wide, too deep, and with waters gushing too fast to cross. He was forced to go back to the bus where he had been living all winter. It ultimately decided his destiny for him. He almost drowned in it on his attempt to cross it. In the end, it was because of the river which separated him from all that he cared about in his past that sealed his fate. The poison plants he mistakenly ingested while he was starving did not help, either. In the case of EASY RIDER, it was along the river that both characters met their fate, and got blown away by a couple of backwoods rednecks out for a spin in their pickup truck. Maybe it was their bad karma? Still, the injustice of the moment is profound, as one watches Peter Fonda's motorcycle go up in flames while Roger McGuinn of the Byrds sings Bob Dylan's song, "The Ballad of Easy Rider,' as the lyrics "flow, river flow" repeat throughout the song like the flowing river itself. In the case of THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, it was along the river where Ernesto found himself, in the sense of his true calling, while administering to a sick, leper woman who made him realize that there are other ways to heal people - and prevent them from getting sick in the first place - than by being a physician to individuals. Society itself can be in great need of a social healer. The river separated the sick lepers on one side from the hospital care workers on the other. Ernesto refused to wear the superstitious rubber gloves on his hands from the very first day. One night, on his birthday, he had a spiritual rebirth when he took a rite of passage and dove into the river, swimming all the way across to the other side where all of the sick lepers along the shore encouraged him on. On doing so, he once and for all proved to his friend, Alberto, that he was no wimp but a true man with determination and courage. He showed an inner strength that inspired all of those around him. How they cheered his victory over the river! He would not be stopped by anything. That came later, when he was "Che Guevara" the revolutionary in Bolivia, when the sneaky CIA killed him. His nobility still shines brightly! Like "Alexander Supertramp" in INTO THE WILD and "Captain America" in EASY RIDER, he had a huge heart and a great soul. He truly cared about people.
Another theme that runs through all three of these films is a sense of loneliness. The number on the bus that Christopher lived in depicted in INTO THE WILD is number 142. Numerologically, this adds up to a number 7 - the number of solitude and loneliness. In EASY RIDER, the character played by Peter Fonda ends up all alone in a New Orleans cemetery, perched atop a statue of the Virgin Mary while he's peaking on LSD in a death-rebirth acid trip-induced mystical experience, screaming out in tears to his real dead mother and asking her why she killed herself, leaving him all alone. In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, you find Ernesto feeling more and more isolated from his friend and feeling lonely after he receives the "Dear John letter" from his girlfriend who they had visited just weeks before. His sense of loss and isolation is profound. His shattered dream of a romantic relationship with this woman cleared the path to true enlightenment for him. The viewer can sense this profoundly at the end of the film when you see him saying goodbye to Alberto before getting alone onto the aeroplane waiting to take him away toward his ultimate destiny. All three of these characters experienced major spiritual transformations along their journey out on the road of life far away from home.
One last characteristic that all the major characters in these three films have in common is their persistent, uncompromising, diligently determined drive to all reach their goals - for good or ill. They are all absolutely hell-bent on following their dreams and dancing to the beat of their own drummer. They all choose freedom over security. Ironically, they all consciously choose the path of Odysseus - of wandering - but they all end up reaching the same end as Achilles - of dying young in a flame of glory. That's fate. The ancient Greeks called her "Moira." Even the Gods themselves are at her mercy. In EASY RIDER, Billy was always pushing his more contemplative partner onward toward their goal of reaching the famous whorehouse in New Orleans. It almost seems as if the only reason why "Captain America" wanted to also go was to pay his respects to their long lost companion, George (played dramatically by Jack Nicholson) the attorney who got them out of jail, whose idea it was to go there in the first place. Peter Fonda's character was loyal to a fault when it came to his friendship with Billy. In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, Alberto (the horny rascal) was always pushing Ernesto to go out of his spiritual centeredness and jump into the dangerous fray of the more seedy side of life. Finally, in INTO THE WILD, it was "Alexander Supertramp's" intense reaction to the constant, dysfunctional fighting between his mother and father back home that pushed him on and outward to not ever end up in the same situation himself. We must also acknowledge that all of these characters were young and anxious to sew some of their wild oats, a natural condition of youth everywhere.
One might ask what would have happened to all of these characters if they had changed their minds along the way of their respective, individual quests and decided, instead, to stay with companions they had met along the way, or turn back and go back home? I remember when I first saw EASY RIDER as a kid, when it first came out in 1969. We all went to the movie theater as a group and all watched it together, getting a kick out of hippies smoking real pot, live and on camera. Some of us thought they should have stayed in the hippie commune. If they had lived, would they have stayed together? Would "Captain America" have gone back to be with those people? The same goes for INTO THE WILD. What would have happened if Christopher had stayed longer with his hippie friends in the trailer park? What would have happened if he left Alaska before the ice melted and went back to be with the girl he sang with who was a musician and who clearly cared for him? In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, what would have happened if Ernesto changed his mind and went back to be with his girlfriend? Would there have ever been a Cuban revolution? It's interesting that the characters in EASY RIDER had the goal of reaching a whorehouse, and the character in THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES - "Che Guevara" - was instrumental in ridding CUBA of all of its underworld-controlled and corrupt, exploitative whorehouses and gambling casinos! Who woulda thunk that - coming from this bookish, sensitive doctor!
Ultimately, what one comes away learning from all three of these films, and which is expressed at the end of INTO THE WILD by Christopher McCandless, is that what really matters most in life is true happiness and peace of mind, and that the only way to be truly fulfilled and happy is by sharing it with other people. Happiness can only be found in community. To reach a real community where you can truly be yourself and live an authentic life is a real blessing. Billy and "Captain America" never got the chance. Christopher McCandless learned this truth - but too late to live it. Only Ernesto reached the higher octave of societal existence and sustained a life on a higher level of community involvement through his unbending will and indomitable spirit to "work for the good of the whole," as my friend, Al, likes to say. He was true to himself; that is, he took what he learned from being alone on the road away from home and brought it back with him to transform society back home and, ultimately, everywhere. He may have fallen off that damn, rickety, old motorcycle one too many times to be content with the trust in machinery and mechanical living to the extent that most people allow themselves to fall prey to. He found true freedom from the fold by transforming the fold itself, and it was life on the road that transformed him.
Thoreau said it best: "In wilderness is the preservation of the world." Wandering through the wilderness is dynamically healing!
... YOWZA! - George Nicholas Koumantzelis / The Aeolian Kid ... April 15, 2009
I can't believe I just discovered it Well I'm 38 years too late but I just discovered this movie. This is not one of my most favorite movies. There really aren't any hippy movies like it. I mean you have Cheech and Chong, Half baked, and a handful of other comedies. But nothing serious, hippies weren't just bumbling morons. This portrays hippies in a real dramatic light. Let's you in their world and wanting more. I liked it and highly recommend it....more info
another "hollywood hippie" exploitation film the sixties mean something different to each of us that lived them. some love this movie, some don't. i feel that it did a disservice like many of the cheesy hippie exploitation films and there were a lot of them. these films and there actors are not representatives of the times. and to this day many of the players still whore around as spokespeople for the counterculture and/or what it has evolved into, in their opinion. "we blew it" was symbolic to some as a statement of things which could have been. for some of us, the sixties and the ideas of the time are as fresh and meaningful today as they were then....more info
The Death of The '60s The Plot: Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda are two drug dealers from L.A. who get rich selling coke to Phil Spector(imagine that...). They celebrate by hitting the road on their choppers towards Mardi Gras. Among many of the kind Americans they run into along the way is the one and only Jack Nicholson, an alcoholic ACLU attorney who helps them out of jail. In return, they decide to take him to New Orleans with them and get him stoned in the process (the funniest scene in the movie--Nicholson offers an inspiring monologue concerning extraterrestrial intelligence). Enduring harassment and abuse from the rural locals, they arrive at Mardi Gras. Tony Basil(!) is one of the hookers they drop acid with in the graveyard (an unsettling psychedelic sequence only surpassed by the climax of "2001: A Space Odyssey"). Sounds great, doesn't it? It is. Despite its flaws and shortcomings, this is an American classic not to be missed.
Any fan of independent films will adore this movie (check out "Midnight Cowboy", too, if you like this one). The acting is amateurish but the script is inspired, and the cinematography and soundtrack are terrific.
This movie is a symbolic snuff film, and the American Dream is the victim in the spotlight. It foreshadows the paranoia and hostility that would later precipitate the War On Drugs and, now, the War On Terror. Ironically, the alcoholic lawyer played by Jack Nicholson is the only person that has a clear and sober idea of what is going on, and he is quickly silenced by the barbaric locals. The two main characters themselves have a vague idea of it, but are too caught up in their own hedonism to see it clearly. Near the end of the film, Peter Fonda grimly concludes: "We blew it." Ouch--the truth hurts; I wasn't even alive in the '60s and I'm still feeling it today....more info
30 something years later..... the movie was just about as I remembered. I purchased it simply out of nostalgia, the extra music CD was a nice perk, and it was as entertaining as I expected it to be. I figure I got what I paid for....more info
enjoyed thanks for getting the movie to me so fast my dad enjoyed watching it for his b-day...more info
the real 60s This movie is offensive in the same way that any movie that is truly about hippies would have to be. What that meens is this movie does not consist of the typical slapstick hippie stereo type that we usually get in stupid cartoons. This shows hippies for what they are, degenerates, and at the same time it demonizes the south. For a hippie, this movie would seem to be a moral statement, but to me it just seems to show how awful people can be. Shame on hippies for being , lazy, pot smoking, anti-establishment degenerates. But shame on the south too, for being filled with such hatred. But while I'm sure there are some people in the south that would have no problem shooting hipppies on spot for no apparent reason other than that they looked funny, I can't help but feel that the south were exagerated to certain extent. In conclusion though, this movie was enjoyable . I don't know why, but it was. I guess its just a very amusing look into the late 60s (something thats usually sugarcoated)from the "other side" lol. i would like to rate it higher, but I just can't bring myself to do it.
P.S. That hippie commune was kind of sad. The adults were running around actin irresponsible while the kids were just generally unhappy without any real parent figures....more info
Jack and the Soundtrack Jack Nicholson and the great soundtrack are really the only interesting or entertaining aspects of this film. I found myself fighting the urge to sleep, which was especially annoying after reading over and over again for years about what a classic, epochal movie ER was. If you want excitement, great story and script, great acting danger and an even better soundtrack from the same era, go for Performance or Get Carter. Avoid this snore....more info
A Slice of Time This movie captures the essence of the lste 60's and early 70's. It should be required viewing for anybody that's interested in that period. ...more info
Unique when new but dull for today's audience I was 11 years old when this came out. So of course I heard a lot about it but didn't see this movie. So when I had a chance to watch it I decided to see what the fuss was about. Well, considering the times it was made, it was a radical departure from the norm. Nudity, pot smoking and perhaps other no-nos of that period.
The story is kinda boring. Two motorcycle enthusiasts take a trip to New Orleans to go to Mardi Gras. There is tragedy because of prejudice and so there is a sad quality to this film. Still, it's not a great movie just ahead of it's time...maybe. Plus it introduced the great actor Jack Nicholson.
Thanks for teaching me right, Dan... This movie is not just about riding, it is about counter culture and love for freedom---the feelings of the 60s. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper ride on a wirlwind journey of America after making money on a drug deal. Along the way they meet a rather straight-laced (so to say) attorney played by Jack Nicholson. It is their story and a remarkable road trip on a bike. This movie brought us 3 great actors---Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. The sound track is incredible and this 35th anniversary DVD collection has a CD that includes the theme, "Born to be Wild" and many more. I watched this classic movie again tonight for a different reason.
For those Amazon friends that know me, I am a motorcycle enthusiast. I love and have a passion for all motorcycles from dirt, speed and street. I currently have a custom Harley (I had the photo of it on my profile, but had to remove it). I do ride it on the dangerous streets in the city where I live. If you never rode, as the driver, you cannot appreciate the feeling---being on the back is not the same. Motorcycle riding has given me plenty of confidence, and it has taught me to be a better driver in a car or a boat. When I have a bad day or week (which is currently happening), I hop on the bike and it's amazing---your problems disappear (for the moment). I was taught to ride by a guy I was supposed to marry who was a motorcross racer, but it didn't work out. I was a young stupid kid then and if I continued that way I would have surely been a statistic. My husband, Darrell, suggested I learn the right way all over again. I enrolled in a course. I had the most incredible teacher who did not make fun of me or get angry during class and was very patient. I am 5'3" and weigh about 100 pounds---pretty small to hold up a Harley. He saw I was determined and cheered me on. Long after, when I had my accident he went over with me on how it happened, never ridiculing, but still teaching. I wouldn't have been hurt had I had on my proper riding gear. This one person, my teacher, Daniel David Jorasz was killed on his bike this past week, riding the right way. A b@#ch lost control of her car trying to avoid a ladder, spun her car around on the freeway and hit Dan ("Double D") head on, he was killed instantly. Proper riding attire didn't matter, though. Please, if you drive a car avoid driving with a cell phone attached to your ear or under the influence or any other distractions, you never know what could happen and you could kill an innocent person. Also, respect and look out for motorcycles they share the road too......more info
true to the time!!! I was 17, living in East Texas (about 50 miles from Louisiana) when Easy Rider came out. The South was an angry place during 1967-1971. That anger was mostly used to strike at the different and extreme... the different and extreme according to low to mid class whites. The movie reveals a great friendship between two, then three, traveling partners. Their friendship wasn't any different or perverse than those of people in the states through which they traveled. However, the prejudice that lived among the angry, older generation of the southern states proved to be unaccepting, even violent.
Though made with little money, the way it's shot, and the characters it produces makes Easy Rider a great classic movie.
I recommend you buy it. If you don't understand it the first time, watch it again. You will come to agree....more info
Easy Rider This film represents myself, and my generation from the early 60's. I understand and identify with it it completely. Sometimes those timess become a little fuzzy in my memory, but a film like this brings it all back. It was actually made during that time also, with actors in it who truly felt their parts. Whenever I feel like like revisiting my 60's adventures, I watch this movie. ...more info
Still Stunning I saw this when it first came out, and was blown away.
But hey, that was the 60s, so maybe I was just reacting to the times.
Twenty years later I was asked to teach a course called "The Journey of Life" and use it as one of the pieces.
I was afraid it would not hold up.
I am glad to say I was wrong.
It held up splendidly.
It is one of those films that transcends itself. Despite the shoestring budget and no-name actors (Hopper and Fonda and Nicholson were practically unknown), it pole-vaults into the category of National Myth.
It instantly harks back to one of the elemental themes in America: Seeking Freedom by Hitting the Open Road.
This goes way back--past Kerouac, past Whitman, past Huck and Jim lighting out for the territories, past Ishmael and Queequeg, past Leatherstocking and Chingachkook, past even Hester Prynne and Pearl.
Amazing how this archetype resonates.
The simplicity, the scenery, the topical references (like the parade in the small town; the hippie commune), the strange drug-spirituality in New Orleans, the violence.
Still Important, Still Great. Despite having aged in the last 30+ years, "Easy Rider" remains one of the most important and influential films ever made. Written by Dennis Hopper & Peter Fonda (with Terry Southern) and directed by Hopper; Easy Rider is a film that introduced the world to a rising young star named Jack Nicholson, a film that is on The American Film Institute's Top 100 List (#88), and is a brilliant look at the drug/hippie culture of the 60's. Fonda and Hopper play Wyatt & Billy, two men who experience freedom by riding their motorcycles around. The movie has such a lack of plot; I'm not even entirely sure how to sum it up. Even more amazing is how detailed and elaborate this film actually is. Carrying cocaine in one of the gas tanks, they ride around while encountering various eccentric characters. They also encounter ignorance, bigotry, and, eventually, George Hanson (Nicholson), a drunken lawyer who joins the boys on their ride. Nicholson got an Oscar nomination for his role and receives star billing, but isn't actually in the movie very long. He definitely steals the show, though. The movie, for me, evoked memories of a film called "Midnight Cowboy." It too had star-making performances (by Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight), took a look at the hippie/Andy Warhol-drug culture, and has a similar grainy look and feel to it. While I think Midnight Cowboy is a better film, Easy Rider is a more important one. Almost anyone who watches it will agree that time hasn't been very kind to the movie, yet people still watch this movie to this day. It's #88 on The American Film Institute's List, but if that list was in order of watched most frequently it would place in the top 10 (probably below or next to Pulp Fiction, Casablanca, The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, etc.). One of the best (and most haunting) moments comes in the end. That inevitable moment would be changed in today's Hollywood in favor for a happy ending. This is the only ending that could've worked for a movie about guys like these. This is an unforgettable motion picture experience.
A cultural icon in its day; but the years have not been very kind to this film. This review is for the 1999 (40th Anniversary Edition) Columbia DVD.
The movie in a nutshell involves two hippies, Wyatt (Peter Fonda) also known as "Captain America" and Billy (Dennis Hopper), who score a huge cocaine deal in Mexico and unload it on a rich guy (Phil Spector) in California. The two then decide to travel by motorcycle to the Mardi Gras in New Orleans to have a great time. This sets up the rest of the film for many offbeat and bizarre encounters on this free-spirited road trip.
I was only ten years old when 'Easy Rider' came out, and without even seeing it, I can recall how popular the movie was. In fact, it was very common to see a large black & white poster of Peter Fonda on his chrome chopper, with the helmet and gas tank colorized in florescent red, white and blue. For the counterculture/anti-establishment crowd, it would seem that traveling cross country on a Harley with a stash of money, drugs along with easy sexual encounters was the new American dream. It wasn't until recently I had the chance to watch this film in its entirety on DVD, and the sense of free-spirited travel across scenic landscapes holds up well and so does a lot of the music, especially songs like "Born to be Wild" and several of the songs by the Byrds. In addition, the movie has some great moments including just about every scene that features Jack Nicholson. But sadly, communal living, acid trips, getting high on pot, having unprotected sex with prostitutes and dealing drugs for money just dates this film miserably. All of this wouldn't be necessarily bad especially if it was a bust-your-gut comedy, but unfortunately the film idealizes this lifestyle and plays too heavy-handed against their stereotypical Southern oppressors - especially in the final scene. Overall, I did like this movie for the cinemetography, music and nostalgia, but wasn't at all sold on the manipulative and outdated message. However, it's definitely one of these movies like Woodstock, that brings insight, be it good or bad, into the hippie counter-culter of the late 1960's.
The DVD picture quality is great. I can only recall seeing roughly four or five tiny specs of film deterioration during the entire film. The colors and sharpness are fantastic and the stereo sound is excellent too. The making of the movie bonus feature is very insightful as a lot of details about the motorcycles, the production and background of the film are brought to light. Dennis Hopper also gives audio commentary for the main feature.
Rip off or best buy. depends If you already have the 30th anniversary edition don't buy this one. It's a rip off !! it's the same exact thing that the previous version same menu and same extras. You get a cd SONGtrack not SOUNDtrack so you don't have all the movie's songs and the short book by Lee. So if you don't have a dvd version of Easy Rider go for it you won't regret it and if you already have the 30th version then wait till the 40 th maybe we will have the three full hours uncut or at list part of it....more info
Excellent package This is one of the best packages we bought so far. An excellent movie with a splendid sound track. A genuine classic and 'must-have'.
Still The Best Still one of the best "buddy"/"anti-establishment" movies of all time. This review is not going to cover anything that hasn't already been covered. In short, AMAZING, EXCELLENT, OUTSTANDING!!!...more info
Stereotype, Yes. Real Culture feelings, YES! I know over the years that reviewers always tend to mock this movie and stating that the best part of the movie is the soundtrack. They are correct about a great soundtrack. But the reviewers usually miss one important message this movie portrays. That is the feeling one gets when heading out on a long ride with somebody you want to share the experiences with. If you haven't been on a motorcycle or taken a ride longer than the local pub, you still can't understand what I'm talking about. Leaving all that you know as your daily routine, your family, friends and the daily expectations of others. Then hitting the road with a very distant point as the target. The freedom of the road with all of it's experiences, good or bad, will change your life. It can give it meaning in a form that you could never find taking that minute by minute planned vacation. Watch this movie with the attitude of going along with it, experiencing it all for the first time just like Captain America and Billy do....more info
Easy Rider This is one of those movies that is on the AFI's "Top 100 films of all time" list. In my opinion that list is bogus. Only about a quarter of the films on that list deserve to be there. I don't think Easy Rider is anywhere close to one of the top 100 films of all time. Easy Rider seems fairly pointless. Billy(Dennis Hopper) and Wyatt (Peter Fonda) drive around on their choppers, pick up a hippie, and drive around some more. That sums up the first half of the film. Don't get me wrong, it isn't exactly boring, but it isn't exactly a great story either. To be honest this movie doesn't really have a story.
Dennis Hopper directed this film and the word is that he was completely stoned out of his mind. I can believe that. There is a scene at the end where the Billy and Wyatt drop some acid and go on a little trip with two hookers in a cemetary. To me it seems pretty easy to shoot an acid trip. Just shoot random stuff, cut it together randomly and voila! You have your scene. Or better yet, give the camera to a monkey. The out of focus shots and frenetic animal jerkiness will only add to the overall aesthetic of the scene. Its ok for the first 20 seconds, but anything longer than that gets monotonous.
Jack Nicholson is amazing as usual. He is so good, so convincing, and has such presence that he completely steals every scene that he is in. The other actors are good too in their own ways; Dennis Hopper made me laugh several times, but then again watching stoned guys do stupid things will usually make you laugh anyway.
The cinematography is very good. L¨¢szl¨® Kov¨¢cs does good work and he captures the scenery very well. God knows there is plenty of time for that during the course of the movie. There is a little incongruity towards the end when they try to match 16mm footage with the rest of the 35mm film, but other than that the picture is good. There are some weird things done with the editing that I didn't really understand or care for. There is a reoccuring theme of stuttering images before cutting to a new scene. It kind of seems like a film student experiment that was left in the film accidently.
I'll bet this movie was great back in the days of hippies and woodstock, but now it just comes off flat. It does give some insight into that time period, but there are many other better films that can do the same thing and tell you a story at the same time.
What A Long Strange Trip It's Been "Some films captivate the zeitgeist of the American imagination so completely that they become instant cult favorites. But few such films prove potent enough to retain the favor of audiences in perpetuity. 35 years after the film's release, audiences around the world are still captivated by the raw vision of Easy Rider is no small accomplishment. To this day, the image of Fonda and Hopper (neither of whom knew how to ride a motorcycle before making this film) careening helmetless down the open highway to the tune of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" defines the American biker motif more clearly than any Hell's Angel could ever hope to." Bart Zeigler
"Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way" Steppenwolf- "Born To be Wild'
37 years after 'Easy Rider' was first shown, I viewed the movie again. I was prepared to think I remembered the story, the story of an American myth, with anitheroes riding from the West only this time on bikes into the evil of middle America. I thought the best thing about the film was the soundtrack. It was an important film but not a very good one. Then I watched it, and I was hooked from scene one. The film drew me in, such a very good film. Not perfect but very good. Dennis Hopper's character,was so real, the dishelveled, long-haired. I remember many people who dressed and acted just like him. He directed the film and gave the character's names Wyatt and Billy, old west names discovering new territory. The acting was natural, not self-conciuous. It covers alot of territory in 90 plus minutes. The landscapes so beautiful and unspoiled. The surprises were the fact that Phil Spectre was cast as the connection- how trite and real is that? The early scene with the rancher and his family was one of the beautiful scenes of the film. Wyatt tells the rancher: "It's not everyman who can live off the land, you know, doing his own thing his own time. You should be proud."
The film comes alive when George, played by Jack Nicholsen as an ACLU lawyer. What a handsome dude, a purveyor of many roles to come. I remembered wondering about his character and thinking his Southern accent was too much and his football helmet silly. Now I understand about the football helmet and George's speech about how America used to be "a helluva good country". That night around the campfire, he samples grass for the first time, "Lord have mercy, is that what that is?" But best of all, is Peter Fonda and the quiet, intelligent, Captain America/Wyatt. He moves through the movie with, as my best friend would say, a noblesse oblige, a retired drug pusher who casts away his past and his allegiance to time with his wristwatch. Captain America and Billy find the whorehouse George directed them to and drop acid in the cemetery with two hookers, Karen Black in a great role. It is a long acid trip that sets the standard for hallucination portrayals for years to come. It's a bad trip, but maybe they chose the wrong place with the wrong people. And all is not well in the land of the free. A brief run-in with a few local yokels leads to their undoing. I'd thought Easy Rider would seem dated. Turns out it's timeless.
Easy Rider is a lengthy music video for the '60s culture. But it is also an honest perspective on the counterculture movement. Fonda and Hopper's portrayal of that experience is free of the romanticized tone that characterizes so many other films from this era. Fonda's dialogue the night before his death is a purveyor of things to come. Hopper is happy because they've made it to their destination with their drug money. "We blew it," Fonda tells him. "We blew it, man." Heavy.
"Easy Rider is the late 1960s "road film" tale of a search for freedom (or the illusion of freedom) in a conformist and corrupt America, in the midst of paranoia, bigotry and violence. Released in the year of the Woodstock concert, and made in a year of two tragic assassinations (Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King), the Vietnam War buildup and Nixon's election, the tone of this 'alternative' film is remarkably downbeat and bleak, reflecting the collapse of the idealistic 60s. Easy Rider, one of the first films of its kind, was a ritualistic experience and viewed (often repeatedly) by youthful audiences in the late 1960s as a reflection of their hopes of liberation and fears of the Establishment."
'Easy Rider' took to me a place and time I knew intimately, and I was trasported back to those not so innocent happy times. 'What a long strange trip it's been'.
'Truckin' Grateful Dead
"Sometimes the light's all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it's been "
"We Need to Make More Movies Like Dr. Doolittle" If you haven't seen Easy Rider... you should. It is a great movie. It is a bit dated now but it is still a legendary flick. I am a motorcyclist and I grew up with this movie. Most people that have seen it already will love this DVD version. But what I wanted to talk about is the added documentary Easy Rider: Shaking The Cage. This alone is worth the price of the DVD. I would have bought it and paid full price just to see Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Luke Askew and the rest of the people involved talk about the movie, how it was thought up and how it was done from beginning to end. I loved this documentary and have watched it about 10 times. Peter Fonda and Hopper alone are just great and it is cool watching these guys now in their 60's talking about making this movie.
Easy Rider: Shaking The Cage... make sure you watch this if you get this DVD. It is AWESOME. ...more info
90% snore, 10% interesting Well, it may have been representative of its day, but as of 12/27/05, it's grown pretty tedious. It has one thing to say, that could be said in about 10 minutes, but it spreads the "message" out over way too long. The ending is truly shocking, and somewhat redeems the tedium of the earlier parts of the film that tend to drag, drag, drag. Jack Nicholson is, of course, the bright spot in the film, but he's in waaaaay to little of it. ...more info
Explode Into Space! Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper's counter-culture flick "Easy Rider", like Warren Beatty's "Bonnie and Clyde", launched the genre of low budget, independent film-making, and is as an important a film as it is a Hollywood milestone..When the studio system faded away (the back-lot assembly line), there was a vacuum in Hollywood and studio heads were gasping for fresh air?..The industry conundrum was, who would fill the void away from candy-corn musicals like "The Sound of Music", "Mary Poppins", and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", that were putting movie-goers into a permanent state of snooze, and hemorraging red ink..Box-office receipts were in freefall, an omen revolution was in the air, and a upshift in audience taste was potentially going unrealized?..Columbia Studios figured they had to roll the dice, and test if a youth audience was ready in numbers to buy theatre tickets if original content was exhibited..Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda were seasoned Hollywood hands that survived the studio wars, and sensed the time was ripe to seize control of their careers by producing new wave content..Collectively, Fonda and Hopper scripted a contemporary "noir western" screenplay, Fonda as (Wyatt), Hopper as (Billy), two drugstore cowboys, mounted on "iron horses" on an existentialist journey to find America, that reflected the angst, paranoia, and prejudices permeating the Johnson/Nixon Viet Nam War era.."Easy Rider" is a biker odyssey, and the end-game is to get to New Orleans and "experience" Mardi Gras before the apocalyptic collapse of culture, an Edenistic premise..See the movie now, and excuse the dated 60's precepts..Realize the movie was an emboldened out-of-the-box move by its creators and Columbia..View the movie in context, and you will overlook its rough edges, and cardboard cut-out stereo-types..The movie occupies a sacred place in indie filmmaking, and paved the road for maverick film-makers like Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, and William Friedkin, meaning there are films today that rest on the shoulders of "Easy Rider", as primitive as the 16mm. film might seem relative to today's digitally enhanced standards..The film proved there was enormous profitability in "new realism", and ushered in packaging a rock soundtrack to accentuate the picture, at the time a sound-breaking strategy....more info