The Movie Special

DVD Reviews 'n More

EASY RIDER (1969)

Easy Rider starts as a road trip movie with long sequences of two bikers riding through iconic American landscapes in the style of Westerns, but it ends with a much deeper message that made America change the way it looks at itself. Easy Rider is considered to be a very real and innovative look at a chaotic time period. It was the first real indie distributed by a major company and also one of the first movies to have a soundtrack of previously recorded music

Easy Rider starts with Billy (Dennis Hopper) and Wyatt, aka Captain America (Peter Fonda) making a major drug deal with an LA connection (Phil Spector). With the cash safely tucked away in the stars and stripes gas tank of Captain America’s bike, the two bikers head towards Mardi Gras for “The Last Party” before retiring to Florida. On their way through the Vietnam-era America they meet amongst others a hippie hitchhiker (Luke Askew) and an alcoholic ACLU lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson). Hanson joins Billy and Captain America on their road trip, but does not make it to New Orleans. Wyatt and Billy do and join the Mardi Gras where they sure enough have their last party at a local graveyard with the help of a couple of hookers (Karen Black and Toni Basil) and some LSD. Then they are off towards Florida, but once again it’s not an easy ride.

Roger McGuinn – It’s Alright Ma

Produced by Fonda and shot by Hopper Easy Rider paved the path for socially relevant and documentary-style movies. It takes a sober look at the end of the flower-power era and at a country that has lost its ideals. The movie is filled with symbolism – from tossing of the wristwatches, stuffing money into the stars and stripes gas tank to scoring “junk” on a junkyard.

Both Fonda and Hopper deliver excellent performances as two friends looking for something, yet not quite knowing what. This is the movie that made Jack Nicholson a movie star and he is enigmatic as Hanson who puts into words what everybody is feeling. And most of the dialogue in this movie was improvised.

If you have not seen this movie, it’s definitely worth of checking it out.

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