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Drama - US

Easy Rider (1969)

Duration1h 35m
RatingsUK: X, USA: R, France and Netherlands : 12.
Source of storyAn original screenplay, apparently related to “The Wild Angels” and “The Trip”.
DirectorDennis Hopper
Writers/ScriptPeter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Terry Southern
StarringPeter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Phil Spector, Jack Nicholson, Toni Basil, Karen Black, Bridget Fonda, Carrie Snodgrass
IMDb Rating7.3 by 97,779 people

Elevator Pitch: A couple of hippie guys carry out a drug deal which allows them to get the money together for a trip from Los Angeles to New Orleans. They quickly find that they are shunned by the motel managers and so camp at the roadside, usually smoking dope. They collect a hiker and visit a hippy community. Later when thrown into jail for joining a parade in a small town, they meet a young lawyer who joins them. But as they get closer to New Orleans the atmosphere becomes more oppressive, and in the end the adventure is not without cost.

Content: There is nudity, but as usual the IMDb Content Advisors saw more than I did. But almost continuous smoking of grass, some cocaine sniffing and one major LSD event. There is a lot of time on the road and the American landscape plays itself amazingly well. The guys ramble on round the campfires. They are put in jail and meet George who is a drunk. There are events in small American towns, one of the most unpleasant when they stop for coffee and the locals threaten them.  The LSD trip, which involves two prostitutes, takes place in a New Orleans cemetary.

A View: I first saw this film when it was on general release in 1969 and went straight out afterwards and bought the LP. On watching it yesterday I was still able to remember the order of the tracks. In 1998 it was added to the United States National Film Registry. It is a film with an extraordinary emotional impact, although for me I’m not sure whether it is the content or its staus in my youth. All road trip films made since owe something to it. So if you have not seen it pay for the down load, and if you have, watch it again. It is a MUST SEE.

Additional Info: Dennis Hopper was apparently a very unpredictable director, some of the crew filming his rants and sending them to the producers as evidence of why they had quit.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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