This box-office hit from 1969 was an important pioneer of the North American independent-cinema movement, and it was a generational touchstone to boot. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper play hippie motorcyclists crossing the Southwest and encountering a crazy quilt of good and bad people. Jack Nicholson turns up in a significant role as an attorney who joins their quest for a while and espouses on society's inability to accept the freedom Fonda's and Hopper's characters embody. Hopper directed, essentially bringing the no-frills film-making methods of legendary, drive-in movie producer Roger Corman (The Little Shop of Horrors
) to a serious feature for the mainstream. Easy Rider
can't help but look a bit dated now (a psychedelic sequence toward the end particularly doesn't hold up well), but it retains its original power, sense of daring and epochal impact. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
Bikers Captain America (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper, who also directs) set off across America on the proceeds of a cocaine deal. En route to the New Orleans Mardi Gras festival they stop off at a hippy commune, before being arrested in Texas for joining a street parade without a licence. In jail they meet boozy civil rights lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson), who decides to join them on their odyssey. Made on a shoestring budget, 'Easy Rider' was a huge hit upon its release, and this success proved instrumental in persuading the big Hollywood studios to invest in more films from young directors.