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
Originally released in 1969, Easy Rider
is widely regarded as the original 'road movie'. It reflected the attitudes and longings of an entire generation, and was soon copied by other Hollywood studios. Two motorcyclists (Hopper and Fonda) embark on a coast to coast odyssey in search of the real America, encountering along the way the many faces of its big cities and small towns, a hippie commune, drugs and sex in a New Orleans bawdy house. The film also marks the magnificent performance by Jack Nicholson which brought him to international attention. Easy Rider
was the official U.S. entry in the Cannes Film festival in 1969 where it came away with the award for Best Film by a New Director (Hopper).