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Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And-Rock 'n' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Peter Biskind , Dick Hill
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 36.14
Price: 35.21 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

Nov 2008
In 1969, a low-budget biker movie, "Easy Rider", shocked Hollywood with its stunning success. An unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (onscreen and off), "Easy Rider" heralded a heady decade in which a rebellious wave of talented young filmmakers invigorated the movie industry. In "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls", Peter Biskind takes us on the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s, an era that produced such modern classics as "The Godfather", "Chinatown", "Shampoo", "Nashville", "Taxi Driver" and "Jaws". "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" vividly chronicles the exuberance and excess of the times: the startling success of "Easy Rider" and the equally alarming circumstances under which it was made, with drugs, booze, and violent rivalry between costars Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda dominating the set; how a small production company named BBS became the guiding spirit of the youth rebellion in Hollywood and how, along the way, some of its executives helped smuggle Huey Newton out of the country; how director Hal Ashby was busted for drugs and thrown in jail in Toronto; why Martin Scorsese attended the Academy Awards with an FBI escort when "Taxi Driver" was nominated; how George Lucas, gripped by anxiety, compulsively cut off his own hair while writing "Star Wars", how a modest house on Nicholas Beach occupied by actresses Margot Kidder and Jennifer Salt became the unofficial headquarters for the New Hollywood; how Billy Friedkin tried to humiliate Paramount boss Barry Diller; and how screenwriter/director Paul Schrader played Russian roulette in his hot tub. It was a time when an "anything goes" experimentation prevailed both on the screen and off. After the success of "Easy Rider", young film-school graduates suddenly found themselves in demand, and directors such as Francis Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, George Lucas, and Martin Scorsese became powerful figures. Even the new generation of film stars-- Nicholson, De Niro, Hoffman, Pacino, and Dunaway-- seemed a breed apart from the traditional Hollywood actors. Ironically, the renaissance would come to an end with "Jaws" and "Star Wars", hugely successful films that would create a blockbuster mentality and crush innovation. Based on hundreds of interviews with the directors themselves, producers, stars, agents, writers, studio executives, spouses, and ex-spouses, this is the full, candid story of Hollywood's last golden age. Never before have so many celebrities talked so frankly about one another and about the drugs, sex, and money that made so many of them crash and burn. By turns hilarious and shocking, "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" is the ultimate behind-the-scenes account of Hollywood at work and play.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Corporation; Unabridged edition (Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423371062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423371069
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 13 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,626,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Dennis Drabelle "The Washington Post Book World" Biskind's devourable book is that rarity, a Hollywood expose that you can read mouth agape, slurping up scandal and titillation so fast you're in danger of choking -- without feeling ashamed of yourself. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sad loss of paradise in Hollywood. 20 Aug 1999
By A Customer
"...But it should have been perfect [but] in the end, we f***ed it all up. It should have been so sweet too, but it turned out to be the last time that street guys like us were ever given something that f***in' valuable again".
-Nicky Santoro in the film, "Casino".
A common thread in some of Martin Scorsese's films is the "loss of paradise" theme. How cool was the gangster world of "Goodfellas" before Henry Hill screwed it up by dealing with drugs? Or how cool was Saul Rothstein's world in Vegas before he screwed it up by marrying a scam artist?
In both of these films the chararacters were given the world and in the end the messed it all up. Have you ever wondered why Mr. Scorsese might have gravitated towards these themes? Well, after reading Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bull", I think you might find the answer.
It's a fascinating read about how, for a brief moment, Hollywood went loopy and handed over it's power to the street guys, the directors. Scorsese, Hopper, Beatty, Lucas, Spielberg, Coppola, Friedkin, etc. They became the town's "White Knights" and saved Hollywood from literally going senile.
Now, I don't know how many of the book's stories are actually true, but what the hell! It's a fun - lurid read! The only drawback is the depressing ending, which, of course, is how the young innovative directors scewed up and were never given something so valuable, as running Hollywood, again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Biskind presents us, in typical Hollywood fashion, with two, boiled-down, over-the-top stereotypical faces of movie-makers, a fork in the road as it were for the coming years of American cinema: Dennis Hopper, who I'm convinced after reading this book is as a vile a sack of flesh to ever walk the earth--save for Robert Altman--and the Godfearing, uptight, clean-cut, corporate guy like Spielberg. Frankly, neither offer me very much reason to ever want to see a movie again, much less one of theirs. (Anyone who saw "Saving Private Ryan" and didn't think it was as facist, flag-waving, propagandaist a piece of movie-making as there ever was is fooling themselves)
Distaste, awe, and feeling like a rubbernecker at a traffic accident is the culmative effect that book creates. Biskind shows the reader warts and all and spends most of the time showing how the warts are some of the most fascinating parts of this rather indistinguishable crew. (All of whom, except for, like, Mr. Love Machine Warren Beatty, come from quite similar backgrounds: outcasts, scrawny, imaginative, no good with women, went to movies a lot, wanted to make their own films, couldn't deal with human beings the way the rest of us Joe Schmoes do, and instead of learning people skills that might make them better humans, they only threw themselves further into the maw of the Hollywood machine.) Why else, then, does Biskind mention, for example, that Polly Platt didn't wear underwear or that Bogdonavich carried reviews of his movies around with him, except to provide the salacious details that together work to tear down the gods of the 70's? That is his intention. And after he's done tearing them down, what's left in their place...what?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fun but annoying 1 April 1999
By A Customer
It's hard not to enjoy a book chock full of nasty gossip about famous people, but by the time you reach the end of Biskind's book, you may be as tired of the author as you are of the self-indulgent directors he profiles.
The book is undeniably fun to read -- after all, who doesn't enjoy watching smug hippies with more pretension than talent self-destruct? But Biskind's writing is slap-dash at best. He often changes from last to first names even when referring to minor figures, causing the reader to return to earlier paragraphs to figure out exactly who is taking drugs with whom. Or who is sleeping with whom. Or backstabbing. Or stealing writing credits. Or attending Ho Chi Minh rallies. Etc.
Biskind is almost as bad a film critic as he is a writer. He can't seem to tell the difference between truly dreadful films like Easy Rider and Shampoo (which deserve to be remembered, if at all, as cultural artifacts) from genuine achievements like The Last Picture Show or McCabe and Mrs. Miller. He simply loves them all.
All except Star Wars and Jaws, that is. In fact, Spielberg and Lucas come in for lots of gratuitous criticism simply for being more interested in telling stories than deconstructing genre -- or experimenting with drugs or smuggling Huey Newton into Cuba.
In the end, Biskind never does resolve his fervor for the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll generation's work and politics from the undeniable evidence that their self-indulgence was ultimately ruinous. But there are so few books about film and the film industry that make for good popular reading, you simply have to make the best of what you get. We'll just have to wait for a book where the skill of the author is up to the fascinating subject.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, confusing and biased 8 Feb 2006
A very interesting book, especially if you're into film gossip. But the best thing about it is the "Cast of Characters" at the end of the book - a vital edition as the amount of names mentioned in the book is staggering. I was so confused about who was being talked about as about three thousand different people were mentioned each chapter. Although the content is very amusing and the stories told are great bits of background knowledge to the films mentioned, it is extremely biased towards certain characters. Biskind absolutely hates Lucas and Spielberg it seems, and he pretty much blames them solely for the state of Hollywood after the golden age of the 70s. Still as long as you are taking drugs and experimenting with your mind and films you are fine in this book, despite the fact that many of the 'great' films reminisced about are actually crap.
Despite my criticisms it's an enjoyable read, especially for film fans (and gossips). But beware the author's biase.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars dishes the dirt like you wouldn't believe!
A great guilty pleasure - I don't know how Biskind did it, but it's fully of juicy dishing. Very enjoyable summer read, tho' does bog down after about the 1st half.
Published on 24 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as sex, drugs, and rock and roll
For some strange reason, I never thought much of the films of the '70s except Star Wars and the Godfather series. I grew up on John Hughes and ET. Read more
Published on 22 Jun 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars be careful
beware of taking this book's anecdotes and details too literally. i know a few of the people biskind discusses in the book, and they all say he gets many things flat-out wrong. Read more
Published on 19 Jun 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Love Films, You Will Love This Book!
Every page was explosive and full of energy. This man knows how to write about one of the most creative, over the edge times in film history. He doesn't leave anything out! Read more
Published on 18 May 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining alright, but somewhat ugly
This book doesn't know whether it wants to be the best book ever written on 1970s filmmaking, or just the nastiest, so it winds up being both. Read more
Published on 8 April 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars A great account of the schemeing behind the scenes.
Biskind captures the air of hollywood like no one i have ever read before. THe loose morals and people's uncanny ability to forget who they are and what their loyalties were is... Read more
Published on 5 April 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars great anecdotes about Scorcese, Speilberg and Coppola
A fascinating look at the business behind some of the biggest movies of all time, as well as lots of stories, both funny and sad, about the people involved in making them. Read more
Published on 4 April 1999
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