on 20 March 2007
Sorry to the people who find this film dated and badly acted, but you have no soul. This film is the epitomy of the search for freedom and an interesting statement about the beginning of the end of the hippie movement.
Though to me it was all about Shruging off you worries and hitting the road for a 'good time'.
The scene where Peter Fonda ('i'm hip about time man...') throws his watch to the ground and rides off to the sounds of steppenwolf still makes me feel 16 years old and so alive!
I don't think I need to go over the plot again but it is THE cult classic road movie. My parents (children of the sixies) brought this film home when I was in my teens (early nineties) and I was hooked from the first viewing. I didn't know films like this existed, it was an amazing thing to witness. I already enjoyed the music of the time but this film opened up, to me, a whole world of cinema from days gone by. If it wasn't for this film I wouldn't have gone looking for 'Five Easy Pieces' 'The Graduate' 'Performance' etc.... the list is endless.
Low budget films from the sixies have to be viewed with an open mind but don't let this put you off.
I would urge everybody to view this film and enjoy the feeling of searching for a new and better life - what a trip!
"Some films captivate the zeitgeist of the American imagination so completely that they become instant cult favorites. But few such films prove potent enough to retain the favor of audiences in perpetuity. So the fact that, 35 years after the film's release, audiences around the world are still captivated by the raw vision of Easy Rider is no small accomplishment. Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) are the quintessential hippie bikers. Cruising across America with a gas tank full of dope, these two dropouts are living the dream of freedom and rugged individuality. To this day, the image of Fonda and Hopper (neither of whom knew how to ride a motorcycle before making this film) careening helmetless down the open highway to the tune of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" defines the American biker motif more clearly than any Hell's Angel could ever hope to." Bart Zeigler
"Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way" Steppenwolf- "Born To be Wild'
37 years after 'Easy Rider' was first shown, I viewed the movie again. I was prepared to think I remembered the story, the story of an American myth, with anitheroes riding from the West only this time on bikes into the evil of middle America. I thought the best thing about the film was the soundtrack. It was an important film but not a very good one. Then I watched it, and I was hooked from scene one. The film drew me in, such a very good film. Not perfect but very good. Dennis Hopper's character,was so real, the dishelveled, long-haired. I remember many people who dressed and acted just like him. He directed the film and gave the character's names Wyatt and Billy, old west names discovering new territory. The acting was natural, not self-conciuous. It covers alot of territory in 90 plus minutes. The landscapes so beautiful and unspoiled. The surprises were the fact that Phil Spectre was cast as the connection- how trite and real is that? The early scene with the rancher and his family was one of the beautiful scenes of the film. Wyatt tells the rancher: "It's not everyman who can live off the land, you know, doing his own thing his own time. You should be proud."
The film comes alive with the character of George, played by Jack Nicholsen as an ACLU lawyer. What a handsome dude, a purveyor of many roles to come. I remembered wondering about his character and thinking his Southern accent was too much and his football helmet silly. Now I understand about the football helmet and George's speech about how America used to be "a helluva good country". That night around the campfire, he samples grass for the first time, "Lord have mercy, is that what that is?" But best of all, yes, best of all, is Peter Fonda and the quiet, intelligent, Captain America/Wyatt. He moves through the movie with, as my best friend would say, a noblesse oblige, a retired drug pusher who, minutes into the movie, casts away his past and his allegiance to time with his wristwatch. Captain America and Billy find the whorehouse George directed them to and drop acid in the cemetery with two hookers, Karen Black in a great role. It is a long acid trip that sets the standard for hallucination portrayals for years to come. It's a bad trip, but maybe they chose the wrong place with the wrong people. And all is not well in the land of the free. A brief run-in with a few local yokels leads to their undoing. I'd thought Easy Rider would seem dated. Turns out it's timeless.
Easy Rider is a lengthy music video for the '60s culture. But it is also an honest perspective on the counterculture movement. Fonda and Hopper's portrayal of that experience is free of the romanticized tone that characterizes so many other films from this era. Fonda's dialogue the night before his death is a purveyor of things to come. Hopper is happy because they've made it to their destination with their drug money. "We blew it," Fonda tells him. "We blew it, man." Heavy.
"Easy Rider (1969) is the late 1960s "road film" tale of a search for freedom (or the illusion of freedom) in a conformist and corrupt America, in the midst of paranoia, bigotry and violence. Released in the year of the Woodstock concert, and made in a year of two tragic assassinations (Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King), the Vietnam War buildup and Nixon's election, the tone of this 'alternative' film is remarkably downbeat and bleak, reflecting the collapse of the idealistic 60s. Easy Rider, one of the first films of its kind, was a ritualistic experience and viewed (often repeatedly) by youthful audiences in the late 1960s as a reflection of their hopes of liberation and fears of the Establishment."
'Easy Rider' took to me a place and time I knew intimately, and I was trasported back to those not so innocent happy times. 'What a long strange trip it's been'.
'Truckin' Grateful Dead
"Sometimes the light's all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it's been "
Highly, Heartily, Recommended. prisrob 07-05-07
Easy Rider - Deluxe Edition CD
on 7 November 2009
"The world is nice because it is varied", as the saying goes. However . . . I actually cannot understand those people who rated this movie 1 star only. The must come from another planet, or become - through age - totally out of synch with some basic feelings and needs. Such as that of experiencing the freedom of crossing the country on a beutiful machine like a motorcycle, in the company of a friend, with whom there is not much to say, as the pleasure of travelling is best shared without many words (as Bruce Chatwin recognizes). I am just sorry for these people.
Clearly the movie is at times a bit outdated, and is style could be questioned, but just for this it holds its value. It may also have been overrated and made a sort of an icon - but it still stands!
Late 60s and early 70s was the only time when US movie production made something worth and to be remembered, as far as I am concerned. Just imagine the impact of the opening, showing drug dealing - what a courage to shoot this at that time!
Watch this movie, enjoy the soundtrack, and - if you have a bike - take it out for a ride.
on 9 July 2002
Most of the negative reviews here criticise this movie as being dated and for idolising the waster culture - possibly related criticisms - but it's difficult to see how you could justify either except on a very cursory consideration of the film.
Easy Rider absolutely refuses to idolise the sixties ideal, and it is not to my eyes even vaguely dated (I say this having seen it for the first time last night, thirty three years late).
The golden thread running through this film is that THE PARTY'S OVER, DUDES.
Fonda states this explicitly ("we blew it...") and it's firmly implied in a devastatingly funny caricature of a dead beat hippy commune (as the city dropouts joyously commune with nature, scattering their seed on the barren land of the New Mexico desert, Fonda asks wryly, "do you, ah, get much rain up here?")
And (without wishing to spoil the ending) by the time the credits roll, our heroes haven't exactly profited from their wild lives. The ending of the film is profoundly pessimistic about the prospects for freedom and independence.
The film is certainly critical of the intolerant "establishment" (which nevertheless prevails), but if there is one character who does smell of roses, it is the farmer who takes the boys in for the night and who, says Fonda, should be proud simply for living off the land.
For my money this makes Easy Rider ahead, rather than behind its times. It's also rooted in a number of great cinematic traditions, aside from the Road Movie genre which it helped to invent. I like the idea (expressed in a review below) that this is a latter day western, even down to the character's names, Wyatt and Billy. Also, were you to draw a line between Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid and Thelma & Louise, it would intersect Easy Rider.
The performances of the cast are delightful - Nicholson's is rightly feted, and Hopper's is very Dennis Hopper - fans of Apocalypse Now will recognise this style in which Hopper doesn't really act so much as simply looning around - here in total contrast to Fonda's studied coolness, which holds the film together, reinforced with a cracking soundtrack (in this regard also, Easy Rider was well ahead of its time).
If you fancy a dash of counterpoint, try watching Easy Rider back to back with David Lynch's stunning recent work The Straight Story - as a compare and contrast job, I think they'd make a fascinating study.
on 1 October 2009
Sounds quality is pretty good. Picture quality is much less than you'd expect for a BluRay. It is better than DVD, but if you've been spoilt by hidef transfers like Zulu then your in for disappointment. The film itself is a classic, and worthy of a place in anyones film collection. I doubt a film like this could ever be made again. It provides a great feeling of the time & culture in which it was made. Music score is brilliant.
on 10 February 2006
This is the best DVD release of this classic movie that's available. Not only do you get a fine looking & sounding print of the movie with a pretty good making-of documentary (and a so-so audio commentary), but there's a second disc featuring a great stand-alone documentary about the effect Easy Rider had on American filmmaking, and a nice wee book analysing the film.
Unlike the cry-babies who misread the information about the deleted scenes (which are for the stand-alone documentary, not for the movie itself), I do not feel this package is a rip-off in any sense.
on 28 February 2012
Having been born in 1963, i was too young to truly experience the 60s, but perhaps i absorbed the vibe to a certain extent; anyway, i like the culture of the time, and gravitate towards movies and music that encapsulate the freedom and free love that is rightly or wrongly associated with that era; as a teenager i had the iconic "easy rider" poster on my bedroom wall and spent a lot of time fantasising about having a chopper and living that freewheeling lifestyle;
Disappointingly for me, this movie does not glorify that ethos as much as glance at it in passing; yes, the road scenes are beautifully shot (not the words you would choose to describe the end of the movie, unless youre a mean-spirited red neck)and the music works really well for the most part.
Dennis Hopper, infamously difficult during the making of this film (both on screen and as a director) is a disquieting presence throughout, but somehow appropriately so, given that the movie seems to be his attempt to highlight the contrast between those that are trying to embrace American freedom in a manner that they feel embodies it for them, and those whose very limited interpretation of freedom has them grasping it so tightly that they have effectively choked it to death, and woe-betide anyone that inadvertently confronts them with it; a message as relevant today as it was then and more than likely will remain so.
Jack Nicholsons character is a strong and nescessary part of what makes this film a success (to the extent that it is), with his consistently good acting and also as a sounding board for Hoppers relevant social commentaries. it is a movie i will watch from time to time; its not perfect, but i am glad it exists, and the additional featurette, "shaking the cage" makes this relatively cheap dvd a very worthwhile purchase in my opinion.
on 1 November 2010
Having videoed a few local road journeys for posterity and released them as DVDs, this film was a great discovery - something not too taxing on the mind that one can put on just to relax with great music and great scenery.
The way the film is shot shows a genuine love for nature and the sights and sounds of rural America. Shots interweave with a few frames of the next scene a few times before each scene itself starts - something I haven't seen done in this way in any other films. The music is great, and it contains some quite unusual 60s 'hits' as well as the obvious 'Born to be Wild' and Hendrix's 'If 6 was 9'.
The psychedelic sequence is an interesting collage of shots, which maybe touches on the era's ambiguous relationship with religion.
I think that most people miss the message of this film, and two of Jack Nicholson's silioquays are particularly interesting. He talks about advanced societies functioning without a monetary system, wars or inequal access to transport/food, etc. - a stage that any lateral thinking person can see that humanity has to reach if it is to progress beyond its current troubled stage. He also points out the notion of true freedom strikes fear into the hearts of the establishment and the prejudiced, as demonstrated in the baiting and resultant violence stemming from the cafe scene.
The conclusion, 'we blew it', may even be a more general comment on the hippy dream. Perhaps if drugs hadn't been so prominent (a frequent theme of this film) a real revolution could have taken place. Who knows? I wasn't alive at the time! For me, the final shot shows the hippy dream going up in smoke, along with Fonda's bike. The establishment won the battle. Maybe another generation will try again to re-order society for something more egalitarian and sympathetic to nature; until then we have films like this.
on 17 February 2007
Of all 60ies films with a message Easy Rider is by far the grooviest Biker roadmovie to hit the screen.Directed by Dennis Hopper who is one of the main stars alongside Peter Fonda,they travel through all the southern American states especially Arizona with those vast weather beaten canyons you always see in the Westerns.
Along the way they pick up a young and slimmer Jack Nicholson whose making his debut as an actor.
The movie has no real story,its the typical Hippie LSD early 60ies angst and rebellion against society.
Of all movies made throughout the 60ies Easy Rider has byfar the best music provided by SteppenWolf (Born to be Wild) The Band (The Weight),The Byrds (Ballad of Easy Rider)and also Jimmy Hendricks.
Its a slow paced movie but the scenes where they share the hospitality of a Hippie commune with Grizzli Adams looking very funky aswell is very 60ies.
The Lsd trip at the graveyard in New Orleans is most memorable,really this is a film that shouts 60ies and couldnot have been made in any other era.
The ending to the film is one you will never forget,whatch it and see.
Now we examine the extras because this is a twin dvd set that comes in a very nice tough cardboard yellow box along with a very authorative book written about the film.A real novelty is that you also get three limited edition postcards aswell,and they are really limited because they are only available in this boxset.
The picture quality has certainly undergone digital enhancement and the sound belies the fact that this is nearly a fourty years old film.
The other disc is a very interesting commentary on the film and its impact on society and cinemagoers ingeneral.
The film was very controversial throughout the seventies and early eighties glomourising Drug tacking and the dropouts in society.
Watch it for what it is a film that shouts here i am, Im a Hippie and im going to California with flowers in my hair and a spliff in my mouth,
HEY MAN ITS REALLY GROOVY LIVING IN THE 21st CENTURY DIG IT.
This is a film about gentleness, essentially, and the spirit of the Sixties - freewheeling, easy-going, without ambition - it seems like a different world from now, and in many ways a happier one. Coming at the end of that decade, though, you do feel how things were falling apart a bit, and the film has its ambiguities and unpleasant behaviour, not to say more ... But what you really take from it is these two friends - played by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, who also directed - riding on their motorbikes across the southern United States, picking up Jack Nicholson along the way, spending time in a commune, in jail, with a rancher (shades of Shane free from the bad guys), passing though fantastic landscapes, until finally they get to New Orleans. The aim of the jaunt has been to go to Mardi Gras, and they have a free pass to a brothel called the House of Blue Lights, where they pick up two girls and get stoned with them in a cemetery. The tone of flashing images that has threatened the laid-back style now comes into its own, in a part-lyrical, part-disturbing montage. But there is no doubt that Hopper's sympathies lie with these likeable characters, rolling stones on silver wheels, and the poetry of their lackadaisical lifestyles. All three leads are superb, and it is one of the most sheerly enjoyable American films of that period, all the more remarkable for its mainstream success and nod from Cannes.