Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers (played by Fonda and Hopper) who travel through the American Southwest and South with the aim of achieving freedom. The success of Easy Rider helped spark the New Hollywood phase of filmmaking during the late sixties. The film was added to the Library of Congress National Registry in 1998.
A landmark counterculture film, and a “touchstone for a generation” that “captured the national imagination”, Easy Rider explores the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise and fall of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyle. Easy Rider is legendary for its use of real drugs in its portrayal of marijuana and other substances.
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 realistic hopes of liberation and fears of the Establishment.
... movie Easy Rider. The movie starred Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson. This was by no means the only film depicting ... they called a "risky teen pic" film. Hopper and Fonda were given relative creative freedom, which caused small problems at times, ... but provided for some innovative and experimentally creative footage. The idea of easy rider ...
The iconographic, ‘buddy’ film, actually minimal in terms of its artistic merit and plot, is both memorialized as an image of the popular and historical culture of the time and a story of a contemporary but apocalyptic journey by two self-righteous, drug-fueled, anti-hero (or outlaw) bikers eastward through the American Southwest. Their trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans takes them through limitless, untouched landscapes (icons such as Monument Valley), various towns, a hippie commune, and a graveyard (with hookers), but also through areas where local residents are increasingly narrow-minded and hateful of their long-haired freedom and use of drugs. The film’s title refers to their rootlessness and ride to make “easy” money; it is also slang for a pimp who makes his livelihood off the earnings of a prostitute. However, the film’s original title was The Loners.
[The names of the two main characters, Wyatt and Billy, suggest the two memorable Western outlaws Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid – or ‘Wild Bill’ Hickcock. Rather than traveling westward on horses as the frontiersmen did, the two modern-day cowboys travel eastward from Los Angeles – the end of the traditional frontier – on decorated Harley-Davidson choppers on an epic journey into the unknown for the ‘American dream’.]
According to slogans on promotional posters, they were on a search:
A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere.
Their costumes combine traditional patriotic symbols with emblems of loneliness, criminality and alienation – the American flag, cowboy decorations, long-hair, and drugs.
Easy Rider surprisingly, was an extremely successful, low-budget (under $400,000), counter-cultural, independent film for the alternative youth/cult market – one of the first of its kind that was an enormous financial success. Its story contained sex, drugs, casual violence, a sacrificial tale (with a shocking, unhappy ending), and a pulsating rock and roll soundtrack reinforcing or commenting on the film’s themes. Groups that participated musically included Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, The Band and Bob Dylan.
American Drug Laws: Do They Help or Hurt? I believe the drug laws are in serious need of reform. We tend to forget that alcohol is a drug and that at one time it was prohibited without success. Also, I believe that a civil body of government rather than a criminal one should regulate drug use. It is a social problem, not a criminal one. As a largely victimless crime they should not have their ...
The pop cultural, mini-revolutionary film was also a reflection of the “New Hollywood,” and the first blockbuster hit from a new wave of Hollywood directors (e.g., Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, and Martin Scorsese) that would break with a number of Hollywood conventions. It had little background or historical development of characters, a lack of typical heroes, uneven pacing, jump cuts and flash-forward transitions between scenes, an improvisational style and mood of acting and dialogue, background rock ‘n’ roll music to complement the narrative, and the equation of motorbikes with freedom on the road rather than with delinquent behaviors.
The major characters are two bike-riding drug dealers: Wyatt, nicknamed ‘Captain America’ (Fonda), and Billy (Hopper). Wyatt dresses in American flag-adorned leather, while Billy dresses in Native American-style buckskin pants and shirts and a bushman hat.
After smuggling cocaine from Mexico to Los Angeles, Wyatt and Billy sell their contraband to “Connection,” a man (played by Phil Spector) in a Rolls-Royce. With the money from the sale stuffed into a plastic tube hidden inside the Stars & Stripes-adorned fuel tank of Wyatt’s California-style chopper, they ride eastward in an attempt to reach New Orleans, Louisiana, in time for Mardi Gras.
During their trip, Wyatt and Billy meet and have a meal with a rancher, whom Wyatt admires for his simple, traditional farming lifestyle. Later, the duo pick up a hitch-hiker (Luke Askew) and agree to take him to his commune, where they stay for a day. Life in the commune appears to be hard, with hippies from the city finding it difficult to grow their own crops in a dry climate with poor soil.At one point, the bikers witness a prayer for blessing of the new crop, as put by a communard: A chance “to make a stand,” and to plant “simple food, for our simple taste.” The commune is also host to a traveling theater group that performs for food. The notion of “free love” appears to be practiced, with two women seemingly sharing the affections of the hitch-hiking communard, and who then turn their attention to Wyatt and Billy. As the bikers leave, the hitch-hiker (known only as “Stranger on highway” in the credits) gives Wyatt some LSD for him to share with “the right people.”
To err is human, to forgive, divine. -Alexander Pope I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. -William Ernest Henley All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others are. -George Orwell You can fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time; but you can't fool all the people all the time. -Abraham Lincoln War is peace, Freedom is ...
While jokingly riding along with a parade in a small town, the pair are arrested by the local authorities for “parading without a permit.” In jail, they befriend a lawyer and local drunk George Hanson (Jack Nicholson).
George helps them get out of jail, and decides to travel with Wyatt and Billy to New Orleans. As they camp that night, Wyatt and Billy introduce George to marijuana. As an alcoholic and a “square,” George is reluctant to try the marijuana (“It leads to harder stuff”), but he quickly relents.
While attempting to eat in a small rural Louisiana restaurant, the trio’s appearance attracts the attention of the locals. The girls in the restaurant want to meet the men and ride with them, but the local men and police officer make mocking, racist, and homophobic remarks. One of the men states, “I don’t believe they’ll make the parish line.” Wyatt, Billy, and George leave without eating and make camp outside of town. The events of the day cause George to comment: “This used to be a hell of a good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.” He observes that Americans talk a lot about the value of freedom, but are actually afraid of anyone who truly shows it.
In the middle of the night, the local men return and brutally beat the trio while they sleep. Wyatt and Billy suffer minor injuries, but George is killed Wyatt and Billy wrap George up in his sleeping bag, gather his belongings, and vow to return the items to his parents.
They continue to New Orleans and find the brothel George had intended to visit. Taking prostitutes Karen (Karen Black) and Mary (Toni Basil) with them, Wyatt and Billy decide to go outside and wander the parade-filled street of the Mardi Gras celebration. They end up in a cemetery, where all four take LSD. They experience a psychedelic bad trip infused with Catholic prayer, represented through quick edits, sound effects, and over-exposed film.
Making camp afterward, Wyatt declares: “We blew it.” Wyatt realizes that their search for freedom, while financially successful, was a spiritual failure. The next morning, the two are continuing their trip to Florida (where they hope to retire wealthy) when two men in a pickup truck spot them and decide to “scare the hell out of them” with their shotgun. As they pull alongside Billy and insult him, he sticks his middle finger up at them dismissively. In response, one of the men fires the shotgun at Billy and seriously wounds him. As Wyatt goes for help, one of the men fires at him as he speeds by the pickup. The shot hits the gas tank of Wyatt’s bike, causing it to explode. Wyatt is flung from the bike; the movie ends as the camera shows the flaming bike, then ascends to the sky, the journey is over.
Classical Psychoanalysis. Situation: Billy Bruce has been suffering a mild form of manic depression, or bipolar disorder and finally decided to seek help from a classical psychoanalyst, Michelle, who was a strict Freudian. Following is an excerpt of the conversations between Billy and his psychoanalyst during a typical therapy. M: Are you feeling comfortable on the couch B: Yes... M: Now, relax ...