Review Written by: Chris Burns
What the MPAA Rating should be: PG (for minor drug use)
Directed by: Dennis Hopper
Written by: Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Terry Southern
Produced by: Peter Fonda
Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Robert Walker, Lu Anders, Karen Black
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Dennis Hopper's magnificent directorial debut Easy Rider
was a huge turning point for Hollywood cinema, some people even call it "the movie that killed Hollywood." It was signalling the end of a generation of people who lived in the 60s and the attitude people give to "hippies". Easy Rider
is a portrait of how America has changed, it shows how people used to rely on the land and how modern culture has taken over the world we live in. The film is saying that these men are free, they are just miles away from a city and so they feel deserted from the outside world, you could say they are the outcasts. The Southerners fear them and mock them for example in the diner scene, which shows that the some of the Southerners fear what these men stand for which is "peace". This shows just how people have their lives built on fear and lies. It is not the people who are your enemies, but the people who have caused this. Just because someone is free-spirited does not mean they are any different, it means they have everything going.
There are many symbolic messages throughout the film that provide insight to what kind of men these are. For example, Jack Nicholson is on screen for say 20 minutes, but still you know what kind of man he is and his performance is simply genius and Jack Nicholson proves how great an actor he is even in his early days. I would like to point out one thing that annoys me is when people say "Easy Rider
is just trying to make drugs look cool" because the film definitely does not say that, it shows how drugs induce paranoia, etc. You only get the true message of the movie once the climax is reached which is very powerful.
The story follows two young drug dealers who decide to go on a trip around America on their motorbikes. They meet many other people along their way who are from different backgrounds and culture. I would personally also love to take a motor bike around America as I have got to admit the best scenes of the film are when Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are riding along the highway with the iconic 60s soundtrack playing. The camera shots are beautiful ranging ones that follows the side of the bikes going down the long open desert roads where they are the only life. And the acid trip scene proves that Dennis Hopper has manages to give you a real disturbing and psychedelic scene. The scene feels very claustrophobic and so does most of the film because when the men are not on their bikes the camera is focused on their faces. There is also a great clever thing you may notice that when a new shot occurs the camera lens adjusts on the frame, neat little touch. I really have a huge amount of for respect this film and I just love the locations, pure beauty. Just get ready for the ending...
Really is 60s America culture any more uglier than the problems facing our world today?
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper on their iconic Easy Rider motorcycles.