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Easy Rider (1969)  IMDB   
Genre Drama/Road Movie MPAA R
Director Dennis Hopper Rating
Writer Peter Fonda Runtime 95 minutes
Producer Bert Schneider Type Movie
Cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs Format DVD
Studio Columbia Pictures / Pando Productions / Raybert Pr Disk No. 1/1
Language English Edition
Country USA UPC
Color Color    
Plot Summary

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Tossing wristwatches away, two bikers hit the road to find America in Dennis Hopper's anti-establishment classic. After a major cocaine sale to an L.A. connection (Phil Spector), free-wheeling potheads Billy (Hopper) and Wyatt aka Captain America (Peter Fonda, who also produced) motor eastward to party at Mardi Gras before "retiring" to Florida with the riches concealed in Wyatt's stars-and-stripes gas tank. As they ride through the Southwest, they take a hitchhiker (Luke Askew) to a struggling hippie commune before they get thrown in a small-town jail for "parading without a permit." Their cellmate, drunken ACLU lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson, replacing Rip Torn), does them a "groovy" favor by getting them out of jail and then decides to join them. Babbling about Venusians, George discovers the joys of smoking grass, but an encounter with Southern rednecks soon proves how right he is about the danger posed by Billy's and Wyatt's unfettered life in a country that has lost its ideals. With the straight world closing in, Wyatt and Billy try to revel in New Orleans with some LSD and hookers (Karen Black and Toni Basil), but the acid trip is shot through with morbidity. Once they reach Florida, Billy raves about attaining the American dream; Wyatt, however, knows the truth: "We blew it." Produced and directed by two Hollywood iconoclasts with under a half-million non-studio dollars, Easy Rider shook up the languishing movie industry when it grossed over $19 million in 1969; it captured the spirit of the times as it woke Hollywood up to the power of young audiences and socially relevant movies, along with such other landmarks of the late 1960s as Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, and 2001. Shot on location by Laszlo Kovacs, Easy Rider eschewed old-fashioned Hollywood polish for documentary-style immediacy, and it enhanced its casual feel with improvised dialogue and realistically "stoned" acting. With a soundtrack of contemporary rock songs by Jimi Hendrix, The Band, and Steppenwolf to complete the atmosphere, Easy Rider was hailed for capturing the increasingly violent Vietnam-era split between the counterculture and the repressive Establishment. Experiencing the "shock of recognition," youth audiences embraced Easy Rider's vision of both the attractions and the limits of dropping out, proving that audience's box office power and turning Nicholson into a movie star. The momentarily-hip Academy nominated Nicholson for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and Fonda, Hopper and Terry Southern for their screenplay. Though none of its imitators would match its impact, Easy Rider remains one of the seminal works of late '60s Hollywood both for its trailblazing legacy and its sharply perceptive portrait of its chaotic times. --- Lucia Bozzola
Actor / Character

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Peter Fonda ..... Wyatt (Captain America)
Dennis Hopper ..... Billy
Jack Nicholson ..... George
Robert Walker ..... Jack
Lu Anders ..... Lisa
Karen Black ..... Karen
Michael Pataki ..... Mim
Phil Spector ..... Drug Connection
Carmen Phillips ..... Mime#2
Sabrina Scharf ..... Sarah
Sandy Wyeth ..... Joanne
Robert Ball ..... Mime#1
Toni Basil ..... Mary
Luke Askew ..... Stranger on Highway
Beatriz Monteil .....
Antonio Mendoza ..... Jesus
Warren Finnerty ..... Rancher
Lea Marmer ..... Madame
Awards

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(1969) Academy - Best Original Screenplay (nom) ..... Peter Fonda
(1969) Academy - Best Original Screenplay (nom) ..... Dennis Hopper
(1969) Academy - Best Original Screenplay (nom) ..... Terry Southern
(1969) Academy - Best Supporting Actor (nom) ..... Jack Nicholson
(1969) Cannes International Film Festival - Best First Feature Film (win) ..... Dennis Hopper
(1969) Directors Guild of America - Best Director (nom) ..... Dennis Hopper
(1969) Golden Globe - Best Supporting Actor (nom) ..... Jack Nicholson
(1969) New York Film Critics Circle - Best Film (nom) ..... Dennis Hopper
(1969) New York Film Critics Circle - Best Screenwriting (nom) ..... Terry Southern
(1969) New York Film Critics Circle - Best Screenwriting (nom) ..... Peter Fonda
(1969) New York Film Critics Circle - Best Screenwriting (nom) ..... Dennis Hopper
(1969) New York Film Critics Circle - Best Supporting Actor (win) ..... Jack Nicholson
(1998) American Film Institute - 100 Greatest American Movies (win) .....
(1998) Library of Congress - U.S. National Film Registry (win) .....
Review

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When films emblematic of the 1960s American counter-culture are mentioned, Easy Rider comes to the fore. Almost everything about this story of a motorcycle gang that travels across a landscape of alienation is hopelessly dated, yet the film remains a lot of fun. As one of the most popular films of its times, it both depicted and promoted a youth culture that centered around illicit drugs and rock music. More than any other movie, it established the career of Jack Nicholson, who won some critics' awards and an Oscar nomination as a supporting actor, and promoted the wild image of Peter Fonda. It is also one of Dennis Hopper's earliest directorial efforts and one of his first maniacal roles, though Hopper did not immediately capitalize on his success in either capacity. The psychedelic moments are priceless, and the sound track, featuring the Byrds, Steppenwolf, and other bands of the era, is golden. Few who came of age in the turbulent 1960s did not mark Easy Rider as one of their formative cultural experiences. --- Michael Betzold

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