on March 29, 2002
Although I am not a motorcycle rider and I have never used psychedelic drugs, I still found this to be a great movie. If you have allowed these two elements of the film to keep you from watching it, I highly recommend putting those thoughts aside and viewing this.
The main idea of the film is freedom. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper take a motorcyle trip across the USA while heading for Mardi Gras. Although this is the destination, Peter Fonda (is looking for something. This something could be America, but you feel it is more profound than that. You receive hints from the things he says to others.
For instance, he and Hopper have stopped at a farm to fix one of the bikes and to eat. After talking with the farmer, Captain USA comments about how great it is to be here on the land doing your own thing.
Jack Nicholson has the best lines of the movie when he explains that we love to talk about freedom, but we are scared to death of people who actually live it. A very important idea considering the war that was going on at the time of this movie.
Again, I highly recommend watching this movie.
The 40th Anniversary Edition of Easy Rider arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.85:1 encode. The transfer is quite spectacular, retaining its natural grain. During the Mardi Gras sequence which was shot with 16 mm camera, the grain was a little too heavy, thus diminishing video quality somewhat. The colours are amazing. The red, white, and blue of the American flag pop off Wyatt’s bike and gear. The Southwestern countryside looks marvelous as the natural light constantly changes the hue of the majestic landscape. The blue of Fonda's eyes and of the sky reflecting off the choppers' chrome is vibrant. Flesh tones are accurate and consistent throughout. The images are sharp with well-rendered textures and details that contribute to the 3-D dimensionality. The blacks, which are normally strong, suffer from crush as some detail gets lost in them. (4.0/5)
Easy Rider revs up on blu-ray with a quality Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Dialogue is clear as it comes out through the front center. There is good directionality as planes roar through the soundfield during a drug deal at an airport. Still, Easy Rider's soundtrack is all about the music, and its delivery here is exceptional. Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf features superb clarity through the entire range, including a solid low end. It sounds so good that it is almost worth watching the opening title sequence twice just to revel in the exceptional delivery afforded by this blu-ray disc. The other tracks - The Weight and I Wasn't Born to Follow, for instance - are, likewise, wonderfully presented. All in all, Easy Rider sounds fantastic. (4.0/5)
Easy Rider was nominated for 2 Oscars in 1970: Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson) and Best Screenplay.
This 40th Anniversary Edition comes with a 36-page digi-book, with wonderful photographs and essays about the movie and actors. I personally prefer this type of digi-book type, like Jaws, Cleopatra, Deliverance, The Right Stuff and Chariots Of Fire. There is no DVD and Digital Copy, which I personally do not mind.
After the box-office failure of Cleopatra that nearly bankrupt 20th Century-Fox, a new business model, dubbed The New Hollywood era, emerged, with new artists and directors emerging. In this case, we see the emergence of actor Dennis Hopper turned director. Easy Rider became a landmark film due to its accurate counterculture portrayals and French New Wave influence, ultimately roaring off down the road to great box-office success. This New Hollywood era ended when other movie blockbusters re-emerged, like Jaws and Star Wars.
Easy Rider is well known for two breakthrough performances: Jack Nicholson, and famed cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs. Nicholson is memorable in his brief role, as Hansen bridges the two worlds of the straights and the hippies with humour and insight. The work of Kovacs and his team, paired with a brilliant soundtrack of then-current music, surely motivated a number of people to trek out on the open road to bask in the beauty he captured.
Easy Rider presents a great historical snapshot of America and Hollywood as both were in a state of flux in the late '60s, and this blu-ray accentuates that look back with very good technical aspects in terms of video and audio. This set is highly recommended.
After you finished watching this iconic film with the volume turned up high, you will feel like that “Your Motor Is Running,” and “You’re Born To Be Wild.” Again!
on January 25, 2004
It is as simple as this. There's nothing, really, to "get". This movie is about freedom and peace. It's about how the tyranny of the "Status Quo" stifles the spirit of man, and with bleak outcome, illustrates how this wreckless hatred of difference, and unacceptance of our fellows, ends in destruction of peace. Those with baseless pride, always quick to judge and condemn, are the real villains, despite the protagonists' lawlessness, they bring no harm to anyone, which is in stark contrast to the majority of those they encounter.
I keep reading reviews on how many "sided with the rednecks". All I can say is that if you find yourself doing just that, then you really must delve further into the nature of freedom. *REAL* freedom.
That is the essense of this film. It is the one word of description to label it and define it. The protagonists' are on a quest to discover what it is to be free, whilst indulging in it. The realisation of the farmer's existence is an example of where they see how freedom is manifest in different forms. Despite the choice of the expression, the farmer and the (anti)heroes share a similar viewpoint on life.
This may very well be the most patriotic film ever made. It is a shame that so many can't look past the surface to see that fact.
on June 23, 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 April 10, 2002
Easy Rider is the classic American Western. Two outlaws cast off society and live free out west but their days are numbered. America turns out to be more repressive than they may have imagined and their freewheeling lifestyle becomes a futile effort in the wake of modern civilization. Even the names of the two characters hearken back to westerns; Wyatt (like Earp?) and Billy (the Kid?). I noticed some reviewers mention that the film is dated; that very well may be the point. If this was filmed now, all those great scenes of western landscapes would be replaced by urban sprawl, billboards, fast food chains and strip malls with a cop on every corner. Landscape and society were changing dramatically in the 60s and even back then it was becoming increasingly clear that our government and society was giving up freedom for security. Being dated just makes this film even more important, no doubt that it a cult classic, a must see for every American, especially those that question the status quo and the belief that we are put on this earth to follow orders and kill at will.
on October 18, 2001
A lot of people say that EASY RIDER is merley a biker movie with two stoned biker hippies going across America with a kick butt soundtrack. However it is more than that
I admit when I first saw EASY RIDER I was not too thrilled but after seeing again and looking at it more closely I realized how great a movie it is. It is a true experience of the uncensored sixties. How the life of a hippie really was. His experiences with drugs and love and rejection from society.
When you look at this movie it seems really simple so why was it so successful? Well I can only say in my opinion that this movie had to be made in 1969 to be successful. If it was made today it just would not be the same.
That is what makes EASY RIDER so special. The fact that it is the ultimate sixties experience. Also with Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper and a awesome soundtrack with Jimi Hendrix, Steppen Wolf ,The Byrds and The Band how could this movie be bad? In conclusion EASY RIDER is one of the groovy, trippy, American classics that is just down right cool! Highly Recommended!
on October 18, 2000
I bought this title because I am a motorcyclist. If you have never ridden one and want to know what it is like, this movie will take you on a virtual road trip from Los Angeles through beautiful mountain scenery down to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The two stars, Peter Fonda (Wyatt) and Dennis Hopper (Billy), head out on the highway to the motorcycle anthem, "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf, and there are some fantastic camera shots of them crossing the Colorado River. If that scene doesn't get your blood pumping, then you can be assured that motorcycling isn't for you.
There's a lot more to this movie than just scenic motorcycling and sixties music. A typical biker movie has a weak plot, usually involving some gang terrorizing the local community. Before creating this movie, Fonda and Jack Nicholson (George), as well as some of the other cast members all appeared in such flicks. By contrast, "Easy Rider" is really a mold-breaker for its type, because it involves a lot of social commentary.
Early in the movie, Billy and Wyatt pick up a stranger along the highway, who turns out to be the leader of a commune. He is a dead ringer for John Lennon, when he had his Sgt. Pepper look. Wyatt and the stranger get along well, but Billy is suspicious of the hitchhiker. They take him back to his commune and hang out for awhile there with the people. Wyatt fits in OK, but Billy is not generally respected. Many of them make fun of Billy. For some time, this was very hard for me to account for, since Billy is a freak.
I did not gain any insights into this until I read the book, "Riders On the Storm" by Doors' drummer, John Densmore. In it, he explains how the Doors, who were from Los Angeles, were not invited to play the Monterey Pop Festival. San Francisco flower power was about peace and love, and Jim Morrison, the lead singer, gave off an aggressive vibe. Densmore also said that some famous flower power musicians did not want to be publicly associated with The Doors. For instance, John Sebastian agreed to play harmonica on "Roadhouse Blues," but he would not allow his real name to be used in the credits. I believe that the difference in values between Los Angeles and San Francisco is crucial to understanding why Billy was rejected by the commune members.
Wyatt and Billy are not from San Francisco, and they do not wear psychedelic clothing. They hail from Los Angeles, and they are preoccupied with freedom--not peace and love. Billy has a real aggressive vibe to him. He is very confrontational, and he doesn't get along well with others. Wyatt is more of a seeker. He is open-minded and interested in what other people have to offer. They're both rich, but not through legal or reputable means. They smuggled some cocaine across the border from Baja, Mexico, and then they sold it for a huge profit. The two are friends, and they seem to have accepted each others strengths and weaknesses.
The movie makes some clear statements about sixties social values and morals. In other cases, it brings up issues, but doesn't reach any firm conclusions. The movie ends tragically, but it isn't an indictment of flower power. Billy had rejected peace and love, and had he not reacted in the confrontational manner that he did, things might have turned out differently. This movie is about the tradgedy and failure of hate--and the need for peace, love, and understanding. I give this movie a five-star rating because it documents the issues of the times so effectively. As a motorcycle movie, this production is practically unbeatable because it has captured the spirit of motorcycling so well.
on November 8, 2002
this is the most real movie about hippidom (is that a word?) you will ever see. yea, it has great scenery, great tunes, and an interesting plot, but the reason the movie is so great is that everything is so REAL! every time they smoke up, its real weed. even alot of the actors were pulled off the street. there were no sets, they shot as they travelled. i dont see how people can enjoy movies like "half baked" and yet havent even heard of this one. it was just a few stoner hippie film makers with a limited budget who put this on, not big budget hollywood with their fancy special effects that work against realism in films. and the persecution of these men who just wanted to be free reveals alot about human nature
i dont think there was ever a better film or even book made about the 60's counterculture
a work of art
on March 3, 2012
easy rider is basically just about two hippies going on a road trip through red neck country with a really good soundtrack. Nothing interesting happens besides learning about the hippies back in 70s and different predjudices sourounding them. There is a scene with a crazy acid trip that seemed to totally miss its mark and jsut serve as a distraction but is still memorable non the less. The ending as well was kind of a highlight as well as a wtf moment that is just kind of out of the blue. I wasnt sure what i thought about this movie at first but the more i think about it the more i like it.
on June 21, 2004
Every reviewer who has commented on the dated-ness of this film is accurate. However, just because the film cannot be enjoyed in its original context does not mean that it cannot be enjoyed in another -- especially by people who did not live during or do not remember the late '60s. There are different battles to be fought, but the film is still pertinent in this current era of engaging the amorphous "war on terror" and its subsequent erosion of our civil rights, and the continued corporatization of America. Everybody who said that this film doesn't really have a plot is also accurate, but so what? The point isn't to give the viewer a story with a bunch of twists and turns, but to simply show the lives of two cultural rebels (who probably seem quite tame by contemporary standards) as they trek across the southwest to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. The cinematography is excellent, especially considering the age of the film and its budget. The acting is really good and Jack Nicholson gives one of the best performances of his long career. He would have completely stolen the show had his character's screen-time not been cut short.
Here's why the film is still important: despite there no longer being a widespread, vicious divide in the nation between people like Fonda and Hopper and mainstream America, the themes of the film (freedom, freedom of expression, and how some are more free than others) remain totally relevant and Fonda and Hopper's characters can be seen as even more iconic than they were in 1969, because now that they don't actually represent you or me (as they could in 1969) they achieve larger-than-life status.
The scenes at the commune may elicit confusion or even a giggle from younger members a contemporary audience, but hopefully these people will look a bit deeper than the long hair and the funny clothes to realize that these characters represented a very real subculture in the late '60s; a movement that not only decided that the ballooning consumer culture was eroding their freedoms, but who also decided to do something about it. How many people today would be brave enough leave behind most of their possessions and live off the land, to protect the values they hold dear? Virtually none.
"They're gonna make it," declares Fonda about the food-strapped commune, and in 1969 it was possible for this line to be legitimately optimistic and to have enough strength and resonance to encompass the entire countercultural movement. Today, we know that they didn't make it. What did America lose by Fonda, Hopper, Nicholson and the commune not making it? That is for the viewer to decide, and that is why the film remains very important. In its day, the tragedy that befalls Fonda and Hopper could have been intended as a rallying cry. Today, it is reason to pause for introspection on the larger issues: What is important to us? What has been taken away? How much have we willingly sold away? And, most importantly, what would we sacrifice to get it back?