Easy Rider (1969)

“Summer of Film #10 of 100”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2005/06/12/2005-summer-of-film/
Easy Rider is more about a generation, a time, a place. A lifestyle.

Easy Rider is a film that creates a mood and builds on it for its duration with the sole purpose of giving people everywhere an understanding of a lifestyle that existed for a few years and then vanished to only become part of the American mythology. This was the time when “peace, love and music brought people to the town of Woodstock”:http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050522/REVIEWS08/505220302/1004 , when “riots brokeout at the cinenmatheque in Paris”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2004/04/25/the-dreamers-2004/ and when a guy named Captain America (Peter Fonda) with his friend Billy (Dennis Hopper, also the director) rode across America’s south in search of a way out of the system.

The movie follows two outcasts (of choice or necessity?) of American society as they ride their bikes from state to state on their way to the Mardi Gras. What we witness is a window into their lifestyle that hints at many issues surrounding the time- had the people rebelling against the system become the very things they were fighting?

This description of the film would suffice- I could write no more and you would have a good idea of what to expect- but for one significant detail that raises Easy Rider out of the pile of merely great films in to the stratosphere reserved for the supernatural. That detail is Jack Nicholson.

Halfway through the movie, Captain America and Billy come across a ACLU lawyer played by a young Beattie-like Jack Nicholson. He represents the audience- along for the ride in this strange, new world that Hopper has invited us into. Did people back then suspect that this was their introduction to a superstar? “I think they did.”:http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19690928/REVIEWS/909280301/1023


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