This definitive counterculture film embodies the feeling of being a hippie as two friends head cross-country in search of their “American Dream”. They sample the highs and lows of America in a stoned-out quest for life’s true meaning.
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The iconic film that changed Hollywood challenged the status quo and gave voice to a disaffected generation who realized the dream of the sixties had come to an end. Nearing fifty years old the film's themes and voice have barely faded. The film is enhanced by exceptional photography (Kovacs) and fine editing (Cambern and a barely acknowledged Henry Jaglom). Soundtrack is phenomenal throughout as is Nicholson.
Does Easy Rider hold up, or is it an artifact? At least 80% of the stoned philosophizing sounds like bullshit now, if it didn't already in 1969, and pop song montages and drugs have both lost their novelty. Better movies were already being made about this era. But you should always have room for Laszlo Kovacs' beautiful camerawork, the moments of editing inspiration, and Peter Fonda's quietly angelic performance.
Although this film is a milestone in film history I do find it quite overrated. As a time capsule of the 1960s it is astounding but as a road movie it is pretty basic. This would make a great double bill with the far superior Two Lane Blacktop or Fonda's own film The Hired Hand.
This will never happen again. This period, these actors, this energy, this open conflict in society, those wars. And the movie, a road movie, promising some freedom, to those that wanted to go away from all that hate and confusion, and just feel the wind. What happens in the movie is so, so violent. It's meant to create a fracture, or to expose more clearly. To show what hate can do. And now what fractures are there?
I hate to admit it, but I really didn't care for this. I can appreciate the fact that it developed so much praise, and respect the performances and the simplicity of the entire film, but the fact of the matter is that I'm a teenager, and the overall quality is dated. Still, it is a nice time capsule of the sixties culture, and Jack Nicholson is great here as well.
I'm stunned. My roommates aunt was good friends with Dennis Hopper. I had no idea what a masterpiece this was. It pretty much sums up our society, and how people are shunned for being different and not conforming. Indeed a landmark experimental film.