A grandaddy of road movies that uses deserted backdrops between Colorado and California along with music numbers just as a stage to please viewer's senses - but there's a lot more complex, rorschachish commentary on things about society that are everlastingly questionable, to keep this cult classic as a voice of any generation.
The racism of the cops is fairly stunning, as is the negative stereotypes of the gay men. This is about hetero men, strong men, men that don't even need to have sex with naked ladies or smoke pot. It's about driving, but most importantly it's about freedom, so it's really about being American.
Proof apparent than an empty, featureless film about an empty, featureless man in an empty, featureless landscape can work. Far from being the 'car chase' film it's usually described as, it's a 105 minute existential crisis with a fabulous soundtrack and one of the best endings I've ever seen.
While many consider this movie a tribute to the hippie movement, or a movie that "sticks it to the man" i think this is a borderline nihilistic film. Kowalski clearly never shows any sympathy towards any of the hippie characters, neither to the "guru" type of persona of super soul. He wants to escape everything and everyone, drive around, free of any belief system. True and complete freedom in every sense of the word