Easy Rider

Easy Rider

classified 18

Era-Defining Soundtracks

Film

Please note: This was screened in March 2020

Director:
Dennis Hopper
Cast:
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson
Details:
92 mins, 1969, USA
Primary language:
English

Film soundtracks rarely get more iconic than this. A truly groundbreaking odyssey, Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider remains the definitive cinematic portrait and soundscape of '60s counterculture.

Having smuggled a huge amount of cocaine across the Mexican border, bikers Billy (Hopper) and Wyatt (Peter Fonda) sell their haul to their mysterious connection (Phil Spector) and hit the road in the hope of reaching New Orleans in time for the Mardi Gras festival. But after being arrested in Texas for joining a street parade without having the required permit, they meet civil rights lawyer George Hanson (a young Jack Nicholson giving a revelatory performance) who decides to join them on their journey.

From its iconic soundtrack - from Hendrix to The Byrds - and innovative, modish editing style, to cinematographer Haskell Wexler’s deliberate use of lens flair – not to mention the notorious history of the shoot itself (it’s amazing that the film was completed and released at all!); Easy Rider embodies a spirit of spontaneous creativity, validating its romantic counter-cultural appeal and its status as perhaps the most iconic road movie of them all. From its opening scene, propelled by Steppenwolf’s hard rock anthem Born to Be Wild, the film's explosive pairing of image and sound ensured both soundtracks and the American road trip would never be the same again.