The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Easy Rider

Easy Rider

The impact that director Dennis Hopper’s 1969 classic Easy Rider had on cinema cannot be overstated. Capturing the zeitgeist of the counterculture movement like no film had, Easy Rider launched an indie renaissance in cinema. Co-starring Hopper and burgeoning hippie icon Peter Fonda, who co-wrote the script along with Hopper and Dr. Strangelove writer Terry Southern, Easy Rider is a road movie for the ages, a distorted reflection of the American Dream centered on a life free from attachment.

Friends Billy (Hopper) and Wyatt (Peter Fonda) set off on motorcycle to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, looking for freedom and truth on the open road. Their journey takes them through an unseen side of America, passing wide open ranches and hippie communes, finding new and novel towns to be refused service in, and picking up ACLU lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) along the way.
 
Full of reefer smoke, LSD, a classic soundtrack, and an avant-garde examination of the decimation of counterculture, Easy Rider took the 1969 Cannes Film Festival by storm – winning Hopper an award for Best First Work – and was the 3rd highest grossing film of the year.

“Easy Rider, is not only emblematic of independent American cinema, but, released in 1969, is the definitive statement on the death of the 60s.” — Christopher Machell, CineVue

“This is a glorious widescreen vision of a hot and bothered America, at once beautiful and lost. Yes, it has dated, but its pessimistic last gasp (“We blew it…”) still carries a prescient sting.” — Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine

“It plays today more as a period piece than as living cinema, but it captures so surely the tone and look of that moment in time.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times