I’ve watched a lot of great films for the first time this year and an echelon below Citizen Kane and Man with a Movie Camera is a film like Easy Rider. Written by actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper and directed by Hopper it’s a motorcycle road movie about two long haired guys travelling across America, encountering intolerance and hatred. Released in 1969 against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement, the film chooses to focus on intolerance against the freedom loving hippie movement of the same era but its central characters can be used to denote any group or people that experienced hate and intolerance.
Produced independently and with a budget of around $360,000, the film went on to become a huge mainstream success, creating enormous profits and winning Hopper an award at the Cannes Film Festival. It has since become a classic and a film that opened my eyes to the counter-culture movement of the 1960s, a movement that has traditionally been overlooked by mainstream media. Dennis Hopper said about Easy Rider that the films that were being made at the time weren’t about the America that he saw and he knew and this film is just that. It’s about the America of the youth, the hair, the drugs, the ideals, the freedom and the hatred.