AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Easy Rider
Director: Dennis Hopper (Dir)
Release Date:   Jul 1969
Premiere Information:   Cannes Film Festival screening: 13 May 1969; New York opening: 14 Jul 1969
Duration (in mins):   94-95
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Cast: In Order of Appearance: Peter Fonda (Wyatt)  
    Dennis Hopper (Billy)  
    Antonio Mendoza (Jesus)  
    Phil Spector (Connection)  
    Mac Mashourian (Bodyguard)  
    Warren Finnerty (Rancher)  
    Tita Colorado (Rancher's wife)  
    Luke Askew (Stranger on highway)  
  Commune: Luana Anders (Lisa)  
    Sabrina Scharf (Sarah)  
    Sandy Wyeth (Joanne)  
    Robert Walker [Jr.] (Jack)  
    Robert Ball (Mime #1)  
    Carmen Phillips (Mime #2)  
    Ellie Walker (Mime #3)  
    Michael Pataki (Mime #4)  
  Jail: Jack Nicholson (George Hanson)  
    George Fowler Jr. (Guard)  
    Keith Green (Sheriff)  
  Cafe: Hayward Robillard (Cat man)  
    Arnold Hess Jr. (Deputy)  
    Buddy Causey Jr. (Customer #1)  
    Duffy Lafont (Customer #2)  
    Blase M. Dawson (Customer #3)  
    Paul Guedry Jr. (Customer #4)  
    Suzie Ramagos (Girl #1)  
    Elida Ann Hebert (Girl #2)  
    Rose LeBlanc (Girl #3)  
    Mary Kaye Hebert (Girl #4)  
    Cynthia Grezaffi (Girl #5)  
    Colette Purpera (Girl #6)  
  House of Blue Lights: Toni Basil (Mary)  
    Karen Black (Karen)  
    Lea Marmer (Madame)  
    Cathe' Cozzi (Dancing girl)  
    Thea Salerno (Hooker #1)  
    Anne McClain (Hooker #2)  
    Beatriz Monteil (Hooker #3)  
    Marcia Bowman (Hooker #4)  
  Pickup truck: David C. Billodeau    
    Johnny David    

Summary: At an airstrip near the California-Mexico border Wyatt and Billy, two motorcyclists, sell a large quantity of cocaine to a pusher who handles the transaction from his chauffered Rolls Royce. Once Wyatt (who is called Captain America because of the stars and stripes on his jacket and bike) has concealed the cash in his cycle's gas tank, the two young men ride off, vaguely intending to reach New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras. Unwelcome at motels because of their nonconformist appearance, they camp outdoors and smoke marijuana until they fall asleep. After stopping at a ranch where they repair their bikes and join the rancher and his Mexican wife for a meal, they pick up a hitchhiker and accompany him to the commune where he lives. Despite the friendliness of the people working the barren soil and a pleasant swim with two women, Billy becomes impatient to leave, and the two once more take to the road. Upon arriving in a Texas town, where a civic celebration is in progress, Wyatt and Billy join the procession and are jailed for "parading without a permit." Sharing their cell is alcoholic George Hanson, a civil rights lawyer who prefers sleeping off his binges in jail to facing the wrath of his wealthy father, one of the town leaders. A quick camaraderie develops among the three men; George intercedes and prevents jail officials from giving the two traditional haircuts, and he accepts their invitation to ride with them, mainly because he has always wanted to visit the House of Blue Lights in New Orleans. One night while sitting around a fire, George smokes his first joint and joyfully elucidates his theory that creatures from Venus are already living among us. The next day the three travelers stop at a small luncheonette but leave when confronted by open hostility and bigotry. That night they are attacked at their camp site by thugs who pummel George to death and leave Wyatt and Billy badly beaten. Incapable of voicing their feelings, Wyatt and Billy pay tribute to George by riding on to New Orleans and visiting the House of Blue Lights. Finding that neither the prostitutes nor the Mardi Gras festivities can overcome their moroseness, they go to a nearby cemetery to take LSD with two of the prostitutes. When the acid trip turns out to be a bad one that leaves Wyatt and Billy more despondent than before, they take to the highways again. Though Billy suggests they change direction and head for Florida, Wyatt senses the futility of continuing. The next morning they are passed on the road by two men in a pickup truck who decide to scare the two longhairs by pointing a shotgun at them. When Billy responds with a gesture of defiance, one of the men fires a shot that hits him in the stomach. After trying to reassure his dying friend, Wyatt leaps on his cycle to ride off for help, but the truck has turned back, and this time the man with the gun takes deliberate aim and blasts Wyatt and his motorcycle off the road. 

Production Company: The Pando Company, Inc.  
  Raybert Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures  
Director: Dennis Hopper (Dir)
  Len Marsal (2d asst dir)
  Paul Lewis (Asst dir)
Producer: Peter Fonda (Prod)
  Bert Schneider (Exec prod)
  William L. Hayward (Assoc prod)
Writer: Peter Fonda (Wrt)
  Dennis Hopper (Wrt)
  Terry Southern (Wrt)
Photography: Laszlo Kovacs (Dir of photog)
  Peter Heiser Jr. (Asst cam)
  Richmond Aguilar (Gaffer)
  Thomas Ramsey (Key grip)
  Peter Sorel (Still man)
  Foster Denker (Elec)
  Mel Maxwell (Best boy)
  Guy Badger (Generator)
Art Direction: Jerry Kay (Art dir)
Film Editor: Donn Cambern (Film ed)
  Stanley Siegel (Asst ed)
Set Decoration: Robert O'Neil (Prop master)
Music: Synchrofilm, Inc. (Mus ed)
Sound: Edit-Rite, Inc. (Sd eff)
  Producer's Sound Service, Inc. (Re-rec)
  Ryder Sound Service, Inc. (Sd)
  Le Roy Robbins (Sd mixer)
  James Contrares (Sd boom)
Special Effects: Steve Karkus (Spec eff)
  Cinefx (Titles)
Make Up: Virgil Frye (Makeup)
Production Misc: Paul Lewis (Prod mgr)
  Henry Jaglom (Consultant)
  Marilyn Schlossberg (Post prod)
  Joyce King (Scr supv)
  Tony Vorno (Loc mgr)
  Lee Pierpont (Transportation)
Stand In: Ted Hall (Stunt gaffer)
Color Personnel: Consolidated Film Industries (Col processing)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "The Pusher," words and music by Hoyt Axton, sung by Steppenwolf; "Born To Be Wild," words and music by Mars Bonfire, sung by Steppenwolf; "I Wasn't Born To Follow," words and music by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, sung by The Byrds; "The Weight," words and music by Jaime Robbie Robertson, sung by The Band; "If You Want to Be a Bird," words and music by Antonia Duren, sung by The Holy Modal Rounders; "Don't Bogart Me," words and music by Elliot Ingber and Larry Jay Wagner, sung by Fraternity of Man; "If Six Was Nine," words and music by Jimi Hendrix, sung by Jimi Hendrix; "Let's Turkey Trot," words and music by Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller, sung by Little Eva; "Kyrie Eleison," words and music by David Axelrod, sung by The Electric Prunes; "Flash, Bam, Pow," words and music by Mike Bloomfield, sung by the Electric Flag; "Its Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," words and music by Bob Dylan, sung by Roger McGuinn and "Ballad of Easy Rider," words and music by Roger McGuinn, sung by Roger McGuinn.
Composer: David Axelrod
  Hoyt Axton
  Mike Bloomfield
  Mars Bonfire
  Antonia Duren
  Bob Dylan
  Gerry Goffin
  Jimi Hendrix
  Elliot Ingber
  Jack Keller
  Carole King
  Roger McGuinn
  Jaime Robbie Robertson
  Larry Wagner
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Raybert Productions, Inc. 1/7/1969 dd/mm/yyyy LP36999

Physical Properties: Sd:
  col: Technicolor

 
Genre: Drama
  Drama
  Drama
Sub-Genre: Motorcycle
  Road
  with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Bigotry
  Friendship
  Hippies
  Lawyers
  Motorcycles
  Murder
  Prostitutes
  Voyages and travel
 
Subjects (Minor): Alcoholism
  California
  Cemeteries
  Communal living
  Drug dealers
  Hitchhiking
  Jails
  LSD
  Mardi Gras
  Marijuana
  Mexican-American border region
  Motels
  New Orleans (LA)
  Police
  Ranchers

Note: As noted in Filmfacts , location filming was done between California and New Orleans, LA. The LSD sequence was shot in 16mm. Easy Rider was ranked 84th on AFI's 2007 100 Years...100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films, up from the 88th position on AFI's 1997 list. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   15 May 1969.   
Film Daily   18 Jul 1969   p. 6.
Film Quarterly   Fall 1969   pp. 22-24.
Filmfacts   1969   pp. 265-69.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jun 1969   p. 3.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner   2 Aug 1969.   
Life   Jul 1969.   
New York Times   15 Jul 1969   p. 32.
New York Times   27 Jul 1969   Section II, p. 1.
Time   25 Jul 1969.   
Variety   14 May 1969   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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