Holiday movie alternatives: ‘Easy Rider’

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Editor’s note: As 2018 drew to a close, we shared our favorite car movies as an alternative to the Hallmark holiday movies that some people watch this time of year. So this year we’re adding a twist to the series, sharing the 10-favorite motorcycle movies selected in a poll of the ClassicCars.com Journal staff. The series begins today with No. 2 Easy Rider.

motorcycle movies
Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda on their way to New Orleans | Still from movie trailer

Easy Rider, a drug-propelled counter-culture road trip, is one of the seminal movies of a generation of Americans, and is rated among the top-100 U.S. films ever produced. It also has a sound track that remains both familiar and popular.

Released in 1969, it features Peter Fonda (who also wrote the screenplay), Dennis Hopper (who also directed the film) and Jack Nicholson, who was nominated for an Academy Award for actor in a supporting role. The movie also was nominated for an Oscar for the script.

“Netting a hefty profit from their latest drug deal, hippies Wyatt and Billy decide to outfit themselves with among other things motorbikes — Wyatt complete in what they call his Captain America gear and similar motif on the bike — and chucking any structure in their lives beyond the want to get there for the event, cycle from their home base of Los Angeles to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in just over a week,” the movie website imdb.com notes. 

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“They don’t plan to spend their proceeds on this trip — saving that for a more carefree life in Florida after the fact — they sleep in the great outdoors along the way. While Wyatt is more easy going, believing in the karmic nature and practicality of helping others when they can and in turn asking for help when they need it, Billy is a little more suspicious of the people they encounter, especially in hiding their wad of cash that is stuffed into the gas tank of Wyatt’s bike, that money their future. 

“They will find that not all counter-culturalists have the exact same mindset, while they will also find the spiritual and practical connections to others in perhaps the most unlikely of places and people. But they will also ruffle some feathers just for being hippies, arguably in the fear not of them as people but what they represent. 

“Through it all, Wyatt in particular evaluates if the trip ends up being what he expects or wants for his life.”

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