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The Essentials: Easy Rider (1969)

Two bikers head from L.A. to New Orleans through the open country and desert lands, and along the way they meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap of which they had been unaware.
(R, 95 min.)

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Sunday, August 1, 2021

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Monday, August 2, 2021

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The Essentials: New Hollywood
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This is the definitive counterculture blockbuster. The down-and-dirty directorial debut of former clean-cut teen star Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider heralded the arrival of a new voice in film, one pitched angrily against the mainstream. After the film’s cross-country journey—with its radical, New Wave–style editing, outsider-rock soundtrack, revelatory performance by a young Jack Nicholson, and explosive ending—the American road trip would never be the same. [Criterion]

Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson
Director: Dennis Hopper
Genre(s): Adventure, Drama

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"Fonda and Hopper, it should by this time go without saying, give immense performances."

— Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times

"Not only emblematic of independent American cinema, but, released in 1969, is the definitive statement on the death of the 60s."

— Christopher Machell, CineVue

"Easy Rider is very likely the clearest and most disturbing presentation of the angry estrangement of American youth to be brought to the screen."

— John Mahoney, The Hollywood Reporter

"This legendary tale of a motorcycle odyssey gone wrong remains timeless for its diagnosing of the early stages of a social ennui that has now fully bloomed."

— Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

"Someday it was inevitable that a great film would come along, utilizing the motorcycle genre, the same way the great Westerns suddenly made everyone realize they were a legitimate American art form, Easy Rider is the picture. 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