Easy Rider (1969)
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Directed by: Dennis Hopper
Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Karen Black
Easy Rider ranked # 88 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 American Films list.
Easy Rider is a 1969 road movie, written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern. It was produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. Southern also came up with the title of the movie, which borrows the slang term easy rider.
The film tells the story of two young men, Wyatt (played by Fonda) and Billy (Hopper), who "went looking for America but couldn't find it anywhere." Some see the film as representing the embodiment of the hippie ideals and lifestyle of the counterculture of the 1960s.
Despite being shot in the first half of 1968, between Mardi Gras and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, the film did not have a US debut until July of 1969.
Both the film and the director won a Golden Palm at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Nicholson) and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Material Not Previously Published or Produced.
The scenes playing on a New Orleans cemetery towards the end of the film were shot first on 16mm film to advertise the idea to producers.
Real marijuana was smoked in many scenes, but the "undescribed white powder" sniffed by Fonda was powdered sugar. In various interviews, Fonda has said he was told by Hopper it would be real cocaine.
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