What is the most important thing in the entire world?
For Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Denis Hopper), it’s freedom, obviously – but it’s possible to add “Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll”. Actually, it became the motto of Easy Rider, a movie made in 1969 by Dennis Hopper. The movie is a road trip, featuring a lot of booze and a lot of two beautiful chopped Harley Davidson Hydra Glide (Panhead).
The movie begins with a successful deal thrashed out by Wyatt and Billy in Mexico, and a second, in Los Angeles. After that, they choose to leave the city to go to the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. But it’s not the destination that matters in Easy Rider, it is the journey. During their trip, the two bikers cross the path of a hippie (Luke Askew) and his commune. Then, after being arrested, they meet George Hanson (Jack Nicholson), a lawyer who goes nowhere without his flask of alcohol, and the three of them resume their journey to the carnival.
I could write a whole dissertation about the glorious actors’ game, but the thing is, before being a cool road-trip movie, Easy Rider is an absolute masterpiece in terms of scenery and soundtrack. Of course, American landscapes are intrinsically beautiful, but in Easy Rider, they are marvellous. Every scenery seems to illustrate the American dream, with roads spreading endlessly and unspoiled territories. These visuals, combined with the soundtrack, give to the movie a whole American atmosphere, perceptible right from the start: what could possibly have been better to roll the credits with Steppenwolf and their song Born To Be Wild? And to cap it all, huge hits by Smith, Roger McGuinn, the Byrds.
To summarize, Easy Rider is made of freedom, rock and road trip, a fantastic cocktail which highlights the U.S.A in the ‘60s. Too bad Lynyrd Skynyrd only released Simple Man in 1973, it would have been the cherry on the cake.