Easy Rider. A film that needed to be made at some point. Two disaffected hippies ride across the land to the most awesome soundtrack that money can buy; it’s too good a formula not to. Like some kind of cinematic theory of evolution, I’m convinced that if Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper hadn’t made it, then someone else would have done something similar eventually.
So why Easy Rider – what’s the deal?
Almost anyone who rides a motorcycle can hum the first few bars of Born To Be Wild – and of those who can, most will have done so whilst actually riding. If you know the song, you’ll probably know the film, because it’s everything that a counter cultural road movie should be. Heroes, scenery, drugs, rebellion, awesome vehicles, great music and gratuitous violence – it’s got it all.
What it’s not got is much of a plot – the script was largely improvised. Legend has it that Dennis Hopper was so baked most of the time, that the crew had to make sure he was on the same batch of drugs from scene to scene to keep some kind of continuity going. The budget got out of hand, with much of the expenses being put on Peter Fonda’s Diner’s Club card. In post production, they spent three times the budget for shooting the rest of the film on licensing music. But what a soundtrack!
There’s a lot of speculation on the route that the film takes. It opens with our heroes doing a drug deal by the runway at LAX and ends with an epic acid trip in St Louis Cemetery No.1 in New Orleans. Texas was a bit of a blur.
I’m going to work out as best I can which way they might have gone. There’s no right answer to this, so I’m going to have to make a lot of it up as I go along…