March 28, 2012
Riding in the shadows
1969 was a tumultuous time to be an American. With news pouring in from overseas of American casualties fighting in the Vietcong, and political upheaval bursting at the seams of a nation the public needed cinema now more than ever. It was a great year for the box office. There was no shortage of cinematic gold, with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Midnight Rider beating it in 1st and 2nd. Easy Rider became the third highest grossing movie of the year. Freedom is what this amazing film written by Peter Fonda aims for, two modern explorers set out on a journey for just that. They have the life on the road, of the wind, for the heart. Blazing trails not only on the pavement but also through the sales box at the theaters and in to the hearts of many who recognized the struggles Wyatt and Billy.
Easy Rider was "the" statement of a generation when it was released in the summer of 1969. And it was a critical statement about America. It remains one of the most significant films of the decade in that it was such a new kind of American film. Easy Rider, the film equivalent of Jack Kerouac's rambunctious On the Road novel, legitimatized new subject matter, including casual drugs and sex, and the questioning of the American system. At the time, Dennis Hopper's film received a far-reaching reaction from fans and critics alike. Vincent Canby once wrote that Easy Rider was "… not a great film, but an accurate if overstated dramatization of the fears of many people, especially young people, who were shocked to realize that perhaps there were flaws in the system." A statement which still holds true today, as a new generation witnesses a whole new set of problems facing their country.
Easy Rider has been influential in not only the reinforcement of counterculture hippiedom, but also as a catalyst for political agenda as George Bush stated. Bush stated "We [the Reagan administration] have turned around the permissive...