Easy Rider: a Pursuit of American Identity Essay

1363 Words Jul 21st, 2005 6 Pages
Easy Rider: An Epic journey into the unknown
For the American dream

Easy Rider is the late 1960s "road film" tale of a search for freedom (or the illusion of freedom) and an identity in America, in the midst of paranoia, bigotry and violence. The story, of filmmakers' Fonda/Hopper creation, centers around the self-styled, counter-cultured, neo-frontiersmen of the painfully fashionable late 60s. As for the meaning of Easy rider, Peter Fonda (Wyatt) said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, ¡§it is a southern term for a whore¡¦s old man, not a pimp, but a dude who lives with a chick. Because he¡¦s got the easy ride. Well, that¡¦s what¡¦s happened to America, man. Liberty¡¦s become a whore, and we¡¦re all taking an easy ride¡¨ .
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Extremely successful and low-budget, this film has won the 1969 Cannes Film Festival¡¦s award for the Best Film by a new director. The film also received two Academy Award nominations: Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson in one of his earlier, widely-praised roles.

A Counter Culture Background
Counter culture is cultural & political challenge to mainstream values and practices in the 1960s in America. It is roughly divided into three stages: an early stage prior to 1968, when the civil rights movement and youthful optimism predominated; a middle stage characterized by intense polarization; and a late stage when new activist groups such as women¡¦s liberationists emerged, placing the end of the counter culture in the early 1970s. At the same time there is a crack in the mass consciousness of America¡Xsudden emergence of insight into a vast national subconscious netherworld filled with nerve gases, universal death bombs, malevolent bureaucracies, secret police systems, drugs that open the door to God, ship leaving Earth, unknown chemical terrors, evil dreams at hand.
The 60¡¦s for the youth is an era of sexual libertarianism, angry politicism, vehement rejection of authority, and widespread experiment with drugs. Easy Rider is indeed one of the rallying points of the late 60¡¦s, a buddy picture, crossed with sex, drugs, rock and roll, and the heeding freedom of the open road. Influenced by

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