Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1969. Pando Company Inc., Raybert Productions. Screenplay by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Terry Southern. Cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs. Produced by Peter Fonda. Production Design by Jeremy Kay. Film Editing by Donn Cambern. Academy Awards 1969. Cannes Film Festival 1969. Golden Globe Awards 1969. New York Film Critics Awards 1969.
This classic is just as hip and fresh today as it was when it was originally released. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda play bikers who decide to go against their straight-laced contemporaries and ride their choppers across America from Los Angeles to New Orleans. Their various encounters with strange characters make up most of the story, none more memorable than when they pick up a tight ACLU lawyer (Jack Nicholson) and give him a reason to relax. The film launched Nicholson’s career and has been seen since as a milestone in counterculture filmmaking of the late sixties. Fonda, giving one of his best performances, and Hopper co-wrote the excellent screenplay with Terry Southern.