Easy Rider Belonging

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This essay shall provide a structured analysis of the film easy rider with a close reference to why the film has been so important in shaping American independent cinema. Close attention will be given to the main themes and motifs throughout the film, with specific scene analysis and references to the production of the film and the societal back drop from which it came about. Easy Rider is the quintessential biker movie conceptualised by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. The film follows the drug tryst of Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) as they transport a large quantity of cocaine from LA through the south western states of America. On release Easy Rider was a massive commercial success with alternative and mainstream presses alike finding…show more content…
During this time audiences were becoming less complicit in their viewings and instead adopting pictures like Easy Rider because they re-defined the prevailing representations of the world for a new open generation and provided an alternative to the conformist era. Initially Easy Rider was given a small budget of $350,000 by Columbia Pictures but its successful portrayal of counterculture gave it a new niche and helped it gross over $50 million world-wide. As mentioned previously Easy Rider is rife with Themes of drugs, sex and the hippie counterculture. The Hippie counter culture grew out of the contempt towards the dominant classes. The basic hippie belief was that of freedom and happiness and not being under the ‘man’s’ thumb with an embracement of new and emerging art forms in the realms of music, fine art, and film. These themes alongside themes of isolation and prejudice helped the film by not portraying an idealistic America and instead creating controversy and aligning the films ideology with the true happenings in society at that time. It could be argued that the main ideology of the film is freedom and a portrayal of the essence of the American dream. Our protagonists Billy and…show more content…
The clothes and hairstyles of the main characters places them in the realms of the hippie and denotes hippie values and traditions such as free love and equality and contrast with the clothes worn by the people in the diner which denote more conservative right wing politics. This then goes forth in addressing much more in depth issues such as location, individuality and the characters search for meaning. The contrast between the ‘outsider’ and the ‘insider’ is explored when the two differing ideologies meet. Perhaps a prominent scene is when Billy and Wyatt are looking to stay at a motel and they are refused access because of the way they look. The diner scene could also hold testament to this. The characters are discussed in both a positive and negative way but either way they are always discussed as outsiders. This could have then represented the ideas towards the countercultures held by the dominant culture. Klinger states that for the more politically right wing of the time Easy rider ‘instantly conjured up demonic images of the hippie counter-culture with its long hair, experimentation with drugs and sex and violent social protests’ (Klinger, 1997: Pg. 179) so then

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