Black SplatEasy Rider (1969)

"Don’t ever tell anybody they’re not free, cause they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ just to prove to you that they are."

Easy Rider- Drunken lawyer George Hanson

Description: Jack Nicholson as lawyer George Hanson in the classic road picture Easy Rider (1969).

George Hanson is a alcoholic attorney who meets and hangs out with cross-country motorcyclists Wyatt, aka “Captain America“ (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper).

Wyatt and Billy are drug dealers from Los Angeles who made a fortune selling cocaine and are now on a trip across America to New Orleans to attend Mardi Gras and eventually will head to Florida where they want to retire in style.

After leaving a hippie commune where the score some LSD, Wyatt and Billy encounter a small town parade, and just for fun, they become part of it, but the local sheriff arrests them for driving in a parade with a permit and throws them in the jail, Luckily, George Hanson, an ACLU lawyer gets them off and decides to tag along with these two easy riders to New Orleans.

Easy Rider - Billy, Wyatt and George

When Billy says the word "Dude," George inquires, "What's 'dude'? Is that like '"dude ranch'? Billy replies, "Dude means nice guy. Dude means a regular sort of person."

Before evening, the guys enter a small town restaurant where the customers are ignorant and unfriendly. One of whom says "I don't believe they'll make the parish line." Refused service, the trio decide to camp outside of town.

As they sit around a campfire, George is offered some weed ( "Lord have mercy! Is that what that is?") but he refuses, fearing he will get addicted. Of course, drinking Jim Beam straight from the bottle is not a problem. Eventually, George relents and smokes a joint with his new buddies.

As the euphoric effects of the grass take over Billy, he tells his companions, "Hey, man. Wow. I was watching this object man, li-like the satellite that we saw the other night, right? And, like, it was going right across the sky, man, and then... I mean it just suddenly, uh, it just changed direction and went whizzin right off, man. It flashed..." Just then Wyatt interrupts, "You're stoned out of your mind, man."

Easy Rider - Wyatt and Billy at campfire

After a while, the conversation turns to the people back in town and George offers his opinion on state of the nation.

George: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.
Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened. Hey, we can't even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we're gonna cut their throat or somethin'. They're scared, man.
George: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.
Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
George: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.
Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about.
George: Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.
Billy: Well, it don't make 'em runnin' scared.
George: No, it makes 'em dangerous. Buh, neh! Neh! Neh! Neh! Swamp!

Soon after talking about “killin’ and maimin’” with his pot-smoking biker friends, George and company are attacked by local rednecks. They club George to death and leave Wyatt and Billy badly beaten.

When they recover, Wyatt and Billy leave George behind in a sleeping and continue on their journey where they meet two prostitutes and party in a cemetery with the LSD in their possession.

Easy Rider - Redneck with shotgun

Sadly, the boy's journey is cut short when they drive by two hillbillies in a pickup truck, one of whom points his shotgun at Wyatt, and says "Hey, you need a haircut" and "You want me to blow your brains out?" Not amused, Wyatt gives the guy the " finger" and the man fires his shotgun and fatally wounds Wyatt. Then to insure there are no witnesses to their crime, the two rednecks kill Billy as he rushes away to find help for his friend. Final Score: Rednecks: 3. Bikers: 0.

Note: I was 18 years old when the original film aired at the theaters. I am now 61 years old and I would love to see a sequel to Easy Rider. Here's my idea for free.

At the end of the original film, Wyatt is badly shot, but doesn't die. Flash forward 50 years. Old and dying, Wyatt (played by Peter Fonda) lies on his death bed as one of his grandchildren visits him in the hospital. Reminiscing, Wyatt tells a story about his cross-country trip and how he was shot and how he avenged Billy's death by assembling an army of bikers to attack the redneck town where Billy died. "They killed Billy!" is the call to arms. The movie title: "Captain American's Revenge."

At the end of the film, Wyatt dies and his soul ascends to the clouds where, reunited with Billy, they ride their cycles across the sky while in the background we hear the song "Born to be Wild." I'd pay big bucks to see that film.

Easy Rider -  Movie Poster

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