When films emblematic of the 1960s American counter-culture are mentioned, Easy Rider comes to the fore. Almost everything about this story of a motorcycle gang that travels across a landscape of alienation is hopelessly dated, yet the film remains a lot of fun. As one of the most popular films of its times, it both depicted and promoted a youth culture that centered around illicit drugs and rock music. More than any other movie, it established the career of Jack Nicholson, who won some critics' awards and an Oscar nomination as a supporting actor, and promoted the wild image of Peter Fonda. It is also one of Dennis Hopper's earliest directorial efforts and one of his first maniacal roles, though Hopper did not immediately capitalize on his success in either capacity. The psychedelic moments are priceless, and the soundtrack, featuring the Byrds, Steppenwolf, and other bands of the era, is golden. Few who came of age in the turbulent 1960s did not mark Easy Rider as one of their formative cultural experiences.
by Michael Betzold review