"Easy Rider" - the 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, on
Born to be
This new Deluxe Edition of Easy Rider seems to be an excuse to
milk the film for everything they possibly can.
Looking back on
Columbia's "Easy Rider" through the lens of history, one can hardly argue that
it isn't the quintessential 1960's hippie biker flick. It's more than that,
however, it's a time capsule and a glorious travelog for America's highways and
directed the screenplay he wrote with co-star Peter Fonda (who also produced)
and Terry Southern. He plays the angry young man - long haired and rebellious -
to Fonda's easy going free spirit.
They begin the
film with a cocaine deal that makes them comfortably well off and propels them
on their cross country odyssey to sample the fleshpots of New Orleans at Mardi
Gras. Along the way they pick up a hippie hitchhiker who takes them to his
commune - and later when they're thrown in jail they meet up with George Hanson
(Jack Nicholson), a lawyer who decides to make the rest of the trek with
these anti establishment rebels run afoul of the establishment and it ends up
costing all three of them dearly.
The movie is
really about Hopper and Fonda's pursuit of the American dream, and a tribute to
the freedom of the open road. And as such it's quite enjoyable.
Tristar has done a terrific job with the DVD of Easy Rider. The audio has been
remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1, and it really shows. Early scenes at the end of
an airport runway have jets flying overhead - with their noise filling the room
The famous rock
music score has also been given a loving treatment. The songs sound as if they
were recorded yesterday and the stereo audio is nothing less than first
The movie is
presented only in widescreen, which is fine, and it looks wonderful. The
locations chosen are a mixture of the lush, the mountainous, the arid, and the
spectacular, and it's almost enough to make you want to retrace the boys' route
across the US just so you can see those glorious locations.
The DVD itself appears to be a complete rehash of the original
special edition, with the same transfers and extras (which include an audio
commentary by Dennis Hopper and the hour-long documentary Easy Rider:
Shaking the Cage). The differences are that the new version comes with a
bonus CD featuring eight songs from the movie, including Born to be Wild by
Steppenwolf and Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues.
Also included is an 80-page booklet chronicling the history of the
project. Its not exactly something youd consider bathroom reading,
but it makes for an interesting read if youre interested in that kind of
Much like the new Directors Cut of
Hellboy, the Deluxe Edition of Easy Rider
is definitely the version to purchase if you dont already own it.
However, theres not really enough new stuff to warrant a double dip.
I don't know if
I'd agree that "Easy Rider" is "One of the ten most important pictures of the
(1960's) decade," as Time Magazine called it - but despite its downbeat ending
it's an entertaining film that beautifully captures the mood of its
Easy Rider: Deluxe Edition, from Columbia Tristar Home
95 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced,
Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson
Produced by Peter Fonda
Written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Terry
Southern, Directed by Dennis Hopper
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