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Easy Rider celebrates its 50th anniversary

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Easy Rider

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first public screening of the cult 1969 movie Easy Rider.

In the USA, many theatres are showing the film again. Here in Australia, you can watch it on DVD and maybe a streaming service.

The hippy film was shot on a shoestring budget in a haze of pot smoke and with a plot that was made up along the way by actor/director Dennis Hopper.

Dennis died in 2013, aged 77.

His film was added to the USA’s National Film Registry in 1998 and is listed as one of the top 100 American movies by the American Film Institute.

50th anniversary

Although the 50-year-old  film may seem anachronistic in these modern times, it still has its merits.

The opening scene where lead actor Peter Fonda famously throws away his watch is a highlight.

The choppers then fire up and roar into the desert to the accompaniment of Born to be Wild. Truly an iconic cinematic moment!


It has also started a fad with riders and other travellers to discard their watches and disregard the constraints of time.

A watch is a symbol of “the man”, society and capitalism that constrain us.

Motorcycles are freedom machines that allow us to escape the rigours of timekeeping.

In a hilarious parody of the famous Easy Rider scene, John Travolta and his buddies throw away their mobile phones before a cross-country ride in the 2007 movie Wild Hogs.

“You don’t need a GPS to discover America; you need a bike and you need the road, ok? Freedom,” says Travolta.


There are no deadlines on the open road. Even sunset is no limit.

So there really is no need for a watch. Besides, you can’t see it under your jacket sleeve and gloves when riding.

Besides, most bikes these days have clocks, although I have my bike’s screen set to the trip meter, rather than the clock.

  • What is your favourite scene from Easy Rider? Leave your comments below.