Film Analysis Of The Film 'Easy Rider'

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‘Easy Rider’ Analysis America in the 1960’s was a time of turbulence and chaos. A nation divided in the midst of the counterculture movement that was sparked by a generational split and fueled by the Vietnam War, America was struggling for change. The New Hollywood took these issues into account and translated them onscreen. Films of the New Hollywood centered around the protagonist, often depicting them as an anti-hero, who suffered from alienation and conflict within society. In the film ‘Easy Rider’ these themes are exemplified through its reinvention of the Western genre. Dennis Hopper uses this film as a way to convey ideas of the Western by placing into a modern setting that embodies the feeling of 1960’s America. The Western in ‘Easy Rider’ is depicted primarily through the conflict between the rural and urban environments displayed onscreen. Throughout the film the countryside and city are constantly being compared through the narrative, the cinematography, and the dialogue that is presented to the audience. Laszlo Kovac’s vivid and expansive camerawork showcases the the sprawling mountains and endless deserts that are reminiscent of the Western Frontier. The rural territory that Wyatt and Billy occupy during their breaks is almost idyllic whether they are huddled around a campfire or sitting in an open field, a reminder of the Western is brought to the surface. The farmer’s ranch and hippie commune that is eventually seen in the film are shown as isolated settlements, and the heart of the wilderness lies within them. Wyatt first praises the farmer for living off the land, and says “Not every man that can live off the land, you know. You do your own thing in your own time. You should be proud.” He later on conveys his belief that the commune will be able to produce crops even in the empty field that is seen. Like these people, Billy and Wyatt have rejected society seeking out their own freedom, living as outlaws like many western heros do. When Wyatt and Billy are rejected from motels, that is symbolic of the civilized world that they are no longer apart of, rather they must retreat to the wild to set up camp, often gathering
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