Posted by Larry Gleeson

Jessica Biel announces today’s AFI Movie Club selection: EASY RIDER. The film was selected for both AFI’s original and 10th Anniversary lists of the greatest American films of all time, and “Born to Be Wild” was recognized by AFI as one of the greatest songs ever featured in a film. EASY RIDER’s journey to the big screen included AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Jack Nicholson.

Interesting Facts

Actor/director Dennis Hopper said that the marijuana used in the film was real.

Although the screenplay was written by the stars of the film – Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, along with novelist Terry Southern – a great deal of the movie ended up improvised. In this exclusive AFI Archive video, Fonda and Hopper talk about making the film.

In scenes depicting rural and small-town America, real-life farmers and other local, non-professional actors were used.

Director Dennis Hopper had only a week to prepare to shoot scenes at Mardi Gras. This was a result of Peter Fonda getting the date wrong!Rip Torn was initially cast in the role of George Hanson. The part went to Jack Nicholson after director Dennis Hopper and Torn got in a heated dispute before filming.

The first cut of the film by Dennis Hopper, which took him 22 weeks to complete, had a runtime of almost three hours in length. The final film’s runtime was 96 minutes.

$1 million was spent to license the music for the film, which was about three times the budget for shooting the film.

Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

– What does the term counterculture mean to you? 

–What made EASY RIDER resonate with people when it first hit the big screen? Do those same ideals still resonate today? 

–Why has there been a long running cultural divide between young and old? 

–How has social media changed how the youth of today have challenged the “establishment”? 

–Would the response to the film have been different if Wyatt and Billy safely drove off into the sunset at the end of the movie? 

–How would you rate EASY RIDER? 


About AFI Movie Club

I hope the AFI Movie Club brings some inspiration and entertainment during this uncertain time. AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies where each day’s film – announced by a special guest – is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to bring the viewing experience to life. As a non-profit, AFI Movie Club is a member-powered organization, dependent upon the support of its movie fans. To support AFI Movie Club please consider becoming a member or donating.

AFI Movie Club is a newly launched free program to raise the nation’s spirits by bringing artists and audiences together – even while we are apart. AFI shines a spotlight on an iconic movie each day, with special guests announcing the Movie of the Day. Audiences can “gather” at to find out how to watch the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming service credentials. The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive to enrich the viewing experience.

(Source: AFI News Release)