Easy Rider and the Phenomenon of the 1960's Counterculture Teenpic Essay

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Pages: 13

In the following essay, I will attempt to highlight the phenomenon in cinema known as the "counterculture youth-pic." This trend in production started in the late 1960's as a result of the economic and cultural influences on the film industry of that time. The following essay looks at how those influences helped to shape a new genre in the film industry, sighting Easy Rider as a main example, and suggests some possible reasons for the relatively short popularity of the genre. "The standard story of the counterculture begins with an account of the social order against which it rebelled, a social order that was known to just about everyone by 1960 as the "mass society." The tale of post-war malaise and youthful liveliness is a …show more content…
"This society fears its young people deeply and desperately and does all that it can to train those it can control in its own image," wrote Ralph Gleason, one of the founding editors of Rolling Stone, in January, 1969." (Frank, Conquest) Seeing this trend as a potential threat to future profits, the film industry took a gamble. They invested in a "counterculture youthpic." A prime example of a counter culture youthpic, and indeed the most popular, was the movie Easy Rider. The movie starred Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson. This was by no means the only film depicting the behaviour and attitudes of the counterculture however. Films such as Wild Angels (also starring Peter Fonda) and A Hard Day's Night (starring the Beatles) were also popular at the time. "In California, folkies David Crosby, Gene Clark, and Roger McGuinn were "Beatle Struck" after seeing "A Hard Days Night." Crosby remembers "coming out of that movie so jazzed that I was swinging around stop poles at arm's length. I knew right then what my life was going to be. I wanted to do that. I loved the attitude and the fun of it; there was sex, there was joy, there was everything I wanted out of life."" (Echols, Shaky Ground) Directing movies at a subculture (especially a drug subculture)