The Hells Angels ride in this cool, downbeat biker film from B-movie godfather Roger Corman. A pre-EASY RIDER Peter Fonda stars as Heavenly Blues, the Angels' black-leather-clad leader. When his friend Loser (Bruce Dern) gets shot by the cops, he and the Angels bust him out of the hospital, but he dies and they end up trashing his funeral in a drunken orgy. Corman turns it all into a sort-of Western, capturing a nicely elegiac tone as he portrays--without judgment--the lifestyle of these modern outlaws. He even predicts the death of countercultural hedonism before many people were even aware it existed. American social leaders were outraged when the film was chosen as the only U.S. entry for the 1966 Venice Film Festival, where it was considered an important cinematic statement. It's certainly more than mere exploitation, and benefits from striking outdoor photography and camerawork. A record-breaking box-office success, THE WILD ANGELS launched a whole genre: the 1960s biker film.
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