Originally released in 1969, Easy Rider is widely regarded as the original 'road movie'. It reflected the attitudes and longings of an entire generation, and was soon copied by other Hollywood studios. Two motorcyclists (Hopper and Fonda) embark on a coast to coast odyssey in search of the real America, encountering along the way the many faces of its big cities and small towns, a hippie commune, drugs and sex in a New Orleans bawdy house. The film also marks the magnificent performance by Jack Nicholson which brought him to international attention. Easy Rider was the official U.S. entry in the Cannes Film festival in 1969 where it came away with the award for Best Film by a New Director (Hopper).
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On the Picture: Easy Rider pulls onto Blu-ray with a spectacular 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. In true Sony fashion, this disc retains its natural grain structure -- which does appear rather heavily throughout -- that allows the film to retain an accurate and pleasing cinematic quality. Detail is generally exceptional throughout; whether the scuffs on Wyatt's red, white, and blue helmet or the textures seen on the desert rocks at the Hippie commune, the transfer showcases a solid, clear, sharp, and natural film-like image. There's also a good sense of depth; backgrounds are generally sharp and nicely rendered without much loss in detail. Colors, too, are beautifully reproduced. From the many earth tones seen in the film to the bolder and brighter hues seen on Wyatt's motorcycle, this Blu-ray never falters in translating the color palette to wonderful effect. Also featuring strong black levels and natural flesh tones, Easy Rider represents one of the finest catalogue transfers yet seen on Blu-ray. It's a pleasure to behold. The Sound: Easy Rider revs up on Blu-ray with a quality Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The track enjoys but several moments of amped-up special effects. A few planes scream from front to back during a drug deal early in the film; the effect is accompanied by a fair level of bass, plenty of volume, and seamless flow from front to back. Though it's not the most lifelike or clear effect, it's nicely reproduced here and works to wonderful effect with the accompanying scene. Dialogue is generally reproduced without a hitch, though there are a few instances where it sounds unnaturally inserted into the film and is forced to compete with several background atmospherics, making for something of an unnatural sonic moment. Still, Easy Rider's soundtrack is all about the music, and its delivery here is exceptional. "Born to be Wild" features superb clarity through the entire range, including a solid low end. It sounds so good it's almost worth watching the opening title sequence twice just to revel in the exceptional delivery afforded by this Blu-ray disc. The other tracks -- "The Weight" and "I Wasn't Born to Follow," for instance -- are, likewise, wonderfully presented. All in all, Easy Rider sounds fantastic where it counts, and fans of both the film and its soundtrack should find this lossless offering reason enough to purchase the disc.
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