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Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And-Rock-N-Roll Generation Saved Hollywoodby Peter Biskind
I don't know much about film, but I can keep up with the best Hollywood gossipers. In an attempt to elevate and justify my shameful interest in the lives of celebrities, I found a terrific book. Easy Riders Raging Bulls begins with Hollywood in bad financial shape in the 1960's. Films made outside the US were considered daring and innovative, while Hollywood was producing heavily formulaic Doris Day or Rock Hudson vehicles. Studios didn't have a clue what was making British and European art films successful and were, for the first time, willing to cede power to young directors. Film equipment became smaller, more portable, and cheaper. Actors in these new films were grittier, story lines involved characters that weren't necessarily "good guys" and technical correctness was challenged. Films from this era included Bonnie & Clyde, The Graduate, Rosemary's Baby, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, The Godfather, Nashville, Shampoo, Carnal Knowledge, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Apocalypse Now, Jaws, Klute, Star Wars, and American Graffiti. This book is a perfect combination of film history and densely packed tales of Hollywood scandal and titillation.
"Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is by turns exhilarating, astonishing, depressing, and hilarious. While Biskind's dramatic instincts lead him to focus on the more out-of-control films, leaving a false impression that every production was a runaway train lucky to pull into the station in one piece, the context of the work gives it a greater significance than salacious gossip. Biskind vividly captures the hopes, dreams, and highs ? and yes, the follies ? of the first truly independent film generation." Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
When the low-budget biker movie Easy Rider shocked Hollywood with its success in 1969, a new Hollywood era was born. This was an age when talented young filmmakers such as Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg, along with a new breed of actors, including De Niro, Pacino, and Nicholson, became the powerful figures who would make such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Jaws. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls follows the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s — an unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (both onscreen and off) and a climate where innovation and experimentation reigned supreme. Based on hundreds of interviews with the directors themselves, producers, stars, agents, writers, studio executives, spouses, and ex-spouses, this is the full, candid story of Hollywood's last golden age.
MARTIN SCORSESE ON DRUGS: "I did a lot of drugs because I wanted to do a lot, I wanted to push all the way to the very very end, and see if I could die."
DENNIS HOPPER ON EASY RIDER: "The cocaine problem in the United States is really because of me. There was no cocaine before Easy Rider on the street. After Easy Rider, it was everywhere."
GEORGE LUCAS ON STAR WARS: "Popcorn pictures have always ruled. Why do people go see them? Why is the public so stupid? That's not my fault."
"Biskind...knows where the bodies are buried...and his eye for telling detail turns up enough fresh insights to keep the book engrossing." Joseph McBride, The New York Times Book Review
"[Biskind's] research is so scrupulous and instructive and his passion for movies so unquestionable that his clear contempt for the excesses of the men he writes about makes sense — after all, they trashed their own gifts. But the signal achievement of this archaeological dig of a book is that Biskind also cares about what went right — the movies." Mark Harris, Entertainment Weekly
"[A] calm, encyclopedic and compulsively readable dish on Hollywood heroes....This book plays like a bestseller, a perfect, gruesome sitcom in which Hollywood figures sit and ponder their reputations. If anything, I dare say that nervous libel lawyers have made Biskind take a moderate line....[I]t is essential dish, and Biskind has done his job well." David Thomson, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review
"Mr. Biskind's book is like the best of Robert Altman: His central narrative is pretty incoherent, but the ensemble cast and colorful vignettes are irresistible." Mark Steyn, The Wall Street Journal
"Thouthful, gossipy, and altogether mesmerizing." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
About the Author
Peter Biskind is the former executive editor of Premiere and former editor in chief of American Film. He is the author of two previous books, Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties and The Godfather Companion. His work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
One: Before the Revolution
Two: "Who Made Us Right?"
Three: Exile on Main Street
Four: The Moviegoer
Five: The Man Who Would Be King
Six: Like a Rolling Stone
Seven: Sympathy for the Devil
Eight: The Gospel According to St. Martin
Nine: The Revenge of the Nerd
Ten: Citizen Cain
Eleven: Star Bucks
Twelve: Coming Apart
Thirteen: The Eve of Destruction
Fourteen: "We Blew It"
Cast of Characters
Selected Filmography of Directors (1967-1982)
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