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Electra Glide in Blue [Blu-ray]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Blake, Billy Green Bush, Mitch Ryan, Jeannine Riley, Elisha Cook Jr.
  • Directors: James William Guercio
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,593 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The only thing good-hearted motorcycle cop John Wintergreen (Robert Blake) wants is to become a detectiveto wear a big Stetson, smoke fancy cigars and be paid to think. So when he stumbles upon a dead body, he takes on the case-and proves his stuff! But as soon as he's promoted, the corruption he must tolerate makes the Stetson not fit so well and the cigars not taste so good. Forced to confront his own disillusionment, Wintergreen heads out on his bike, the Electra Glide, where he makes another shocking discovery that could cost him his life!


One of the more eclectic titles from the independent movie scene of the early 1970s, James William Guercio's Electra Glide in Blue is a compelling mix of character drama and counterculture commentary on the American dream, anchored by Robert Blake's lead performance as an ambitious motorcycle cop who learns a hard lesson about upward mobility. Best known prior to its release as the manager and producer for the band Chicago (whose members turn up in minor cameos throughout the film), Guercio proved a capable filmmaker with Electra Glide, despite a severely limited budget; in an introduction filmed for the new Blu-ray presentation, Guercio discusses his appreciation for the films of John Ford, whose elegiac tone and landscape vistas of Monument Valley inform much of the picture's visual style and theme. Blake's John Wintergreen can also be viewed as a descendent of Ford's complicated heroes, pinned between his loyalty to his job and his desire for something more than handing out traffic tickets on Arizona back roads. An opportunity for advancement presents itself in the form of a suicide that Wintergreen believes to be a homicide, but the crime only serves to underscore some cold, hard facts about the nature of justice and societal standing. Pilloried upon its release as "fascist" for its convoluted depiction of police officers and the counterculture movement, Electra Glide has enjoyed a modest cult following among aficionados of early '70s American cinema for its unvarnished view of both sides of the American social scene, as well as its proudly eclectic tone and Guercio's assured direction. Blake, too, deserves considerable credit for the film's success for his fine, underplayed turn as a man all too willing to look past obvious red flags until it's far too late, and he's well supported by a cast that includes Mitchell Ryan as a self-impressed detective, Billy "Green" Bush as his partner, who desires the titular motorcycle, and the great character actors Royal Dano and Elisha Cook Jr. Guercio is featured on a commentary track in which he discusses his collaborations with Blake and cinematographer Conrad Hall, whom he was able to hire by deferring his directing fee, as well as the aforementioned introduction, which should be seen after the picture by first-time viewers, as it contains several spoilers. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

Took me a long time to figure this movie out.
Jason Laird
It is at once a fine murder mystery, action film and, perhaps most importantly, a character study.
One of the best films in American cinematic history.
Jesse James

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 75 people found the following review helpful By P. Ferrigno on October 31, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
"Electra Glide In Blue" is easily one of my favourite "unknown" films of the 1970's. This was the first (and only) movie directed by rock producer James William Guercio, and in my book it is a top class effort.

Robert Blake ( from TV's "Baretta" ) plays ex-Marine now Arizona motorcycle cop, John Wintergreen, desperate to trade his Harley Davidson Electra Glide police motorbike in for four wheels and join the Stockman Motors detectives division. That opportunity presents itself soon enough, when Wintergreen comes across a gunned down corpse in an dilapidated shack and the puzzle of was it just suicide, or was it murder. Blinded by the supposed granduer of the detective's role, Wintergreen becomes sorely disheartened to find out that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the hill. Exposed to bigotry, hate and injustice, his lofty opinions of his police superiors quickly crumble as he realises the brutal and impersonal nature of their personalities.

The talented and versatile cast is what makes "Electra Glide in Blue" really crackle....Billy Green Bush plays Wintergreen's partner "Zipper" Davis...an abusive and arrogant police officer who is ultimately so insecure and lonely. The talented actor Mitchell Ryan plays head of detectives Harve Poole, another bombastic and narcisstic man seething with resentment and insecurities wracking his life. Jeannine Riley is the lonely, heartbroken waitress ?Joelene"....seeking warmth and affection in the arms of the local police officers....and the wonderful character actor, Royal Dano, is the tired and irritable Coroner. Plus, I can't leave out veteran character actor, Elisha Cook Jr., as the half witted desert loner, Willy.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I had vague memories of seeing this film years ago when I was probably sixteen that had haunted me for the following sixteen years of my life. Having just seen this gem again on cable I remembered why. The acting in this film is so far beyond most of the junk that is released today that the phrase, they don't make them like they used to should be changed to , they can't make them like they used to. While some aspects of a movie of this age might seem a little dated who could reasonably deny that the final scene of this film is the most stunning thing ever exposed to film. Hell I could watch that ending every day for the rest of my life and always be awed by the beauty and sadness of it.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Robert Blake plays a diminutive motorcycle cop in the middle of Arizona. His ambition is to make detective, and wear "that brown suit and hat that says 'you get paid to think.'" When he discovers a suicide that may be a murder, he gets his shot at the bigtime. I haven't seen every movie Blake's done, but this is probably his best role, and he really makes the most of it. Director Guercio (who, to my knowledge never directed another movie) paints a beautiful, poignant picture of this little man surrounded by an awesome landscape. In a way the desert represents Blake's situation. He's this tiny guy who wants to play by a code of honor and to do the right thing, but all around him is this vast wasteland crawling with people who want to bend the rules. The final shot of this film, along with the beautiful closing song (written by Director Guercio) is one of the saddest, most awe-inspiring moments in the history of filmmaking. This movie's not a thrill-a-minute chase flick, but a thoughtful, sad and inspiring story of duty, honor, decency, and the price those virtues bear.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "gavronthemagician" on July 15, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This film is a disjointed, unfocused, cynical, at times brilliant look at the life of a motorcycle cop in Arizona. Robert Blake plays John Wintergreen, a sympathetic loner and dreamer who aspires to be a detective. The suicide of an old drifter in the desert is quickly seen by Blake as a murder and his attempts to convince his superiors to investigate is met at first with derision. Through Blake's eyes we see a country torn apart: apathetic, neurotic, berift of dreams, lonely, capable of frightening acts of violence. An examination of the mindset of the early seventies and a film that is sometimes know as the "anti Easy Rider." Blake has rarely been better.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. Hartley on August 31, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This episodic and leisurely paced crime thriller/character study was one of the last of the true "60's" films (even though it was released in 1973). The twist here is that the existential anti-hero isn't riding a chopper or racing across America in a Challenger to keep one step ahead of "The Man" but in fact IS "The Man" --a motorcycle cop! One-shot director James William Guercio, previously known for producing the band Chicago and creating the Caribou Records label, does an admirable job (and leaves one wondering why he didn't continue to pursue filmmaking). Robert Blake delivers his second-best ever perfomance ("In Cold Blood" remains his highest watermark) as a highway patrolman yearning for a more glamourous (to his perception, at least) posting as a homicide detective. All the supporting actors are superb, and the expansive cinematography recalls "Vanishing Point" and "Badlands" with its sweeping vistas of the American West. A sleeper worth a look.
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