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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to Turn Off.
This was one of the better documentaries that I've seen this year. It has some excellent interviews with the likes of John Milius and Dennis Hopper. It really wasn't about the sixties or seventies as much as it was about the age of directorial freedom in film. Before I saw it, I knew very little about Sam Peckinpah or Martin Scorcese. They are/were fascinating people...
Published on February 10, 2005 by Bernard Chapin

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent documentary, but not on the DVD
I watched this doc obsessively on my local cable movies channel. Unfortunately, the version of the film on the DVD is rather different -- most noticably that most (if not all) of the soundtrack is missing. I actually bought this DVD interested to know what song was on while they talked about "Mean Streets" -- but the only licensed music on the entire DVD is Born...
Published on August 3, 2004 by Brendan Lynch


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent documentary, but not on the DVD, August 3, 2004
This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
I watched this doc obsessively on my local cable movies channel. Unfortunately, the version of the film on the DVD is rather different -- most noticably that most (if not all) of the soundtrack is missing. I actually bought this DVD interested to know what song was on while they talked about "Mean Streets" -- but the only licensed music on the entire DVD is Born To Be Wild and the Jaws theme. I'm very disappointed on this regard.

But, don't get me wrong here -- this is a documentary worth seeing (and perhaps owning if you are a film buff rather than music buff). There is some excellent archival footage and home movies from the participants, and the animated transitions of movie posters and stills are very well done. The content is most likely not a surprise as everyone knows the majority of the films discussed (and the mammoth financial or artistic results). It's the backstory and the who did what with whom to allow these films to be made or released that provides interest.

Back to the DVD... one happy addition is that there is a full second disc of interviews. Very dry, but there is some interesting extra information / story tidbits and an interview with the author of the book which probably would have been welcome in the film (but wouldn't have fit it's structure perhaps).

I would recommend this DVD for film buffs and baby-boomers in general... any chance the "Original Soundtrack" might be released separately? Or perhaps the 97 minute "as seen on tv" edition as a DVD instead of this 118 minute version?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to Turn Off., February 10, 2005
This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
This was one of the better documentaries that I've seen this year. It has some excellent interviews with the likes of John Milius and Dennis Hopper. It really wasn't about the sixties or seventies as much as it was about the age of directorial freedom in film. Before I saw it, I knew very little about Sam Peckinpah or Martin Scorcese. They are/were fascinating people as well as artists. The same can be said about George Lucas. "Easy Riders..." explains quite well the reasons why he went into semi-retirement after "Star Wars." For any film buff, you'll be rewarded greatly by letting this play for two hours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Glance at the Second Golden Age of Cinema, April 27, 2005
By 
brewster22 "brewster22" (Evanston, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
"Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" is an orgy for movie lovers. How can anyone who loves film not be in heaven at the constant parade of landmark films and key industry figures that charges across the screen in this fast-paced documentary? If you've read the book, the movie will feel cursory, and one will find himself wishing for more detail, more insider stories. There are curious omissions here, and wonders if Bowser structured his content based on who he could get to agree to interviews. Altman is hardly mentioned, Scorsese (who shows up everywhere talking about movies) is not interviewed, and Kubrick isn't mentioned at all (save for one shot of the "2001" poster). Still, what's there is great, and if you're like me, you'll be left with a twinge of sadness that such a rich time in film artistry seems to be gone forever.

Grade: A-
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plodding Overview of a Unique Era in Hollywood History., May 29, 2004
This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
"Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" is based on Peter Biskind's book of the same name which explored the rise and the fall of the director's era in Hollywood during the 1970s. The film actually starts in 1966, when the film industry was suffering low ticket sales under an obsolete studio system. The old studio bosses no longer understood their young audiences who frequented drive-ins and art house theaters. While the Nouvelle Vague raged in Europe, American movies weren't making money. A group of young filmmakers emerged, the first generation of directors to self-consciously view film as an art form: Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Warren Beatty, Sam Peckinpah, Paul Schrader, Robert Altman, Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas, Roger Corman, Roman Polanski. Through still photographs, film clips, interviews, and narration by William H. Macy, "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" traces these filmmakers' rise to power in the 1970s under the wings of inspired producers like Robert Evans, Bert Schneider, and Peter Bart, through the Age of the Auteur, and to the eventual decline in directors' power in the late 1970s due to the rise of the special effects film and the consequences of the directors' own excesses.
Hollywood of the 1970s is certainly an interesting subject, populated with interesting characters. But "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" is so plodding that it seems twice as long as it actually is. I'm fascinated by film history, but there was a point when I didn't think I'd make it through this film. And that was only half an hour into it. "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" covers a lot of ground, but it's really an overview of the changing Hollywood power structure 1966-1980 and the films that resulted. Nothing is discussed in much detail. It would have been a better film had it covered less territory in more depth. As it is, "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" comes off as cursory, but long. There are a lot of interviews, but some of the most prominently featured personalities are: Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich, Peter Bart, Paul Schrader, and Richard Dreyfuss. "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" isn't a bad film, but for a two-hour film that seems like four, it says very little.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good documentary with some teeth missing, March 3, 2005
By 
Bruce Hutton (Spokane, Washington) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
As a subject, the explosion of creativity in 1970's cinema is absolutely bursting with possibility. And since most of the principal players are not only still alive but still working, there should be a fantastic documentary to be made about the period...but "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" is not that documentary, I'm sorry to say.

There are some major figures from the era involved here (Peter Bogdanovich, Paul Schrader, Ellen Burstyn, Richard Dreyfuss, Dennis Hopper, Karen Black), but simply not enough to sustain a 2-hour film. Among the missing are Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Woody Allen, Robert Evans, Michael Douglas, Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda...oh, God, the list goes on. We're presented with a vague background, the collapse of the studio system and the rise of the counter-culture and European cinema, but we see precious little of it onscreen. The participants are filmed against a black background, they talk, we see a short film clip, and back to the black talking. Considering the astonishing originality of the period being discussed you'd think some of it would leak into the documentary. No go.

To be sure, what's here is decent and interesting, but this decade deserves a real, hands-on exploration. How about somebody who was THERE getting on the job? Surely Dennis Hopper could put together a spectacular piece of cinematic art on the Seventies...and who'd turn down the man who directed "Easy Rider", freeing Hollywood from the dust of old men and launching the second Golden Age of American movies? C'mon, Dennis, let's go! While we're young!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dam! Good Documentry, May 13, 2004
This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
~This documentry is an exellent pice of work like the book of the same title which i read while i was at college. The movie discusses the old movie system and how it was brought in to the 20th century, by a few directors such as Scorsese, Coppola, Peckinpah, Beaty, Penn and Denis Hopper. It shows how the directors like penn were influenced by french directors like Trafut etc. but what makes the film so good to watch is the interviews from the directors themselves. I would have liked a little more~~ information on Sam Peckinpah & John Cassevttes that would have given the movie 5 stars in my opinion.~
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Partial History, September 17, 2012
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This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
of the shift from producers to directors. Obviously 1960's audiences wanted movies that were gritty and bold. As always, actors like Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda are given way too much emphasis and the same 5 or 6 American directors always get lumped together when their work couldn't be any more different. I would like to see more of the forgotten "one hit wonders" of the 1970's cinema.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intro. to 1970's Independent Film, August 21, 2006
By 
Doug Anderson (Miami Beach, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
This is a kind of Independent Film of the Seventies 101. It's a good solid introductory course that explains just what forces conspired to make the early seventies the moment for the film artist or auteur. If you are already familiar with early seventies cinema and have seen Easy Rider, Bonnie and Clyde and Badlands plenty of times then what you need is a graduate seminar on one particular area of cinema (Marty Scorcese's MY VOYAGE TO ITALY for instance is an excellent overview of Italian cinema and Italian cinema's influence on the American independents).

Both EASY RIDERS & RAGING BULLS and that other documentary on seventies cinema A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE came out at about the same time and both really cover the same ground. Film students and film buffs will already be familiar with the story of what happened to the studio system in the late sixties and just why film students like Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg and Scorcese were allowed to make the kinds of gritty realist films that they wanted to make. Both of these documentaries are good solid introductions to early seventies independent cinema but neither will be enough to satisfy the film connoisseur.

The reason these overview documentaries are unsatisfying is because they deal only in generalities and they do not have time to explore what drove each independent artist to make the films they made and so the documentaries just feel like yearbooks of the directors and stars waxing about their youth which was a time when the artist reigned supreme. It was no doubt a heady time when experiment was encouraged (by a few prescient and opportunistic producers who knew Hollywood needed new formulas for bringing young people to the theatres and who also knew that these young filmmakers just might hold the key to those new formulas). This was a generation brought up on foreign films and they were taught to believe that film could be art. A lot of them made some art but also a lot of them made a lot of money as well. The heyday of independence lasted only about seven or eight years (roughly 1967-1975) and it ended once the studios realized that the big money was in marketing the cr*p out of a new kind of blockbuster (Jaws, Star Wars, Alien)that appealed to the widest demographic possible. The other reason the era of the independents waned was because some of the independent film makers began spending vast amounts of cash on outrageous projects (Apocaplypse Now, Heaven's Gate)that didn't translate into box office sales. So there were those who blamed Spielberg and Lucas for their successes in crafting a new kind of formula picture that still dominates the industry today; and there were those who blamed the end of the era on Coppola's and Cimono's excesses. But this is a story that many are already very familiar with.

The kind of documentary I would like to see is one that explores the lesser celebrated genres (horror, sci fi, exploitation, avant-garde cinema) and the lesser celeberated directors like Donald Cammell and Joseph Losey and Nic Roeg (as well as some of the stranger foreign influences on American & English directors of the seventies). This documentary is fine for those who are not yet tired of Coppola and Altman and Scorcese and the other oft celebrated bright lights of seventies cinema who will all no doubt get lifetime achievement awards. But a really good documentary tries to break new ground not just reiterate what is already common knowledge. One way to do this might have been to interview young directors and ask them about their influences and maybe even interview a group of young directors along with some of the older directors and get some interesting conversations going about where cinema has been and where its going.

As it is this documentary like A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE is just a popular history. The names of the directors represented here and the list of films will surprise no one. A worthy introduction for beginners but not a very daring or groundbreaking take on a fascinating fistful of years in film history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive doco about that scene at that time., November 9, 2012
By 
Kristopher Wright (Central Coast, NSW, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
If you loved the book, you'll like the movie. The extra disk of interviews is worth buying this for. Excellent purchase.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Bullish Journey Through Movie History, October 18, 2011
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This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (DVD)
This doc leads to a really enjoyable, entertaining and informative evening. You get a really clear look between the lines as to what was going on during this renaissance of the movie business. Great memories of great nights at the flix.
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Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Kenneth Bowser (DVD - 2004)
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