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The Wild One (1954)

Marlon Brando , Mary Murphy , Laslo Benedek  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Robert Keith, Lee Marvin, Jay C. Flippen
  • Directors: Laslo Benedek
  • Writers: Ben Maddow, Frank Rooney, John Paxton
  • Producers: Stanley Kramer
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Columbia Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 1998
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767818172
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,708 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wild One" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An angry young Marlon Brando scorches the screen as THE WILD ONE in this powerful '50s cult classic. Brando plays Johnny, the leader of a vicious biker gang which invades a small, sleepy California town. What's Johnny rebelling against? What have you got? - he sneers. The leather-jacketed young biker seems hell-bent for destruction until he falls for Kathie (Mary Murphy), a good girl whose father(Robert Keith) happens to be a cop. Unfortunately for Johnny, his one shot at redemption is threatened by a psychotic rival, Chino (Lee Marvin), plus the hostility and prejudice of the townspeople. All their smoldering passions explode in an electrifying climax!

The Wild One (1953) was directed by Laslo Benedek and based on Frank Rooney's chilling short story "Cyclists' Raid" about a motorcycle gang taking over a small town. Props to Marlon Brando, by then an annual Oscar nominee, for agreeing to re-team with producer Stanley Kramer (who had produced the actor's debut film, The Men) on what is essentially a 79-minute B movie. His reward was to become the premier icon of 1950s rebellion, pioneering the way James Dean, Elvis Presley, and others would follow. The Wild One also introduced biker hipster patter to movie audiences and defined biker fashion for decades to come. So the movie is a cultural milestone--but hardly a cinematic one: it rarely escapes feeling schematic and overcautious in its fear of alienating the public on one hand and glorifying violence on the other. Lee Marvin injects a welcome shot of battery acid as the leader of a rival biker gang, and veteran cinematographer Hal Mohr does yeoman work on dull sets. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 46 years later... December 16, 2000
By gjn
I look at this film today through very different eyes than when I first saw it as a high-schooler in '54.
Of course a lot of it seems hokey now, and with good reason: the world is a far less innocent place than it was in those bucolic, Eisenhower, pre-R&R days.
But when it first came out, it was Hot Stuff. Bad guys, noisy bikes, beer-drinking, and girls in tight sweaters were a big deal to us then.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB !!! RIVITING 50'S BIKER FILM !!! June 23, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I strongly disagree with the previous negative reviews of "The Wild One".

I suppose if films were made during the pre-Victorian era, we would have reviews bashing them because most (any?) of the current reviewers did not live during those times and are unlikely to understand the dialog from those times!!!

I do agree the dialog will seem a bit "corny" when viewed in 2007, however
having lived through the 1950's, "Hipsters" or "Beatniks" were some of the only "cool" people around and they DID speak this way!

Please don't confuse this film with the actual "corny" "B" sci-fi junk films released in the 50"s

This film is the definitive landmark biker film of the 1950's era.
As high tech as possible using 50's tech.

Superb costumes, music, acting, dialog, editing!! Supreme crisp black & white filming!!

If you are a collector of biker/cult films, as I am, you collection IS NOT complete WITHOUT this movie!!!
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42 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's really just a pussy cat February 8, 2004
The "bikers" are like Broadway show extras. The dialogue is embarrassingly unauthentic. Believe me, nobody outside of 42nd Street ever talked like that, daddy-o. The story plays out like some kind of "B" Western with a horse shortage. The "town" even looks like a Western set made over for what somebody in Hollywood thought might be a new genre. There's a café and a saloon rolled into one and a gal working there to catch the eye, and a town posse and a jail and a sheriff (father of the gal) and some "decent citizens" turning into vigilantes, and instead of outlaws we have "hooligans." The bikers do everything but tie their bikes up to the hitching post after roaring into town as though to take over.
Okay, that's one level. On another level this should be compared to Rebel without a Cause (1955) as a mid-century testament to teen angst. Or to Blackboard Jungle (1955) with the fake juvenile delinquency and the phony slang. Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler, whose claim to fame (aside from being the leader of the pack) is that he stole a second-place biker trophy, stars in a role that helped to launch his career, not that his acting in this film was so great. (He was better in half a dozen other roles, for example., as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire 1951, or as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront 1954). What stands out here is his tough-guy vulnerability with women: the irresistible little boy playing big. In one sense, this is, despite all the men running around and the macho delirium, something very close to ladies night out. It's a period piece love story, as delicate as a teenager's heart.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
THE WILD ONE, though a cult classic, has never really been revered as a great film. Its cult status and respect among movie buffs is due to its influence on pop culture following the film. Marlon Brando and his team of bikers made leather jackets, jeans, and motorbikes the trademarks of rebellion, and because of that, the film is worth seeing. Influence aside, THE WILD ONE isn't such a great film. It hasn't aged well at all. Brando is still cool, however; Johnny Strabler may not be one of his very finest performances, but it's one of his most popular. The best part of the cast is Lee Marvin as the over-the-top leader of a rival motorbike gang calling themselves The Beetles (!). The script is filled with "jive" that now seems laughably silly, but it does contain a classic bit of dialogue, in which a woman asks Johnny Strabler what he's rebelling against. "Whaddya got?" Johnny asks. THE WILD ONE isn't any masterpiece, but it's an influential cult classic that's worth seeing if only for that reason.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lee Marvin Puts His Career In Gear March 17, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
The plot of THE WILD ONE gets its inspirstion from a true episode involving a gang of cyclists who terrorize a town in California. The story seems so dated that it is laughable but the movie still remains a classic for its time and genre.
The film is most memorable for its glimpses of the early work in cinema of both Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin. Brando plays the leader of the gang in question. Marvin appears later in the role of the head of a rival gang. Marvin's performance reminds me of Jack Palance's part in SHANE which was also released in 1953. These roles are similar in terms of the impact each had on the careers of the two actors.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Whatta ya got?" May 27, 2008
By Geri
This movie made in 1954 starring Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin was the first of the "biker" movies.

The film loosely depicts the 1947 biker melee that really happened and virtually destroyed the northern California town of Hollister. The script was a little weak for me.

Marlon Brando stars as Johnny, the leader of a biker gang (the Black Rebels) that invades a small town, Wrightsville.

The movie begins where the gang takes a road trip and crashes a motorcycle race and push race officials around. They are eventually thrown out but one of them ends up stealing the first prize trophy and gives it to Johnny, who straps it to his bike like a hood ornament. The gang then rides into Wrightsville where they cruise up and down the main street and end up going to the local bar. The owner of the bar is happy to let the bikers spend their money and does nothing to break up any fights. Johnny likes the girl who works there, but she is the sheriff's daughter but he still tries to impress her with the trophy. Then a rival gang rides into town, headed by Chino (Lee Marvin) and the havoc begins.

The movie's language is severely dated, but I wasn't around then, so I imagine that's how some of the younger people spoke. The movie has a great quote though. When one person asked Johnny (Brando) what he was rebelling about he replied, "Whatta ya got".

This film also was believed to inspire Sonny Barger the undisputed leader of the Hells Angels.

While I'm an avid motorcyclist, I don't condone being in a "biker" gang and I'm not a member of the "1 percenters", so to see bikers destroy a town wasn't entertainment to me especially when there was no motive. The head of the American Motorcycle Assoc.
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