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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 46 years later...
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...
Published on December 16, 2000 by gjn

versus
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so wild over 50 years later, but worth seeing anyway
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...
Published on August 9, 2006 by Tom Benton


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 46 years later..., December 16, 2000
This review is from: The Wild One (DVD)
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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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB !!! RIVITING 50'S BIKER FILM !!!, June 23, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Wild One (DVD)
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so wild over 50 years later, but worth seeing anyway, August 9, 2006
By 
Tom Benton (North Springfield, VT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wild One (DVD)
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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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
This review is from: The Wild One (DVD)
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.
Mary Murphy, who in my opinion really steals the show, is at the very center of the drama and the psychology (not to mention that she looks downright yummy in her cashmere sweater and close fitting skirt). She plays Kathie Bleeker, a small town girl whose heart yearns for something--anything--to break the tedium. Along comes Johnny to sweep her off her feet. Only he isn't sure how. Furthermore, she has a problem: although she falls in love with the wild one, she sees right through him. The scene that makes the movie begins with her jumping onto the back of his motorcycle (of course) and, after roaring down the night highway, they retire to what looks like a park. She is about a breath away from what used to be called swooning, but despite her fluttering heart, she sets him straight on who he is and how she feels and why. It's like a woman talking to a wild boy. Then she falls to the ground and just about caresses his motorcycle. It really hits home because she sees through all his pretense and exposes his vulnerability, but is vulnerable herself.
Lee Marvin plays the rival gang leader with a lot of showmanship and Robert Keith plays the ineffectual father. Just about everybody else (including longtime LA sports anchor, Gil Stratton) amounts to an extra.
See this for a glimpse at mid-century psychology as seen through the eyes of Hollywood's seduction machine, and especially for Mary Murphy (running in those heels) who, for whatever reason, never became a star.
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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
By 
Peter Kenney (Birmingham, Alabama, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wild One [VHS] (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 "Birdie" (Henderson, Nevada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wild One (DVD)
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. made a statement saying that 99% of motorcyclist are law abiding citizens, the Hells Angels claim that they are the remaining 1 percenters.

But, when you ride a bike it is the most exciting thing you can put between your legs and you get the feeling of total freedom and it's pure fun.

With all its flaws, this film will appeal to you if you love bikes and besides that you get to see the start of biker clothing---the leather jacket.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute Bikes and Cute Kids in 1950's Inland California, August 26, 2006
By 
cvairag (Allan Hancock College) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Wild One (DVD)
Contrary to what is seen in the "clips", the film does contain
The Best Line in Film.

The old guy asks Brando "Where are you kids going, anyway?"

Brando: "You don't go anywhere, dad. You just go."

A lot of the film may appear quaint in a world where images of extreme violence, and unchecked self-interest are pervasive - I haven't seen it in well, something like 40 years. I remember it as being a bit dated even in the 60's. But, as a social document, I have a hard time believing that the gulf between what one reviewer here calls "the cast of the Blob" (a good and probably literally accurate ascription) or "Middle America" (as in What's Wrong with Kansas? or Schwarzeneggerville? - Hollister, CA, et al.) and those who seek the "open road", beats, bikers, and other souls who are able to recognize the source human freedom, is any closer to being bridged than it was back in those good ol' days, when we were more innocent and no less benighted.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Wild One" introduces the motorcycle as the symbol of youth rebellion..., January 16, 2007
This review is from: The Wild One (DVD)
The 1950's was a period of review and questioning, as a new postwar generation sensed that much was wrong but could not grasp what it was nor offer any solution... It was, in fact, a generation with a sensitive exposed nerve that gave constant pain...

Marlon Brando, a young 'Method' actor (the "Method' was itself a manifestation of the times) began his film career with 'The Men' (1950) and continued with 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1951), 'Viva Zapata' (1952) and 'Julius Caesar' (1953), all roles concerned with rebellion... Then, in 1953, he made 'The Wild One' and his rebel image crystallized...

Brando plays Johnny, leader of a motorcycle gang calling itself the Black Rebels, which terrorizes Wrightsville, a little American town...

The gang members release their frustrated emotions by racing, overturning a car, and by vicariously participating in a savage fight between Johnny and Chino (Lee Marvin), formerly a part of Johnny's gang but now a rival club...

Violence escalates when the town forms a vigilante committee, and inevitably there is an accidental killing... Johnny is saved from wrongful arrest by Kathie (Mary Murphy), a local girl who, in spite of herself, falls in love with him, as he does with her... She senses beneath his cruel exterior an innate gentleness, and is attracted by his sexuality, an element that was increasingly to become a factor in the evolution of the rebel hero...

Johnny and the gang finally leave town and life returns to normal, but many questions that the film poses were left unanswered...

Brooding, and compulsive, the film created a noisy tumult partly because it failed to show 'why' youths were this way, ending up, in the words of one critics "violent for violence's sake." However it is an important film... It reflected the problems of the period and it marked a step in the progress of the rebel hero... It also introduced the motorcycle as the symbol of youth rebellion foretelling such films as 'Wild Angels' (1966) and 'Easy Rider' (1969).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic Hollywood biker film, December 4, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Wild One [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin depict bikers as only Hollywood can in a film inspired by actual events that took place in a town called Hollister during the late '40s. The movie along with the rebel biker image was sparked by a Time magazine cover showing a drunken shirtless biker lounging on his Harley-Davidson with a beer in both hands. It was a bit of bad press, reading something like the "downfall of society" or "outlaw bikers take over town" that originated the rebel H-D image and gave Hollywood the inspiration to create this timeless cult classic.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I've had it with this jive, Daddy-O; I don't know where I'm going, I just GO, November 13, 2006
By 
Wuchak (Eastern USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wild One (DVD)
Marlon Brando's "The Wild One" from 1953 (black & white) could arguably be called the first biker flick, even though parts of the story/dialogue come off artificial, amusing and tame, especially compared to the first REAL biker flick, Peter Fonda's "The Wild Angels" from 1966.

THE STORY: Two bike gangs clash in Hollister, California, Marlon Brando's Black Rebels and Lee Marvin's The Beetles. (I'm not sure if Hollister is the name of the town in the film, but that's where it was actually shot; Hollister is about 70 miles SE of San Francisco).

WHAT WORKS: Needless to say, Marlon Brando is superb as the taciturn Black Rebels' leader. At the opposite end of the dispositional spectrum Lee Marvin is just as exquisite as the merry, fun-brawling leader of The Beetles. Mary Murphy is also very good as the cafe worker that shares a few romantic sparks with Brando.

Brando was 30 years old at the time of this picture's release, so it's not very appropriate that he's constantly referred to as "boy" in the film. Regardless, Marlon as the titular 'wild one' is definitely the prototype of Fonzy-like "cool," a full 2 years before James Dean's "Rebel Without a Cause" would materialize. His "Whaddaya got?" response to the question "What are you rebelling against?" is priceless, to say the least.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Although the plot is good (loosely based on a real event), the story's dramatic stagings and shifts, not to mention the trying-to-be-hip non-genuine lingo, provoke an amused "Yeah, right" response. Such phoniness will naturally hinder modern viewers from becoming enraptured by the story ("modern viewer" includes anyone who grew up on post-50s cinema -- i.e. mid-60s to the present).

Still, a couple of story elements work well, like the ending [minor SPOILER alert] when a police officer encourages Brando to thank Mary and her father; Marlon appears to try but ultimately maintains his silent 'cool' demeanor. Mary then responds, "It's okay, he doesn't know how." Although she's right, Brando comes back a day or so later to indeed express his thanks, albeit in a non-verbal manner.

BOTTOM LINE: If you're looking for a classic biker flick, don't expect "The Wild One" to remotely resemble the infamous late 60's/early 70's biker films, such as "The Wild Angels" or "Hell's Angels on Wheels." Keep in mind that cinematic "gritty realism" didn't come into vogue until the 60s. Hence, it should come as no surprise that "The Wild One" largely comes off as lame, tame, artificial and amusing, you know what I'm saying, Daddy-O? Still, Marlon Brando towers over the material and there are a few worthwhile qualities, as noted above. Needless to say, a must for Brando fans and those interested in classic cinema or amusing old-fashioned dialogue.
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The Wild One
The Wild One by Laslo Benedek (DVD - 1998)
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