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The Wild One

158 customer reviews

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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!

Amazon.com

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


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Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Teal, Peggy Maley, Hugh Sanders, Jay C Flippen, Robert Keith
  • Directors: Laslo Benedek
  • 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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767818172
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,807 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wild One" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tom Benton on August 9, 2006
Format: 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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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Felix The CAT on 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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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By gjn on December 16, 2000
Format: 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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47 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 8, 2004
Format: 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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kenney on 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By cvairag VINE VOICE on August 26, 2006
Format: 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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