Wild Angels

The Wild Angels

Director: Roger Corman

Cast: Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern

     
 

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This biker gang exploitation picture from director Roger Corman and co-writer and editor Peter Bogdanovich earned critical respect in Europe for its gritty documentary style. Peter Fonda stars as Heavenly Blues, the leader of a wild, roving band of leather-clad bikers. When his best friend Loser (Bruce Dern) is injured in the midst of an attempt to steal a police…  See more details below

Overview

This biker gang exploitation picture from director Roger Corman and co-writer and editor Peter Bogdanovich earned critical respect in Europe for its gritty documentary style. Peter Fonda stars as Heavenly Blues, the leader of a wild, roving band of leather-clad bikers. When his best friend Loser (Bruce Dern) is injured in the midst of an attempt to steal a police motorcycle, the boys kidnap their debilitated buddy from the hospital, raping a black nurse and trashing the place in the process. Blues and his friends believe they've set Loser free, but he dies not long after the escape. Staging a funeral and drunken orgy in a small town church, the gang flees is set upon by the enraged locals, leaving Blues alone to face the law. Nancy Sinatra and a then-pregnant Diane Ladd co-star; a number of real-life Hell's Angels were hired to appear in scenes, adding authenticity to the picture.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
Though not the first film to feature outlaw motorcycle gangs -- The Wild Ones claims that title -- director Roger Corman's 1966 low-budget landmark certainly revved up the genre with this unflinching, born-to-be-wild look at bikers. Cool-headed Peter Fonda stars as the charismatic, if not nihilistic, gang leader Heavenly Blues, who always rides the roads with his fetching costar, Nancy Sinatra -- a calculated casting move by the ever-shrewd Corman, who hoped to lure audiences with a marquee bearing such illustrious family names. Blues leads his gang on a trip to recover a stolen bike belonging to his loose cannon buddy, the Loser, played by Bruce Dern. But when the Loser is brought down by the law, the adventure turns existential, climaxing in a funeral that proves cathartic for Blues as well as for Gaysh, the Loser's loyal, long-suffering girl (played to a tee by Diane Ladd), and the rest of the Angels. Masterfully edited by maverick Monte Hellman, The Wild Angels continues to shock audiences with its unapologetically decadent (but never graphic) portrayal of Hells Angels life -- almost every scene results in sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, or, ideally, a party involving all three. No doubt America's shifting moral climate aided in the film's commercial success, which inevitably spawned a slew of cheap imitations -- many starring notables such as Russ Tamblyn, John Cassavetes, Jack Nicholson, and Casey Kasem. None ever topped the rebellious spirit of The Wild Angels, but they all helped clear the highway for Fonda's most memorable vehicle, 1969's Easy Rider. That disaffected road revolution, directed by Dennis Hopper, doesn't wear a biker flick's typical leathers, but its genesis owes so much to Corman's cool ride.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Roger Corman didn't invent the biker movie (The Wild One blazed the trail in 1954), but, with The Wild Angels, he gave it a new lease on life. Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra stand out like sore thumbs among the real-life Hell's Angels hired to give the film its grubby atmosphere, but Fonda's studied cool nicely contrasts with the aggressive surliness of the rest of the male cast -- and enough rock bands have sampled Fonda's "We wanna be free to ride our bikes and not get hassled by the man!" speech to turn it into a classic moment in sleaze-movie history. The film's beer-swilling, pot-smoking, and unfocused brawling may have become screen clichés in record time, but they were newer and more shocking in 1966, and the film's rough, unpolished visual style gives it a ring of truth missing from most of the films that followed in its wake. Add Davie Allen and the Arrows's classic theme song, which sent a generation of garage rockers scurrying for fuzz boxes, and you get perhaps the definitive 1960s biker flick. The film also offers the curiosity factor of knowing that Diane Ladd was pregnant with Laura Dern during filming.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/17/2015
UPC:
0887090090308
Original Release:
1966
Rating:
R
Source:
Olive Films
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
19,992

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter Fonda Heavenly Blues
Nancy Sinatra Mike
Bruce Dern Loser Josey Kerns
Diane Ladd Gaysh
Lou Procopio Joint
Coby Denton Bull Puckey
Michael J. Pollard Pigmy
Marc Cavell Frankenstein
Gayle Hunnicutt Suzie
Buck Taylor Dear John
Norman Alden Medic
Joan Shawlee Mama Monohan
Art Baker Thomas
Frank Maxwell Preacher
Kim Hamilton Nurse
Peter Bogdanovich Actor
Frank Gerstle Hospital Policeman
Dick Miller Actor

Technical Credits
Roger Corman Director,Producer
Mike Curb Score Composer
Leon Ericksen Art Director
Charles B. Griffith Screenwriter
Monte Hellman Editor
Richard Moore Cinematographer
Jack Obringer Makeup

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Wild Angels
1. Chapter 1 [12:40]
2. Chapter 2 [7:51]
3. Chapter 3 [8:40]
4. Chapter 4 [11:58]
5. Chapter 5 [13:28]
6. Chapter 6 [7:43]
7. Chapter 7 [4:19]
8. Chapter 8 [12:01]
9. Chapter 9 [8:00]

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