The Wild One

Overview

"What are you rebelling against?" asks someone. "What've you got?" responds surly, leather-jacketed motorcycle punk Marlon Brando. It comes as a disappointment to discover that The Wild One, the quintessential Brando "rebel" film, is at base a traditional "misunderstood youth vs. the nasty system" effort, with a particularly banal finale. Based on a true incident, the film begins with Brando and his motorcyle gang invading a small town after having been kicked out of a cycle competition but not before stealing ...
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Overview

"What are you rebelling against?" asks someone. "What've you got?" responds surly, leather-jacketed motorcycle punk Marlon Brando. It comes as a disappointment to discover that The Wild One, the quintessential Brando "rebel" film, is at base a traditional "misunderstood youth vs. the nasty system" effort, with a particularly banal finale. Based on a true incident, the film begins with Brando and his motorcyle gang invading a small town after having been kicked out of a cycle competition but not before stealing the second-prize trophy. Brando's bikers raise hell all day, but some of the townsfolk are shown to be little better than the invaders. Sheriff Robert Keith, whose daughter Murphy has gone fond of Brando, finally responds to the bikers' destructiveness by jailing Lee Marvin, leader of a rival gang. When Marvin's buddies goes on a rampage, Brando exhibits his essential decency by safely escorting the sheriff's daughter out of the melee. The townsfolk misunderstand, assuming that Brando intends to rape the girl. He is attacked by a vigilante mob led by town hothead Ray Teal, who uses this excuse to exercise his own sadistic tendencies. Keith breaks up the mob and suggests that Brando leave; he tries to do so, but another angry response from the mob causes him to inadvertently strike and kill a pedestrian. At the subsequent hearing, the girl rushes to Brando's defense. Though grateful for the unexpected kindness, Brando is constitutionally unable to say "thank you" and rides out of town alone. The image of Marlon Brando astride his Triumph has entered movie folklore, just like King Kong on the Empire State Building or the billow-skirted Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grating; it's too bad that The Wild One isn't a more worthy vehicle for Brando's talents.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This classic youth rebellion movie was controversial not just for its permissive youth violence, but especially for its lack of a moral solution. Marlon Brando's image was long defined by his iconic role as a motorcycle gang leader. Directed by Laslo Benedek, the film is a cultural turning point, a mid-1950s harbinger of the generational and social unrest which would follow in the 1960s. Easy Rider, the emblematic film of the late 1960s counter-culture, was itself a derivative of The Wild One. As two gangs of hoods terrorize a quiet Midwestern U.S. town, the complacency of post-war, white-bread America is figuratively shattered, and nothing in American culture would ever be quite so placid again. As a film, The Wild One is a brooding soap opera that seems dated in retrospect, but its cinematic impact was slight compared to its cultural reverberations. Brando's stature as the bad boy of his era grew to immense proportions, and the film was banned in Britain for fourteen years (until 1968), as authorities feared that it would incite riots.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/17/2015
  • UPC: 683904632234
  • Original Release: 1954
  • Source: Mill Creek Ent
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 20,452

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marlon Brando Johnny
Mary Murphy Kathie
Robert Keith Harry Bleeker
Lee Marvin Chino
Jay C. Flippen Sheriff Singer
Peggy Maley Mildred
Hugh Sanders Charlie Thomas
Ray Teal Frank Bleeker
John Brown Bill Hannegan
Will Wright Art Kleiner
Robert Osterloh Ben
Robert Bice Wilson
William Vedder Simmy
Yvonne Doughty Britches
Darren Dublin Dinky
John Tarangelo Red
Jerry Paris Dextro
Alvy Moore Pidgeon
Harry Landers GoGo
Don Anderson Stinger
Angela Stevens Betty
Bruno Ve Sota Simmonck
Pat O'Malley Sawyer
Wally Albright Cyclist
Timothy Carey Chino Boy
Ted Cooper Racer
Eve March Dorothy
Mary Newton Mrs. Thomas
Gil Stratton Mouse
Technical Credits
Laslo Benedek Director
Al Clark Editor
George Cooper Sound/Sound Designer
Louis Diage Set Decoration/Design
Walter Holscher Art Director
Stanley Kramer Producer
Hal Mohr Cinematographer
John Paxton Screenwriter
Rudolph Sternad Production Designer
Leith Stevens Score Composer
Morris W. Stoloff Musical Direction/Supervision
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