Easy Riders Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock 'N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Apr 4, 1999 - Performing Arts - 506 pages
50 Reviews
In 1969, a low-budget biker movie, Easy Rider, shocked Hollywood with its stunning success. An unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (onscreen and off), Easy Rider heralded a heady decade in which a rebellious wave of talented young filmmakers invigorated the movie industry. In Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind takes us on the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s, an era that produced such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Shampoo, Nashville, Taxi Driver, and Jaws.

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls vividly chronicles the exuberance and excess of the times: the startling success of Easy Rider and the equally alarming circumstances under which it was made, with drugs, booze, and violent rivalry between costars Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda dominating the set; how a small production company named BBS became the guiding spirit of the youth rebellion in Hollywood and how, along the way, some of its executives helped smuggle Huey Newton out of the country; how director Hal Ashby was busted for drugs and thrown in jail in Toronto; why Martin Scorsese attended the Academy Awards with an FBI escort when Taxi Driver was nominated; how George Lucas, gripped by anxiety, compulsively cut off his own hair while writing Star Wars, how a modest house on Nicholas Beach occupied by actresses Margot Kidder and Jennifer Salt became the unofficial headquarters for the New Hollywood; how Billy Friedkin tried to humiliate Paramount boss Barry Diller; and how screenwriter/director Paul Schrader played Russian roulette in his hot tub. It was a time when an "anything goes" experimentation prevailed both on the screen and off.

After the success of Easy Rider, young film-school graduates suddenly found themselves in demand, and directors such as Francis Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, George Lucas, and Martin Scorsese became powerful figures. Even the new generation of film stars -- Nicholson, De Niro, Hoffman, Pacino, and Dunaway -- seemed a breed apart from the traditional Hollywood actors. Ironically, the renaissance would come to an end with Jaws and Star Wars, hugely successful films that would create a blockbuster mentality and crush innovation.

Based on hundreds of interviews with the directors themselves, producers, stars, agents, writers, studio executives, spouses, and ex-spouses, this is the full, candid story of Hollywood's last golden age. Never before have so many celebrities talked so frankly about one another and about the drugs, sex, and money that made so many of them crash and burn.

By turns hilarious and shocking, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is the ultimate behind-the-scenes account of Hollywood at work and play.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

User Review  - Carol Storm - Goodreads

Best book I have ever read on movies and the movie business! (I make one exception, an old out of print book called FROM SCARFACE TO SCARLETT, Hollywood Films in The Thirties, which is similar in ... Read full review

Review: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

User Review  - Goodreads

Best book I have ever read on movies and the movie business! (I make one exception, an old out of print book called FROM SCARFACE TO SCARLETT, Hollywood Films in The Thirties, which is similar in ... Read full review


Knockin on Heavens Door
Before the Revolution
Who Made Us Right?
Exile on Main Street
The Moviegoer
The Man Who Would Be King
Like a Rolling Stone
Sympathy for the Devil
Citizen Cain
Star Bucks
Coming Apart
The Eve of Destruction
We Blew It
Cast of Characters
Selected Filmography of Directors 19671982

The Gospel According to St Martin
The Revenge of the Nerd
Photo Credits

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1999)

Peter Biskind is the former executive editor of Premiere and former editor in chief of American Film. He is the author of two previous books, Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties and The Godfather Companion. His work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information