Peter Fonda, the actor who played Wyatt riding a Captain America Harley chopper in the 1969 movie Easy Rider, has died at the age of 79.
The hippy film recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first screening.
It was shot on a shoestring budget in a haze of pot smoke and with a plot that was made up along the way by Fonda and fellow actor/director Dennis Hopper who died in 2013, aged 77.
Fonda’s screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award, the film was added to the USA’s National Film Registry in 1998 and it is listed as one of the top 100 American movies by the American Film Institute.
The veteran actor died yesterday of respiratory failure due to lung cancer at his Los Angeles home surrounded by his family.
He starred in many films including the cringe-worthy low-grade bikie movie, The Wild Angels in 1966.
It includes his line: “We want to be fee to ride our machines without being hassled by the man … and we want to get loaded.”
Fonda also made a cameo appearance in the 2007 Wild Hogs that lampoons Easy Rider.
The opening scene of Easy Rider features Peter in an iconic gesture of throwing away his watch.
The choppers then fire up and roar into the desert to the accompaniment of Born to be Wild. Truly a classsic cinematic moment that has stirred the hearts of riders this past half century!
It has also started a fad with riders and other travellers to discard their watches and disregard the constraints of time.
A watch is a symbol of “the man”, society and capitalism that constrain us.
Motorcycles are freedom machines that allow us to escape the rigours of timekeeping.
In a hilarious parody of the famous Easy Rider scene, John Travolta and his buddies throw away their mobile phones before a cross-country ride in Wild Hogs.
“You don’t need a GPS to discover America; you need a bike and you need the road, ok? Freedom,” says Travolta.
Fonda also rides into town to end the long fight scene.
His closing line is also a classic: “Oh, and guys… lose the watches.”
What is your favourite scene from Easy Rider? Leave your comments below.