Easy Riders, Raging Bulls – Peter Biskind

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls coverC bought me Easy Riders, Raging Bulls for Christmas, I think, back in 2004.

Even though I’m a pretty big film fan, I’d never heard of this book, but I sure am glad I have now.

Written by film journalist Peter Biskind it charts how film-making totally changed during the late 60s and 70s and, effectively, stopped Hollywood from turning into a mere sideshow.

Biskind manages to get interviews with many, if not all, the main players of the time and weave them effectively into the narration of the book, ensuring that hardly a page goes by without another juicy piece of Hollywood tittle-tattle being revealed.

You may think that the movies of the 70s mean nothing to you – if you have no opinion about Jaws, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver or Star Wars then that may be true. I beg to differ.

This book charts the rise of now veteran directors such as Scorsese, Coppola, Spielberg, Lucas and Friedkin and also flags up less well-remembered auteurs such as Hal Ashby and films like Harold And Maude or The Last Picture Show.

Throw into the mix the excesses of the studio moguls, with sex and drugs rife in the upper echelons of the industry, and you have a potent mix that will have you rushing straight to your local online store to either buy or rent some of the movies talked about.

Biskind has also written two other books about other eras in the movie industry, neither of which are quite as imperious or compelling: Down & Dirty Pictures (90s) and Seeing Is Believing (50s).

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