Easy Riders, Raging Bulls : How the Sex-drugs-and Rock 'n' Roll Generation Changed Hollywood, Paperback

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls : How the Sex-drugs-and Rock 'n' Roll Generation Changed Hollywood Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Based on hundreds of interviews with directors such as Coppola, Scorsese, Hopper and Spielberg, as well as producers, stars, studio executives, writers, spouses, ex-spouses, and girlfriends, this is the story of the crazy world that the directors ruled.




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Though the subheading of the book is 'How the Sex n drugs n Rock n Roll Generation Saved Hollywood' it may have more accurately been titled 'How the Sex n Drugs n Rock n Roll Generation Saved Hollywood Before Imploding". The author, in chronicling the tales of the new generation of film-makers that wanted to be 'auteurs' and successfully challenged the studio system in the early 70s, also weaves a cautionary tale of how within success can lie the seeds of one's own undoing. Here we see the scrambling for success and recognition while desperately trying to retain some sort of integrity to one's vision. We also see meglomanical egos clashing, fuelled by sex and drugs and money.This is an gripping, if sometimes depressing look at the turmoil within Hollywood, and the lives of some of the most spectacular directors of the 70s. Its focus is firmly on the lives, relationships, deals, and habits of the film-makers of the era, so while it provides fascinating insights into what was happening on the sets of the films (including M.A.S.H., Jaws, Apocalypse Now, the Exorcist, Chinatown, the French Connection and many others that were spectacular failures) it spends less time analysing the movies themselves. This is a book about the making of movies, rather than movies, and an insightful and startling book it is.

Review by

If you're hoping for some insight into the creative decision making behind your favourite films, this is not the book for you. Easy Riders Raging Bulls is a squalid journey into the private lives of the great film directors of the 70s. It's more concerned with cataloguing the drugs, the damaged lifestyles and the back room business decisions than anything to do with the creative process. The exhaustive parade of bad behaviour can grow tiresome as you try to keep track of all the players and their mistresses. It also turns out that everyone in Hollywood speaks the same grubby language. This too can become a chore to read. Biskind has an unhelpful habit of absorbing the obscenities into his commentary, so we are given phrases like "Spielberg knew he was f*cked". This style of reporting brings the tone down further than it needs to be, adding to the impression that what you thought was a well researched cultural history is actually just a gossip column. (I've quoted the above sentence from memory, it might have been Lucas or Scorsese not Spielberg.) But it is a cultural history and the book is not without its insights. A fascinating read, if you're up for being disillusioned by your heroes. Enlightening, demoralising and ultimately a bit of a downer which reveals how most of the successful people in Hollywood are in fact pretty miserable.

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