This is regarding the 1969 classic Easy Rider. I found the ending was abrupt and very quick. Although throughout the movie it has been shown how society dislikes and avoids hippies like Wyatt and Billy, the end seemed unusual. Wasn't the shooting of both riders by some random truck drivers, a bit of a stretch? And that too when there was hardly any confrontation/conversation. Did they end Easy Rider abruptly or is there any subliminal message here?

  • 1
    Do you mean metaphorical message (vs. subliminal)?
    – DA.
    Jul 30, 2015 at 3:44
  • Sorry not tending to point to any specific term. Just want to know the meaning and analysis of the ending scene.
    – Ankit
    Jul 30, 2015 at 5:29

2 Answers 2


It all comes full circle. At the begining Wyatt destroys his watch in pursuit of freedom as time only serves to constrain them. Throughout the journey they come across lots of people and ideas such as the hiker and his village he lives in, which is were Wyatt learns about himself and freedom. They enter the south and if you notice characters and ideas change completely, one being how in the south at that time they were not big on freedom and acceptance as people were earlier in their journey. This change is big when you see the lawyer get killed, showing that in the south they will do whatever they want to someone who is different.

At the end as you know they are killed by 2 random truckers; Billy first, making him a martyr. Wyatt is killed after this, learning earlier when he says "WE BLEW IT" saying that they missed there chance for happiness and true freedom. He realizes that death is the only way to truly be free and turns around and heads down the road to die.


This movie is about the capitalist ethic in America, analogous to capitalism being some sort of delusional, "spaced-out" road trip high. The very feeble and fragile looking machines they ride (the American dream) symbolize the war machine: American aggression and expansion having to turn back and not getting farther than the western shore, namely the Vietnam era (1960's) was a loss. We are at the end of the road for American freedom, and other nations are supposedly now on the move. The death scene at the end is symbolic of America turning inwards, into itself, losing hopes and dreams of further expansionism, and now turning inwards, America left to the ravages of bigotry, hate, and futile endeavors (and some strict German-looking guys in a pick-up truck...just a bunch of good ole boys from down south). America finds death awaits it: knowing Hollywood as we know Hollywood, the script was likely written by pessimists with foreign accents while drinking wine at a patio café on the Rhine River, because it portrays a negative image of American expansionist endeavor.

  • I mean to say, America cannot turn back, is what I am talking about... death awaits, is the message! Except to add that the two protagonists are children of the sixties drug age, just like and symbolic of, America turning inwards under Trump and Hillary?
    – John
    May 25, 2016 at 16:41
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    "Foreign accents" like those in Texas, Kansas, and New York. It was written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern. The movie is open to interpretation, but the facts are not.
    – Yorik
    May 25, 2016 at 16:57
  • But your comment is well put and taken in stride, and you might be correct... it comes down to whether or not Henry Fonda preferred to speak German or English, and is actually bilingual, and that has always been debatable, even in the 1940s for some reason...don't ask me why... it was speculation.
    – John
    May 25, 2016 at 17:40

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