Hell's Angels [1930]

Made in 1969 and 1970, respectively, these movies exemplify all that was good and bad about biker culture of that era. In Hell's Angels '69, two thrill seekers join the Hell's Angels with the plan to use them as cover for a daring robbery of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. The Losers is even more bizarre. Also called Nam's Angels, the film focuses on a group of bikers hired by the U.S. government to rescue a special agent in a Cambodian prison. The portrayal of the bikers is similar in both movies. They are hard-drinking people who love to get into fights, are loyal to each other, and hate cops/military police. Oh, and they're white supremacists. Both movies contain bikers wearing Nazi swastikas, and both movies have some racist banter used as throwaway lines. Despite that, the films are worth recommending as good examples of genre biker films. Hell's Angels '69 has some fascinating shots of Las Vegas before the Strip was fully engulfed in neon, and The Losers is just plain weird. Both movies are obviously influenced by Easy Rider, particularly with their endings, and capture a time in America when things were obviously not going right. --Andy Spletzer

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