The Wild One (1953)
The Wild One was the first movie to depict youth biker culture and in that respect an important document for one of the first generations of frustrated youths. The story, loosely based on a real-life account from Hollister, California from 1947, is at the same time both harrowing and charming, but the film is overly callous and pessimistic; like the political paranoia thrillers of the 70s, this film seems petrified at what it tries to depict. And although Marlon Brando's smug, tormented and moody presence is mesmerizing, his performance isn't among his deepest or most expressive. He's too distant, just like the rest of the film. The Wild One got legendary status because it approved how many youngsters felt, but arguably they identified with the characters rather than the situations. The spontaneity and rawness the film brings with its Black Rebels Motorcycle Club in the opening half by far outdoes the somewhat staged drama of the closing half. Banned in numerous countries in the years after its release.