The American 1960s was a decade typified by countless cultural and economic exertions, the invasion of rock and roll, the intemperance of love and ecstasy, and the embracement of the hippie counterculture. The hippie counterculture was a statement against the dominant cultural paradigm of the 60s and 70s. The subculture embraced freedom, love, and drugs and revolted against establishment and societal normality. It was a way of life â€œbased not on exploitation but on love, not on violence but on peace, not on restraints but on freedomâ€? (Costello 187).
The film Easy Rider accurately portrays many of the aspects and values of the hippie counterculture. It is the story of two bikers, Wyatt and Billy, who partake in a drug infused journey across America looking for answers to lifeâ€™s questions. While on their journey, the bikers encounter prejudice and hostility from individuals who â€˜fear and loatheâ€™ their revolt against societal normality, but also encounter individuals who are living an unconventional lifestyle and rebelling against prejudice, violence, racism, etc.
Easy Rider juxtaposes normality with unconventionality through the encounters of Wyatt and Billy. Wyatt and Billy embrace the hippie culture by taking drugs (LSD), listening to rock and roll, and having no regard for societal norms like time and money. They are depicted as martyrs to the hippie cause, being abused, arrested and finally shot.