Great Moments In Film – The Wild One (1953)
A short clip compared to most featured on here, but few encapsulate a character so quickly. As I’ve stated on this blog before, we look back on the 1950s with this nostalgia that might not be warranted. We think that the Great War was fought and won, people were happy: they moved into the suburbs, had kids, lived the dream. However, there were movies that were released at the time that seem to suggest something different (not to mention the birth of rock and roll). There’s a great amount of teen angst found in the ’50s with such films as A Rebel Without a Cause, Blackboard Jungle, and, of course, The Wild One.
The Wild One is about a motorcycle gang, led by Johnny (Marlon Brando), who ride into town and take it over for the weekend. Things get dicey as a rival gang, led by Lee Marvin’s Chino, also roll into town. To me, the real story is found in Johnny himself. We see in this clip that it doesn’t matter what you stand for, he’ll be rebelling against it. Others in the scene laugh it off, but he’s dead serious. The power of four words; four words that can completely define a character.
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