It’s hard to believe that this film sparked so much controversy (it was officially banned in the U.K. for fourteen years) on its release: the outlaw bikers that invade a small California town exhibit a level of criminal behavior that now seems almost quaint. What’s much easier to understand is how a leather-clad young Marlon Brando and his motorcycle — a sexually charged image of youthful restlessness rebellion — became an enduring part of film history. Seriously, has any other American film actor shown so much out-of-the-gate brilliance as Marlon Brando? Having turned in electrifying performances in A Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata!, and Julius Caesar, Brando give his biker-gang leader Johnny Strabler a soulful menace that radiates off the screen.
THE MOTORCYCLE USED: 650cc Triumph Thunderbird