The Wild One hit the big screen in 1953.

While it all looks a little stagey now, it was socially significant, giving the simmering post-war rebellion of youth an avenue to the mainstream.

And a charismatic and extremely good-looking Marlon Brando was just the bloke to do it.

The film had at its basis a real-life incident over the Fourth of July weekend in 1947 in Hollister, California, when 4000 people, composed of motorcyclists and other revheads took over the town.

Not so much in rebellion, but more chasing a good time.

The truth is they were actually pretty benign (except for some arrests for drunkenness, and urinating in public – mainly due to a lack of dunnies).

In the film, most of the action was located in Wrightsville, somewhere in the stultifying ordinariness that is middle America.

Because of the controversial nature of the film, it was banned in England until 1968.

Even in the Land of the Free, it was feared that the shocking, ‘Communist’ movie glamourised an anti-social subculture, and would set ablaze youth in a dangerous rampage of antisocial mayhem. Sounds ridiculous huh?

The truth is, all it did was make Mr and Mrs Citizen paranoid about anyone in a black leather jacket, and motorcyclists had to work hard to rid the pastime of the silly stigma for years to come.

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Michael White
Michael White
1 year ago

“Hey Johnny, What are you Rebelling against?”
“What ya got?”