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Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda , Dennis Hopper , and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper . It tells the story of two bikers (played by Fonda and Hopper) who travel through the American Southwest and South . The success of Easy Rider helped spark the New Hollywood phase of filmmaking during the early 1970s. The film was added to the Library of Congress National Registry in 1998. A landmark counterculture film, and a "touchstone for a generation" that "captured the national imagination, " Easy Rider explores the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise and fall of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyle. In Easy Rider real drugs were used in scenes showing the use of marijuana and other substances.