I happen to be a lover of anything greaser. The music, the clothes, the hair styles, the lingo - everything. Though I can appreciate aspects of any decade since, there is something special about the 50's and early 60's - the Age of the Greaser - that I absolutely love. I decided to share with you hip cats my 5 Essential Greaser Flicks.
1. Rebel Without a Cause (1955, James Dean)
James Dean's character Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause is the quintessential cinematic rebellious teenager. He is misunderstood by classmates, teachers and parents and just can't seem to do the right thing, despite his good intentions. This film, also featuring Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper and Jim "Mr. Magoo/Thurston Howell III" Backus and a young Dennis Hopper is one of the greats.
2. The Wild One (1953, Marlon Brando)
After Marlon Brando became well known in his role as Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar Named Desire, he became one of the first cinematic rebels in The Wild One. His leather jacketed biker outfit pretty much defined the greaser look and this film about two biker gangs terrorizing a town because they are bored is a classic tale of rebellion for the hell of it. Brando's character's line "Whaddya got?" when asked "What're you rebelling against Johnny?" sums up the film and the whole movement it inspired perfectly. The Wild One also starred Mary Murphy and Lee Marvin.
3. The Wanderers (1979, Philip Kaufman)
The Wanderers is about a group of teenage greasers trying to survive in a town over run by gangs. Though light hearted and seemingly a comedy at first glance, this film perfectly represents the gang mentality that greasers had and the trials and tribulations that they had to go through to express themselves. The Wanderers starred Ken Wahl, Karen Allen and Tony "Meat from Porky's" Ganios.
4. The Lords of Flatbush (1974, Sylvester Stallone)
Most well known for its stellar cast, The Lords of Flatbush is another coming of age comedy drama dealing with all the universal themes teenagers go through - teen pregnancy, inter-class relationships and career paths. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Perry King and Henry Winkler.
5. The Loveless (1982, Willem Dafoe)
The Loveless is the story of a group of ex-con bikers on their way to Daytona who stop in a nowhere town so one of them can fix his bike. While there they meet a colorful group of people who view the bikers as criminals. As it turns out, the bikers may be the normal ones. Starring Willem Dafoe in his first starring role, Rockabilly legend Robert Gordon (who also does the soundtrack) and Marin Kanter.