“The Wild One” is a cinematic time capsule, perfectly capturing one moment forever to remind us of the phases and changes society went through. While some films do their best to capture the mood of the time period, I can’t think of one that does a better job than “The Wild One” and the rebellious biker outlaw gangs. From the leather outfits and hip jive talk to the outright hatred of any establishment, especially law enforcement, and the backlash they faced from every day people, this movie lays it on thick.
Marlon Brando’s performance as Johnny, the titular wild one, sees him essentially playing himself, a rebel who hated the establishment and just wanted to establish his own identity. And while Brando, always the method actor, spent a lot of time hanging out with biker gangs to learn their lingo and mannerisms and drove a motorcycle to and from the set, he was always defiant and head-strong and despised Hollywood. As such, it’s hard to see Johnny as anything more than an extension of Brando himself.
Overall, “The Wild One” is a fun experience if only for a chance to go back and see a time when bikers ruled the roads and struck fear in the hearts of every small Christian town.
Final Grade: C+