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The Wild One


Directed by László Benedek

Starring Marlon Brando



Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler, leader of the rebellious

biker gang the “Black Rebels” in “The Wild One” 1953

The film (banned in Britain until 1968) is about two biker gangs who cause havoc

in a Californian town and is based on a real event that happened in 1947.



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This film is still famous for the quotes;


"What are you rebelling against?"


"Whadd'ya got?"



The Wild One is a 1953 rebel biker film directed by László Benedek. It is remembered for Marlon Brando's portrayal of the gang leader Johnny Strabler as a juvenile delinquent, dressed in a leather jacket and riding a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T.


Acting opposite of Brando was Lee Marvin as a rival gang leader. This low-budget production had Brando playing a "rebel without a cause" two years before James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).


The Wild One was based on a short story, "The Cyclists' Raid" by Frank Rooney, in the January 1951 issue of Harper's Magazine. The story was later published in book form as part of The Best American Short Stories 1952. The story took a cue

from an actual biker street party on the Fourth of July weekend in 1947 in Hollister, California that was written up in Life Magazine, and dubbed the Hollister riot, with staged photographs of wild motorcycle outlaw revellers. The Hollister event is now celebrated annually. The actual film is set in an unspecified Californian town.


For the most part, the bikers in the film are just generally rowdy in pursuit of a good time, and don't radiate the sinister menace seen in later biker movies based on the Hells Angels, some of whom actually appeared in those films.


A group of local vigilantes, led by a businessman try to take on the bikers and beat up Brando. A local resident is killed in an accident for which Marlon Brando is blamed.


The film was banned in Britain until 1968




Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler and the narrator


Mary Murphy as Kathie Bleeker


Robert Keith as Sheriff Harry Bleeker


Lee Marvin as Chino (Rival gang leader)


Jay C. Flippen as Sheriff Stew Singer


Peggy Maley as Mildred


Hugh Sanders as Charlie Thomas


Ray Teal as Uncle Frank Bleeker


Richard Farnsworth (uncredited)



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