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Mildred: Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?
Johnny: Whaddaya got?
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The Wild One is a 1953 film produced by Stanley Kramer, directed by László Benedek, and starring Marlon Brando.

While not Brando's first film, it was one of the first to play off of his counterculture image; his portrayal of alienated biker gang leader Johnny Strabler was one of the iconic touchstones of Fifties youth culture, and has been referenced, homaged, and parodied many times in the decades since. The story involves Strabler and company riding into a quiet town of "squares", causing tension between the locals, and tangling with a rival biker gang headed by Chino (Lee Marvin).

This film was banned in the UK until 1968. It was also remade as Cool as Ice.


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Tropes:

  • Abuse Mistake: One of the townspeople mistakenly assumes Johnny has assaulted Kathie, leading to a vigilante mob catching and beating him.
  • Gay Bravado: Chino makes some comments ("Johnny, I love ya!") that could be interpreted as this.
  • Large Ham: Chino, especially when compared to the relatively stoic Johnny. Apparently, this was in part due to Method Acting; Lee Marvin was actually drunk on the set for scenes where his character was (pretty much all of them).
  • Menace Decay: From a modern point of view, Johnny's gang might come off as less "scary outlaw bikers" and more "typical obnoxious teenagers".
  • Uptight Loves Wild: There is some mutual affection between the Wild Johnny and the Uptight Kathie.
  • When He Smiles: At the end when Johnny gives Katie his stolen trophy they both give each other their first genuine smiles, and they both look adorable.

Chino: That's better Johnny. You know I miss you. Ever since the club split up, I miss you. We all missed ya... you miss 'im? yea. The Beetles missed ya. All the Beetles missed ya. Come on Johnny, let's you and me go inside and have a beer...
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