Angels Hard As They Come (1971)

Angels Hard As They Come (1971)

“What works is what’s right.”

Three members of the Angels motorcycle gang — Long John (Scott Glenn), Juicer (Don Carrara), and Monk (James Iglehart) — are invited by the head of the Dragons (Charles Dierkop) to meet up at a ghost town where some hippies — including beautiful Astrid (Gilda Texter) and well-meaning Henry (Gary Busey) — live; but when tragedy ensues that night, the Angels and Dragons become caught in an increasingly violent feud.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Counterculture
  • Gangs
  • Gary Busey Films
  • Jonathan Demme Films
  • Motorcyclists
  • Scott Glenn Films

Before beginning his directing career, Jonathan Demme co-wrote and produced this biker exploitation flick for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. Demme apparently thought he and director/co-writer Joe Viola were making something akin to Rashomon (1950), which it’s difficult to see. Rather, this simply resembles a brutal western, with most of the film taking place in a ghost town and motorcycles replacing horses:

A scene in which the Dragons torture the Angels by tying them to ropes behind their motorcycles and dragging them along in the dirt:

… even brings to mind a scene from a specific western, Anthony Mann’s The Man From Laramie (1955). With that said, there’s not much to recommend about this flick; it was made to bring in audiences, and it shows. I’m fairly certain Peary lists it in his GFTFF simply given Demme’s involvement. However, film fanatics may be mildly curious to see a couple of big-name stars in early roles, including Glenn as “Long John”:

… and Busey as the hippie Henry.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • A semi-decent script for an exploitation flick

Must See?
No. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


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