Coen Brothers Pay Homage To 'Easy Rider' In New Super Bowl 51 Commercial

Almost 50 years ago, the late actor and director Dennis Hopper immortalized 60s counterculture with the road movie Easy Rider, starring himself alongside Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson riding around America on motorcycles. Now Academy Award winning directors Joel and Ethan Coen want fans of the film to trade in their bikes for Benzes.

Last weekend, Mercedes released their new Super Bowl 51 commercial. The ad takes place on the fabled Route 66, where a rough-and-tumble roadhouse bar has become a shrine to "Easy Rider." The jukebox in the fictional venue only plays Steppenwolf's 'Born to Be Wild' (the movie's theme song). And in one dusty corner, there's a candlelight vigil to the film's main character, Wyatt (a.k.a. "Captain America"), who was played by Fonda. 

And Fonda himself also appears in the ad, but he's traded in the chopper that made him a counterculture hero. Instead, the ageless wonder revs up the engine of his Mercedes and leaves his fans in awe as he heads out on yet another all-American road trip, flashing a half-hearted peace sign at the camera as he speeds off. The Route 66 road sign trembling in his wake.

So is it a tribute or selling out? Check out the ad and decide for yourself. 


John Sinclair is one of the lesser-known people in cannabis culture, but he’s a very important figure, particularly for anti-prohibition activists. Sinclair is a native of Flint, Michigan, far from the hippie epicenters in California or the Warhol scene of the Big Apple. The scene in Michigan was grittier and more blue collar.