"All paths of glory lead but to the grave" is from the ninth stanza of the Thomas Gray poem 'Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard'.
Phil Spector: the cocaine dealer.
Rip Torn was originally cast in the role of George Hanson. According to Torn, Dennis Hopper pulled a knife on him during a pre-production meeting. On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Hopper claimed it was Torn who pulled the knife. Torn sued Hopper for defamation and won.
Bruce Dern was also in line to play George Hanson but dropped out because of scheduling reasons.
Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson - huge fans of Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni - invited their idol to the first screening of their film. Antonioni was sufficiently impressed to cast Nicholson in his next feature film, Professione: reporter.
Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda did not write a full script for the movie and made most of it up as they went along. They didn't hire a crew but instead picked up hippies at communes across the country, and used friends and passersby to hold the cameras and were drunk and stoned most of the time.
Dennis Hopper had the original cut of the film at an estimated three hours in length. Upon reviewing it with some of the other key members of the production staff the length was cut down to its current length.
Dennis Hopper was going through a very bad time during production. He was in a state of drug-induced paranoia and he screamed at everyone. Crew members secretly recorded his tirades and sent the tapes to the production company in Los Angeles to explain why so many of them quit the film.
Peter Fonda got the idea for this movie after seeing a picture of himself and Bruce Dern on their motorcycles. He got Dennis Hopper (who was planning to get out of the acting business and become a teacher at the time) involved when he promised him he could direct the film.
Peter Fonda was an experienced motorcycle rider and the bike he rides in the movie is seriously stretched and raked and has tall "apehanger" style handlebars. Dennis Hopper was not as experienced a rider, therefore his bike is less radically chopped.
Peter Fonda wore the Capt. America jacket and rode his chopper a week around L.A. before shooting began to give them a broken-in look and to get used to riding the radically designed bike. The American flag on the back of the jacket and on the gas tank of the bike caused him to be pulled over several times by the police.
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson were actually smoking marijuana on camera. LSD, however, was not actually used during the acid scene, as Fonda has stated.
Peter Fonda's character is only referred to by his real name one time in the movie. Billy (Dennis Hopper) does not refer to Captain America as "Wyatt" until the final campfire scene toward the end.
Stephen Stills wrote the song "Find the Cost of Freedom" at Dennis Hopper's request, for use with the final scene (when the camera pans up into the sky). Hopper ended up not using it, and the song was eventually released as the B-side to Crosby Stills Nash & Young's single "Ohio". CSNandY often used it to close their concerts.
Samuel Z. Arkoff at American-International Pictures turned down the picture. He later said that not doing this film and Night of the Living Dead were his two biggest regrets.
A few years after the release of Easy Rider Peter Fonda appeared in and narrated a short educational film about motorcycle safety entitled 'It's Not So Easy.'
According to Peter Fonda, four police bikes were customized for the film. One was burned during filming, and the other three were stolen before filming was completed.
According to Peter Fonda's memoirs, Jack Starrett was Dennis Hopper's second choice for the role of George Hanson after Rip Torn dropped out.
Both the Captain America bike and the Billy Bike were designed and built by an African-American bike builder named Ben Hardy. Peter Fonda met Hardy when Hardy built the bike he rode in The Wild Angels. Dennis Hopper is interviewed in the documentary "History of the Chopper" and confirms that it was Hardy who built the bikes.