10 Best Hippie Movie Characters

Thursday, July 21 by Tom Gordon

While the height of the hippie era was somewhere between the late 1960s and the mid-1970s, most of the 10 best hippie movie characters emerged on film much later. Characters who dropped out of society or at least acted that way, have been minded for comedy and philosophy in comedies, dramas, musicals and even a few action films. The best hippie movie characters are definitely where it's at, man. Peace.

  1. The Dude Jeff Bridges's wonderful performance as the usually stoned protagonist in the Coen Brothers' classic "The Big Lebowski" is one for the ages. There are even Dude conventions to celebrate the bathrobe-wearing, White Russian-drinking, bowling-obsessed character who always seemed one step behind everything and everyone around him.
  2. Sgt. Oddball Donald Sutherland plays a mellow, before-his-time hippie in "Kelly's Heroes," a World War II action comedy about a group of soldiers planning to grab some Nazi treasure near the end of the war. Sutherland, who leads a tank squadron with no superior officer, urges everyone to release their "negative vibes," to which Sgt. Crapgame (Don Rickles) is always ready with a roll of his eyes or a great put-down. Funny stuff. Clint Eastwood is classic as the officer trying to pull this all together.
  3. Billy and Wyatt Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda are motorcycle riding hippies looking for the real America in the 1969 classic "Easy Rider." If "Rocky" is the ultimate movie for boxers, "Easy Rider" holds the same place for hippies.
  4. Lucy In Julie Taymor's Beatles-inspired "Across the Universe," Evan Rachel Wood plays the erstwhile Lucy (in the Sky with Diamonds), who becomes consumed by the anti-Vietnam movement, while struggling with her relationship with Jude. Wood is gorgeous, strong, vulnerable and displays an unexpectedly excellent singing voice.
  5. The Vultures In Disney's "The Jungle Book," three vultures with suspiciously Liverpool-like accents and shaggy haircuts practically steal the show before the big showdown between Mowgli and the tiger Sheer Khan.
  6. Nowhere Man In 1968's "Yello Submarine," the Beatles encounter a trippy dude named Jeremy who seems like a Nowhere Man, but with his non-sequiturs and seemingly mushroom-inspired dialogue, that guy is, like, totally everywhere.
  7. David Wooderson There are plenty of hippie types in Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused," but Matthew McConaughey creates a classic role as the mellow, but philosophical older guy who still hangs out with the high school kids. Awright, awright, awright.
  8. Sheila Franklin In Milos Forman's 1979 adaptations of the musical "Hair," Beverly D'Angelo, in her perky, pre-"National Lampoon's Vacation" days, played a socialite-turned-hippie who sings a great version of "Good Morning Starshine."
  9. Billy Jack In the 1971 cult hit "Billy Jack," a "half-breed" Cherokee Indian and Vietnam vet stands up for counterculture kids against the townsfolk who don't understand them and some particularly violent types who want to get rid of them altogether. Billy Jack, along with being one of the best hippie movie characters ever, was one of the few films of the era to address the issues of Native Americans during the civil rights movement.
  10. Cheech and Chong These 1970s comedians, whose first film "Up in Smoke," sparked (pardon the pun) several more stoner follow-ups, played the aging hippies on films about as well as anyone ever has. Tommy Chong essentially played the same kind of character in "That 70s Show," for a nice career comeback.