The Wild One (1953) Starring: Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Lee Marvin
One of the most iconic images of the outlaw ever to grace the silver screen, The Wild One features Marlon Brando in one of his greatest roles, badboy biker Johnny Strabler.
The film premiered to no shortage of controversy, even being banned in Britain for the better part of two decades; but the iconic images of biker culture that characterized the film endured long after the initial shock wore off.
The Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Throughout the film, Brando sports the ‘cut’ of his characters bike gang, the ‘Black Rebels Motorcycle Club’ on the back of a black leather motorcycle jacket.
In bike gang culture, this jacket is a representation of everything you stand for, and the film drives this point home, with Brando proudly wearing it throughout almost the entire movie.
The specific jacket that Brando wears in the film is the ‘Perfecto’ style made famous not only by the film, but by Schott Bros, the New York company that manufactured them. It’s a second skin; versatile, functional, and above all, stylish.
The beauty of The Wild One’s aesthetic lies in the fact that it was almost entirely organic to the culture the film studied.
What we mean is, they didn’t throw Brando in some fashion-forward outfit unfit for the road, but rather they elected to give him and his character the ultimate in authenticity.
As any biker knows, a quality jacket is an essential piece of insurance for life on the lanes. It provides the protection, warmth, and comfort needed for logging all those miles on two wheels.
Sure, there’s an argument for those kevlar numbers so ubiquitous in racing bike culture, but their armor-esque padding and billboard branding belong on the track.
Dress the Part
The motorcycle jacket can seem like a difficult item for most guys to pull off, but that’s only because the market has been flooded with such disingenuous versions that any guy is going to look like a rube instead of a rider.
First off, the jacket has got to be leather, preferably black or dark brown.
Steer clear of your go-to fashion houses and instead head to some actual motorcycle shops to find out what brands identify you as one of the pack; after all, a haute couture version will almost always be inspired by these.
The Wild One is a veritable textbook for the kind of iconic motorcycle style that still endures today, emphasizing truly authentic pieces for truly authentic style.
- The leather motorcycle jacket provides functional protection when on a bike. Designed to last a crash or two, properly cared for, yours will last a lifetime.
- To recreate Brando’s look specifically, check out Schott brothers, the actual company that made his jacket in the film, and still makes them today.
- To recreate the look, first check out actual bike apparel shops to get an idea of the real fit, style, and brands that bikers prefer.
Any favorite brands from our Hell’s Angels readers? Tips on fit, finish, or how to go into a controlled skid? We’d love to hear them, so rev up some discussions!