Oral History: Dennis Hopper Goes Back to the Sixties

by Jack Tewksbury May 8, 2019
Actor and directypor Dennis Hopper, Golden Globe nominee

hfpa archives

For over 40 years the HFPA has recorded famous and celebrated actresses, actors and filmmakers. The world's largest collection of its kind - over 10,000  items- is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library.

In this excerpt from our archives from 1986 - a year when Dennis Hopper received two Golden Globe nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category, for both Blue Velvet and Hoosiers - the iconic actor, filmmaker, artist, and photographer recalls the energy of the Sixties.

“I don’t miss (the Sixties) but it was sure great to be alive then, you know. I remember being at Berkeley I think it was in ’58 or ’59 and we made up a slogan- "don’t trust anybody over 30", and two years later I was 30 and it was the ‘60s and I  thought oh,  man!  And women were coming up to me and saying 'well, how old are you and I said well, I’m 30', and they’d all run the other way. The saying had caught on, you know...

But the ‘60s were a wonderful time. I was around a lot of people...  musicians and Monterey Pop and organizing that and so on... And a lot of the love-ins in San Francisco and Timothy Leary and the poets and the underground people and the filmmakers and so on.

Every new drug that came out we tried. Those things started out really with good intentions. The Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war protest were very right causes, but the drug use too was…  we were very innocent about it. A lot of that started out with good intentions- we were looking for God and looking for a new way to be free and to have free speech and free love. Those things turned into, unfortunately, finding your drug dealer and big business. I think we’ve had to re-think our lives and we are beginning to surface again, you know, hopefully.”