Neal Cassady  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Neal Cassady (February 8, 1926February 4, 1968) was an icon of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, perhaps best known for being characterised as Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's classic On the Road.

In film

  • Neal Cassady and his friendship with Jack Kerouac were portrayed in John Byrum's film, Heart Beat, starring Nick Nolte as Cassady and John Heard as Kerouac. The film was based on Carolyn Cassady's memoir of the same name. Released in 1980 immediately after Warner Bros. acquired Orion Pictures, the film was given a limited release due to studio politics and a perceived lack of public interest, and the film quickly fell from view. Talk show host Steve Allen, who was a big supporter of On The Road appears briefly as himself.
  • The film Who'll Stop The Rain (1978) is a psychological drama released by United Artists. The film is based on Robert Stone's novel Dog Soldiers. This film also starred Nick Nolte. Stone based the character of Ray Hicks (Nolte) on Beat writer Cassady, with whom Stone became acquainted through novelist Kesey, a classmate of Stone's in graduate school at Stanford University. Hicks' death scene on the railroad tracks at the film's conclusion was directly based on Cassady's death along a railroad track outside of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 1968.
  • The film The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997), with Thomas Jane as Cassady, is based on the "Joan Anderson letter" written by Cassady to Jack Kerouac in December 1950. Although much of this letter had been lost, a surviving remnant was originally published in a 1964 edition of John Bryan's magazine Notes from Underground.


  • The biopic Neal Cassady, was also released in 2007. This film focuses more on the Prankster years and stars Tate Donovan as Neal, Amy Ryan as Carolyn Cassady, Chris Bauer as Kesey, and Glenn Fitzgerald as Kerouac. Noah Buschel wrote and directed the film. The film deals primarily with how Neal became trapped by his fictional alter-ego, Dean Moriarty. The Cassady family criticized this film as highly inaccurate.
  • Cassady is portrayed by Jon Prescott in the 2010 film, Howl, which chronicles the creation of the poem "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg and the obscenity trial surrounding its publication.
  • In the film Across the Universe (2007), the character Dr. Robert, played by Bono, is said to have been inspired by Neal Cassady.
  • Cassady appears in Alex Gibney's Magic Trip (2011) a documentary film using the footage shot by Kesey and the Merry Pranksters during their cross-country bus trip in the "Further" bus. The hyperkinetic Cassady is frequently seen driving the bus, jabbering, and sitting next to a sign that boasts, "Neal gets things done."




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Neal Cassady" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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