Sixty years of surfing on the silver screen has produced an Everest-sized slagheap of junk, and a bookshelf-sized canon of classics. Lucky for us, 'Encyclopedia of Surfing' author (and former 'Surfer' magazine editor) Matt Warshaw has watched them all. Here are his picks for the 15 best – some hardcore, some Hollywood, and a few from left field.
'Big Wednesday' (John Milius, 1978)
'Big Wednesday' got slaughtered by critics upon its release. As such, audiences stayed away and Warner Brothers lost millions. Deservedly so, in our humble opinion, as the movie is predicable as sunrise and smothered in melodrama. Plus, in lead actor Jan Michael-Vincent, 'Point Break's' Keanu Reeves has a solid challenger as Hollywood's most wooden on-screen surfer. And yet 'Big Wednesday' rose somehow, phoenix-like, from its own smoldering ashes, to become a raving home video hit (Blockbuster couldn't keep it on the shelves). Essential viewing? Yes, but only if you want to deepen your understanding of Baby Boomer nostalgia and self-regard.
Credit: Everett Collection