With the impending release of Point Break, the reboot of the classic action film from 1991, has sent shockwaves across the internet. The original, starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, went on to become a cult classic.
When it was announced that Point Break was getting a remake, it didn’t take long for a backlash from fans of the original, saying that a reboot is entirely unnecessary, and it could never compare to the classic original. So we decided to take a look at the best films that have attempted to capture the ‘sport of kings’, the ancient art of wave sliding.
Written and directed by John Milius, who only a year later penned Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece Apocalypse Now, made one of the most iconic surf films, and one that still holds up today. Unlike most attempts by Hollywood in bringing surfing to the silver screen, Big Wednesday still holds up well today. Following a group of Californian surfers through the 60s and 70s, capturing all the turbulence of that time, including the impact of the Vietnam war on a group of friends. A coming of age story that sees a bunch of carefree teenagers come to grips with growing up, all set against the backdrop of the turbulent 60s with the Vietnam war. Starring Gary Busey and Jan-Michael Vincent, the film still stands tall today against all surf films that have followed.
The true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton, who in 2003 suffered a near fatal shark attack in Hawaii, resulting in losing her left arm. The film is based on the book Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, The film stars Anna Sophie Robb as Bethany Hamilton, and follows the journey from shark attack to not only having the courage to getting back into the water, but only taking three weeks after the attack to hop back onto a surfboard. Hamilton then went on to compete professionally once again, learning to paddle with just one arm.
Lords of Dogtown
Based on the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, Lords of Dogtown is set in California during the 1970s, more specifically the rise of skate and surf culture, with this group who merged both the effortless styles in the water with aggressive skateboarding. Starring Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch as Stacy Peralta and Jay Adams respectively, two icons of the skateboarding scene in Venice, California during the 1970s. The film expands on what the documentary explored and was even written by Peralta himself, to make sure Hollywood didn’t skew the history too much.
Even though documentaries aren’t included in this list, an exception can be made to one of the most influential surf films of all time. Released in 1966, the seminal film of surfing still holds up today as the perfect surf film; exploration of the unknown, perfect peeling waves at uncrowded spots, and of course an endless summer. The film is narrated by esteemed surf documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown, and follows a couple of Californian surfers, Robert August and Mike Hynson, as they grow tired of the cold Californian winter as they travel the globe in search of perfect waves and an endless summer. The film truly opened the world up to surfing, as until up to this point, the world only knew California, Hawaii and Australia as surfing meccas. But the film takes viewers on the same journey as the two surfers, to places no one had ever surfed before, West Africa, Tahiti and many more surfer’s paradise’s. If ever a film still invokes an overbearing sense of stoke, its the Endless Summer.
The cult favourite, Point Break, doesn’t even revolve around surfing as a film, instead it takes a bunch of surfers and focuses on a young FBI agent who has to go undercover and infiltrate a band of criminals, who go by the alias The Ex-Presidents, who may be surfers. The impact of the film is so far reaching that essentially the plot for The Fast and the Furious is based on that of Point Break. Combining the plot of an engaging thriller, the high-octane action sequences and of course the surfing, makes Point Break one of the best surf films made.