The lives of some California surfers from the early '60s to the '70s.

Director:

Reviews

WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dillinger (1973)
Action | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

John Dillinger and his gang go on a bank robbing spree across the midwest, but one G-Man is determined to bring him down.

Director: John Milius
Stars: Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Michelle Phillips
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An American soldier who escapes the execution of his comrades by Japanese soldiers in Borneo during WWII becomes the leader of a personal empire among the headhunters in this war story told... See full summary »

Director: John Milius
Stars: Nick Nolte, Nigel Havers, Frank McRae
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

At the beginning of the 20th century an American woman is abducted in Morocco by Berbers. The attempts to free her range from diplomatic pressure to military intervention.

Director: John Milius
Stars: Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith
Documentary | Adventure | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Bruce Brown, king of surfing documentaries, returns after nearly thirty years to trace the steps of two young surfers to top surfing spots around the world. Along the way we see many of the... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Brown
Stars: Patrick O'Connell, Robert 'Wingnut' Weaver, Robert August
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The crown jewel to ten years of Bruce Brown surfing documentaries. Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters.

Director: Bruce Brown
Stars: Robert August, Michael Hynson, Lord 'Tally Ho' Blears
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Surfers and secret spots from around the world are profiled in this documentary.

Director: Dana Brown
Stars: Laird John Hamilton, Layne Beachley, Dan Malloy
Action | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

During the air war over Vietnam, a US Navy A-6 Intruder tactical bomber pilot schemes with a hardened veteran to make an unauthorized air strike on Hanoi.

Director: John Milius
Stars: Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe, Brad Johnson
Milius (2013)
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A look at the life of filmmaker,John Milius.

Directors: Joey Figueroa, Zak Knutson
Stars: John Milius, Dennis Aaberg, Peter Bart
Riding Giants (2004)
Documentary | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Documentary detailing the origins and history of surf culture.

Director: Stacy Peralta
Stars: Laird John Hamilton, Darrick Doerner, Dave Kalama
The Devil's 8 (1969)
Thriller | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A federal agent rounds up eight convicts to help fight a vicious moonshine gang.

Director: Burt Topper
Stars: Christopher George, Fabian, Tom Nardini
Motorcycle Gang (TV Movie 1994)
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Cal and his family are driving to their new home in California and are terrorized by a motorcycle gang along the highway.

Director: John Milius
Stars: Gerald McRaney, Jake Busey, John Cassini
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Follows the rise and fall of rebel leader in a post-apocalyptic world.

Director: John Milius
Stars: Richard Martens, John Milius
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Matt Johnson
...
Jack Barlow
...
Leroy Smith
...
Sally Jacobson
...
...
Bear
...
Jim 'Waxer' King
...
Himself
...
Shopping Cart (as Hank Warden)
...
Psychologist
...
Sally's Husband
...
Mrs. Barlow
...
Lucy
Dennis Aaberg ...
Slick
...
Enforcer
Edit

Storyline

Matt Johnson, Jack Barlow, and Leroy Smith are three young California surfers in the 1960s. At first reveling in the carefree life of beaches, girls, and waves, they eventually must face the fact that the world is changing, becoming more complex, less answerable by simple solutions. Ultimately the Vietnam war interrupts their idyll, leaving them to wonder if they will survive until "Big Wednesday," the mythical day when the greatest, cleanest, most transcendent wave of all will come. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A day will come that is like no other... and nothing that happens after will ever be the same See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Summer of Innocence  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Berenger auditioned for the part of "Jack Barlowe" that went to William Katt. See more »

Goofs

During the party scene a girl screams "Waxer, no!" when another character, Crusher, not Waxer, attacks her. See more »

Quotes

Matt Johnson: You know, Mrs. Barlow, there's something I'd like straighten out.
Mrs. Barlow: What's that, Matt?
Matt Johnson: Well, I did a lot of things around here I'm kind of ashamed of. I tore up your lawn with my '40 Ford...
Mrs. Barlow: Many times.
Matt Johnson: Took my pants off in front of your friends...
Mrs. Barlow: Oh, yes.
Matt Johnson: And I even passed out in your closet, but I never, and I don't know who could have if I didn't, but I never, and I repeat never, ever pissed in your steam iron.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in High Chaparall: Robert Englund (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Lucille
(uncredited)
Written by Little Richard and Albert Collins
Performed by Little Richard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Hollywood's Perfect Wave
28 June 2004 | by (Alliston, Ontario) – See all my reviews

"This movie is too good for surfers." Quentin Tarantino was asked about "Big Wednesday" once and this was his answer. Tarantino grew up in southern California and surfers, he says, were mean to him and his friends. Tarantino, however, knows a good movie when he sees one. This truly is Hollywood's "perfect wave", the only time the surf culture was portrayed accurately in a studio film. The surf community consistently refers to this film with reverence, citing it's depiction of the "soul" of surfing as being worthy of their hallowed endeavors in the water. After years of Frankie and Annette or, God forbid, Keanu Reeves, this is one they can be proud of. Writer-director John Milius was a surfer himself referring to it again in his most celebrated screenplay for "Apocalypse Now" ("Charlie don't surf!"). One of the keys to this film's authenticity is the fact that the three stars did a lot of their own surfing. Actually seeing their faces as they stand up for a ride is a bonus. William Kaat, Jan-Michael Vincent and Gary Busey (actually pretty big names from this era) were accomplished surfers, Busey learning for the role. The fine cast is rounded out by cuties Lee Purcell and Patti d'Arbanville and Sam Melville as the mystical mentor Bear. Keep your eyes peeled for legendary surfer Gerry Lopez, "Perry Mason"'s Barbara Hale, future Freddy creep Robert Englund, Larry Talbot from "Miami Vice" and Charlene Tilton and Steve Kanaly who both ended up on "Dallas". If you ever had a group of friends who did stuff together, you'll find this film has a lot of depth and soul. As Matt says after riding Big Wednesday "we drew the line". The three friends have validated the thing that consumed them as young men, that is riding waves and promising to be together when the big one hit. But they also acknowledge the need to embrace adulthood and put surfing where it should be. As Bear himself said "nobody surfs forever". Sad but true. It applies to all of us, no matter what we do.


28 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Remake the_music_junkie
Big Wednesday filming location... garygray46
Fan-Bloody-tastic koloxxviii
surfing actors???? mister_figgins
soudtrack chacmol
Fight Scene nightpike11
Discuss Big Wednesday (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?