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Big Wednesday (1978)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Sport  -  May 1978 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 3,769 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 34 critic

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

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Title: Big Wednesday (1978)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Matt Johnson
...
Jack Barlow
...
Leroy Smith
...
Sally Jacobson
...
Peggy Gordon
...
Bear
...
Jim 'Waxer' King
...
Himself
...
Shopping Cart (as Hank Warden)
Joe Spinell ...
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

Plot Keywords:

wave | california | surfer | vietnam | 1960s | See more »

Taglines:

Three friends. Twelve Turbulent Years. And One Day We All Must Face. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big Wednesday  »

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

Jeff Bridges turned down the role of "Matt" that went to Jan-Michael Vincent. See more »

Goofs

(at around 40 mins) Matt throws his raggy cloth at the oncoming car's windscreen. It misses and hits the top of the car's side window. In the next shot, the cloth is firmly across the whole bottom half of the car's front windscreen. See more »

Quotes

Girl at Party: You've got a great figure.
Peggy Gordon: Thank you. You too.
Girl at Party: Is that a padded bra?
Peggy Gordon: No, this is all me.
Girl at Party: God.
Peggy Gordon: You should try a padded bra.
Girl at Party: I have one on.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Green Onions
(uncredited)
Written by Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Lewie Steinberg, and Al Jackson Jr.
Performed by Basil Poledouris
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.


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