IMDb > The Beach Boys: An American Band (1985)

The Beach Boys: An American Band (1985) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 9 | slideshow)


User Rating:
7.0/10   190 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for The Beach Boys: An American Band on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 November 1985 (USA) See more »
A biography of the American rock band The Beach Boys, with interviews, concert footage and clips from movies and television shows they appeared in. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Bitter With the Sweet See more (5 total) »


  (in credits order)

Brian Wilson ... Himself (also archive footage)

Dennis Wilson ... Himself (archive footage)
Carl Wilson ... Himself (also archive footage)
Mike Love ... Himself (also archive footage)
Al Jardine ... Himself (also archive footage)
Bruce Johnston ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

The Beach Boys ... Themselves (also archive footage)

Jack Benny ... Himself (archive footage)
Bobby Figueroa ... Himself - drummer

Jimi Hendrix ... Himself (archive footage)

Bob Hope ... Himself (archive footage)

Paul McCartney ... Himself (archive footage)

Van Dyke Parks ... Himself

Dan Aykroyd ... Police Officer #1 (uncredited)

John Belushi ... Police Officer #2 (uncredited)

Harry Nilsson ... Himself (uncredited)

Directed by
Malcolm Leo 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Malcolm Leo 

Produced by
Malcolm Leo .... producer
Jon Peisinger .... executive producer
Bonnie Peterson .... producer
Leo Peterson .... producer
Michael Wiese .... executive producer
Cinematography by
John Toll 
Film Editing by
Mark Cole 
David Fairfield 
Production Management
Rouben Rapelian .... production executive
Sound Department
Bruce Bisenz .... sound: location
Doug Nelson .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Fritz Roland .... additional photographer
Editorial Department
Larry Harris .... editor: video tape
Karl Jacobsen .... assistant editor
Pam Marshall .... editor: video tape
Frank Mazzaro .... editor: video tape
Mark West .... editor: video tape
Marc Wielage .... telecine colorist
Andy Zall .... editor: video tape
Other crew
Desert Cowart .... production secretary
John Delgatto .... film & videotape research
Dennis Diken .... research
Lucinda Dronberger .... production secretary
Ron Furmanek .... audio research
Katherine Gould .... assistant to the executive producers
Edick Hossepian .... production assistant
Carol Kapitan .... assistant to the executive producers
Charles Mcdonald .... main title graphics
Paul Surratt .... film & videotape research
Kathie Van Brunt .... production coordinator

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
103 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

A couple of songs in the film, "Surf's Up" and "Fire" (aka. "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow") were recorded for the famous, unreleased "SMiLE" album which was supposed to be released in the summer of 1967.See more »
Movie Connections:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Bitter With the Sweet, 3 October 2002
Author: harry-76 from Cleveland, Ohio

This documentary on "The Beach Boys" may become more valuable as the years pass. Time has a way of allowing us to separate the sporadic and superficial from the genuine and great.

Now that we have some space since the group's "big years," namely the 60s and 70s, we can benefit from an enhanced perspective. What's beginning to emerge is that this group is a major popular music institution of the past century.

Much has been written and talked about Brian Wilson. In my estimation, within the context of the 60s/70s youth music genre, Wilson is a titanic talent, displaying often breathtaking creativity in the genre of "basic" or "classic rock."

The vintage footage here may be grainy and flawed, yet it's invaluable as a historic legacy we can actually view, as well as hear, as clips from "The Beach Boys'" tv specials are lovingly preserved. It would be great to have this material formally restored; however, the group's full value may yet to be appreciated. We may need a few more years for their extraordinary work to "kick in" for total recognition.

Their career is filled with all the joy and anguish one would typically expect. Starting off as healthy, normal American kids-on-the-block, wanting just to have fun, their youthful purity was touching. Yet much more was happening here: some extraordinary harmonizations were shaping up, with lead pitted against close three-part harmonic background (an early a cappella number was reminiscent of the historic "troubadour" tradition).

What was even more impressive was their actually embodying their main theme of surfing, sunning, "twisting," "digging cars and chicks" . . . in other words, "becoming" the "beach generation mystique," immortalized in song.

Just when you think you're going to hear a conventional phrase or harmonic structure, Wilson throws in a "curve": a fresh turn of phrase, chord, modulation, lyric--elevating it to a heightened plane of expression. Suddenly the predictable becomes startling, even breathtaking.

This documentary features Brian commenting everything while lying in bed, with covers pulled up to neck. Undoubtedly during one of his frequent health-challenge periods, Wilson speaks clearly and cohesively. It's as though Wilson in any form is a "boon." And it well may be.

This presentation also gives hints of some of the group's career challenges: while it's one thing to perform for fun, it's quite another to have a professional career. Indeed, with the latter comes management, contracts, travel, recording sessions, tv specials, live concerts, p/r and the like.

It also involves, in time, problems with the individual ego. This documentary delineates dealings with the father as initial manager ("How can one dispute one's dad?" asks one member) problems with sibling rivalry ("bloodline challenges") and with Brian increasingly placed in the "starring role."

In time, all of these factions took their toll, and "The Beach Boys" found there's a big difference between singing and playing in home and neighborhood, and being placed in the international spotlight.

What we're left with, though, are ingenious [Wilson] compositions in which arrangement is often as integral as conception . . . great tunes, rhythms, lyrics, normal and falsetto vocals, and sparkling instrumentals.

We can be grateful to Malcolm Leo for co-producing, writing and directing this movie/video tribute to a most noteworthy 20th century American band, "The Beach Boys."

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (5 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Beach Boys: An American Band (1985)


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Ray The U.S. vs. John Lennon Almost Famous Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt I'm Not There.
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
IMDb Documentary section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.