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

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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:
Endlessly intriguing 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:
Edited into Cease to Exist (2007)See more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Endlessly intriguing, 8 June 2007
Author: Superunknovvn from Austria, Vienna

This movie contains some amazing footage and it goes from the beginning of the band until the mid 80's when Dennis Wilson passed away. It's a bit of a flaw that the live performances are sometimes out of sync making the whole thing look a bit ridiculous. In between the concert footage the band members tell their story by some scripted lines, which is more than just a bit silly, but still fun to look at.

Above all, this movie is not to be viewed as a factual documentary. Most of the band's conflicts and troubles are only addressed shortly if they are addressed at all and the movie tries to paint a picture of endless harmony between all the band members, which wasn't there for most of the time. It's like watching a propaganda movie from a time of war, where most facts have been spun around. In hindsight, if you look at such movies and you know how things really went down, it's still very intriguing to see how they have been presented at the time. That's the main fascination of "The Beach Boys: An American band".

There is some very intimate footage in this movie. We actually get to see Brian lying in his bed with the blanket up to his chin as he did for most of the late 60's and early 70's. He is giving interviews without leaving the bed, trying to act as if this behavior was completely normal. We're at Brian's 34th anniversary party with Paul McCarntey. We see the press conference the Beach Boys gave after Dennis had passed away and somehow you get more information if you read between the lines than from listening to the things the band members say in interviews.

The most amazing thing to look at is Brian, who does seem uncomfortable for most of the time, but not exactly deranged. He could actually speak fluently up until the 80's, so even though he probably feels better now he somehow seemed healthier back then than he does when he's babbling on stage these days.

It's been a long way for Brian and the band and this movie covers most of it. "It's a dramatic story! It's the story of the Beach Boys", as Brian puts it at one point in the movie.

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