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Riding Giants (2004)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,304 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 37 user | 72 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

Documentary detailing the origins and history of surf culture.

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In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. Is it any wonder that so many of our heroes are on performance enhancing ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Storyline

A semiserious, often rollicking, multigenerational insider's look at the origins of surfing, the colorful and subversive birth of surf culture, and the mythology and lure of the big wave. This passionate and fluid film is without question the first authentic history of surfing from its humble Hawaiian beginnings to the big business it became to the still-rebellious universe it inhabits today. Riding Giants is a study in individuality and freedom, the pursuit and techniques of pure kinetic pleasure, and the risk taking and attitudes that characterize its leading figures. For some viewers, this is perhaps more than they ever wanted to know. But Peralta's detailed knowledge of the surfing lifestyle, its icons and locations, its boom and exploitation by the media, and the fascination it has held for young men for more than five decades is unparalleled and fuels this expedition for the expert and initiate alike. Closely chronicling the sometimes-life-and-death drama that big-wave riding ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

21 July 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Riding Giants  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$134,400 (USA) (9 July 2004)

Gross:

$2,276,368 (USA) (3 December 2004)
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Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Various additional, cut scenes are shown during the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Messe Solonelle: Sanctus
Performed by The Orpheus Chamber Ensemble
Courtesy of Bis Records AB, Sweden
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User Reviews

Nicely traces the modern history of surfing in the USA.
5 November 2005 | by (Houston, Tx, USA, Earth) – See all my reviews

The presentation is on DVD, widescreen, with excellent picture and sound.

"Riding Giants" traces the history of surfing, at least in and around the USA, beginning about 1000 years ago, when history tells us early Hawaiians began using some type of board to ride the surf. But the movie begins in earnest in the 1950s, when 20-something surfers like Greg Noll became what was commonly called "beach bums" and surfed every day, all day, if they could.

An interesting fact presented is the influence of the "Gidget" movies with Sandra Dee, and similar movies which followed. While they presented an unrealistic, fantasy viewpoint of the surfing scene, they became the catalyst for the surfing explosion. Withing a few years from the late 1950s to the early 1960, the number of surfers went from a few thousand to a few million.

One of the producers of "Riding Giants" is Laird Hamilton, professional surfer, generally considered the best of the big wave surfers. The movie ends with him, profiling how he got into surfing as a young boy, and how he and his buddies invented the modern method of big wave surfing, being towed into a wave by jet ski, which also became the rescue boat. With this method they are now able to surf big, fast moving waves that are impossible to access the conventional way. Plus, this has allowed them to use much smaller boards, similar to snow boards, for more speed and agility.

Overall a very well-made and fascinating look at surfing. My favorite was Greg Noll who today is a heavy, round-faced older man in his 60s, but many film clips from the 50s and 60s showed him in action, considered the best of his generation. His present day interviews are both enlightening and very funny.


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