Bustin' Down the Door (2009)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 233 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 3 user | 15 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

This documentary tells the story of a group of Australian and South African surfers who revolutionized their sport in Hawaii during the winter of 1975.


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Credited cast:
Reno Abellira ...
Himself (archive footage)
Clyde Aikau ...
Eddie Aikau ...
Himself (archive footage)
Ben Aipa ...
Bernie Baker ...
Wayne Bartholomew ...
Larry Bertlemann ...
Ian Cairns ...
Nick Carroll ...
Tom Carroll ...
Tom Curren ...
Mick Fanning ...
Himself (archive footage)
Jeff Hakman ...
Fred Hemmings ...
Michael Ho ...
Himself (archive footage)


During the winter of 1975 in Hawaii, surfing was shaken to its core. A group of young surfers from Australia and South Africa sacrificed everything and put it all on the line to create a sport, a culture, and an industry that is today worth billions of dollars and has captured the imagination of the world. With a radical new approach and a brash colonial attitude, these surfers crashed headlong into a culture that was not ready for revolution. Surfing was never to be the same again. Written by Dan Schreiber

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

surfing | See All (1) »


Every Dream has a Price See more »


Documentary | Sport


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Release Date:

4 September 2009 (UK)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$650,000 (estimated)

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Features In Search of Tubular Swells (1976) See more »


Who By Fire
Written and Performed by Leonard Cohen
Courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Passable documentary of Surfing culture in Hawaii in the 1970's
1 September 2009 | by (London) – See all my reviews

"Bustin' Down the Door", tells the tale of the rise, fall and rise again of the surfing culture on the North Beach area of Hawaii in the 1970's … and documenting the rise of the professional surfing industry … I felt that even though the story was interesting and some of the archive action shots of the surfers and the waves were very good … although much, too much of the time the camera was focused on the faces of individuals in the story just relating their particular version of the tale to the viewer from their viewpoint … that's why I thought that it would have been far better made as more of a documentary (perhaps for TV) than a big-screen film.

I was also a little disappointed in the music that went with the surf scenes … I thought that this could have been done an awful lot better … maybe, perhaps I may have been too harshly comparing it to the superb Pink Floyd music from the Echoes album that went alongside another "surfer" type film in 1975 called "Crystal Voyager".

I was also a bit annoyed at the "constant" repetition of certain surfing clips over, and over again … it seemed to "cheapen" the overall impact of film by using the same footage many times ...

Otherwise the film (as a documentary) pretty much seemed to capture the mood of the moment in Hawaii in the 1970's and the trials, tribulations, failures and successes of the leading players in the surfing world at the time ...

Narrated well by Edward Norton, some of the main characters being interviewed are quite enigmatic, namely Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Mark Richards (MR), and Shaun Tomson … but, I feel that you'd probably would need a keen interest in surfing to get fully into this movie … otherwise it's no more than a "passable" documentary

Also, although I saw this at the BFI IMAX cinema, it was shot in 2D (not 3D), and filled 1/2 to a 1/3 of the screen – not the full IMAX screen

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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