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Big Wednesday (1978)

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The lives of some California surfers from the early 1960s to the 1970s.

Director:

John Milius
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jan-Michael Vincent ... Matt Johnson
William Katt ... Jack Barlow
Gary Busey ... Leroy Smith
Patti D'Arbanville ... Sally Jacobson
Lee Purcell ... Peggy Gordon
Sam Melville ... Bear
Darrell Fetty ... Jim 'Waxer' King
Gerry Lopez ... Gerry Lopez
Hank Worden ... Shopping Cart (as Hank Warden)
Joe Spinell ... Psychologist
Steve Kanaly ... Sally's Husband
Barbara Hale ... Mrs. Barlow
Fran Ryan ... Lucy
Dennis Aaberg Dennis Aaberg ... Slick
Reb Brown ... Enforcer
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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

Taglines:

A story of three friends growing up in the sixties; of ten years filled with parties; weddings and uncertainties; and of the day we must all face... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 May 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Summer of Innocence See more »

Filming Locations:

La Libertad, El Salvador See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

A-Team See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39:1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the final theatrical film of Barbara Hale. See more »

Goofs

It is 1965, but 1970s cars are visible as they drive to the military entrance processing station. See more »

Quotes

Matt Johnson: I don't wanna be a star. Have my picture in magazines, have a bunch of kids looking up to me. I'm a drunk, Bear, a screw up. I just surf cause its good to go out and ride with your friends. I don't even have that anymore.
See more »

Alternate Versions

ABC edited 31 minutes from this film for its 1985 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Wes Craven's New Nightmare (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

He's a Rebel
(uncredited)
Written by Gene Pitney
Performed by The Crystals
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Classic.
9 November 2004 | by ZoeSharpeSee all my reviews

This is a great film. I won't say that everyone would like it, because there is always someone who will hate it. But I love this movie and cannot imagine hating it. I watch it again and again, mostly for Jack who is wonderful in his personality and development. I can't rate this highly enough. The surfing scenes are spectacular, and watching the characters slowly mature and try to cope with life as an adult is always worth watching. Seeing Matt in particular struggle with his unwanted hero status and seeing his friends grow up, move away or die is really something to see. What he would have done without the capable, beautiful, indefatigable Peggy is anyone's guess. However, I must say that you either get it or you don't.


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