7.3/10
5,347
62 user 40 critic

Big Wednesday (1978)

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

Director:

John Milius
Reviews

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ON DISC
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:

Could the big breaker break them up? 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:

3 October 1978 (Italy) 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

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The character of Matt Johnson is based on real-life surfer Lance Carson, who struggled with alcoholism throughout the 1960s and 1970s. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Leroy the Masochist: He ain't no hodad Squidlips!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in A Deeper Shade of Blue (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Twist
(uncredited)
Written by Hank Ballard
Performed by Chubby Checker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Up there with Endless Summer and Point Break
12 June 2002 | by jamiepowellSee all my reviews

A rite of passage film comparable to Stand By Me. The film follows the lives of three men through their late teens and twenties during the troubled period of American history that was the Vietnam war. The bond between these men is exemplified by their shared love for surfing and one another. With creative photography, Jan Michael Vincent (of Airwolf fame), Gary Busey (who makes a sneaky surfing appearance again in Point Break), and William Katt (who went on to star in such films as House) doing much of their own surfing, complemented by a professional team of surfing stunt doubles including Jerry Lopez make this one of the surfing all-time classics along-side Bruce Browns 1966 Endless Summer. Whether you're into surfing or not, you'll enjoy this for its story, feel good factor, and of course the surfing footage. Watch it.


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