7.3/10
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64 user 42 critic

Big Wednesday (1978)

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

Director:

John Milius
Reviews
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:

Three friends. Twelve Turbulent Years. And One Day We All Must 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:

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 Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Jeff Bridges turned down the role of Matt. See more »

Goofs

(at around 40 mins) Matt throws his raggy cloth at the oncoming car's windscreen. It misses and hits the top of the car's side window. In the next shot, the cloth is firmly across the whole bottom half of the car's front windscreen. See more »

Quotes

Girl at Party: You've got a great figure.
Peggy Gordon: Thank you. You too.
Girl at Party: Is that a padded bra?
Peggy Gordon: No, this is all me.
Girl at Party: God.
Peggy Gordon: You should try a padded bra.
Girl at Party: I have one on.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Point Break (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Now or Never
(uncredited)
Based on "O Sole Mio"
Lyrics by Giovanni Capurro
Music by Eduardo Di Capua
Heard as a piano piece in the background
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Classic beyond classic.
28 September 2004 | by Defenseman13See all my reviews

Down the street from my house is a restaurant/bar called RT's Longboard grill, which was opened by family as a tribute to a brother lost at sea. Adorning the bamboo laden walls, amongst yesteryear photos, boards, posters, and memorabilia, are TV screens which endlessly show classic surfing movies. The feeling one gets in this environment is similar to what one gets watching Big Wednesday. This isn't a surf movie in the sense of the word. You see, the trendy, infantile children that drunkenly roam the streets of Pacific Beach (where I live in San Diego)for the most part don't have souls, sadly, living in the very town in which many surf legends have been born. Hard pressed to find are the light hearted conversations over a good burger, malt, and a good set of waves. Big Wednesday contains such an epic story. OK... I seem bitter. It's because I am. I know the word "dude" and a nose covered in sunscreen is an easy stereotype... but the spiritual life altering experience behind surfing is most often misunderstood. What is your passion? Do you have one? It may be your children. It may be horses. It may be hockey. But no matter what goes wrong in your life, or who dies or what happens, at the core is your passion (translated : spirituality)... something pure. At the heart of this movie is this purity... and after the draft, relationships, addictions, and just plain adolescent insanity, the characters find that their friendship is still alive because of a common love. Don't try and make too much sense of this review. This isn't a restaurant review. I can't explain the feeling nor would I expect the 95% of America that doesn't live near a surf-able wave to get it...just watch the movie.


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