Today, the original Point Break turns 25. Its premise of an FBI agent infiltrating a gang of surfers who rob banks to fund their adrenaline addiction has aged much better than anyone could have predicted in 1991.
Many a Gen-Xer will tell you this cult classic is one of the greatest action movies ever made. The Fast and the Furious franchise is widely regarded as Point Break with cars. And although that franchise has made close to four billion dollars, none of its installments comes close to capturing the magic of the original Point Break.
Fittingly, here are two Johnny Utah touchdowns worth of facts to celebrate this milestone. (They went for two after the second one, OK?)
Urban legend holds that the Ex-Presidents die chronologically relative to their presidential terms. It’s even listed as trivia on the IMDB page. But in reality, LBJ dies first, then Carter gets shot at the airport and dies before Nixon, who is mortally wounded in the same scene. Oh and then Reagan goes out to surf a really big wave.
1. The film was originally called Johnny Utah, until it was changed to Riders on the Storm. But the lyrics to the Doors song had nothing to do with the film’s subject matter, so the studio finally settled on Point Break. In surfing, that’s a long-lasting wave found off the coast with a headland or point.
2. One of the producers, Rick King, came up with the idea for the movie while relaxing on the beach. He was reading an LA Weekly article about Los Angeles being the bank robbery capital of America and the basic premise just popped into his head.
3. Matthew Broderick was originally offered the role of Johnny Utah.
4. When Bodhi meets Johnny Utah he remarks that Johnny’s surfboard reminds him of a ‘57 Chevy he used to own. Swayze actually drove a ’57 Chevy in the film Dirty Dancing (1987).
5. Patrick Swayze is not the actor wearing the Reagan mask during the famed foot chase. His stunt double, Scott Wilder, filled in because Swayze was in Europe doing press for the movie Ghost.
6. The cast was pretty green regarding surfing. Prior to filming, Keanu Reeves (Johnny Utah), Patrick Swayze (Bodhi) and Lori Petty (Tyler) all trained with renowned surfer Dennis Jarvis in Kauai. About those sessions, Jarvis said: “Patrick said he’d been on a board a couple of times, Keanu definitely had not surfed before, and Lori had never been in the ocean in her life.”
7. Director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) cast more experienced surfers in a couple of “Ex-President” roles. Bojesse Christopher (Grommet) and John Philbin (Nathaniel) were pros who acted on the side.
8. Urban legend holds that the Ex-Presidents die chronologically relative to their presidential terms. The myth is even listed as trivia on the Point Break IMDB page. But in reality, LBJ dies first, then Carter gets shot at the airport and dies before Nixon, who is mortally wounded in the same scene. Oh and then Reagan goes out to surf a really big wave.
9. Keanu Reeves observed real FBI agents in L.A. to study for the role. He also practiced with UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel to help with the football scene. Nonetheless, Reeves was still hopeless and Bigelow had to use someone else to throw because the actor couldn’t complete any passes.
10. The beach where the football game is played is the same beach used for the soccer game in The Karate Kid.
11. Point Break was the first of two films in which Keanu Reeves played a former Ohio State quarterback. In the 2000 film The Replacements he again played an ex-Buckeye QB.
12. Ratt’s “Nobody Rides for Free,” the epic song that plays over the film’s closing credits, was recorded specifically for the film’s soundtrack. It’s not on any of the band’s studio records but does appear on their greatest hits album, Ratt N’ Roll 81-91.
13. Patrick Swayze was so enamored with skydiving that he pestered Gary Busey (Pappas) until Busey finally agreed to go with him when they were done shooting.
14. During the “50-Year Storm” surfing scene, Swayze was doubled by big-wave surfer Darrick Doerner.
15. When Johnny catches up to Bodhi at the end, Bodhi asks if he’s still surfing, to which Johnny replies, “Every day.” Like his character, Keanu Reeves continues to surf to this day.