Surfing movies were popular during the ‘50s and ‘60s. Movie studios and production companies capitalized on the popularity of surfing movies, and began churning them out on a regular basis, especially between 1959 and 1965.
Most of them were rather formulaic in plot and storyline—surfer couple is the talk of the shore until a new guy or girl comes along to shake things up, including the couple’s relationship. However, a few of these movies either served to launch the careers of up-and-coming actors, or provided a springboard for young actors to break loose from one particular role and enter into another. Other surfing movies actually portrayed a realistic view of surfing.
With that in mind, here is a list of the five best surfing movies. Each one is an example of the varied ways in which surfer movies affected the stars, the subject, and even the thoughts of those who viewed them.
“Gidget:” This example of the surfing movies genre was released in 1957. Although the movie itself was intended to focus more on the adventures of Frances Lawrence (whose nickname “Gidget” was short for “Girl Midget”), it actually became responsible for promoting the sun/surf/sand ideology about California that swept the nation.
“The Endless Summer:” was a 1964 documentary written, directed, and narrated by Bruce Brown. The film followed two surfers as they traveled the world one summer looking for the perfect wave.
“Beach Blanket Bingo:” This was only one of the many movies that Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon made together. It also starred Linda Evans as a singer.
“A Summer Place:” This movie did not fit the “norm” of surfer movies, although reference is made to the older man’s former occupation as a beach lifeguard, and it is cast in a beach setting. It is different in that it addressed certain moral and ethical issues that, for the 1950s, were not portrayed that explicitly in movies or on TV.
“Point Break:” The stars of this movie included Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. The plot was that of a rookie FBI agent being sent to infiltrate a gang of surfers who also just happen to be robbers. The only problem is he can’t surf.
This movie actually did quite well for a surfer movie that was released at a time when surfer movies were no longer as popular as they once had been.>
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