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Features
The 50 Greatest Sports Movies
We rank the very best sports films

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31

Big Wednesday (1978)

DIRECTOR John Milius
STARS Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt, Gary Busey

Typically for its maverick writer/director John Milius, Big Wednesday couldn't just be a coming-of-age story about surfer dudes; it had to be a coming-of-age story about surfer dudes channelling John Ford, Howard Hawkes and Ernest Hemingway. Chopped into segments covering four years and four different "swells", the film follows joker Gary Busey, steady William Katt and god-like Jan-Michael Vincent as they dream of the perfect wave and postpone growing up (which is not the same thing as growing older). At the beginning, it's just about the beach, but by the end, the shadow of Vietnam has darkened everything. Dramatically, you might think it overreaches, but its surf sequences are still awe-inspiring.
Read Empire's review

QUICK POLL
Should Big Wednesday be higher or lower on the list?
Higher
Lower

The Stats
THE SPORT
Surfing
THE PLAYERS
Matt, Jack, and Leroy the Masochist
DOCUMENTARY?
No.
DEFINING MOMENT
The first time it becomes clear that the stars are actually doing their own surfing.
KEY TACTICS
"More beer!"
Back Page 20 of 50 Next

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Have your say Agree with the list? Which sports movie would you add to the list? Register or login now to have your say.


Your Comments

1 Underdog film
Dodgeball certainly remains one of the classic underdog films, not just for its inspirational value, but its usual comedy, too. And perhaps some of the others could make this list too: http://www.ranker.com/list/best-movies-about-underdogs/ ranker-film Read More

Posted on Wednesday June 18, 2014, 18:51 by Imperion

2 See Also
Karate Kid, The Waterboy, The foot fist way, Hot rod, Caddy Shack, The mighty ducks, coach carter, blades of glory, mean machine, leatherheads, the ringer, nacho libre, kicking and screaming, baseketball, remember the titans, brians song, don king: only in america, cinderella man, million dollar baby, somebody up there likes me, the boxer, knuckle, bend it like beckham, fever pitch, zidane Read More

Posted on Saturday September 15, 2012, 18:42 by bnicholson50

3 RE: What the Hell!?
l largely an excuse for Chaplin to show off his legendary slapstick skills and rubbery physical abilities while poking fun at sports clichés and underdog stories, but it's still more entertaining than most of the films it skewers. ow exactly does Chaplin, in 1915, skewer films that are very very far from being made and poking fun at sports clichés that do not yet exist? Read More

Posted on Wednesday July 25, 2012, 00:42 by Evil_Bob

4 RE: Rocky - third place
BASEketball should totally be in here. Okay it's not a real sport, but it is a sport movie. And it's funny as shit wise a pretty damn solid list. (Rocky 2-4 should be included as well, but maybe that's being a bit greedy...) Read More

Posted on Tuesday July 24, 2012, 13:55 by Whistler


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