Skateboarding movies are rare. There aren’t as many out there as there should be, which made compiling this list very difficult. Skateboarding has such a huge amount of potential. Most skaters live pretty dynamic lives and the competitive skateboarding scene is huge! The last good skateboarding movie was Lords of Dogtown released way back in 2005, which is a massive 8-year-ago reference point. We remember watching most of these movies when we were still into skateboarding. Sadly for us this time has passed, but skateboarding lives on! Don’t you think it’s time we get another epic Skateboarding movie?
Here’s our Top 10 Skateboard Movies (in no particular order):
1. Lords of Dogtown (2005)
‘Lords of Dogtown’ probably tops the list of most fans, not only because it really is a great film, but Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk plays in it. Personally we think there’s been better, but since this is the last real skateboarding movie that came out, 8 years ago… it’s all reference there is.
Lords of Dogtown is a 2005 biographical film directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Stacy Peralta. The film is based on the story of “The Z-Boys”, an influential group of skateboarders who revolutionized the sport. The movie is dedicated to the memory of comedian Mitch Hedberg, who appears in the movie but died before the film was released. The film has a close relationship with Thrashin’, the 1986 original skateboarding cult classic, directed by David Winters, where Catherine Hardwicke began her career in motion pictures as a production designer and had a chance to work with many famous skaters including Tony Alva, Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi and Steve Caballero.
2. Grind (2003)
Grind is a comedy, and putting it on a top 10 list is a bit of a stretch, but the movie does share the passion, the sport, and the will to go pro! Grind is about four young aspiring amateur skaters Eric Rivers (Mike Vogel), Matt Jensen (Vince Vieluf), Dustin Knight (Adam Brody), and Sweet Lou Singer (Joey Kern) who are trying to make it in the world of pro skateboarding by pulling insane stunts in front of pro skater Jimmy Wilson (Jason London). The film has developed a cult following, but once again we believe simply because there are so few other Skateboarding movies to compare it with.
3. Gleaming the Cube (1989)
One of the classics out there, although the movie doesn’t evolve around skateboarding, it does play a very prominent role in the movie. Also known as ‘A Brother’s Justice’ and ‘Skate or Die’ was released in 989. It featured Christian Slater as Brian Kelly, a 16-year-old skateboarder investigating the death of his adopted Vietnamese brother. A whole range of very young real pro skaters make an appearance in the movie. Mike McGill, “Gator” Mark Rogowski, Rodney Mullen, Rich Dunlop, Eric Dressen, Lance Mountain, Mike Vallely, Chris Black, Ted Ehr, Natas Kaupas and Chris Borst, Tony Hawk (Buddy) and Tommy Guerrero (Sam). The film received only a moderate release in the United States from 20th Century Fox (in 469 theaters). Although the film had a relatively low box office turnout, it garnered a significant cult following after its theatrical release, through basic cable replays on networks such as USA and the burgeoning VHS (and later DVD) market, as well as notoriety among skateboarders.
4. Trashin’ (1986)
Considered by many as the original skateboarding movie. Thrashin’, also known as Skate Gang, is a 1986 American skater drama film and stars Josh Brolin, Robert Rusler, and featuring Pamela Gidley. At also featured many famous skaters such as Tony Alva, Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi and Steve Caballero. the story revolves around Cory Webster, an amateur skateboarder from out-of-town staying in Los Angeles with friends in hopes of competing and winning a downhill competition which he has been training for. During his stay in LA, he falls for a beautiful blonde named Chrissy, who just happens to be the younger sister of Hook, the leader of “The Daggers”, a tough punk rock skateboard gang in the Los Angeles/Venice Beach areas. Chrissy is not a Dagger herself but has come from her home in Indiana to stay with her brother in L.A. for the summer.
5. Wassup Rockers (2005)
‘Wassup Rockers‘ is about a group of Guatemalan American and Salvadoran American teenagers in South Los Angeles who, instead of conforming to the hip hop culture of their gang-infested neighborhood, wear tight pants, listen to punk rock, and ride skateboards. Avoiding the violence of their dangerous home turf is an everyday challenge. Director Larry Clark became famous for his movie ‘Kids’ back in 1995.
6. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
‘Dogtown and Z-Boys‘ is a 2001 documentary film directed by Stacy Peralta. This also formed the inspiration for the movie ‘Lords of Downtown’. Using a mix of film the Zephyr skateboard team shot in the 1970s by Craig Stecyk and more recent interviews, the documentary tells the story of a group of teenage surfer/skateboarders and their influence on the history of skateboarding (and to a lesser extent surfing) culture. The film is narrated by Sean Penn. Much of the archival footage used in the film came from teenagers who wanted to be a part of the Z-Boys group but were not good enough skateboarders so they got to be a part of the Z-Boys group by filming and photographing them.
7. The Search for Animal Chin (1987)
The Search for Animal Chin came out in 1987, and was by far one of the best skateboarding video to come out anywhere near that time. It featured the famous “Bones Brigade” skate team, and it was one of the very first skateboarding videos to have a plot! The movie starts with Animal Chin, the 62-year-old master of skateboarding, going missing. The Bones Brigade (Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill and Lance Mountain) go on a search for him. The story is simple and fun, and it’s obvious that the team had a lot of fun making it. The video is a must see for anyone who cares about skating – it’s different from the skate videos of today, more low, simple, and fun.
We know this is only 7 movies, but as we mentioned earlier there just aren’t that many skateboarding movies out there to put on a top 10 skateboard movies list. Which means this is more of a top 7 list. Let us know in the comments if we missed any.
Paranoid Park (2007) – Doesn’t really classify as a skateboarding movie in our opinion, even though the lead actor is a skateboarder.