Variety - 05/24/1978
"...[The surfing scenes] are exciting....The camera is placed almost inside the waves..."
Total Film - 11/01/2003
"...A cult fave....A mature ode to lost youth..."
BIG WEDNESDAY follows the lives of Matt (Jan-Michael Vincent), Jack (William Katt), and Leroy (Gary Busey), three young Californians who live to surf. Together, the boys ride the waves, throw beach parties, and, of course, get into scrapes. However, as the years go by, the trio must contend with the escalating war in Vietnam and embark on the painful road to maturity.
Although director and screenwriter John Milius usually dwells in a macho world of action, his meditation on the waning of youthful dreams, partially based on his own childhood, is surprisingly heartfelt. While the film depicts the close friendship shared by Matt, Jack, and Leroy, it also does justice to their favorite pastime with stunningly photographed surfing sequences. Widely considered to be one of the best surfer movies of all time, BIG WEDNESDAY pinpoints a specific era with pitch-perfect skill and nostalgia.
Coming Of Age |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: 1978
Filming locations: California and Hawaii.
BIG WEDNESDAY takes place in five acts: South Swell (summer 1962), West Swell (1965), North Swell (summer 1968), Great Swell (spring 1974), and finally Big Wednesday (1977).
BIG WEDNESDAY was released the same year as THE DEER HUNTER (which looked at the Vietnam war through the eyes of a group of friends in Pennsylvania), and its political content was amplified by the comparison between the two films.
There is rumored to be an R-rated version of the film, never shown in the U.S., from which 8 minutes of rescue scenes and dialogue between Sally and Bear were cut in order to achieve a PG rating.