By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Although skateboarding movies aren’t as popular as they should be, skateboarding and cinema have been connected for years. We’re not just talking about the skateboard films that most pro skaters have. It’s also about the skateboarding stories that have made it to the big screen and trascended the sport itself. In this list, we show you five of the most iconic skateboarding films ever made.
Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
This documentary was directed by the legendary Californian skateboarder Stacy Peralta. Dogtown and Z-Boys is, in part, an autobiographic film about Peralta and his famous Zephyr skateboarding team, also known as the Z-Boys. With archive footage, the movie shows how these skaters started to push the boundaries of skateboarding by taking on dry pools all over Venice Beach, California, due to droughts. With these stunts and daring acts, the Z-Boys started to shape skateboarding into the big deal that it is today. This film is a must for anyone who is interested in the history of this sport.
Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator (2003)
This critically-acclaimed documentary tells the story of Mark “Gator” Rogowski, one of the most important professional skateborders of the 80’s and the early 90’s. His rise to fame and fortune led him to a life of excesses, drugs and alcohol, and his skateboarding career ended when he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Jessica Bergsten, a fellow friend of his former girlfriend, Brandi McClain.
The movie has music from bands such as Black Flag and Dead Kennedys, and also features interviews with skateboarding legends like Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain and Steve Caballero. Even though it’s a dark story, Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator is one of the best skateboarding films ever made.
Thrashin' is one of the most iconic skateboarding films of all times. Featuring actor Josh Brolin in one of his first big acting roles, the movie narrates the story of Cory Webster, a young skater that aspires to win a downhill skating competition. On his way, he falls in love with Chrissy, the sister of a gang leader. This is a Romeo-and-Julietesque story brought to the cinema and skateboarding world, but the film is just great. It also features a lot of legendary skaters from the 80’s, so it’s worth a watch.
The Search For Animal Chin (1986)
Looks like 1986 was a great year for skatebording films. But The Search For Animal Chin is the most successful and iconic of all skateboarding videos ever made by pros. And it was also the first skateboarding video to feature a plot rather than just showing what pro skaters are capable of. This movie is basically the journey of the legendary Bones Brigade (Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, Mike McGill and Tommy Guerrero) while they look for a wise skateboarding master called Animal Chin.
In the last scene of the video, the Bones Brigade members find a vert in the middle of the desert. This vert, which was destroyed three days after the filming, is the most iconic skate ramp of all time, featuring the first and only vert spine ever made. This movie is just about fun and skateboarding, and every skater will enjoy it.
Paranoid Park (2007)
Paranoid Park is not the standard skateboarding movie about a bunch of teenagers looking to go pro. This dramatic film, directed by Gus Van Sant, tells the story of Alex, a teen skateboarder who fights a security guard with his board and accidentally kills him. Even though this film features skateboarding heavily, the story revolves around the nonsense life of this teenager and the guilt he feels after the accident that changed his life. So, if you’re tired of plain old skateboarding videos, check this movie for a deep story.
Read also: Top 10 Skateboard Books You Should Read