Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
Watch On
  1. An improbably bountiful subject -- kids on skateboards turning themselves into virtuoso artist-athletes -- has been brought to life in a wonderful, unpretentious documentary.
  2. This collision of skate punk and pop-culture archaeology is the most entertaining slice of cultural history I've seen in years.
  3. A dazzlingly crafted documentary about the teenage surf punks of lower Los Angeles who singlehandedly transformed skateboarding into the extreme sport it has become.
  4. 90
    So much fun that its considerable worth as history and sociology seems almost incidental.
  5. Reviewed by: Meredith Brody
    Propulsive and highly satisfying documentary.
  6. Reviewed by: Curt Fields
    Using home movies, photos, a brilliant soundtrack and candid, articulate interviews, director Stacy Peralta (one of the original Z-boys) details the birth of a pop culture phenomenon.
  7. 90
    Enormously enjoyable, high-adrenaline documentary.
  8. 89
    That they were just hormonally blitzkrieged kids at the time, unaware of their role in history, only makes Peralta's superior doc that much more winning.
  9. 88
    Raucous look at an equally raucous phenomenon.
  10. 88
    There's great action moviemaking here: You learn what it means to "carve" a pool, as you learn what it means to "close off" the boxing ring in Ali.
  11. Reviewed by: Jonathan Perry
    Does a terrific job of evoking the electric magic of an extraordinary era.
  12. 83
    The overall effect is awe and affection -- and a strange urge to get on a board and, uh, shred, dude.
  13. In keeping with the unrefined spirit of the '70s, the movie is deliberately haphazard and proudly retains all its mistakes, including narrator Sean Penn going up on his lines.
  14. Exhilarating, breathless, must-see chronicle of the skateboarder revolution and evolution.
  15. 75
    Here is an entire movie about looking cool while not wiping out. Call it a metaphor for life.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The film is, however, almost inevitably wistful for the past, and many of its emotional touches come from juxtaposed then-and-now footage of the participants.
  17. Few sports films catch their time, place and sport so well. For skateboard fans, this is a must. But it's also a great ride if you know nothing about the sport or what it meant. At the end of this movie, you will.
  18. 70
    We expect some depth and perspective from filmmakers, but even in talking about the movie Peralta sounds like an ex-high school quarterback who never got over the Big Game, or an old campus revolutionary who's never glimpsed the folly that went along with the fervor.
  19. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    If the sign of good documentary is its ability to enthrall you regardless of your prior interest in the subject, then Stacy Peralta's hugely entertaining film earns high marks.
  20. Reviewed by: Jeff Stark
    This movie is a sun-dappled documentary about skateboarding, about the thrill of speed, the joy of reckless youth. Turning it into an academic example of the problems of history -- of who tells it and how it gets told -- is a lot less fun.
  21. As this taut, viscerally propulsive insider's history of the sport in its early years skids and leaps forward with a jaunty visual panache, it is impossible not to be seduced by its hard-edged vision of an endless teenage summer.
  22. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    A fascinating story, albeit with some missed opportunities in the telling.
  23. 60
    Makes for unexpectedly giddy viewing.
  24. 50
    A thumping soundtrack, including David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" and Pink Floyd's "Us and Them," fuels this high-energy look at a pack of underdogs who sowed the seeds for today's extreme sports craze.
  25. A more impartial filmmaker might have understood the need for other voices to balance against all that attitude, might have understood how hungry the film makes us for even a single non-adulatory moment.
  26. Exhilarating but blatantly biased.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. JohnL.
    Oct 14, 2005
    I really enjoyed this documentary and thats saying a lot because I usually find them pretty boring.