The Endless Summer

 (785)7.71 h 31 min1966PG
The ultimate surfing adventure, crossing the globe in search of the perfect wave. Director Bruce Brown creates a film so powerful it has become a timeless masterpiece that continues to capture the imagination of every new generation. classic
Directors
Bruce Brown
Starring
George GreenoughNat YoungButch Van Artsdalen
Genres
SportsDocumentary
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Paul StrauchFred HemmingsWayne MiyataLance CarsonMickey DoraCorky CarrollRobert AugustMike HynsonJohn WhitmoreMax WettelandHarry BoldPhil EdwardsBernie RossLord James BlearsConrad CunhaMick McmanusRodney SumpterGreg KnollBob Pike
Producers
Bruce BrownRobert Bagley
Studio
Bruce Brown
Rating
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

785 global ratings

  1. 90% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 5% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 2% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

PhotoGraphicsReviewed in the United States on August 29, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Once upon an innocent time
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I wasn't around when this movie was first released, and to my knowledge it has never been broadcast on network TV, but as a kid growing up on the beach in Southern California it was inevitable that I would at one point in my life get to watch a midnight showing of it at the iconic La Paloma theater in Encinitas, literally walking distance from the equally iconic Moonlight Beach and Swami's. But that was a long time ago and weary of the newly discovered culture of cancelling history that pervades America I wanted to revisit if only for an unfortunately short 95 minutes this innocent slice of surfer life in these troubled times with a movie that planted an adventure seed in millions of young people's minds.

Sure I could have rented it but the tipping point that caused me to purchase my own permanent DVD copy was an opinion that for some misdirected reason life in 1966 would be expected to conform to a myopic vision of today's messed up world - I wanted to be sure such shut-eyed thinking wouldn't result in the remaining copies of this movie being burned in a huge bonfire in the streets at a temperature of 451F, and I'm not talking about the kind of bonfire the surfers enjoyed at the beach.

Now look, this isn't a cinematic masterpiece, it's more like one guy's home movies and the whole thing cost them less than I paid my car but despite the lack of digital effects or surround sound (trivia fact: originally the film didn’t even have audio, the director Bruce Brown would play records and narrate it live in theaters) the photography at all twelve locations is stunning. Nor was it intended to be a study in social mores - we're talking about a bunch of surfer kids looking for the perfect wave. But come to think of it aren't we all looking for that perfect wave in our lives? Didn't we all seek to learn from our foibles and imperfections and build a better us and by extension build a better world around us? We will never reach that promised land if we can only seek to tear down and destroy our history and find fault in the stepping stones we used to reach the point where we are today. Without learning from history we are cursed to have no tomorrow.

So for me it was easy to look past those moments of kids simply being kids and return to a time of innocence, that day when the last period in school ended and we were free to grab our surfboards and take off in a world free of TSA, social distancing, face masks and a society filled with animosity; and with pure and simple innocence seek out our own beautiful endless summer.

Fluffy gives this movie 4 paws up.
11 people found this helpful
A.M.D.G.Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Goofy surfer dude commentary, but not racist
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The narrator refers to both the white and black citizens of Africa as “natives.” He is differentiating them from the traveler-protagonists. He makes goofy comments about Californians in the beginning, and the same type goofy comments about the all the other people they meet, and the surfers themselves. I do not feel anyone is “treated” any better or worse.

It’s a lighthearted trip around the world to surf, and actually run away from winter. Think about that.

It’s so lovely. Watch it on prime, and when you fall in love with the vibe, buy a disc copy before the flakes get it banned altogether.
10 people found this helpful
John P. Jones IIIReviewed in the United States on September 10, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
An iconic ‘60’s movie, of a different sort…
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No social turmoil here, no quagmire of a distant war. Wonderful hedonism instead. And a “dream” of sorts, though not the one MLK had in mind. I first saw this movie when it came out, in the summer of 1966, in Pittsburgh. Having grown up there and chipped more than my share of ice off the sidewalks, while shoveling the snow… just the title of the movie which evoked those wonderful lazy days of summer… forever… had instant appeal. And it was about a culture and a sport that I knew nothing of: surfing. “Endless Summer” would be one of those book/movie titles that entered the cultural lexicon, along with “The Perfect Storm” and “A Bridge Too Far.”

Last night I was in the mood for, nay, in the need for, some mindless entertainment. An hour and a half of watching “surfer dudes” seemed to fit the bill.

Impressive. And amazing. Watching someone riding an ideal wave, just ahead of the point where it is curling over and crashing, to see him (and save for Australia, it was usually a he) disappear behind the curl, as the wave is crashing over him, and then to see him shoot out again, still upright on the board, still untouched by the power of the wave. Ah! Of the many ways we define “sports,” some of which are of the most brutal sort, the elegance and the beauty of an accomplished surfer has some of the very highest appeal. There are at least 50, if not 100 such wonderful images throughout this movie.

The opening scenes are shot in Hawaii and Malibu (CA). At the latter, they are surfing, in winter, with the water temperature at 48 degrees F., and no wet suit! Wet suits are de rigueur for surfers today in southern California, often in the summer as well. No wonder they hatched the plan to follow summer around the world, becoming early “globetrotters.” (Who and how the trip was funded is never revealed). Even more jolting than the images of surfers in CA with no wetsuits, were the images of these two surfer “dudes” getting on airplanes in their suits and ties! (Indeed, it was a different time and place, when one dressed up before getting on an airplane).

They visit three African countries not that long after their independence: Dakar, Senegal; Accra, Ghana; and Lagos, Nigeria. They surf in each, probably, as they say, the first people to ever surf in these locales, much to the interest of the natives. Then they are off to South Africa, where the small surfer community of one hundred or so turns out to greet and help them. They get a ride up the coast to Durban. Yes, sharks at Durban are a serious consideration, then, as well as today.

On to Australia, Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney, all of which was a bit of a disappointment, at least surf-wise. Turns out the good surf is in the winter!... and they are there during their summer. Some consolation appeared available from some of their fellow bikini-clad surfers. In New Zealand they had “a few good days,” before going on to Tahiti, where there is no surf, or so it is claimed. They are able to surf on waves going OUT to sea, after they bounced against the very steep shoreline.

The perfect wave… the holy grail of surfing? They found it at Cape St. Francis, South Africa (with the help of Google, it is halfway between Cape Town and Durban). It was possible to stay within the curl for 45 seconds … an eternity for wave riding.

A trip down memory lane, for a look at a wonderful sport that I have not accomplished, or even tried. 4-stars.
12 people found this helpful
aijReviewed in the United States on March 31, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful Footage - Completely Racist
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Beautiful footage of two American boys who travel the world surfing in the 70's. Really gives you a sense of the absolute ignorance and bigotry that was a part of that time. They call the first town they land in in Senegal primitive, refer to the people as natives, call an adult man "the chief", make vague comments about the feeling they might be put on a stick (ie: "attacked" by the "natives") while a fishing boat approaches them and make various other references to show a complete lack of understanding and respect for fellow humans. And all that in order to demo two white guys just "having fun" and "doing their thing". (Dear God, What else is new.) Hilarious that people reference this movie as a portrayal of a "simpler time"-- kind of demo's an enduring issue and begs the question... A simpler time for who?
10 people found this helpful
The Tally HoReviewed in the United States on September 9, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Review without Spoilers - Pros & Cons
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The Endless Summer is a 1964 (1966 world release) surf travelogue movie Here are the Pros & Cons as I see it
Pros:
1. A fun movie for any surf, beach, or sea enthusiast.
2. Nice music by the Sandals.
3. Makes me want to travel even more to enjoy nature, cultures, & life.
Cons:
1. A little cheesy in parts.
8 people found this helpful
Phxsns1Reviewed in the United States on April 6, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
A inspirational joy of a movie
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It's hard for me to see The Endless Summer as a movie. It's more like an old friend, one you can always trust to have a good time with, no matter the time or setting. It's one of the most simple and entertaining films I've ever come across, full of endless (yeah, sorry) joys and pleasures. All from an amateur director, 2 surfers, and a $50,000 budget.

The plot, while not very important, follows surfers Bruce Brown (director, writer, and narrator of the film), Mike Hynson, and Robert August as they travel around the world in search of "the perfect wave". Key spots include Hawaii, California, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti. The title derives from the idea of following the summer around the world.

It should be noted that knowledge of surfing is NOT required to enjoy this film (I, for example, knew nothing about the sport). This aspect is Bruce Brown's greatest achievement. The film is incredible in it accessibility. Brown narrates, and from the get-go, he is welcoming, light-hearted, and occasionally quite funny. The soundtrack for the movie is provided by The Sandals, and their music, including the film's now iconic theme song, sets the perfect mood. It also doesn't hurt that the sport of surfing is hypnotic and very fun to watch, especially with the great talents Brown is able to capture (Butch Van Artsdalen and Miki Dora are definite highlights). The film is beautifully shot, usually from the shore, but every once in a while from the surfboard itself.

I hesitate to call The Endless Summer a "great" documentary in the same class as Crumb, For All Mankind, Gimme Shelter, Dear Zachary, or the films of Allan King. It's kinda one-note, probably runs a good 15 minutes too long, and isn't exactly deep. But then again, it doesn't really have to be. What Bruce Brown exceeds at is capturing a mood and sense of fun. When Mike or Robert pull off a great ride, teach a few natives how to surf (in one of the film's most hilarious, though not exactly politically correct scenes), and of course, finally find that perfect wave in Southern Africa, you're just as excited as they are. No, The Endless Summer is not profound or thought-provoking cinema, but one aspect of it is undeniable: It's fun. Sometimes that's more than enough.
12 people found this helpful
twigsReviewed in the United States on September 2, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Past its prime
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It was beautiful to watch in a movie house in 1966, mindless fun. I've come to appreciate really talented surfers and the challenges they face and I've seen some of them from the safety of the shore.. My fond memories of this movie – and those long perfect curls of endless waves – were squashed tonight, 55 years and a lot of history later, I find it cringeworthy in parts, perhaps because it shows just how careless and mindless many of us were, and with such a sense of superiority.
beezerReviewed in the United States on September 8, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
classic surf movie
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I'm old enough that I saw this movie when it first came out and I really enjoy watching it now. It's a lighthearted and fun evening's entertainment but you might need to be of a "certain age" to appreciate it. Bruce Brown did a great job of filming and editing it. Thoroughly enjoyable.
One person found this helpful
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