What are the best skateboarding movies out there right now? Which skate videos do professional skaters praise the most? Which Hollywood productions have featured the sport? More importantly, which skateboard movies best represent skateboarding?
Let’s find out.
Skaterdater is a short film from 1965, often said to be the first-ever skateboarding movie. The film tells the story of two boys competing in a downhill race. There is no dialogue, and the film was shot in California, with locations including Torrance, Redondo Beach, and the Palos Verdes Estates.
Skaterdater was nominated for an Academy Award shortly after its release and in 2010 it was preserved by the Academy Film Archive.
Noel Black—the film’s writer and director—would later go on to direct Pretty Poison with Psycho actor Anthony Perkins, before writing and directing for TV. Unfortunately, while Pretty Poison and Skatedater were very well received and still have high ratings on IMDB, the same can’t be said for his other work, including the 4.4 rated Mirrors (1978) and the 4.3 rated Cover Me Babe (1970).
Mid90s is a 2018 movie that was written and directed by Jonah Hill, best known for his roles in 21 Jump Street, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Moneyball. It tells the story of a teenage skater and a group of friends living in Los Angeles during the mid-90s.
The film was well-received by fans and critics and featured a brilliant performance by the young actor Sunny Suljic. The movie revolves around skating and 90s culture and will appeal to anyone who lived through the 90s as a teenage skateboarder.
Lords of Dogtown (2005)
Lords of Dogtown is one of the most iconic skateboard movies of the last couple of decades. It is based on the 2001 Dogtown and Z-boys documentary, and showcases the rise of surfers, skateboarders, and their respective sports during the 1970s.
It features the late-great Heath Ledger, along with Johnny Knoxville and Emile Hirsch, and it was written by Stacy Peralta.
Dogtown and Z-boys (2001)
The aforementioned Dogtown and Z-boys is a must-watch documentary that chronicles the sport of skateboarding during the 1970s. It features appearances from famous skaters such as Tony Hawk, Jay Adams, Tony Alva, and Steve Cabellero and is a must-watch for anyone with a passion for skating.
Waiting For Lightning (2012)
The second documentary to make this list, Waiting For Lightning follows the story of Danny Way as he prepares to jump the Great Wall of China in 2005. It has input from Tony Hawk and other professional skaters and is a great watch for skaters.
Paranoid Park (2007)
Paranoid Park tells the tale of a high school student, Alex, who is involved in the death of a security guard.
The award-winning flick was directed by Gus Van Sant, who also directed Drugstore Cowboy and Elephant.
Skate Kitchen (2018)
Another relatively new film to make this list, Skate Kitchen launched in 2018. It is a coming-of-age story about a shy teenage skater who joins a group of female skaters.
Skate Kitchen was written and directed by Crystal Moselle and features Rachelle Vinberg in the starring role, with Jaden Smith stepping in as her love interest.
Thrashin’ is a 1986 film starring Josh Brolin. It was Brolin’s second feature-length film after The Goonies, and just like the classic adventure film, Thrashin’ is a perfect piece of 1980s culture.
Thrashin’ follows the story of two skateboarding gangs as they fight for supremacy in Los Angeles, California. It has a soundtrack featuring Meat Loaf and there is also an appearance from Tony Alva, making Thrashin’ a perfect snapshot of skate punk culture during the 1980s.
Gleaming The Cube (1989)
Christian Slater was the king of the 1980s and featured in some of the decade’s most iconic films, including The Name of the Rose, Heathers, and Gleaming the Cube, the latter of which makes our list of the best skateboarding movies.
Gleaming the Cube follows the life of a young skater named Brian Kelly (played by Slater) as he uncovers a government conspiracy regarding the death of his brother. In many ways, it follows the typical 80s/90s formula of an everyday kid (in this case a young skateboarder) who is minding his own business until his life gets turned upside down and he becomes the hero of the story.
Like so many skateboard movies, Gleaming the Cube features an appearance from Tony Hawk.
The Best Skateboarding Movies and Skate Videos
Skateboarding is a relatively modern sport, and one that has advanced leaps and bounds over the last few decades. As a trend, it comes and goes, and while there is always a strong skateboarding circuit and a lot of money being won and lost on tournaments, skateboarding games and movies usually move with the trends.
Whenever there is an influx of skateboarding movies depicting this sport, it usually suggests that a new wave of teenage skaters are hitting the skate shops, buying their boards, and learning about Ollies, ramps, and Tony Hawk.
And that can only be a good thing, because as new generations spend more time behind closed doors and on social media, sports like skateboarding might be pushed into the shadows. We need those skateboarding movies and games, we need those inspirational professional skaters, and we’re relying on that new generation of teenage skaters.