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Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 95
Fresh: 87 | Rotten: 8

Dogtown and Z-Boys is a colorful, exhilarating look at the skateboarding subculture.


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 2

Dogtown and Z-Boys is a colorful, exhilarating look at the skateboarding subculture.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 13,595

My Rating

Movie Info

Skateboarding has crossed over into the mainstream population due in large part to the humble beginnings of a group of eight teenagers in an area of Santa Monica called Dogtown. It was there that this mismatched gang of kids from broken homes formed a group known as the Zephyr Team aka Z-Boys. They rode surfboards in the morning and skateboards in the afternoon, creating a style all their own. Desperate to ride, they used guerrilla tactics such as illegally skating abandoned swimming pools in


Documentary, Sports & Fitness

Stacy Peralta, Craig Stecyk

Aug 6, 2002


Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (97) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (87) | Rotten (8) | DVD (20)

You want to know more about their private lives than you get. But most viewers may be too stoked by the sheer adrenaline rush of the subject to care.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Package is lively, if loosely structured.

April 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
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This propulsive, highly satisfying 2002 documentary concerns a group of daredevil skateboarders from an economically depressed and dangerous area of Santa Monica known as Dogtown who reinvented the sport in the 70s.

April 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Infectiously exuberant.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Few sports films catch their time, place and sport so well.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is pop history that blows your hair back.

June 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Raw, baby, raw. That's what this documentary is, and that's why it's not meant for Blu-ray.

February 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Before Tony Hawk, skateboarding had the Z-Boys.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Skateboard-legend-turned-filmmaker Stacy Peralta rips open the paradigm of the documentary form in much the same way that he and his young Santa Monica Zephyr Competition Skate Team revolutionized skateboarding in the mid-'70s.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source:

Marred by a self-importance and heavy-handed assertion of mythic status that some may well find misplaced or just downright ridiculous.

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

I know exactly nothing about skateboarding, but this wild, exuberant documentary puts it all in perspective, outlining a crew of 12 surfers-turned-skaters who pioneered the sport -- and, some say, the art form.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Using the Zephyr team's creation, its sudden fame, and death by defection, Dogtown documents genuine 20th century tribalism.

June 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Low IQ Canadian

The straight cuts illustrate how the Zephyr team's revolutionary, riffing style was both an extension of surfing and aesthetically beautiful.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

There is something I find deeply disturbing about a documentary made about one's own life that never acknowledges its first person status.

January 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Hot Button
Hot Button

Quite possibly the best documentary about youth and sport since Hoop Dreams.

December 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The film fearlessly gets under the skin of the people involved ... This makes it not only a detailed historical document, but an engaging and moving portrait of a subculture.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

It's an entertaining study for anyone, as it makes you believe that skateboarding is the ultimate guerilla sport -- taking something that exists and is shrugged off and turning it into something amazing.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

An enthusiastic ode to a few of the pioneers of extreme sports.

November 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

An affectionate look back at those heady days.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

Despite its lack of perspective on history or the evolution of the sport, Dogtown and Z-Boys does what documentaries do best: It makes even viewers who have never touched a skateboard feel a part of the action.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

It also paints a vivid portrait of a place, time and tribal gathering where environment, attitude, innovation, athleticism and emphasis on style spawned an accidental revolution of sorts.

October 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Dogtown and Z-Boys does precisely what a documentary movie should do: it makes its subject fascinating whether you actually give a damn or not.

August 25, 2002 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Dogtown and Z-Boys

Skip Engblom: Children took the ruins of the 20th century and made art out of it.

"The Birth of Extreme"

Dogtown and Z-Boys is one of the more entertaining documentaries I've ever seen and actually one of the first documentaries I remember watching. The craziest thing about my love for this movie, is that skateboarding and everything that goes with it, isn't something that really interests me. Stacey Peralta, who is a fantastic documentary filmmaker, know exactly how to keep this movie fast paced and interesting. 

The movie did end up making me interested in the Z-Boys story. It's enjoyable to see how these street kid, surfers reinvented a dying sport and made it something that everybody knew about. Main highlights of the film include concrete warfare, where they would sneak into people's backyards and ride their pools and also the first skate competition that the Zephyr skate team was a part of.

If you've seen Lords of Dogtown and enjoyed it, this is something you should give a look. It's a great companion film to Lords of Dogtown and both are fun and entertaining films to watch. If getting the more in depth look into the movement is important to you, then Dogtown and Z-Boys is the way to go.
April 22, 2014
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

"This is concrete warfare we're talking about... if you're going to ride you gotta get on that shit."

Documentary about the pioneering 1970s Zephyr skating team.

Waycool documentary by legendary skateboarding ace Peralta chronicling the origins of the original extreme sport with vintage Super 8mm home movie archival footage, black & white stills, and assorted media combining with a classic rock and roll score to form a comprehensive and obvious valentine to a way of life. Gravity defying gravitas is captured like lightning in a bottle showing the wayfarer scruffy charisma and authority-defying nonchalance that has a visceral thrill in watching underdogs become cult heroes. Excellent portrayal of unbridled angst, anomie and pure adrenaline rushes from curling on a wave from the prototypical surf in the Pacific Ocean to the concrete playgrounds of abandoned suburban pools. Narrated by perfect choice, Sean Penn, The Artist Formerly Known As Spicoli.
August 25, 2010
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Sean Penn was in this? Oh yes he was the narrator. That explains why I didn't see him. It takes a special documentary to make a person who doesn't care about a subjec to take an interest in it. I have no interest in the 1970s Zephyr team and I don't have much interest afterwards. Very insider baseball.
January 3, 2010
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Interesting documentary on the birth of skateboarding. Best watched as a companion piece with the superior 'Lords of Dogtown'.
May 25, 2013

Super Reviewer

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