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Lords of Dogtown (2005)



Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 143
Fresh: 78 | Rotten: 65

Lords of Dogtown, while slickly made and edited, lacks the depth and entertaining value of the far superior documentary on the same subject, Dogtown and Z-Boys.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 15

Lords of Dogtown, while slickly made and edited, lacks the depth and entertaining value of the far superior documentary on the same subject, Dogtown and Z-Boys.



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 67,693

My Rating

Movie Info

In the 1970s, a group of teenage surfers from a tough neighborhood known as "Dogtown" in Venice, CA, pioneered a revolutionary new style of skateboarding. Riding the waves at the Pacific Ocean Park pier, the Z-Boys, known for their aggressive style and hard street attitude, combined the death-defying moves of surfing with the art of skateboarding and became overnight sensations and local legends. With empty pools as their canvas, the Z-Boys paved the way to what is now referred to as "extreme


Drama, Action & Adventure

Stacy Peralta

Sep 27, 2005


Sony Pictures Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (156) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (78) | Rotten (65) | DVD (23)

These kids can act, and they can ride those boards.

June 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lords of Dogtown stays afloat, largely because many of its actors transcend Hardwicke's heavy-handed storytelling.

June 3, 2005 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lords of Dogtown isn't a cop-out, but rather an ever-so-slight concession to commercialism, while Dogtown and Z-Boys was, above all else, a love song to the counterculture.

June 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If watching Dogtown and Z-Boys was tantamount to witnessing history itself, watching Lords of Dogtown, which Peralta wrote, feels more like watching a stiff, meticulously choreographed reenactment.

June 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's hard to think of a movie since 1950's Sunset Boulevard that has gotten more dramatic impact out of a pool.

June 3, 2005 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For someone who was there, not to mention someone who created Dogtown and Z-Boys, Peralta has crafted a script so superficial and simplistic it feels like it was tapped out by a 14-year-old fan.

June 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Comment (1)
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lords of Dogtown is an interesting look at the start of an ever increasingly more popular part of American youth culture, but often settles for surface gloss instead of introspection.

March 29, 2011 Full Review Source:

As the three friends separate via commercial successes afforded them, "Lords Of Dogtown" becomes a distinctly youthful American anecdote about the nature of friendship and success.

April 15, 2009 Full Review Source:

You don't have to care much about skateboarding (I really don't) to find the movie exhilarating and engaging.

August 13, 2007 Full Review Source:

Dogtown's testosterone fueled, deeply and sadly affectionate excursion into the contact highs and lows of male adolescence, gets it just right and more.

April 19, 2007 Full Review
Long Island Press

A modestly entertaining movie, thanks largely to the efforts of director Catherine Hardwicke and the three leads.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

...a thoroughly dull piece of work.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The three leads are superb, with Hirsch probably the stand-out - he and Rasuk do particularly well to suggest more than the script's rather one-note characterisation allows.

September 24, 2005 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

I found the never-ending circle of skates, booze, drugs and girls rather repetitive and boring, but skate-board fanatics will lap up every intense moment

August 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Director Catherine Hardwicke grew up in the area where the Zephyr team lived and she gets the look and feel of it just right.

August 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Despite the usual difficulty of people scripting their own stories, the film has an energetic fighting spirit.

July 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Directed with skill and assuredness by Catherine Hardwicke.

July 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

A celebratory experience, paying homage to those who, out of a lack of anything better to do,...created an outright phenomenon.

June 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)
Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

You don't need to know a grind from an ollie to appreciate "The Lords of Dogtown," the story of the birth of modern skateboarding culture.

June 27, 2005 Full Review
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

As exciting as the movie is, it stalls its way to an abrupt ending and feels like it's all been just the set-up, an origin story prepping us for an even bigger sequel.

June 27, 2005
Los Angeles CityBeat

Hardwicke executes with the crucial street cred a movie like this needs.

June 20, 2005 Full Review
Tooele Transcript-Bulletin (Utah)

...evokes a strong sense of nostalgia and provides an affectionate tribute to its subjects.

June 14, 2005 Full Review
Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

A pulse-pounding, high energy, rock n' rock blast!

June 14, 2005 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

part celebration of 1970s Southern California punk culture, part rise-and-fall social drama, and part cautionary tale about the perils of youth and success

June 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Lords Of Dogtown just may be the sleeper film of the summer.

June 11, 2005 Full Review Source: FromTheBalcony

The movie rarely conveys the import of what these kids accomplished: As depicted here, their cultural revolution seems no more noteworthy than a day spent at the mall.

June 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Lords of Dogtown

Skip: Yeah, this is Skip Engblom and the Zephyr Skateboard Team. Here's our entry fees. Now where's our trophies? 

"They came from nothing to change everything."

Lords of Dogtown is a good little movie about the Z-Boys of Venice and how they changed skating for the better and opened up the sport for the Tony Hawk's and Bob Burnquist's. If you are interested in this subject and want to see an amazing movie on the Z-Boys; watch Stacy Peralta's Dogtown and Z-Boys. 

Stacy Peralta did write this movie, so you know it has to be pretty close to 100% accurate. We watch as the boys move from just kids on the streets and in the waves to where they're going to big skate competitions. All the little details about the Z-Boys is in there, but not really talked about. They changed the sport from just standing on a board and made it into the extreme sport we know. They rode with a surfing style that no one had seen before. They got low to the ground and did quick turns where they'd almost lay on the concrete. This movie also delves into the egos of some of the skaters, especially Tony Alva. You almost grow to hate him through watching this movie. Obviously, you grow to like Peralta, which probably has a little bit to do with him writing the film.

The movie seemed like they tried to go a little over the top at times. The kids playing the Z-Boys at times seem like nothing more than posers because of how they talk and act. That's the biggest problem I had with the movie, but it wasn't happening the whole film. For the most part, I liked the portrayals. It could have been done better, but it was still a lot of fun watching this cultural change occur.

I should just say, I love movies like these that dive into the culture aspect of these movements. That's why I love the documentary that was made not he subject. It went into detail about the whole culture of these skaters a lot more then this movie did. We saw some of it, with the Zephyr party and the weed, the alcohol, the girls, and all that. There's also a great soundtrack, maybe one of the best I've seen put together in a movie. All the songs that were included fit the movie perfectly.

As much as I liked the film, I'm still slightly disappointed just because I know there's a better movie that could be made from this story. I hope somebody else comes along in the future and gives this subject another shot. Still, if you are at all interested in this subject, you should watch this film along with Peralta's documentary. It would make for a perfect double feature.
August 1, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Lords of Dogtown, is present by his director with a documentary style, the skateboard world in the early 70's. Is a entretaining film, very good to skate fans.
November 21, 2011
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Based on the true story of the legendary z-boys.

Very good movie, really enjoyable and fun! The story is very primitive and intoxicating which really brings out the taste of such sweet filming. Very good acting from everyone and a superb cast!

The true story of the kids who created modern skateboard culture is recreated in this drama. In the early '70s, skateboards were seen as a fad of the 1960s that had all but died out, but in a rough-and-tumble Venice, CA community known as "Dogtown," that was about to change. Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk), Stacy Peralta (John Robinson), and Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch) were three guys who liked to surf the rugged beaches around Venice and hung out at the Zephyr Surf Shop, a store run by Skip Engblom (Heath Ledger) that stocked gear for adventurous surfers and skateboarders. With the advent of new urethane wheels that connected with concrete in a way old metal and rubber wheels could not, Tony, Stacy, and Jay began exploring ways to translate radical surf style to skateboarding, and the guys invented a new way to skate inside the smooth, round surfaces of empty pools, employing vertical moves and edge flips that added a new and dramatic spin to skating. It didn't take long for word to spread about the wild new style of the Z-Boys, and they quickly became local celebrities, and later nationwide skating stars, though sudden fame took its toll on these young men. The true story of Lords of Dogtown was previously the basis of the acclaimed documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, directed by former Z-Boy Stacy Peralta, who like Tony Alva served as a consultant on this project.
July 26, 2011
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Lords of Dogtown works as a documentary style narrative in that there is no one main focus aside from the skateboarding movement. No one character has dominance as the protagonist; these are just a group of kids living in the most influential time for the sport. Most of the storytelling is paced in the most odd way possible, but that's kind've what separates it from being just another teen drama. Shooting the movie hand-held and in what appeared to be mock 16mm makes you feel like you're actually there in the mid to late sixties with these people. It also doesn't hurt that this has a great cast and equally great performances. Heath Ledger's nerdy and false-toothed Skip is hard to forget, but then again everyone did an excellent job playing the respective characters. Some people may be turned off by the fact that it is so non-traditional in its storytelling, but most people won't have a hard time enjoying this gem.
May 23, 2011

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Dogtown Boys (DE)
  • Les Seigneurs de Dogtown (FR)
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