Big Wednesday (1978)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A group of friends reunite ten years after they have served in Vietnam. Originally a group of surfers with an irresponsible approach to life, they find that things are much different after spending time fighting a war.
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Gary Busey
as Leroy Smith
Jan-Michael Vincent
as Matt Johnson
William Katt
as Jack Barlow
Lee Purcell
as Peggy Gordon
Barbara Hale
as Mrs. Barlow
Fran Ryan
as Lucy
Reb Brown
as Enforcer
Gerry Lopez
as Himself
Hank Worden
as Shopping Cart
Joe Spinell
as Psychologist
Steve Kanaly
as Sally's Husband
Keith Davis
as Ostrich
Perry Lang
as Tall Kid
Charlene Tilton
as Party Girl #2
Lynn Theel
as Party Girl #7
Jack Bernardi
as Tailor
Arthur Rosenberg
as Official
Todd Lookinland
as Surfer #3
Sasha Jenson
as Surfer #5
Iris Korn
as Old Woman
Ollie O'Toole
as Minister
Celia Kaye
as Bride of the Bear
Rick Dano
as Panhead
Yvon Arai
as Boggie
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Critic Reviews for Big Wednesday

All Critics (9)

[VIDEO ESSAY] Milius constantly revisits the ocean's churning surf as a literal and metaphoric yardstick to underscore the movie's themes of personal responsibility, loyalty, and the pressures of unpredictable social change.

Full Review… | February 9, 2014

Remains noteworthy as a cult film.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Ambitious in goal, John Millius' tale suffers from an inconsistent tone, trying to be elegiac, nostalgic, and mythical in depicting the impact of Vietnam and aging on a clique of three surfers between 1962 and 1974 but the acting and imagery are good.

Full Review… | July 5, 2005

Imparts quintessential elements of the male psyche more persuasively than Milius' other gung-ho action pictures

December 31, 1999

Quote not available.

October 5, 2006

Quote not available.

October 9, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Audience Reviews for Big Wednesday


Kind of an "American Graffiti" only instead of cruising and cars, it's the beach and surfing on the cusp of the Vietnam War arriving and changing everything. A shaggy dog, to be sure, with awkward story pacing and flat acting here and there (and the Tijuana sequence I think was solely written so the cast and crew could go to Tijuana on the studio's dime). BUT. A lot of heart went into this and the surfing sequences are nicely done. Also nice to see these three actors so early in their careers (Robert Englund also has a supporting role, pre-"Freddy"). Definitely a fine first effort from John Milius directing his own screenplay.

Mark Baumgardner
Mark Baumgardner

This film's not just about surfin' but about life - it's only while you are young when you can ride the waves, and time to go back to the land (to be mature) comes to everybody. It's also about men's friendship, love to women, and of course above all, the wave as the symbol of our dream. This is the film that has never-fading soul.

Naoya Kugimiya
Naoya Kugimiya

Typical coming of age nostalgia film elevated by a compelling look at surfer culture and that crazy Gary Busey.

David Smith
David Smith

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