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Best Skateboarding Movies of All Time, Ranked – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Best Skateboarding Movies of All Time, Ranked



Skateboarding has a rich and fascinating history that began as an outlet for young surfers to experience the thrill of speed. It quickly became a symbol of youthful rebellion, and skaters often found themselves kicked out of public places. However, the sport began to evolve when the Zephyr skate team revolutionized it in the 1970s. Tony Alva and the rest of the team paved the way for pro skaters like Tony Hawk, and their lingo and style became mainstream.

In 2020, skateboarding finally debuted at the Tokyo Olympics, cementing its status as a respected Olympic sport. The athleticism and skill of skateboarders are finally getting the recognition they deserve, as the sport requires precision, dedication, and incredible hand-eye coordination. It’s not a sport that anyone can pick up; it takes years of practice and a lot of falls.

As a popular sport and symbol of counter-culture, Hollywood has tried to capitalize on it, particularly in the early 2000s as the X Games began to gain mainstream popularity. Several films have highlighted skaters, skateboarding, and skate culture, including the following:

1. Grind (2003)
Grind follows the adventures of four aspiring skateboarders who try to gain the attention of their hero, pro skater Jimmy Wilson. The film includes cameos from real-life pro skaters like Bam Margera and Tom Green, and it’s a goofy film in the vein of the Jackass era.

2. Thrashin’ (1986)
This 80s skater drama stars Josh Brolin as Corey Webster, a young skateboarder in Los Angeles who trains to win a downhill skateboarding competition. Along the way, he falls in love with a young woman named Chrissy while facing off against Hook, the leader of a punk skateboarding gang.

3. Skate Kitchen (2018)
Skate Kitchen is a 2018 teen drama that follows a group of female skateboarders attempting to break down gender norms in the male-dominated sport. The film explores many gender topics and follows protagonist Camille, a progressive punk rock skater, as she tries to find her own happiness.

4. Paranoid Park (2007)
Paranoid Park follows a young Portland skateboarder named Alex who becomes mixed up in a criminal investigation after the death of a train yard security guard. The film is intense, gritty, and directed brilliantly by Gus Van Sant.

5. Minding The Gap (2018)
Minding The Gap is a fantastic documentary that follows three friends growing up in Rockford, Illinois, all bound together through their love of skateboarding. The film explores many themes, including friendship, abuse, and racism.

6. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
Dogtown and Z-Boys is a brilliant, stylish documentary that shows you the birth of skateboarding and how it became iconic in American culture. The film focuses on the Zephyr skateboarding team and the barriers they broke for American skateboarding.

7. Mid90s (2018)
Jonah Hill’s directing debut Mid90s is a beautiful coming-of-age story that follows a young boy named Stevie who finds refuge with a group of skateboarding teens while dealing with a troubling home life.

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8. Wassup Rockers (2005)
Wassup Rockers follows a group of Guatemalan-American and Salvadoran-American teenagers who embrace the punk culture, rather than getting roped into gangs and violence. The film explores themes of racism, violence, and punk culture.

9. Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl) (2019)
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl) is a British documentary about a non-profit organization named Skateistan. It was founded in 2007 for girls in impoverished neighborhoods in Kabul, Afghanistan, and teaches girls to read, write, and skateboard even though young women are not allowed to participate in sporting activities.

Skateboarding is a sport that has come a long way from its origins as an outlet for young surfers. It has become a mainstream sport that requires dedication, skill, and athleticism. These films highlight the unique culture and history of skateboarding, and they’re perfect for any skateboarding buff and cinephile.

Skateboarding has an interesting history. The sport began as an outlet for young surfers to gain speed and thrill. The sport has become a symbol of youthful rebellion, and skaters have often been kicked out of public places. That all began to change when the Zephyr skate team began competing. Revolutionizing the sport in the 1970s, Tony Alva and the rest of the Zephyr skate team made their mark and paved the way for pro skaters such as Tony Hawk. Skaters’ lingo and style became adopted into the mainstream.


Update June 10, 2023: This article has been updated to include even more great films centered on skateboarding.

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympicsskateboarding finally made its debut. The sport is now a respected Olympic game, and the athletic capabilities of many skateboarders are finally getting their well-deserved recognition. Skateboarding takes precision, dedication, and incredible hand-eye coordination and is not a sport that anybody can pick up. For many, it takes years of practice and a lot of falling down. As a popular sport and a symbol of the counter-culture, Hollywood has tried to capitalize on it, particularly in the early 2000s as the X Games began to break out into the mainstream. Here are the best movies that have highlighted skaters, skateboarding, and skate culture.

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11 Grind

Grind film
Pandora Cinema/Warner Bros.

The 2003 comedy Grind follows the adventures of four aspiring skateboarders who try to gain the attention of their hero–– pro skater Jimmy Wilson (Jason London). Talented amateur skates themselves, the boys figure if they demo their skateboarding abilities of the living legend, he’ll sign them. The film includes several memorable cameos, including Bam Margera, Tom Green, and Preston Lacy, all of which are real-life pro skaters. In the end, these kids learn and grow together as they make their way into the professional world of skateboarding.

Related: Best Fictional Sports in Movies and TV, Ranked

Grind is a goofy film in the vein of the Jackass era and delivers tons of laughs. To boot, audiences get to watch Adam Brody, known for his work on TheOCplay a skateboarder himself. Although the film was not well-received by critics, it is a perfect movie for any skateboarding buff and cinephile.

10 Thrashin’

thrashin
Winters Hollywood Entertainment Holdings Corporation

Think of this story as the modern skating rendition of Romeo and Juliette but without the tragic death. This 1980s skater drama stars Josh Brolin as Corey Webster, a young skateboarder in Los Angeles who trains and hopes to win a downhill skateboarding competition. In typical 80s fashion, Webster falls in love with a young woman named Chrissy (Pamela Gidley) while facing off against Hook (Robert Rusler), the leader of a punk skateboarding gang and protective older brother of Chrissy. fatin’ is a tale of love, lust, revenge, and very fast skating, this is the perfect Friday night flick.

9 Skate Kitchen

skate-kitchen
Bow and Arrow Entertainment

Skate Kitchena 2018 teen drama, was written and directed by Crystal Moselle. After premiering at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the film was well-received by critics and spawned a spin-off series for HBO entitled Betty. The film explores many gender topics and follows a group of female skateboarders attempting to break down gender norms in the male-dominated sport. Protagonist Camille, a progressive punk rock skater, feels frustrated and trapped living in Long Island with her conservative single mother.

She finds refuge from this reality when she discovers the Skate Kitchen team, a group of wild, pot-smoking, rebellious skater chicks. Ultimately a coming-of-age story, Camille must learn to intertwine these two realities–– her role as a daughter and as a skater–– so that she can find her own happiness. The film was beautifully shot and very current to the political and social issues around gender, race, and inequality that the world is embroiled in today.

8 Paranoid Park

Paranoid Park
IFC Films

Paranoid Park is based on Blake Nelson’s novel of the same name. Gus Van Sant’s 2007 drama follows a young Portland skateboarder (Gabe Nevins) who becomes mixed up in a criminal investigation after the death of a train yard security guard. Riding in a freight train one night, Alex is chased by a security guard when things go terribly wrong.

Desperate to evade the authorities, Alex struggles with dark secrets, all while trying to maintain his normal and skater-boy demeanor. The film is intense, gritty, and bound together through the brilliant direction of Gus Van Sant. The cinematography, performances, and story all hit the mark for a great movie.

7 Minding The Gap

Minding the Gap Still
Hulu

Hulu’s Minding The Gap is a fantastic documentary that follows three friends growing up in Rockford, Illinois, all bound together through their love of skateboarding. Bing Liu and his two friends, Kiere Johnson, and Zack Mulligan, use skateboarding as a healthy way to cope with daily challenges as they learn how to make their way in the world.

Related: 15 Skateboarding Movie Characters That Kickflipped Their Way Into Our Hearts

The film follows each of these three kids as they grow up and how skateboarding is the trajectory of their lives. The film explores many themes, including friendship, abuse, and racism. It received positive reviews from audiences and critics alike and has recently been added to the Criterion Collection.

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5 Dogtown and Z-Boys

Dogtown and Z Boys
Sony Pictures Classics

Dogtown and Z-Boys is a brilliant, stylish documentary that shows you the birth of skateboarding and how it became iconic in American culture. The film focuses on the Zephyr skateboarding team and the barriers they broke for American skateboarding. Using gorilla tactics like practicing on staircases and emptied pools, the Zephyr team quickly gained notoriety for their athletic skills and well as their unique style that became the foundation of skateboarding as we know it today.

Narrated by Sean Penn, the film was directed by one of the original members of Zephyr, Stacie Peralta. It shows you the connection between surfing and skateboarding and the symbolism and mythology behind the sport. This is a must-see for any fans of the sport interested in knowing more about its history.

4 Mid90s

Mid90s

Jonah Hill’s directing debut Mid90s is a beautiful coming-of-age story. The film follows a young boy named Stevie (Sunny Suljic) who finds refuge with a group of skateboarding teens while dealing with a troubling home life. After getting his first skateboard, Stevie quickly falls in love with the daredevil energy of his fellow skateboarders.

Angry with his reality and looking for a release of his pent-up energy, Stevie and his new friends quickly up the anti for skateboarding tricks to a dangerous degree. Injuring himself both emotionally and physically, Stevie must learn how to cope with his life inside and outside of skateboarding so he can live a more prosperous life. The film perfectly tapped into the 90s skate kid scene and showed that Jonah Hill was more than just a great actor but had it to be a great filmmaker.

3 Wassup Rockers

Wassup Rockers
Lenny Clark

Larry Clark wrote and directed Wassup Rockerswhich follows a group of Guatemalan-American and Salvadoran-American teenagers who embrace the punk culture, rather than getting roped into gangs and violence. Living in Los Angeles and constantly experiencing violence, racism, and trouble at home, this inspirational film shows how these men found safety and community through their sport. As a filmmaker, Clark has always been heavily influenced by skate culture, and this film was a great take on the sport that explores themes of racism, violence, and punk culture.

2 Learning to skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone
Carol Dysinger

While not a feature-length film, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl) is one of the most powerful moving stories that not including it on a list regarding skateboard films would be a travesty. It is a British documentary about a non-profit organization named Skateistan. It was founded in 2007 for girls in impoverished neighborhoods in Kabul, Afghanistan, and teaches girls to read, write, and skateboard even though young women are not allowed to participate in sporting activities. The short film won The Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature (Short Subject) at the 92nd Academy Awards held on February 9, 2020.

1 Lords Of Dogtown

catherine-hardwicke-lords-of-dogtown
Columbia Pictures

Catherine Hardwicke’s 2005 film tells the true story of the Zephyr skateboarding team and the birth of the sport as we know it. Lords of Dogtown takes place in Santa Monica, California, in the 1970s and perfectly encapsulates what it was like to live there during that time. When a period of hot weather reduces the surf at a pier, and beachgoers are prohibited from hitting the waves, the local Z-boys, a group of young surfers, must figure out what to do now. While the group quickly gains fame for their skateboarding abilities, once in adulthood, the group struggles to maintain their friendships as life pulls them in different directions.

Lords of Dogtown shows, in great detail, the crossover from surf culture to skate culture, including how many classic slang terms with the sport were born. and features several memorable performances. Emile Hirsch plays the leader of the team in a scene-stealing performance. Heath Ledger also gives a tour de force portraying the team manager, Skip Engblom. This is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of skateboarding.

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