Skateboarding: explore the ultimate guide to the best films | Photo: Shutterstock

The birth of skateboarding coincides with the launch of the first commercial color television sets. Discover the greatest skater movies of all time.

The world's first skateboard movie was launched in 1966.

Since then, the action sports and film industry has released several successful motion pictures with skaters turned actors and actresses.

With the advent of analog videotape, skateboard companies and skaters started creating their own productions.

However, there's a difference between skate videos and skate movies.

A skate video is usually a short segment of edited clips featuring recreational, amateur, or pro riders produced and released by skateboarding companies, skate magazines, skate shops, and independent skateboarders.

A skate movie is a feature-length film or documentary that has been officially released on VHS, DVD, or through mainstream video streaming services.

Tony Hawk once said that, although it didn't have the best skate segment, "Back to the Future" inspired a whole generation of kids to start skating.

You might agree or disagree, but the truth is that some of skateboarding's greatest moments were shot for films in which the sport isn't part of the storyline.

Whether you're a first-time, beginner, or advanced rider, the following inspiring skating flicks will definitely make you grab the board and hit the streets.

Discover the ultimate list of 25 must-watch skateboard movies, sorted by chronological order.

Skaterdater (1966)

Directed by Noel Black, "Skaterdater" is widely regarded as the world's first skateboard movie.

It tells the story of seven young skaters - all members of the Imperial Skate Board Club - who ride around town.

One of them falls in love with a girl. But can the crew tolerate romance?

The film is notable for its use of hand-held cameras and its focus on the personalities and culture of the skateboarders rather than just showcasing tricks.

Directed by Noel Black.

Running time: 18 minutes

 

Skateboard: The Movie That Defies Gravity! (1978)

A Hollywood agent owes money to a powerful bookmaker.

The only way he finds to generate cash fast is to create a downhill skateboard racing team that could win $20,000 in a tournament.

The movie features David Hyde, Leif Garrett, Richard Van der Wyk, Steve Monahan, and Tony Alva.

Directed by George Gage.

Running Time: 97 minutes

 

The Bones Brigade Video Show (1984)

"The Bones Brigade Video Show" was the first of a series of videos produced by the Powell Peralta company.

It showcases hardcore skateboarding in ramps, pools, parks, streets, and ditches, powered by an intense soundtrack.

You'll see the first innovative old-school tricks and some of the sport's first stars in action in their youth.

The film features Steve Caballero, Adrian Demain, Todd Hastings, Tony Hawk, Chris Iverson, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen, Stacy Peralta, Eddie Reategui, Kevin Staab, Steve Steadham, and Per Welinder.

Directed by Stacy Peralta.

Running Time: 30 minutes

 

Thrashin' (1986)

Corey Webster is in Los Angels with his skater friends, training for a downhill skateboarding contest.

Suddenly, he falls in love with Chrissy, a beautiful blonde who is the sister of Hook, the leader of a punk skate gang named "The Daggers."

The dispute is decided in a dangerous and fast downhill race.

The cast includes Tony Alva, Per Welinder, Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, and many other skaters.

Directed by David Winters.

Running Time: 93 minutes

 

The Search for Animal Chin (1987)

"The Search for Animal Chin" is a skateboard movie that features the Bones Brigade.

It is considered one of the first skateboarding films to have a plot rather than simply a collection of skateboarding stunts and music videos.

It follows the Bones Brigade as they embark on a quest to find the legendary skateboarding master, Animal Chin.

The film stars Lance Mountain, Tony Hawk, Tommy Guerrero, Per Welinder, and Rodney Mullen.

Directed by Stacy Peralta.

Running Time: 66 minutes

 

Gleaming the Cube (1989)

Gleaming the Cube (1989)

"Gleaming the Cube" is a 1989 American neo-noir film written by Michael Tolkin and starring Christian Slater as Brian Kelly, a 16-year-old skateboarder who uncovers a government conspiracy while investigating the mysterious death of his adopted Vietnamese brother.

The film is a mix of action, drama, and mystery and was also known as "A Brothers Justice" and "Skate or Die," and it was released in the Philippines as "Challenge to Win Again."

Directed by Graeme Clifford.

Running Time: 105 minutes

 

Hokus Pokus (1989)

"Hokus Pokus" is the second film by H-Street and showcases the skateboarding team led by maestro Danny Way. It was entirely shot with video cameras.

Starring Alfonzo Rawls, Brian Lotti, Chris Livingston, Colby Carter, Danny Way, Eddie Elguera, John Sonner, Kien Lieu, Matt Hensley, Ron Allen, Sal Barbier, Tony Magnusson, and more.

Running Time: 60 minutes

 

Video Days (1991)

"Video Days" is a 1991 skateboard video directed by Spike Jonze featuring professional skateboarders riding around Los Angeles, California.

The video is notable for its unique style, including a mix of skateboard footage with comedic skits and old and new music.

It was also the first video to feature the skateboarding company Blind Skateboards.

It is considered a classic in skateboarding and a significant part of the sport's culture and history.

"Video Days" features professional skateboarders such as Mark Gonzales, Guy Mariano, Rudy Johnson, and Jason Lee, who were all part of the Blind Skateboards team at the time.

Its use of slow motion and unique camera angles also set it apart from other skate videos of the time.

Directed by Spike Jonze.

Running Time: 24 minutes

 

Plan B - Questionable (1992)

"Plan B - Questionable" is considered one of the best skate flicks of all time.

Featuring Danny Way, Colin Mckay, Matt Hensley, Mike Carroll, Pat Duffy, Rick Howard, Rodney Mullen, Ryan Fabry, Sal Barbier, Sean Sheffey, and others.

Mullen introduces the casper slide and kickflip underflip to the world.

Directed by David Schlossbach, Jacob Rosenberg, and Mike Ternasky.

Running Time: 57 minutes

 

Kids (1995)

"Kids" is a 1995 American independent coming-of-age drama film.

The film stars Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloë Sevigny, and Rosario Dawson.

It follows a group of teens in New York City and their hedonistic behavior towards sex and substance abuse during the summer of 1994.

The film was controversial upon its release for its explicit content but has since been recognized as a classic of independent cinema.

It is also notable for its use of non-professional actors and its realistic portrayal of the lives of teens in the inner city.

Many of the actors in the film were friends of the writer and director, and the script was heavily improvised.

Skateboarding plays a prominent role in "Kids."

The main character, Telly, is a skateboarder, and most of the film's opening scenes show him with his friends skating in the streets and skateparks of New York City.

Telly and his friends also use the skateboard as a way of transportation and often use the skatepark as a meeting point.

Skateboarding is also used as a backdrop to the film's overall theme of youth rebellion and hedonism, with the characters using the sport to rebel against authority and escape the monotony of their everyday lives.

The film's portrayal of skateboarding is also considered authentic and raw, reflecting the sport's real-life subculture.

Directed by Larry Clark.

Running Time: 91 minutes

 

Mouse (1996)

"Mouse" is a 1996 independent skateboard movie directed by Rick Howard and Spike Jonze, both well-known figures in the community at the time.

The film's cast includes Mark Gonzales, Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, and Jeron Wilson, as well as appearances from other well-known skateboarders such as Guy Mariano, Eric Koston, and Sean Sheffey.

It is known for its creative and unconventional approach to skateboarding.

The film was produced by Girl Skateboards and was well-received by critics and skate enthusiasts. Today, it is considered a cult classic.

Directed by Rick Howard and Spike Jonze.

Running Time: 38 minutes

 

Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)

Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)

"Dogtown and Z-Boys" is a documentary film that tells the story of the Zephyr skateboard team, a group of skateboarders from the Dogtown area of Venice, California, who were instrumental in developing modern skateboarding in the 1970s.

The film was directed by Stacy Peralta, one of the original members of the Zephyr team, and produced by Craig Stecyk, a friend of the team and a photographer who documented their early days.

The film explores the origins of the Zephyr team and their rise to fame in the 1970s, as well as the cultural and socioeconomic factors that led to the rise of the sport in Dogtown.

It features interviews with the original Zephyr team members and archival footage of their skateboarding.

The movie also covers the impact and influence of the group on the sport of skateboarding and its culture.

"Dogtown and Z-Boys" was well received critically and won the Audience Award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

The film has since become a cult classic and is widely considered one of the best documentaries about skateboarding history.

Directed by Stacy Peralta.

Running Time: 91 minutes

 

Grind (2003)

"Grind" is a 2003 American comedy-drama film directed by Casey La Scala, starring Adam Brody, Joey Kern, and Vince Vieluf.

The film follows a group of friends who are passionate about skateboarding and have been trying to make it in the professional scene for years.

They are determined to make it big, but their hopes are dashed when a major skateboarding competition comes to their hometown, and they are not selected to compete.

Determined not to let this setback stop them, the friends come up with a plan to put on their own competition and prove their worth.

"Grind" received mixed reviews from critics and did not perform well at the box office. Despite this, it has since gained a cult following among skateboarding fans.

Directed by Casey La Scala.

Running Time: 105 minutes

 

Yeah Right! (2003)

"Yeah Right!" was the first video to be released by Girl Skateboards in six years.

Starring Eric Koston, Lance Mountain, Stephen Berra, Paul Rodriguez, and other skate legends.

The film was shot in Northern California.

It was also widely praised for its soundtrack, which features a variety of indie and alternative rock bands that added to the film's overall atmosphere.

The video is widely considered one of the greatest skateboarding videos of all time, and its creative and visually striking footage, shot using various camera techniques and special effects, played a significant role in this perception.

Directed by Ty Evans and Spike Jonze.

Running Time: 71 minutes

 

Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator (2003)

"Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator" is a documentary film about professional skateboarder Mark "Gator" Rogowski, who was convicted of murder in 1991.

The film explores his rise to fame as a skateboarder in the 1980s and the events that led to his downfall and eventual incarceration.

The movie includes interviews with Gator himself and his friends, family, and other members of the skateboarding community, who share their memories and insights about him.

It also explores the cultural impact of skateboarding during that time and how Gator's life and career intersected with it.

The film has been well received by critics, who praised its in-depth examination of Gator's life and how it connects with the larger cultural context of skating.

It has also been noted for its powerful storytelling and the way it presents an unflinching look at the darker side of fame and success.

Directed by Helen Stickler.

Running Time: 82 minutes

 

Lords of Dogtown (2005)

"Lords of Dogtown" is a 2005 biographical drama movie directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by skate legend Stacy Peralta.

The film tells the story of a group of young skateboarders from the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, California, known as the "Z-Boys," who helped revolutionize the sport of skateboarding during the mid-1970s.

Starring Emile Hirsch, Victor Rasuk, and John Robinson as the Z-Boys, with Heath Ledger and Rebecca De Mornay playing supporting roles.

The film is based on Peralta's documentary film "Dogtown and Z-Boys" (2001) and is named after the Zephyr surf and skateboard team that the Z-Boys were a part of.

"Lords of Dogtown" follows the lives of three of the team's most prominent members: Tony Alva, Jay Adams, and Stacy Peralta.

It depicts their rise to fame in the 1970s as they revolutionized skateboarding with their aggressive and acrobatic moves.

"Lords of Dogtown" also explores the personal lives of the Z-Boys, including their struggles with poverty and family issues, and how their success as skateboarders had an impact on their relationships and their community.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke.

Running Time: 107 minutes

 

Wassup Rockers (2005)

"Wassup Rockers" is a 2005 American independent film written and directed by Larry Clark.

The film follows a group of Latino skateboarders from South Central Los Angeles who decide to leave their neighborhood to explore the affluent areas of Beverly Hills and Hollywood.

It features a cast of non-professional actors and has been described as a commentary on class and race relations in America.

Directed by Larry Clark.

Running Time: 111 minutes

 

Paranoid Park (2007)

Paranoid Park (2007)

"Paranoid Park" is a 2007 American crime drama directed by Gus Van Sant. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Blake Nelson and stars Gabe Nevins, Taylor Momsen, and Daniel Liu.

The film's plot centers around a teenage skateboarder named Alex and his involvement in a tragic accident at a skatepark known as "Paranoid Park."

The movie explores themes of guilt, innocence, and the consequences of one's actions.

It is also seen as a meditation on adolescent alienation and the struggles of growing up.

"Paranoid Park" is set in Portland, Oregon, which adds to the gritty and realistic atmosphere of the film.

Overall, it is a thought-provoking and visually striking film that deals with heavy themes in a unique and powerful way.

It is considered one of Gus Van Sant's most acclaimed films and is often seen as a modern classic in independent cinema.

Directed by Gus Van Sant.

Running Time: 84 minutes

 

Street Dreams (2009)

"Street Dreams" is a 2009 American film about a skateboarder named Derrick Cabrera - played by Paul Rodriguez - who dreams of being sponsored and going pro.

He is faced with obstacles such as skateproofing, a jealous friend, and cops who are against him.

With the help of his sister, he believes in himself and finally does a trick that shocks the skateboarding world, thrusting him into the spotlight and fulfilling his dream of being sponsored.

Directed by Chris Zamoscianyk.

Running Time: 88 minutes

 

Dragonslayer (2011)

"Dragonslayer" is a 2011 documentary film about a professional skateboarder named Josh Sandoval, also known as Skreech.

The film was directed by Tristan Patterson and executive produced by indie maverick Christine Vachon.

The movie is described as a "poetic and affectionate portrait" of Skreech and his skateboarding subculture.

It follows Skreech as he drifts through life with little regard for adult responsibilities, preferring to skate in abandoned pools and camp in friends' yards instead.

It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW 2011.

Directed by Tristan Patterson.

Running Time: 74 minutes

 

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography (2012)

"Bones Brigade: An Autobiography" is a movie that tells the personal story of a group of six teenage boys who came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, known as the Bones Brigade.

They built an empire that covered the world, dominated contests, made millions of dollars, created the modern skateboard video, reinvented endemic advertising, pushed skate progression into a new era, and set the stage for a new form of skating called street style.

The movie features Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, and Fred Durst.

It also talks about how talent, skill, passion, and the belief that anything is possible transformed skateboarding from a surfers' pastime to an exciting action sport filled with extraordinary gravity-defying feats and a global industry.

Directed by Stacy Peralta.

Running Time: 90 minutes

 

All This Mayhem (2014)


"All This Mayhem" is a documentary film that tells the story of the rise and fall of professional skateboarders Tas and Ben Pappas, brothers from Melbourne, Australia, who were considered among the best in the world in the 1990s.

The movie includes interviews with the siblings, their family, and other skaters, as well as archival footage of the brothers competing and performing tricks.

It covers their rise to fame, their struggles with drug addiction, and the tragic events that led to Tas' death in 2012.

Directed by Eddie Martin.

Running Time: 104 minutes

 

Skate Kitchen (2018)

Skate Kitchen (2018)

"Skate Kitchen" is a 2018 teen drama written and directed by Crystal Moselle. It is based on her short film "That One Day."

The film stars Rachelle Vinberg as Camille, a teenage girl who befriends a group of female skaters in New York City.

The crew, who are in their 20s, was named Skate Kitchen in response to the boys' comment that women belonged in the kitchen.

"Skate Kitchen" was made by chance when the director Crystal Moselle overheard them discussing their group on the subway.

Directed by Crystal Moselle.

Running Time: 106 minutes

 

Mid90s (2018)

"Mid90s" is a 2018 coming-of-age comedy-drama movie written and directed by Jonah Hill.

The film follows a thirteen-year-old named Stevie in 1990s-era Los Angeles as he navigates between his troubled home life and a group of new friends he meets at a skate shop.

It is inspired by Hill's own childhood in the mid-1990s and contains strong language and racist and homophobic slurs.

"Mid90s" stars Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, and Lucas Hedges.

Directed by Jonah Hill.

Running Time: 85 minutes

 

Minding the Gap (2018)

"Minding The Gap" is a 2018 documentary film that chronicles the lives and friendships of three young men, united by their love of skateboarding, growing up in Rockford, Illinois.

It explores the struggle to move out into the world as an adult and become a decent, functioning human being despite a lack of economic opportunities and a poisonous cultural upbringing.

It also depicts how they face adult responsibilities and unexpected challenges as they bond together to escape their volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown.

Directed by Bing Liu.

Running Time: 93 minutes

 

The list of the most influential skateboard movies and documentaries ever also includes the following titles:

  • "Shackle Me Not" (1988)
  • "Memory Screen" (1991)
  • "Snuff" (1993)
  • "Welcome to Hell" (1996)
  • "Eastern Exposure 3" (1996)
  • "Trilogy" (1996)
  • "Fulfill the Dream" (1998)
  • "Birdhouse The End" (1998)
  • "Misled Youth" (1999)
  • "Modus Operandi" (2000)
  • "Menikmati" (2000)
  • "Baker 2G (2000)
  • "Photosynthesis" (2000)
  • "2nd to None" (2001)
  • "Opinion" (2001)
  • "In Bloom" (2002)
  • "PJ Ladd's Wonderful Horrible Life" (2002)
  • "Sorry" (2002)
  • "Chomp on This" (2002)
  • "Dying to Live" (2002)
  • "This is Skateboarding" (2003)
  • "Really Sorry" (2003)
  • "Battalion" (2003)
  • "Habitat Mosaic" (2003)
  • "Round 3" (2004)
  • "That's Life" (2004)
  • "What if" (2005)
  • "Cheese and Crackers" (2006)
  • "Bag of Suck" (2006)
  • "Fully Flared" (2007)
  • "Stay Gold" (2010)
  • "Cold War" (2013)
  • "This Ain't California" (2013)
  • "The Motivation" (2013)
  • "Cherry" (2014)
  • "All This Mayhem" (2014)

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