Point Break (1991)

R | 120 mins | Drama | 12 July 1991

Director:

Kathryn Bigelow

Cinematographer:

Donald Peterman

Editor:

Howard Smith

Production Designer:

Peter Jamison

Production Companies:

Johnny Utah Productions, Largo Entertainment
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HISTORY

The project was originally set up at Columbia Pictures. According to a 17 Nov 1987 HR “Rambling Reporter” column, Charlie Sheen was attached to star, and James Garner was in negotiations to co-star. Referring to the film as Johnny Utah, a 14 Aug 1988 LAT item announced the film was “back on the boards at Columbia” with Matthew Broderick playing the lead role. Ridley Scott had previously been attached to direct, but the studio was currently looking for Scott’s replacement.
       The project went into turnaround at Columbia, and was picked up by Largo Entertainment, a newly formed joint venture between producer Lawrence Gordon and Japanese company, JVC Entertainment, as noted in a 9 May 1991 HR “Hollywood Report” column. Largo, which had a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Twentieth Century Fox, fully financed the film, and the project marked the company’s first venture to receive a green light.
       According to the 3 Feb 1990 Screen International, Kathryn Bigelow and her then husband, executive producer James Cameron, rewrote W. Peter Iliff’s script. However, neither Bigelow nor Cameron receives onscreen writing credits.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actor Keanu Reeves prepared for the role of “Johnny Utah” by spending time with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, practicing shooting at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) firing range, and training with University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) football quarterback coaches. Patrick Swayze, a seasoned skydiver who performed all of his own skydiving stunts, learned to surf for the film, as did Lori Petty, a Midwesterner who had never before been in the ocean.
       Referring to the ... More Less

The project was originally set up at Columbia Pictures. According to a 17 Nov 1987 HR “Rambling Reporter” column, Charlie Sheen was attached to star, and James Garner was in negotiations to co-star. Referring to the film as Johnny Utah, a 14 Aug 1988 LAT item announced the film was “back on the boards at Columbia” with Matthew Broderick playing the lead role. Ridley Scott had previously been attached to direct, but the studio was currently looking for Scott’s replacement.
       The project went into turnaround at Columbia, and was picked up by Largo Entertainment, a newly formed joint venture between producer Lawrence Gordon and Japanese company, JVC Entertainment, as noted in a 9 May 1991 HR “Hollywood Report” column. Largo, which had a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Twentieth Century Fox, fully financed the film, and the project marked the company’s first venture to receive a green light.
       According to the 3 Feb 1990 Screen International, Kathryn Bigelow and her then husband, executive producer James Cameron, rewrote W. Peter Iliff’s script. However, neither Bigelow nor Cameron receives onscreen writing credits.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actor Keanu Reeves prepared for the role of “Johnny Utah” by spending time with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, practicing shooting at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) firing range, and training with University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) football quarterback coaches. Patrick Swayze, a seasoned skydiver who performed all of his own skydiving stunts, learned to surf for the film, as did Lori Petty, a Midwesterner who had never before been in the ocean.
       Referring to the film by the title, Riders on the Storm, a 1 Jun 1990 HR item and 3 Jul 1990 HR production chart stated that principal photography began 9 Jul 1990 in Los Angeles, CA, and Hawaii.
       Surfing sequences were filmed in Los Angeles, between Manhattan Beach and the Ventura County line, and in Hawaii, on Oahu’s north shore. Bank robbery scenes were shot at various defunct bank branches throughout Los Angeles. Other Los Angeles locations included Santa Monica Airport, the Federal Building in Westwood, the LAPD Academy, homes in Santa Monica and Palos Verdes, and the Manhattan Beach Pier. Skydiving sequences were filmed at airstrips in Palmdale, CA, and at Lake Powell, AZ. According to a 21 Jun 1991 HR brief, a week of re-shoots took place in and around Wheeler, OR. Downtown Wheeler served as a location, as did Indian Beach on the coast.
       A 17 Sep 1990 Var item announced the final title change to Point Break.
       Critical reception was lackluster, although many reviewers praised Kathryn Bigelow’s knack for high-speed, innovative action sequences. The Sep 1991 Box review noted the film grossed $30 million in its first three weeks of release.
       According to a 14 Jul 1993 DV news brief, Matte Box Films, Ltd., a New Zealand-based production company, sued producers and several production companies behind the film for stealing story elements from a script titled Da Search for Da Cat, which Matte Box claimed to have sent to Twentieth Century Fox in Apr 1990. The outcome of the lawsuit has not been determined as of the writing of this Note.
       A 14 Mar 2001 HR news brief announced that Intermedia Films acquired a twenty-five-title library, including Point Break, from Largo Entertainment, which had recently shut down.
       In 2003, former film programmer Jaime Keeling and theater director Jamie Hook debuted Point Break Live!, an “absurdist stage adaptation” of the film, in Seattle, WA. In each performance, the show cast an unsuspecting audience member as “Johnny Utah.” Its popularity led to performances in other cities. As of October 2015, the show is on tour throughout the U.S., including performances in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Cleveland, OH; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, PA; New York City; and Boston, MA.
       A re-make, also titled Point Break, began principal photography on 26 Jun 2014, as stated in a Business Wire article published on the same day. Produced by Alcon Entertainment, and set to be released by Warner Bros., the film was said to include surfing, wingsuit flying, snowboarding, free rock climbing, and high-speed motorcycle sequences, all performed by extreme sports athletes in place of stunt performers.
       End credits include the following dedication: “In memory of Wes Dawn.” Dawn, who worked as a makeup artist on the film, died of complications due to asthma on 21 Aug 1990, while the film was still in production. End credits also contain the statement: “The producers wish to thank the following: Dan Moore; Alan Munro; Toby Silberberg; California Aviation; California Film Commission; City of Wheeler, Oregon; Courtlemagne Communications; Gold’s Gym; Hawaii Film Commission; Oregon Film Commission; Oregon State Parks; Reebok.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Sep 1991.
---
Business Wire
26 Jun 2014.
---
Daily Variety
31 Oct 1990.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 1990
p. 1, 81.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 1991
p. 10, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 2001
p. 1, 25.
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1988
Calendar, p. 32.
Los Angeles Times
29 Aug 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
23 Jun 1991
Calendar, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
12 Jul 1991
p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
11 Oct 2007
Calendar, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
9 Nov 2007
Calendar, p. 16.
New York Times
12 Jul 1991
p. 12.
Screen International
3 Feb 1990.
---
Variety
17 Sep 1990.
---
Variety
15 Jul 1991
p. 38.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Largo Entertainment presents
A Levy/Abrams/Guerin production
A Kathryn Bigelow film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr, Illusion Arts
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
1st asst dir, aerial unit
2d unit dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Steadicam op
Gaffer
Best boy
Lamp op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
Water photog, water unit
Water photog, water unit
Water photog, water unit
Helmet cam, aerial unit
Helmet cam, aerial unit
Aerial cam, aerial unit
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Addl ed
Addl ed
Addl ed asst
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set dec
Leadman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Prop master
Prop asst
Prop asst
Const coord
General foreman
Stand-by painter
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Cost supv
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus supv
Mus ed
Mus librarian
Mus supv for MCA Records
Orig motion picture score produced by
Orig motion picture score produced by
Eng and mixed by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cable op
Sd eff
Sd eff
Sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR group coord
ADR ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd asst
Foley
Foley rec
Foley rec
Foley re-rec
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Main title des
Opticals
Titles composited by
Spec eff opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Addl hairstylist
Hairstylist, aerial unit
Hairstylist, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Asst prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Unit pub
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
First aid
Craft service
Surfing adv
Football adv
Police advisors
Fitness trainer
Projectionist
Asst to Mr. Abrams & Mr. Levy
Asst to Ms. Bigelow
Asst to Mr. Swayze
Asst to Mr. Busey
DGA trainee
DGA trainee
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Casting asst
Extra casting
Water safety, water unit
Water safety, water unit
Surf forecaster, water unit
Addl services, water unit
Aerial coord, aerial unit
Aerial eff adv, aerial unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
First aid, 2d unit
Air transportation provided by
Post-prod facilities
Forensic lab equip
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Ms. Petty's surfing double, water unit
Mr. Swayze's surfing double, water unit
"Big wave" surfing double, water unit
Montage surfer, water unit
Surfing double, water unit
Surfing double, water unit
Surfing double, water unit
Surfing double, water unit
Surfing double, water unit
Surfing double, water unit
Surfing double, water unit
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
Aerial stunts
ANIMATION
Computer anim and displays
Computer anim and displays
Computer anim and displays
Computer anim and displays
Computer anim and displays
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Nobody Rides For Free,” performed by Ratt, written by Steve Caton, produced by Mick Guzauski with Ratt, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation, a Time-Warner Company
“I Want You,” performed by Concrete Blonde, written by Johnette Napolitano, produced by Concrete Blonde with Chris Tsangarides, courtesy of I.R.S. Records
“If 6 Was 9,” performed and written by Jimi Hendrix, produced by Charles Chandler, courtesy of Elber B. V.
+
SONGS
“Nobody Rides For Free,” performed by Ratt, written by Steve Caton, produced by Mick Guzauski with Ratt, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation, a Time-Warner Company
“I Want You,” performed by Concrete Blonde, written by Johnette Napolitano, produced by Concrete Blonde with Chris Tsangarides, courtesy of I.R.S. Records
“If 6 Was 9,” performed and written by Jimi Hendrix, produced by Charles Chandler, courtesy of Elber B. V.
“Rose Colored Glasses,” performed by School of Fish, written by Josh Clayton-Felt, Michael Ward, produced by John Porter, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
“Criminal,” performed by Public Image Limited, written by Johnny Lydon, John McGheog, Alan Dias, produced by Jimbo Barto, courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd.
“My City,” performed by Shark Island, written by Spencer Sercombe, Greg Ellis, produced by Duncan Bridgeman, courtesy of Impact Records, J. V.
“Hundreds Of Tears,” performed by Sheryl Crow, written by Sheryl Crow, Bob Marlette, produced by Sheryl Crow
“Smoke On The Water,” performed by Loudhouse, written by Ian Gillian, Roger Glover, Richie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, produced by Joel Martin, courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
“7 And 7 Is,” performed by Love, written by Arthur Lee, produced by Jac Holzman, Marc Abramson, Paul Rothchild, Bruce Botnick, Arthur Lee, courtesy of Elektra Entertainment, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“So Long Cowboy,” performed and written by Westworld, produced by Ralph Jezzard, courtesy of Savage Records Ltd.
“Over The Edge,” performed by L. A. Guns, written by T. Guns, M. Cripps, P. Lewis, K. Nickels, S. Riley, produced by Michael James Jackson, courtesy of Polydor-Polygram Records, Inc.
“Down To The Wire,” performed by Little Caesar, written by Ronald Curtis Young, Jimmy Haynes AKA Apache, Fidel Angel Paniagua, Lauren Douglas Molinaire, Thomas Nielson Morris, produced by Mike Clink, courtesy of DGC Records
the following songs appear courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.: “7 And 7 Is,” performed by Liquid Jesus, produced by Todd Rigione, co-produced by John Hanlon, written by Arthur Lee
“I Will Not Fall,” performed by Wire Train, written by Kevin Hunter, Brian McLeod, Anders Rundblad, Jeff Trott, produced by Wire Train.
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PERFORMERS
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DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Riders on the Storm
Johnny Utah
Release Date:
12 July 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 12 July 1991
Production Date:
began 9 July 1990
re-shoots in June 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Largo Entertainment
Copyright Date:
5 July 1991
Copyright Number:
PA527727
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Camera and lenses provided by Panavision®
Prints
Negative and print film Eastman Kodak
Duration(in mins):
120
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31102
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, California, rookie Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Johnny Utah reports for his first day of work in the bank robbery division. He is partnered with Angelo Pappas, a lackadaisical agent with twenty-two years’ experience. Their top priority is to catch the “Ex-Presidents,” a gang of bank robbers who disguise themselves wearing masks of former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Based on a soil sample collected at a robbery scene, containing a type of wax used to coat surfboard decks, and the Ex-Presidents’ pattern of robbing banks only during summer months, Angelo believes the culprits are nomadic surfers. Johnny agrees to infiltrate the surfing community by taking up the sport himself. On his disastrous first attempt, he meets seasoned female surfer Tyler Endicott, who helps him out of the water and urges him to abandon the sport. Back at the office, Johnny researches Tyler Endicott’s personal information and discovers her parents were killed in a plane crash. He finds Tyler at her job and begs her to teach him to surf. She initially rejects the idea, but Johnny concocts a story about his overbearing parents who pushed him to play football and pursue a law career. He says they died in a car crash two years ago, prompting him to reevaluate his choices, and he has since fallen in love with the ocean. Tyler changes her mind and takes Johnny out for his first lesson. On the beach, she introduces him to Bodhi, who teases Johnny about the size of his surfboard. However, Johnny earns the respect of Bodhi, his brother “Grommet,” and companions “Roach” and Nathaniel, during ... +


In Los Angeles, California, rookie Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Johnny Utah reports for his first day of work in the bank robbery division. He is partnered with Angelo Pappas, a lackadaisical agent with twenty-two years’ experience. Their top priority is to catch the “Ex-Presidents,” a gang of bank robbers who disguise themselves wearing masks of former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Based on a soil sample collected at a robbery scene, containing a type of wax used to coat surfboard decks, and the Ex-Presidents’ pattern of robbing banks only during summer months, Angelo believes the culprits are nomadic surfers. Johnny agrees to infiltrate the surfing community by taking up the sport himself. On his disastrous first attempt, he meets seasoned female surfer Tyler Endicott, who helps him out of the water and urges him to abandon the sport. Back at the office, Johnny researches Tyler Endicott’s personal information and discovers her parents were killed in a plane crash. He finds Tyler at her job and begs her to teach him to surf. She initially rejects the idea, but Johnny concocts a story about his overbearing parents who pushed him to play football and pursue a law career. He says they died in a car crash two years ago, prompting him to reevaluate his choices, and he has since fallen in love with the ocean. Tyler changes her mind and takes Johnny out for his first lesson. On the beach, she introduces him to Bodhi, who teases Johnny about the size of his surfboard. However, Johnny earns the respect of Bodhi, his brother “Grommet,” and companions “Roach” and Nathaniel, during a beach football game when Bodhi recognizes him as a former Ohio State University football player who helped his team win the Rose Bowl. Johnny laments having to quit football due to a knee injury, and tells them he is now a lawyer. At work, Johnny is reprimanded by his superior, Ben Harp, who complains that the Ex-Presidents have robbed two more banks, including Encino Savings and Loan, where a guard grabbed “Lyndon B. Johnson’s” ponytail and pulled out one of his hairs. The hair sample is found to contain selenium, titanium, and arsenic. Johnny suggests that, because surfers are territorial, the toxins in the hair should be traceable to a certain beach. He and Angelo collect hair samples at a number of beaches and determine that the Ex-Presidents surf at Latigo Beach. There, Johnny is accosted by a hostile group of surfers, including “Warchild” and “Bunker” Weiss. Bodhi arrives and helps Johnny fight them off. Later, Johnny and Angelo Pappas look up Bunker Weiss’s license plate and discover he is a convicted criminal. They organize a raid of his house to take place the next day. At night, Johnny joins Bodhi and his crew at a bonfire on the beach. They talk about big waves, and Bodhi predicts the biggest will occur next year at Bells Beach in Australia, when the mythical “Fifty-Year Storm” hits. Bodhi swears he will be there, even if surfing the massive waves means certain death. The group goes night surfing. Tyler notices Johnny looking truly happy for the first time since they met. They kiss, and stay behind in the ocean as everyone else leaves. In the morning, Johnny wakes up beside Tyler on the beach. He panics when he realizes he is late for work, and kisses her goodbye. He arrives late to the raid of Bunker Weiss’s house, leading to a bloody shootout and the discovery that Bunker and his crew are drug dealers, not bank robbers. After spending another night with Tyler, Johnny joins Bodhi’s crew for early morning surfing. He stops short when he notices one of them “mooning” the others by exposing his buttocks, the same way an Ex-President mooned a surveillance camera at one of the banks. Johnny decides to follow Bodhi, and confirms he is an Ex-President when he sees him and Roach “casing” the Assured Trust Savings and Loan bank, and moving all of their belongings into a storage unit. Johnny predicts that Assured Trust will be the Ex-Presidents’ final target of the summer before leaving for their next surfing destination. He and Angelo stake out the bank. When the Ex-Presidents show up as expected, Angelo fails to notice and Johnny has gone to buy lunch. After robbing the bank, the Ex-Presidents make a quick getaway. Angelo and Johnny give chase but are stopped by a spike strip. Johnny pursues “Ronald Reagan” on foot, but re-injures his bad knee when he jumps into an aqueduct. Although he gets his target in his sights, he recognizes him as Bodhi and cannot bring himself to shoot. That evening, Bodhi, Grommet, Nathaniel, and Roach discuss their next steps. When they suggest leaving town, Bodhi reminds his friends that their goal has never been to get rich, but to rebel against a system that “kills the human spirit.” He promises he knows how to deal with Johnny Utah. The next morning, Tyler discovers Johnny’s FBI badge. Disgusted that he has lied to her, she leaves. Soon, Bodhi and his crew arrive and take Johnny hostage. They go skydiving. Johnny is exhilarated by the experience, but when they land, Bodhi informs him of the “insurance policy” he has set up so Johnny does not arrest him: Tyler is being held by a thug named “Rosie,” who will kill her if Bodhi does not reach his getaway destination by three p.m. Spouting his anti-establishment beliefs, Bodhi forces Johnny to betray the FBI by aiding the Ex-Presidents in one last bank robbery. The heist is lasts longer than normal when Bodhi orders his cohorts to break into the vault. One of the bank patrons is a plainclothes policeman who pulls his gun. A shootout ensues, and Grommet is killed. As the Ex-Presidents flee, Johnny is left behind to be arrested. Angelo Pappas insists on driving him to the police station. Instead, he and Johnny pursue the Ex-Presidents to their getaway plane at the Santa Monica Airport. On the tarmac, another shootout leaves Angelo and Nathaniel dead, and Roach seriously wounded. Johnny overhears the plane’s final destination in Mexico, causing Bodhi to force him onto the plane with Roach as they flee swarming police cars. In the air, Bodhi encourages Roach to stay alive, and straps on his parachute. They finally reach their jumping destination in Mexico, and Bodhi pushes Roach out of the plane, then jumps out himself. Although he has no parachute, Johnny follows suit and tackles Bodhi mid-air. Bodhi refuses to pull his ripcord, forcing Johnny to drop the gun in his hand so he can pull the ripcord and save them both. Roach does not survive the jump. As Johnny and Bodhi disentangle themselves from the parachute, Rosie, the thug, drives up with Tyler Endicott. Bodhi instructs Rosie to release her, and she runs to embrace Johnny, as Bodhi and Rosie flee. Months later, Johnny arrives in Bells Beach, Australia, in the midst of a massive storm. All of the surfers have left the beach except Bodhi. Johnny and Bodhi tussle before Johnny handcuffs their wrists together. As Australian police descend on the scene, Bodhi convinces Johnny to let him surf one last time. Knowing that Bodhi will be killed by the giant waves, Johnny allows him to paddle out. Australian police officers yell at Johnny for letting Bodhi go, but Johnny informs them Bodhi will not be coming back, then tosses his FBI badge into the ocean as he walks away. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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