65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2001
This classic surfing documentary retains its charm, high quality, humor and nostalgia. Bruce Brown's 1966 Endless Summer was one of the first and remains one of the best documentaries on surfing. It's a laid-back almost relaxing documentary to watch which occassionally features some awesome displays of surfing pioneers hanging ten on perfect, imperfect and very dangerous waves. Tubes, Pipes, perfect waves, surfing towards, and away from the shore, ridin' the wave, wipe out. . . it's all here.
This was a low budget affair, but the camera-work and richness of color is quite impressive. Most of the footage was shot silent with sound-effects and narration and occassional music added later. Don't expect to hear the Beach Boys, or the Ventures or even Dick Dale on the soundtrack--you won't. You won't get MTV fast edits, or occassional messages about pollution, over-population, or politics either.
Most refreshing of all is that you won't see a lot of ads for sneakers or cars, or sporting goods plastered all over the surfboards or cars of the surfers either. It was a less chaotic, simpler time.
The movie follows two young surfers Robert August and Mike Hynson as they follow Summer around the world. First after leaving their native California and the crowded beaches of Malibu, Santa Cruz and Newport Beach (the Wedge) they travel to Africa and surf places probably no one has ever surfed before (and have to be careful not to step on dangerous and lethal stone fish). The natives are fascinated by the California surfers and their sport. Soon Robert and Mike are giving surf lessons to the natives. They hitch a ride with an African Game Hunter and travel along the coast with a perfect tour guide. They find the perfect wave. In Australia, Mike and Robert don't have good luck and are told the best time to surf in Australia isn't in the Summer (which is the U.S.'s late fall, early winter), but in the winter. They have a little better luck in New Zealand, and as they go off to Tahiti they are told there is very little to surf in Tahiti. Ah but there turns out to be plenty to surf in Tahiti. Then Mike and Robert are off to Hawaii for two months where water and air temperatures are 75 degrees.
While there will be a few folks who will find Bruce Brown's narration (Bruce an early surfing enthusiast wrote, directed, photographed, edited and narrated this film) annoying, most will find his disarming, tongue in cheek humorous laid back narration utterly charming. And there are no contests or points or organized competitions taking place. It's simply a film about two surfing dudes in 1965 travelling around the world to catch a wave.
28 years later, Bruce Brown would make a well produced sequel to this documentary Endless Summer 2. It's got better production values, more exciting surfing action.... but it lacks the simple purity of this film.
A gem. If I've sparked any positive curiousity in you about this film, you'll enjoy it. ...
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2000
I don't even surf and the Endless Summer is one of my favorite movies. I love the photography and the storyline of this film. People say, "But it's about surfing..." they got it all wrong; it's about freedom that the soul craves. I watch it at least 3x a year. Always puts a smile on my face and a joy in my heart. In fact, I rent it so frequently that finally I told myself that I'm gonna buy it... and that's what I'm about to do... I'm gonna buy me a movie that makes me feel good to be alive on this little blue and green planet that's third from the sun. This movie reminds us that we are all looking for the "perfect wave" in life and sometimes we just have to remind ourselves that we're already riding it. A beautiful film. Love it! Love it! Love it!
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2004
These films are like the 80's movies that made everything that mattered happen. Ferris, Goonies, Breakfast Club, etc . . . except they are surfing classics, epic documentaries if you will.
**Bruce Brown has the classic surfer aesthetic, and narrates each film poignantly and humorously.
Endless Summer 1 is the classic older film, paced a little more slowly and fun-lovingly. It sets a great preface to Endless 2, an incredible multi-hemisphere journey.
Both films have excellent cinematography as well as dialogue and interplay between characters. Endless 2 is as goofily trivial as it is deep, as beautiful as it is mundane. . .
There are gorgeous scenery shots that do Cape Town, Indonesia, Figi, (my fav) and Alaska, justice as incredible places not only to surf, but also to just be.
Our two fascinating and yin and yang protagonists, 1, a Pat O'Connell gives suffusively satisfying short board licks, and 2, a. wing-nut supplies all of the long board smoothness to coalesce.
Five stars, in my to 25 of all time. A truly beautiful film made by those who love life.
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Way back in 1966, documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown followed two young surfers around the world in their quest for the perfect wave. It seems as if it were just the three of them - the two surfers and Bruce Brown who filmed that magical year with a hand-held Technicolor camera with no sound. Later, he edited the film and narrated it and his is the only voice we hear in addition to some original music by "The Sandals". There are no sounds of the surf, no remarks from the two surfers and we never hear the voices of all the colorful characters they meet along the way.
The concept was to surf on beaches that had never been surfed before. This led them Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti. And, naturally California and Hawaii. Sometimes the surf was to their liking. Sometimes it was not. But always it was an adventure, the kind of adventure that I quickly got caught up in even though it all seemed like a home movie and the camera was old fashioned. I remember one spot where there is a long smooth wave to ride and the narrator notes that the wave was so long that he ran out of film, stopped shooting, changed the film, and was able to continue filming the surfer on the same wave.
As the film was made in 1966, it expressed a view of the world that is not politically correct today. For example, there are a lot of little jokes about the "natives" in an African tribe. But in spite of the words, it was obvious that everyone in the tribe enjoyed watching the surfers. Later, with the help of our surfers, these "natives" tried it themselves and soon were improvising their own surfboards.
There are a lot of beaches in the world. But the sport was perfected in Hawaii as pure recreation. That's the way the Hawaiians lived for centuries. Our two surfers came from California, a place very much influenced by Hawaiian surfers.
Other details about 1966 stood out and made me smile. For example, a luxury hotel in Senegal cost $30 per night, which they thought was outlandishly expensive. Gas cost $1.00 a gallon in Africa, a very high cost. And the hairstyles of the two light-haired and sometimes sunburned surfers were short and slicked back with lots and lots of grease. Also, the bodies of the surfers did not look like the surfers today. The two men had narrow chests and the musculature in their arms and legs was just enough to handle their surfboards. Obviously, they never worked out in a gym. They just rode those waves. And loved every minute of it.
This is a film that was made with the pure love of the sport. It is indeed a classic. And a "must" for anyone interested surfing.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2010
Wow! I had the pleasure of screening this newly rejuvenated `Digitally Re-Mastered' version of "The Endless Summer" and it's pretty awesome. The improved look and sound provides for an enjoyable and memorable experience. The box art is great, and the 2nd disc has some fun extras; I really enjoyed both of the short features on the making of the film, the origination of the iconic artwork and the posters from around the world.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
"The Endless Summer" is truly a thing of beauty. Bruce Brown captures so much greatness -- the warmth of the sun, the ocean's vast power and the bond of friendship -- and ties it all up in a humorous and touching tale about surfing. We the audience are swept away to exotic locales -- Hawaii, Australia, and Africa --following the carefree journey of surfers Robert August and Mike Hynson. Undoubtedly the luckiest guys in the world, Mike and Robert goof to the max as Brown's hokey, but oh so funny narration keeps us entertained. In fact, throughout the film, we hear only Brown's voice and some really cool 60's surf instrumentals. I truly love "Endless Summer". It effectively captures a time and, perhaps, an innocence which is forever gone. Most of all, it captures our imagination. Who among us wouldn't trade our stressful lives for a life of endless sun, sand and surf? Until I can capture the peace of mind so beautifully expressed in "Endless Summer", I'll just have to watch the video over and over again. Enjoy it. Surf's up!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 1999
My dad used to surf, so I bought him this movie, because I remember him talking about it one time. I didn't know what to expect, but the first line Bruce Brown says ("For us it's the sport of surfiiiiinng!"said as a surfer bails out) tells you what kind of movie this is going to be. If you think this is going to be some lame travelouge, think again. It's fast paced, filled with a ton of laughs, and has some great photography. The best part of the movie is Bruce Brown, who throughout the film seems like your funniest friend telling you this long crazy story that you aren't sure went 100% how he told it, but is still entertaining as anything. Without any sound in the movie (besides music and his narration) you still get a good feeling about who the two protagonists Mike Hynson and Robert August are becuase of Brown's words. I watch this movie every summer, it gets me in the mood to try new things. You should see it, it's one of the most inspiriing movies of all time because these guys do something some people will never do,they live their dream.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This movie captures a time and a place, or should I say places, as Bruce Brown follows two surfers around the world in an endless summer of exotic locales including West Africa and the perfect wave in southern Africa, which never seemed to end. Surfing was a new thing in Cape Town and many would-be surfers flocked to see Hynson and August, but the best moments are the more candid ones such as in Senegal, when they turn over their boards to the locals and are amazed to see the chief get up on his first wave. The adventure takes in Australia, Tahiti and Hawaii as well, bringing them back to Malibu to close off what has to be the quentessential surfer's movie. Brown followed it up with Endless Summer II, but it lacked the spontaniety of the original as he went back to many of the same places many years later. This movie captures the romance of the big wave like no other movie, and is one you can watch over and over again.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2011
As a young surfer in the mid sixties, I saw The Endless Summer, at least a dozen times in the theater. When it finally came out on VHS tape, I immediately got a copy. When originally released on DVD, it seemed greatly enhanced compared to tape. Now with this "Re-Mastered-Director's Special Edition" I can honestly say, that if you already have it on DVD, don't bother with this version. The first thing I watched was the second disc, with the special features. This was a joke! There was video of Bruce Brown, sitting in a chair, in front of his house, repeating the same old stories, that he's told for years, about the filming of The Endless Summer. There was nothing new there. The whole time, Bruce was looking off camera, looking somewhat bored and rambling on, with a series of disjointed clips from The Endless Summer, The Endless Summer II, and his son Dana's movie Step into Liquid. The video quality was horrible and worse was the totally inappropriate quasi contemporary music, which didn't fit any of the scenes and made this hard to watch. The rest of the "special features" were pretty much a waste of time.
The main disc, which features the movie The Endless Summer, just didn't seem to be what I expected for being "remastered". I thought the video quality of the original DVD version to be better. If you haven't seen The Endless Summer, judging it by the time period it was created in, it was a great, culturally iconic film. It's a lot of fun to watch and to listen to Bruce's warm and humorous narration. I would recommend this film and the purchase of the original DVD but don't waste money on this new "re-mastered" version.
I can't imagine Bruce Brown being happy with this release, unless he's thinking of still bringing in income from this 40+ year old film.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2004
The "plot" of this film is almost absurdly simple: two clean cut, kind, affable guys touring the world in search of the perfect wave.
A previous review hit the nail on the head -- "Endless Summer" documents a time and place in American history that will likely never be repeated -- ever.
It's not the storyline that is unique, it is the innocence of its two lead characters, Robert August and Mike Hynson, and the absolute lack of any dramatic devices or political overtones in the film. Truly refreshing, and for the uninitiated, a revelation. It makes one realize the highest, most satisfying, most long-term form of relationship is indeed friendship.