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Point Break

Point Break

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Point Break

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Produced by James Cameron
Peter Abrams
Robert L. Levy
Screenplay by W. Peter Iliff
Story by Rick King
W. Peter Iliff
Starring Patrick Swayze
Keanu Reeves
Gary Busey
Lori Petty
John C. McGinley
James LeGros
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography Donald Peterman
Editing by Howard L. Smith
Studio Largo Entertainment
JVC Entertainment Networks
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • July 12, 1991 (1991-07-12)
Running time 123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $24 million
Box office $83,531,958

Point Break is a 1991 action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break, where a wave breaks as it hits a point of land jutting out from the coastline.

The film was a box office success upon its release and it has since gathered a worldwide cult following in VHS and later DVD releases.[citation needed]


  • 1 Synopsis
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Reception
    • 4.1 Box office
    • 4.2 Critical response
    • 4.3 Accolades
  • 5 Legacy
  • 6 Remake
  • 7 Soundtrack
    • 7.1 Score album
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), is a rookie FBI Agent and former Ohio State quarterback. He and his veteran partner, Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), are investigating a string of bank robberies by a gang known as the "Ex-Presidents" (during their robberies they use masks of former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter to disguise their true identities).

Pursuing Angelo's theory that the criminals are surfers, Johnny goes undercover to infiltrate the surfing community. Knowing nothing of the sport/lifestyle, he persuades orphan surfer girl Tyler Endicott (Lori Petty) to teach him to surf. In the process, Johnny develops a complex friendship with Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), the charismatic leader of a gang of surfers, Roach (James LeGros), Grommet (Bojesse Christopher) and Nathaniel (John Philbin), who accept Johnny when they realize he is a former college football star. As he masters the art of surfing, Johnny finds himself increasingly drawn to the surfers' adrenaline-charged lifestyle, Bodhi's philosophies and Tyler.

Following a clue retrieved by analyzing toxins found in the hair of one of the bank robbers, Johnny and Angelo lead an FBI raid on another gang of surfers. While criminals, this group are not the "Ex-Presidents" and the raid inadvertently ruins a DEA undercover operation.

Watching Bodhi's group surfing, Johnny suspects they are the "Ex-Presidents" because of how close a group they are and because one of them moons everyone in the same way one of the robbers does when leaving the bank. He tails Bodhi and his suspicions are confirmed when he sees Bodhi and Roach casing a bank. Johnny and Angelo stake out the bank and the "Ex-Presidents" appear. A furious chase of Bodhi (masked the entire time) by Johnny ensues through the neighborhood, culminating in Johnny jumping over a fence and injuring his knee, an old football injury flaring up again. Despite having a clear shot at Bodhi (locking eyes with him), Johnny does not shoot and Bodhi escapes.

Bodhi aggressively recruits Johnny into going skydiving with him and his friends. Johnny, still without proof of Bodhi's bank robbing, goes along. Because of his knee, they land in water. After the jump, Bodhi reveals that he knows Johnny is an FBI agent and has arranged for his friend, Rosie (Lee Tergesen), a non-surfing thug, to hold Tyler hostage. Johnny is forced to go with the "Ex-Presidents" in their last bank robbery of the summer. The robbery goes wrong as Grommet, along with an off-duty police officer and a security guard, who had tried to stop the robbery, are killed. Angered by Grommet's death, Bodhi knocks Johnny out and leaves him at the scene. Defying their boss, who arrested the agent for armed robbery, Angelo and Johnny go to the airport where Bodhi, Roach, and Nathaniel are about to leave for Mexico (where Rosie awaits them with Tyler). In a shootout, Angelo and Nathaniel are killed, while Roach is seriously wounded. With Roach aboard, Bodhi forces Johnny onto the plane, at gunpoint. Once airborne and over their intended jump point, Bodhi and Roach put on parachutes, and jump from the plane with Bodhi saying to Johnny "adiós amigo", leaving Johnny to take the blame again. Despite no other parachutes being available, Johnny jumps from the plane with Bodhi's gun, managing to intercept him before he lands, using his parachute so they can both land alive. Upon impact, Johnny's knee is injured once again, allowing Bodhi to escape Johnny's grasp. Bodhi meets with Rosie and releases Tyler. Roach dies of his wounds and Bodhi and Rosie leave with the money.

With his hair longer and still surfing, Johnny eventually meets Bodhi again nine months later at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia where a record storm is producing lethal waves. This is an event Bodhi had talked about experiencing, calling it the "50 Year Storm". After a brutal fight in the surf, Johnny manages to handcuff Bodhi to his own wrist. Bodhi begs Johnny to release him so he can ride the once-in-a-lifetime wave. Knowing he will not come back alive, Johnny releases him and says to Bodhi "vaya con Dios" and watches, with the authorities, as Bodhi apparently meets his end. Johnny then walks away, throwing his FBI badge into the ocean.


  • Patrick Swayze as Bodhi
  • Keanu Reeves as FBI Agent Johnny Utah
  • Gary Busey as FBI Agent Angelo Pappas
  • Lori Petty as Tyler Endicott
  • John C. McGinley as FBI Director Ben Harp
  • James LeGros as Roach
  • John Philbin as Nathanial
  • Bojesse Christopher as Grommet
  • Lee Tergesen as Rosie
  • Julian Reyes as FBI Agent Alvarez
  • Daniel Beer as FBI Agent Babbit
  • Vincent Klyn as Lupton "Warchild" Pittman
  • Chris Pedersen as Bunker
  • Dave Olson as Archbold
  • Anthony Kiedis as Tone
  • Christopher Pettiet as 15
  • Sydney Walsh as Miss Deer
  • Peter Phelps as Australian surfer
  • Tom Sizemore as DEA Agent Dietz (uncredited)


Originally, Matthew Broderick and Charlie Sheen were to star in Point Break with Ridley Scott directing.[1] After acquiring the screenplay, the producers of Point Break began looking for a director. At the time, executive producer James Cameron was married to director Kathryn Bigelow, who had just completed Blue Steel and was looking for her next project.[1]

Point Break was originally called Johnny Utah when Keanu Reeves was cast in the title role.[1] The studio felt that this title said very little about surfing and by the time Patrick Swayze was cast, the film had been renamed Riders on the Storm after the famous rock song. However, Jim Morrison's lyrics had nothing to do with the film and so that title was also rejected. It was not until halfway through filming that Point Break became the film's title because of its relevance to surfing.[1]

Reeves liked the name of his character as it reminded him of star athletes like Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana.[2] He described his character as a "total control freak and the ocean beats him up and challenges him. After a while everything becomes a game...He becomes as amoral as any criminal. He loses the difference between right and wrong."[1] Swayze felt that Bodhi was a lot like him and that they both shared "that wild-man edge."[1]

Two months before filming, Lori Petty, Reeves, and Swayze trained with former world class professional surfer Dennis Jarvis on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.[1] Jarvis remembers, "Patrick said he'd been on a board a couple of times, Keanu definitely hadn't surfed before, and Lori had never been in the ocean in her life."[3] Shooting the surfing sequences proved to be challenging for both actors with Swayze cracking four of his ribs. For many of the surfing scenes he refused to use a stunt double as he never had one for fight scenes or car chases. He also did the skydiving scenes himself and the film's aerial jump instructor Jim Wallace found that the actor was a natural and took to it right away.[1] The actor ended up making 55 jumps for the film.[4] Swayze actually based aspects of his character after one of his stunt doubles, Darrick Doerner, a top big wave surfer.[5] After learning to surf for the film, Reeves took a liking to it and took it up as a hobby.[6]


Box office

Point Break was released on July 12, 1991 in 1,615 theaters, grossing $8.5 million on its opening weekend, behind Terminator 2: Judgement Day's (directed by Bigelow's then husband, James Cameron) second weekend and the openings of the re-issue of 101 Dalmatians and Boyz n the Hood. With a budget of $24 million, the film went on to make $43.2 million in North America and $40.3 million internationally for a worldwide total of $83.5 million.[7]

Critical response

The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote "Bigelow is an interesting director for this material. She is interested in the ways her characters live dangerously for philosophical reasons. They aren't men of action, but men of thought who choose action as a way of expressing their beliefs."[8] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised Reeves' performance: "A lot of the snap comes, surprisingly, from Mr. Reeves, who displays considerable discipline and range. He moves easily between the buttoned-down demeanor that suits a police procedural story and the loose-jointed manner of his comic roles."[9] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C+" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote "Point Break makes those of us who don't spend our lives searching for the ultimate physical rush feel like second-class citizens. The film turns reckless athletic valor into a new form of aristocracy."[10] In his review for The Washington Post, Hal Hinson wrote "A lot of what Bigelow puts up on the screen bypasses the brain altogether, plugging directly into our viscera, our gut. The surfing scenes in particular are majestically powerful, even awe-inspiring. Bigelow's picture is a feast for the eyes, but we watch movies with more than our eyes. She seduces us, then asks us to be bimbos."[11] Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers wrote, "Bigelow can't keep the film from drowning in a sea of surf-speak. But without her, Point Break would be no more than an excuse to ogle pretty boys in wet suits."[12] USA Today gave the film two out of four stars and Mike Clark wrote "Its purely visceral material (surf sounds, skydiving stunt work, a tough indoor shootout midway through) are first-rate. As for the tangibles that matter even more (script, acting, directorial control, credible relationships between characters), Break defies belief. Dramatically, it rivals the lowest surf yet this year."[13] Time magazine's Richard Corliss wrote, "So how do you rate a stunningly made film whose plot buys so blithely into macho mysticism that it threatens to turn into an endless bummer? Looks 10, Brains 3."[14]

Some critics argue that the 2001 film The Fast and the Furious is a copy Point Break, swapping surfing for illegal street car racing.[15]

In 2006, a special edition was released on DVD. Entertainment Weekly gave it a "B" rating and wrote, "The making-of docs (at their best discussing Swayze's extracurricular skydiving—that really is him doing the Adios, amigo fall) will leave you hanging."[16]


At the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, Point Break was nominated for three awards including "Most Desirable Male" (Keanu Reeves), "Most Desirable Male" (Patrick Swayze), and "Best Action Sequence" for the second jump from the plane. In it, Agent Utah jumps out of a plane without a parachute to catch Bodhi and rescue Tyler. Utah catches up with Bodhi and holds a gun to his head. However, Bodhi refuses to pull the rip cord and Utah must decide between dropping his gun (so he can hold on and pull the rip cord) or letting the two fall to the ground.


Point Break was listed in the VH1 series I Love the 90s on the episode "1991". Many celebrities, including Dominic Monaghan, Maroon 5, Mo Rocca, Michael Ian Black, Hal Sparks, and Chris Pontius commented about the movie and why it deserved to be included in the episode. Entertainment Weekly ranked Point Break as having one of the "10 Best Surfing Scenes" in cinema.[17]

The film inspired a piece of cult theater, Point Break Live!, in which the role of Johnny Utah is played by an audience member chosen by popular acclamation after a brief audition. The new "Keanu" reads all of his (or her) lines from cue-cards for the duration of the show, "to capture the rawness of a Keanu Reeves performance even from those who generally think themselves incapable of acting."[18]

Point Break was parodied and paid tribute to in Hot Fuzz, where it served as the basis for numerous comedic scenes and inspiration for the two lead characters (a pair of cops).

The scene in which Utah jumps after Bodhi without a parachute was ranked seventh in Empire magazine's Top 10 Crazy Action Sequences. The scene was also tested by the Discovery Channel series MythBusters. It was determined that Utah and Bodhi would not have been able to free-fall for 90 seconds (as in the film), nor would they have been able to hold a conversation in mid-air. However, it was determined that, by streamlining his body, Utah could have conceivably caught up with Bodhi after jumping from the plane.[19]


A remake of Point Break is being developed at Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. Kurt Wimmer will write the screenplay and will coproduce with Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove, Michael DeLuca, John Baldecchi, and Chris Taylor.[20]


  • Ratt – "Nobody Rides For Free"
  • Concrete Blonde – "I Want You"
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience – "If 6 Was 9"
  • School of Fish – "Rose Colored Glasses"
  • Public Image Ltd. – "Criminal"
  • Shark Island – "My City"
  • Love – "7 and 7 Is"
  • Loudhouse – "Smoke on the Water"
  • Westworld – "So Long Cowboy"
  • Little Caesar – "Down to the Wire"
  • L.A. Guns – "Over the Edge"
  • Liquid Jesus – "7 and 7 Is"
  • Wire Train – "I Will Not Fall"
  • Ice-T – "Original Gangster"
  • Mark Isham – "Foot Chase"
  • Sheryl Crow – "Hundreds of Tears"

Score album

On February 7, 2008, a score release for Point Break was released by La-La Land Records, featuring composer Mark Isham's score. This edition was limited to 2,000 units and features 65 minutes of score with liner notes by Dan Goldwasser that incorporate comments from both Bigelow and Isham. It is now out of print.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Point Break DVD Liner Notes". Point Break: Pure Adrenaline Edition (20th Century Fox). 2006. 
  2. ^ Strauss, Bob (July 12, 1991). "I'd like to do a lot of different things". The Globe and Mail. 
  3. ^ "Board Certified". Entertainment Weekly. July 26, 1991. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  4. ^ Thomas, Karen (July 12, 1991). "Swayze's latest step". USA Today. 
  5. ^ Willistein, Paul (July 17, 1991). "Swayze enjoys bad-guy role in Point Break". Toronto Star. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Point Break (1991)". Box Office Mojo. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 12, 1991). "Point Break". Chicago Sun-Times. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  9. ^ Maslin, Janet (July 12, 1991). "Surf's Up For F.B.I. In Bigelow's Point Break". The New York Times. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  10. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (July 26, 1991). "Point Break". Entertainment Weekly. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  11. ^ Hinson, Hal (July 12, 1991). "Point Break". The Washington Post. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  12. ^ Travers, Peter (April 11, 2001). "Point Break". The Washington Post. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  13. ^ Clark, Mike (July 12, 1991). "Point Break is a dramatic wipeout". USA Today. 
  14. ^ Corliss, Richard (July 22, 1991). "Cinema". Time. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Bierly, Mandi (September 29, 2006). "DVD Review: Point Break". Entertainment Weekly. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  17. ^ "10 Best Surfing Scenes". Entertainment Weekly. August 8, 2002. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  18. ^ "Point Break LIVE!". May 12, 2009. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  19. ^ See MythBusters (2007 season)#Point Break Trilogy
  20. ^ "‘Point Break’ Redo For Alcon Entertainment". Deadline. class="Z3988" title="ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Abook&rft.genre=bookitem&rft.btitle=%E2%80%98Point+Break%E2%80%99+Redo+For+Alcon+Entertainment&rft.atitle=&rft.pub=Deadline&rft_id=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.deadline.com%2F2011%2F09%2Falcon-entertainment-reboots-point-break&rfr_id=info:sid/en.wikipedia.org:Point_Break"> 
  21. ^ "LA LA LAND RECORDS, Point Break". Lalalandrecords.com. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 

External links

  • [1] Point Break Fansite at pointbreakmovie.com
  • Point Break at the Internet Movie Database
  • Point Break at AllRovi
  • Point Break at Box Office Mojo
  • Point Break at Rotten Tomatoes