Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)

I wish I played these guys’ video games, other than that chump Tony Hawk’s.

Legendary skateboarder Stacy Peralta directed documentary that focuses on the Z-Boys of Venice Beach, Calif., who revolutionized skateboarding in the 1970s when they infused surfing techniques into the sport. Credited with founding skating culture as we know it, these young, innovative guys became legends in the field, and the depth of their influence is still felt in a variety of sports — and society — today.

I was never a big skater, mainly because I’m a puss, and I can’t really take a fall but I must say after seeing this, these guys make me really wanna go out there and break some more bones.

The material here may not actually interest most people, since most don’t give a damn at all about skate-boarding, but what this film does best is that it makes this material, somehow very entertaining to learn about. The fast-pace keeps this film going at a fun and quick feel, and the stories and the way they tell each one actually works too. With the soundtrack, rare pictures/videos, and the great interviews from everybody involved from this movement, I felt like I was actually there with these guys, skating it up during the 70’s.

Speaking of the soundtrack, I have to say that the music here is absolutely awesome and takes me back to the time of when these guys were skating around California. Songs from the likes of The Stooges, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, and Ted Nugent. You know when you got “the Nuge” on a soundtrack its just going to be the shit.

My main problem with this film is that I wanted to know more about the lives of all these people involved. Now of course we get to know the Lords of Dogtown’s story the most, but there were plenty of others that I would have liked to know more about since they all influenced just as much. The fast pace made this film feel like an hour rather than an hour and a half, but I think this film could have done with more minutes added on to show more stories.

Sean Penn narrates here and does an OK job, but I have to say I was rather disappointed. I thought it was cool how they got this guy to actually narrate a documentary about a bunch of skater bros, but I hardly even knew it was him, and if they didn’t tell me in the beginning, I don’t think I would have really noticed in the first place.

Consensus: You want to know more about these people, and the narration isn’t awesome, but the fast-pace, and rockin’ soundtrack makes us feel like we’re right there with these guys, which makes this documentary succeed at making a subject fascinating, whether you like it or not.



  1. Of the documentaries in the past decade, this is among one of my favorites. I just love watching it over and over again. I wasn’t just fascinated by the history of skateboarding but how it was revived in the 1970s.

    My favorite sequence is the big national contest as the Z-Boys were going up against old farts whose skating style was so out-dated. What made it great was the choice of music played. Started off with something peppy and 60s and then KA-BLAM. Cranks up the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and it was ON!!!! That was capped by Jay Adams’ freestyle performance to the tune of Jimi Hendrix’ “Foxy Lady”. That whole sequence is nothing short of perfection. I totally love this doc.

  2. As someone who merely flirted with the skating craze of the 80’s, I was surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did. I feel they did a marvelous job telling the history of extreme skating with very little footage. Anyone who has even a mild interest in skating or sports would be well served in checking this out. I’d give it a 9 myself.

    • I liked it and the feeling of just fast-pace and knowing everything about it so quickly is what makes it so awesome. Glad you liked it a lot though!

  3. Does any one know the led zeppelin song that plays faintly in the background when everyone was at the Zephyr party? I know zeppelin does not allow there music to be licensed to anyone, which, is why it isn’t in the soundtrack. It is such a cool sounding song, and I am going crazy not knowing what it is.

    Thanks everyone

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