The crown jewel to ten years of Bruce Brown surfing documentaries. Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters.
Michael Hynson ... Principal surfer (as Mike Hynson)
Robert August ... Principal surfer
Lord 'Tally Ho' Blears ... Himself
Bruce Brown ... Narrator
Terence Bullen ... South African guide
Wayne Miyata ... Himself
Back before Sean Penn gave us his hilarious interpretation of a surfer as a drugged-out loser with a limited vocabulary in "Fast Times At Ridgemont High", the common image of a surfer was that of a clean-cut guy who surfed just like other people sailed or fished. They were normal people. This film was made during that time, when surfing was a sport and surfers were athletes. And its that charm that makes this film special.
Bruce Brown had made 4 feature-length films prior to making this one, but this film's incredible success made him a cult hero, a Cinderella story who came out of nowhere to give us a film that could quite possibly be the best surfing documentary ever made. His premise was simple: take 2 surfers and try to achieve what everyone dreams of: an endless Summer of sun, surf, and girls (but mostly surf).
Brown's narration, with its soft California tone, really gives the film that comfortable, easy feeling, like watching an old Walt Disney film from the early 60's, which contributes to the film's charm. We know, we just know, that these two guys are going to go out on an adventure and nobody will die, nobody will get arrested, and nobody will do anything immoral (or at least _too_ immoral).
From the west coast of Africa, to South Africa, to Australia, to islands in the Pacific, to Hawaii, we go along as two young men from California introduce the sport of surfing to people who have never seen a surfboard before. It is quite hilarious to see villagers in Ghana and Senegal try to surf a longboard in heavy surf for the first time, and Bruce's narration really tells a funny story, and all along we're relaxing to the gentle guitar sounds of The Sandals.
We also get to see some of the best surfers riding some great waves in the age before the beaches got crowded with jet skis, racing boats, and more surfers. "Endless Summer" is one of those films that acts like a time capsule, and is just as entertaining now as it was when it first came out.
I highly recommend it for everyone. Adults, kids, surfers, non-surfers. There's something for everyone in this film. You don't need to know how to surf to enjoy this movie.
What a fun little film this is! Every 5 or 6 years I revisit this work and enjoy it as much as the first time I saw it. My hat is off to Bruce Brown for having the vision and determination to create this film. With cinematography, music, and narration that is easy on the mind and eyes, this film floats through the screen and has you envisioning your own paradise, whether or not you're a surfing aficionado. The two featured surfers in this film are at the top of their sport and seem to be doing it only for love - NOT for big prizes or cash purses. There is a unique innocence about this film that is very appealing.
See this film because it is not violent. See it because there are no special effects (save one or two jerky camera moves). See it because it takes you back to a simpler time when the world (and you do see much of the world) seems much simpler. Still fun and still an inspiration, this film will remain forever timeless...
THE ENDLESS SUMMER is a terrific Documentary and a really great "trip" (in every sense of the word) to another era: the 1960's.
Basically, the film is a photographic journal of two American surfers who start off from California, USA, and travel the world to find "the perfect wave". We follow them as they travel, and, if we're in a receptive mood, we have a lot of fun also. The film includes most of their trip, but the focus is on their journey through North and South Africa, New Zealand,Hawaii, Tahiti and Australia.
The film features some typical surfer humour that some would find a bit "lame", but it always makes me laugh. One silly example: The two surfers pack their bags for their trip. One of them reads about possible shark attacks. The next thing that we see is the other one packing a single "band-aid"...for emergencies! Typical surfer humour!! Interestingly, but unfortunately for us, the only place the boys can't find a decent surf is here, in Australia! During their Australian trip they are constantly told by the younger and older surfers alike: "You guys really missed it. You should have been here yesterday!" This really means: "You guys really missed it. You should have been here last winter!" There are so many good things in the film to enjoy: the laconic narration by Bruce Brown; the personalities of the two surfers, Robert and Mike; the evocative music score; the excellent photography and editing; and the scenic locations all combine to make this a great experience. This is one of the few films that will make you really appreciate surfing...and documentary films. It's a fine example of how to make an imaginative film with a small budget. THE ENDLESS SUMMER is truly one trip definitely worth taking!