Big Wednesday

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Big Wednesday is a 1978 American coming of age film about California surfers facing life, the Vietnam War, and use of the ever-changing surf as a metaphor for the changes in life.

Directed by John Milius. Written by John Milius and Denny Aaberg, loosely based on their own experiences at Malibu and a short story Aaberg had published in a 1974 Surfer Magazine entitled "No Pants Lance."
Three friends. Twelve Turbulent Years. And One Day We All Must Face.taglines

Matt Johnson[edit]

  • I don't want to be a star. Have my picture in magazines, have a bunch of kids looking up to me. I'm a drunk, Bear, a screw up. I just surf because it's good to go out and ride with your friends. I don't even have that anyone.

Leroy "The Masochist" Smith[edit]

  • Why don't you get back to Burbank!
  • He ain't no hodad Squidlips!
  • Mexico! Surfboards! Guns!


  • Bear: That's the lemon next to the pie.
  • Narrator, Fly: Stay casual, Barlow.


Girl at Party: You've got a great figure.
Peggy: Thank you. You too.
Girl at Party: Is that a padded bra?
Peggy: No, this is all me.
Girl at Party: God.
Peggy: You should try a padded bra.
Girl at Party: I have one on.

[Waxer pretends to be homosexual to avoid being drafted]
Sergeant: Are you a homosexual?
Waxer: Well, I guess I am. I wrote it down, "Homosexual Tendencies: Yes." Yes.
Sergeant: Well, you're just going to love it in the United States Army. There's lots of men there. And they get real close in foxholes and tanks, and in combat. Get him out of here and process him in the Marine Corps.
Waxer: If you send me to Vietnam, I'll just die.

[Leroy the Masochist pretends to be insane to avoid being drafted]
Psychologist: I see here they call you a masochist.
Leroy the Masochist: I like pain.
Psychologist: Can you be specific? What kind of pain do you like?
Leroy the Masochist: Any kind of pain.
Psychologist: Such as?
Leroy the Masochist: I like fights, I've done through windows, I've eaten light bulbs, I like sharks, any kind of blood. If you gave me a gun, I'd shoot you in the face just to see what it looked like when the bullet hit.

Matt: You know, Mrs. Barlow. There's something I'd like straighten out.
Mrs. Barlow: What's that, Matt?
Matt: Well, I did a lot of things around here I'm kind of ashamed of. I tore up your lawn with my '40 Ford...
Mrs. Barlow: Many times.
Matt: Took my pants off in front of your friends...
Mrs. Barlow: Oh, yes.
Matt: And I even passed out in your closet, but I never, and I don't know who could have if I didn't, but I never, and I repeat never, ever pissed in your steam iron.

Spectator: Hey, do you surf, man? Are you a surfer?
Bear: Oh, no... Not me, I'm just a garbage man.

Lucy: Will you delinquents shut up? Someday you'll have to straighten out and earn a decent living. Pay attention and grow up sometime. Turn into a respectable person.
Leroy the Masochist: He's a well-respected surfer.
Lucy: That's not a sport, it's a disease.

About Big Wednesday[edit]

  • It's a surfing How Green Was My Valley the loss of an aristocracy, the end of an era, the passing of a more innocent time to a more corrupt and complex one-all growing up is the passing of innocence. It's based on the lives of three friends ten years ago. It's about their friendship, and the value of friendship. I don't think that kids today have the same kind of values that these people had then; I don't see movies being made about that kind of thing. This movie is about friendship: surfing is just the background. It's about love of a place, love of a time, love of your human contacts, and the loss of those things. It's the most personal film I'll probably ever make, and I figured I ought to do it now, before I get too far away from it. At least half the people who participated are dead now. The attrition rate among surfers is very high. A lot of them died in Vietnam and OD'd on dope.
    • Director John Milius, Thompson, Richard (July–Aug 1976). "STOKED". Film Comment 12.4: pp. 10–21. 
  • When I did Big Wednesday my first impressions were that I was going to do this coming-of-age story with Arthurian overtones about surfers that nobody took seriously, their troubled lives made larger than life by their experience with the sea. And that’s what the movie is. It never strayed from that. There was a lot of pressure to make it more like Animal House, but the movie has a huge following now because it did have loftier ambitions. It wasn’t just a story about somebody trying to ride the biggest wave or something. That’s not enough.


  • Three friends. Twelve Turbulent Years. And One Day We All Must Face.
  • A day will come that is like no other... and nothing that happens after will ever be the same.
  • A story of three friends growing up in the sixties; of ten years filled with parties; weddings and uncertainties; and of the day we must all face...


External links[edit]

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