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Tags: avalon | funicello | presley

Newsmax's Best Beach Movies

Newsmax's Best Beach Movies

(Alex Bramwell/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 03 July 2023 01:38 PM EDT

Summer has arrived, and July Fourth is right in front of us!

That means that means ample fun and sun at the beach.

And in celebration, beach movies have been an American staple for more than 60 years.

Here’s a compilation of what we believe are the best beach-themed motion pictures of all time, listed in alphabetical order.

"Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965)

This is the most famous of a 1960s series of beach movies that starred Frankie Avalon and the late Annette Funicello. Combine those two teen idols with a cast of oddball characters that include names like Bonehead, Sugar Kane, Eric Von Zipper and South Dakota Slim, throw them on a California beach with a skydiving element, and you have all the fun and wackiness that made" Beach Blanket Bingo" a classic.

"How anyone can be in a bad mood after they watch this would be beyond me," said Austin Kennedy, reviewing for Film Geek Central. "A great cult classic!"

"Blue Crush" (2002)

Based on Susan Orlean's 1998 Outside magazine article "Life's Swell," "Blue Crush" depicts the story of three friends who have one passion: living the ultimate dream of surfing on Hawaii's famed North Shore. Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) is up at sunrise each morning to conquer the waves and train for the Rip Masters surf competition.

Nell Minow, reviewing for Common Sense Media, called "Blue Crush" a "Tough yet tender surfer heroine story.”

"Blue Hawaii" (1961)

Chadwick Gates (Elvis Presley) returns home to Hawaii following his discharge from the U.S. Army, looking forward to a life of surfing and fun after the military’s strict regime. To that end he gives working on the family pineapple farm the thumbs down in favor of being a tour guide for the same company that his girlfriend works for.

Said Danielle Solzman of Solzy at the Movies, "Blue Hawaii is as much of a tourist ad for Hawaii as it is a way to get people to buy the soundtrack album.

"Cast Away" (2000)

This is a modern take on the Daniel Defoe classic, "Robinson Crusoe," in which a FedEx executive (Tom Hanks) is the sole survivor of a flight to his new assignment in Malaysia.

He’s stranded on a deserted island after his plane crashes over the Pacific Ocean during a storm.

After he washes ashore, his attempts to both sail to civilization and contact help fail.

So he learns how to survive on his own, using whatever is available on the island, where he remains for years.

"Hanks's Everyman quality has never been more aptly utilized," said Peter Rainer, reviewing for New York Magazine/Vulture He's the perfect stand-in for all of us who never made it to Eagle Scout.

"The Endless Summer" (1966)

This is a documentary that follows two surfers (Michael Hynson and Robert August) on an around-the-world quest in search of the illusive "perfect wave." The locales their travels take them to include Hawaii, Australia, and South Africa. The film is produced, written, narrated and directed by Bruce Brown, himself a competitive surfer.

"Shunning the tons of equipment ordinarily taken along on location, Brown used only what he could carry," observed film critic Roger Ebert.

"The beautiful photography he brought home almost makes you wonder if Hollywood hasn't been trying too hard."

"How Stella Got Her Groove Back"(1998)

Forty-something hard-working stockbroker Stella (Angela Bassett) has it all: money, power, and reputation.

She has everything, that is, except for fun and romance.

So at the urging of friends she jets off to the beaches of Jamaica to find them both and a little adventure to boot.

"Adapted from Terry McMillan's ribald, heartfelt novel and starring Angela Bassett in the title role, Stella's got plenty of style and brains," wrote Duane Byrge for Hollywood Reporter. “It's a sexier, sassier version of Hollywood's old-time romancers."

"Jaws" (1975)

This is the cinematic version of the Peter Benchley novel of the same name, which kept beachgoers out of the water for years.

Amity Island police chief (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches on this New England tourist town when a young woman is killed by a shark.

When the mayor overrules him over the loss of tourist income, an ichthyologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled seafarer (Robert Shaw) offer to help the police chief capture the ravenous shark, and the three engage in an epic battle of man vs. beast.

Wrote Derek Malcolm reviewing for The Guardian, "'Jaws' is a splendidly shrewd cinematic equation which not only gives you one or two very nasty turns when you least expect them but, possibly more important, knows when to make you think another's coming without actually providing it."

"Point Break" (1991)

FBI agent, Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) infiltrates a group if Southern California surfers (led by Bodhi, plated by Patrick Swayze) who he suspects have been committing a string of bank robberies while disguised in masks of former U.S. presidents.

The gang is addicted to the thrills of both the big waves and the daring heists. The film ends with Utah watching Bodhi surfing to his death riding a legendary "50 year wave" in Australia.

Wrote Kevin Maher for the (UK) Times, "A near-perfect action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow with frenzied intensity, and it never seeks to patronise its own material or its audience."

"Soul Surfer" (2011)

This film is based on the true life story of Bethany Hamilton, who returned to the world of professional competitive surfing despite having lost her left arm to a 2003 shark attack.

Wrote Epoch Times film critic Mark Jackson, "Soul Surfer" is a powerful archetypal story first, a surfing movie second, a Christian movie third, and all-in-all, an inspirational film you should have a family couch viewing of, along with some homemade popcorn."

"Where the Boys Are" (1960)

This is the original spring break film shot in America’s ultimate spring break location: Fort Lauderdale Beach. It centers on the adventures (and misadventures) of four midwestern coeds in search of romance and adventure during their Easter break from classes.

While much of the action takes place on the famous beach, many of the bar scenes are shot at the Elbo Room, a popular Lauderdale Beach hangout that exists to this day.

"The slang is even more outdated than the sexual politics," wrote Matt Brunson for Film Frenzy, "but all of the performers shine with colorful characterizations, particularly [Dolores] Hart, [Paula] Prentiss, and [Frank] Gorshin."

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Frankie Avalon and the late Annette Funicello. Combine those two teen idols with a cast of oddball characters, throw them on a California beach with a skydiving element, and you have all the fun and wackiness that made" Beach Blanket Bingo" a classic.
avalon, funicello, presley
Monday, 03 July 2023 01:38 PM
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