Director: John Milius

As the writer of Dirty Harry, Apocalypse Now, and Red Dawn, it’s clear that John Milius lives and breathes epics. Knowing that, it would already make sense why Big Wednesday came naturally to him. But it turns out the coming-of-age surf film was much more personal to the legendary director than that. The film, co-written by friend Dennis Aaberg, was actually inspired by his childhood in Malibu, where he grew up an avid surfer. On screen, the story follows of a group of friends (Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt, and Gary Busey) surfing the Cali coast against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Although the film was initially a box office failure, it has since become a cult classic, finding new audiences in cinephiles and amateur surfers alike.