25 Things You May Not Know About 'Point Break'

"UTAH! Get me two!"

25 Things You May Not Know About 'Point Break'
Fox

It's been over 30 years, but Point Break still gets plenty of modern love thanks to, well... Everything. Keanu Reeves is still a huge fan favorite and the movie launched his career as an action star three years before Speed. Patrick Swayze never played bad guys, but he did in Point Break and he owned the role. Supporting actors Lori Petty and Gary Busey were both perfectly cast and Anthony Kiedis has a sweet cameo as a thug surfer.

Thug surfers are one of the best things about Point Break. The movie romanticized the sport for a new landlocked generation who had never seen The Endless Summer or Big Wednesday (also starring Busey). Plus, Point Break was cool. Director Kathryn Bigelow infused the film with California sun, attitude, and a cast that would carry out her vision.

25 Things You May Not Know About 'Point Break'
Fox | Tumblr

We'd seen bank robbers before, but bank robber surfers who doubled as extreme sport badasses? That was something new and the movie would have a huge influence on pop culture at the time. Now, all these years later, Point Break is still beloved, still seen on cable all the time, and still quoted by fans young and old. "Utah! Get me two!" To celebrate the movie, here are 25 things you may not know about it:

1. The title of the original Point Break screenplay by Rick King and W. Peter Iliff was Johnny Utah, the name of Keanu Reeves' character. But Fox wanted a title that was more surf-themed so it was switched to Riders on the Storm like the famous Doors song. That title was nixed because it didn't reflect the story well enough. Eventually, halfway through shooting, an ocean term was chosen: Point Break.

25 Things You May Not Know About 'Point Break'
Fox

2. Co-producer Rick King, inspired by a LA Weekly article about Los Angeles being the robbery capital of America, was the first to imagine Point Break as a movie. 

3. Reportedly, Matthew Broderick, Willem Dafoe and Val Kilmer all turned down the role of Johnny Utah. Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen auditioned.

4. Ridley Scott was the first choice to direct the movie.

5. Tyler (Lori Petty) explains to Johnny that the name Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) is short for Bodhisattva. "Bodhisattva" is a term in the Buddhist religion meaning an enlightened being who, out of compassion, forgoes nirvana in order to save others. Bodhi means "awakening."

6. Swayze auditioned for the role of Johnny Utah initially.

7. King and Iliff are the only writers in the film's credits, but Bigelow and her husband, James Cameron, penned the final draft. A problem with the Writers' Guild kept them from being credited.

25 Things You May Not Know About 'Point Break'
Fox

8. Two months before filming began, Reeves, Swayze and Petty trained with former pro surfer Dennis Jarvis on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Jarvis said of working with the actors, "Patrick said he'd been on a board a couple of times, Keanu definitely had not surfed before, and Lori had never been in the ocean in her life."

9. Reeves still surfs as a hobby today.

10. When Bodhi yells "Adios, amigo!" and jumps out of the airplane, he really jumped. Swayze was a a skydiving hobbyist and did over 50 jumps on the movie. 

11. Swayze also refused to use a stunt double for the surfing scenes which cost him four broken ribs.

12. Art reflects reality: Johnny Utah is an ex-college quarterback who lost his shot at the NFL thanks to a knee injury. Keanu Reeves is an ex-hockey player who lost his shot at the NHL thanks to a knee injury. 

13. To prepare for the role of Johnny, Reeves studied with real FBI agents and got tips from UCLA football coaches.

25 Things You May Not Know About 'Point Break'
Fox

14. The beach where Johnny proves himself to Bodhi and his crew during a pickup football game is the same spot where Daniel and Ali kick the soccer ball around in The Karate Kid.

15. Reeves plays a former quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes in Point Break and he has the same back story in one of his later movies: The Replacements.

16. A restaurant called "Patrick's Roadhouse" is mentioned in the movie, a potential fun reference to Swayze and his '80s action fave Road House. But the restaurant really exists.

17. Reeves and Swayze had been in a movie together before, 1986's Youngblood.

18Betsy Lynn George, known to every teenage boy in 1990 as the hot chick in Billy Idol's "Cradle of Love" music video, appears quickly in Point Break as a girl at Bodhi's party.

19. MythBusters tested out the accuracy of the sky diving scene that shows Utah jumping out of a place without a parachute and catching Bodhi in mid-air. The show determined that the two men could not enter a free fall for 90 seconds, could not have held a conversation thanks to wind noise, but Johnny could have caught up to Bodhi if the latter jumped first and the second streamlined his body as they do in the movie. 

25 Things You May Not Know About 'Point Break'
Fox

20. On the Strange Days DVD commentary track, Bigelow reveals how she shot the frantic foot chase scenes of Point Break. She and her crew used a "Pogo Cam" which was essentially a handheld 35mm camera equipped with a gyro-stabilizer like a Steadicam. It allowed operator James Muro to chase the actors while running full speed.

21. In the longest foot chase scene, when Utah chases Bodhi from the gas station, still wearing his Ronald Reagan mask, that's not Swayze. It's stunt double Scott Wilder who had to fill in when Swayze had to leave set to do press for Ghost in Europe.

22. To get close-ups during the skydiving sequences, a crane rig with a telescoping arm was built for each actor. 

23. Utah tosses his FBI badge in the water, a movie moment previously seen in Dirty Harry and High Noon, among others.

24. The youngest of the gang of surfers in the film is known by the nickname "Grommet." In surfer slang, a grommet or "grom" is a young kid or an inexperienced surfer.

25. The first Point Break screenplay was a story about skateboarding.

25 Things You May Not Know About 'Point Break'
Fox
Managing Editor, Zimbio — entertainment writer, critic, and reporter since 2011. Bay Area. Origin: Shark City.
Comments