Box art for Lords of Dogtown

Lords of Dogtown

action & adventure, drama, sports

See how extreme sports got its start with this critically-acclaimed, true-life story of three teenage surfers and best friends in Venice, California, who radicalized the sport of skateboarding in the 1970s.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
5 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Portrait of Venice, CA, '70s teen skater culture.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film includes teen smoking, drinking, drug use, foul language, sexual activity, and violence. The heroes are 1970s California rebels who essentially invent freestyle skateboarding, then confront a barrage of commercial contracts and crass promoters, instant celebrity, high stakes competitions, and insecurities among themselves. Some of the kids also deal with money problems at home, single and absent parents, and romantic pressures. One skater learns late that he's suffering from brain cancer, and his post-surgery appearance, surely gallant, may also be distressing for younger viewers.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the many ways that kids can rebel against authority and convention and what does and doesn't appeal to them about skater culture. Families can talk about what is and isn't compelling about rebellion. How does the movie alternately celebrate and question the main characters' choices? What does selling out mean to kids? And what are kids willing to sacrifice either to make money or follow their dreams?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 17
    see all Lords of Dogtown reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: When the film works dramatically, it works because of Emile Hirsch and Heath Ledger].

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, June 3, 2005

Rotten: If watching Dogtown and Z-Boys was tantamount to witnessing history itself, watching Lords of Dogtown, which Peralta wrote, feels more like watching a stiff, meticulously choreographed reenactment.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, June 3, 2005

Fresh: Lords can't quite sustain this adrenaline to the finish as it eventually loses focus and takes a fall into sentimentality. But when it excels, it brings that electric charge that comes when a film's style is perfectly matched with its subject.

- Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News, Friday, June 3, 2005

Audience Reviews

3 stars

thought it was good

- LWOODS04, Friday, June 12, 2009

4 stars

Consider it a guilty pleasure of mine.

- cigaretteburns, Monday, December 11, 2006

4 stars

Cool flick - love the 80's style! Something different - cool soundtrack

- KhrisP, Tuesday, July 25, 2006