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The Beach Boys: An American Band (1985)

A biography of the American rock band The Beach Boys, with interviews, concert footage and clips from movies and television shows they appeared in.


Malcolm Leo


Malcolm Leo

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Credited cast:
Brian Wilson ... Himself
Dennis Wilson ... Himself (archive footage)
Carl Wilson ... Himself
Mike Love ... Himself
Al Jardine ... Himself
Bruce Johnston ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
The Beach Boys ... Themselves
Jack Benny ... Himself (archive footage)
Bobby Figueroa Bobby Figueroa ... Himself - drummer
Jimi Hendrix ... Himself (archive footage)
Bob Hope ... Himself (archive footage)
Karen Lamm Karen Lamm ... Herself
Paul McCartney ... Himself (archive footage)
Van Dyke Parks ... Himself


A biography of the American rock band The Beach Boys, with interviews, concert footage and clips from movies and television shows they appeared in. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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PG-13 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

22 November 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Beach Boys: Amerika zenekara See more »


Box Office


$2,100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


A couple of songs in the film, "Surf's Up" and "Fire" (aka. "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow") were recorded for the famous, unreleased "SMiLE" album which was supposed to be released in the summer of 1967. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 25th Anniversary edition is cut down by 43 mins. from the original cut. See more »


Features The T.A.M.I. Show (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

Endlessly intriguing
8 June 2007 | by SuperunknovvnSee all my reviews

This movie contains some amazing footage and it goes from the beginning of the band until the mid 80's when Dennis Wilson passed away. It's a bit of a flaw that the live performances are sometimes out of sync making the whole thing look a bit ridiculous. In between the concert footage the band members tell their story by some scripted lines, which is more than just a bit silly, but still fun to look at.

Above all, this movie is not to be viewed as a factual documentary. Most of the band's conflicts and troubles are only addressed shortly if they are addressed at all and the movie tries to paint a picture of endless harmony between all the band members, which wasn't there for most of the time. It's like watching a propaganda movie from a time of war, where most facts have been spun around. In hindsight, if you look at such movies and you know how things really went down, it's still very intriguing to see how they have been presented at the time. That's the main fascination of "The Beach Boys: An American band".

There is some very intimate footage in this movie. We actually get to see Brian lying in his bed with the blanket up to his chin as he did for most of the late 60's and early 70's. He is giving interviews without leaving the bed, trying to act as if this behavior was completely normal. We're at Brian's 34th anniversary party with Paul McCarntey. We see the press conference the Beach Boys gave after Dennis had passed away and somehow you get more information if you read between the lines than from listening to the things the band members say in interviews.

The most amazing thing to look at is Brian, who does seem uncomfortable for most of the time, but not exactly deranged. He could actually speak fluently up until the 80's, so even though he probably feels better now he somehow seemed healthier back then than he does when he's babbling on stage these days.

It's been a long way for Brian and the band and this movie covers most of it. "It's a dramatic story! It's the story of the Beach Boys", as Brian puts it at one point in the movie.

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