Tony Hawk: What To Watch If You Like The Skateboarding Legend
He's in a league of his own!
There are few athletes whose names are as synonymous with their respective sports as Tony Hawk is with skateboarding. For more than 40 years now, the Birdman as he is known in the skateboarding world, has revolutionized the sport and turned it from a Southern California pastime to a billion-dollar industry. Anytime there is a career as successful and impactful as Hawk’s, it almost guarantees you’re going to see the person behind that success pop up in movies, shows, and even decades-spanning documentaries.
Below is a break down of some of the best of the best Tony Hawk movie appearances, whether they be ‘80s cult classics, documentaries about his successful video game franchise, or decades-spanning profiles on all the ups and downs of his life.
Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off (HBO Max)
Released in April 2022, the HBO documentary Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off is perhaps one of the best documentaries released in the past few years thanks its to unfiltered look at the skateboarding legend’s life, career, successes, and missteps. This truly eye-opening two-plus-hour movie explores what makes Hawk such an impactful figure not just in the world of extreme sports, but American pop culture as a whole, through detailed examinations of each part of his life.
From his days as a young skateboarding prodigy riding with the Bones Brigade to how he reinvented his career with the arrival of the X Games to the creation of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game franchise and beyond, it’s all there, and Hawk doesn’t hold back with his words, thoughts, or philosophies.
Stream Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off on HBO Max.
Pretending I’m A Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story (Kanopy)
There were skateboarding video games before Tony Hawk Pro Skater, but none of those had an impact that even came close to touching its god-like status. In the years following its release, THPS has become one of the most recognizable franchises on the planet and helped change the face of skateboarding by introducing the sport to millions of gamers around the world.
The 2020 documentary, Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story, goes into great detail about not only the legacy of the game but how it all came together in the first place. Featuring interviews with Hawk, as well as other mainstays of the franchise’s roster and developers, the documentary does a tremendous job of letting you know how and why it was such a success.
Stream Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story on Kanopy.
Rent/Buy Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story on Amazon.
Bones Brigade: An Autobiography (Tubi)
The story of how the 1980s skate crew Bones Brigade — Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Tommy Guerrero, Lance Mountain, and Mike McGill — came together is a major part of the Hawk's 2022 documentary, but is told in even greater detail in Bones Brigade: An Autobiography.
This is one of those documentaries that is perfect for longtime fans of the Bones Brigade and new skaters who have just heard the name or seen their shirts around skateparks, and it finds a perfect balance with its story that leaves you wanting to know more about its members and impact on the sport.
Stream Bones Brigade: An Autobiography on Tubi.
Rent/Buy Bones Brigade: An Autobiography on Amazon.
Dogtown And Z-Boys (Amazon Rental)
The Zephyr Skate Team, a.k.a. the Z Boys, were a group of skaters in the 1970s who took what they learned as surfers and applied it to the fledgling sport, creating a unique style that would take over drained pools and skateparks for years to come. In 2001, Stacy Peralta, one of the group’s most famous members, released the celebrated documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys, that highlighted the group’s rise to fame and glory and all the ways they impacted skateboarding.
Tony Hawk, who was heavily influenced by the group, shows up in the documentary to talk about the Z-Boys game-changing style and status, joining multiple other icons of the industry who share their own stories of how the skate team influenced them in their formative years.
Rent/Buy Dogtown and Z-Boys on Amazon.
Dumb: The Story Of Big Brother Magazine (Hulu)
Before the Jackass crew became overnight stars thanks to their MTV series, they cut their teeth on and injured themselves for Big Brother magazine. From 1992 to 2004, this hilarious and hilariously shocking skateboarding magazine welcomed readers into the lives of professional skaters and stunt performers like never before, and the 2017 Hulu documentary, Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine, shows how it all came to be.
Considering the magazine was mostly a skateboarding rag, it should come as no surprise that influential figures like Tony Hawk would show up in the documentary’s various interviews, sharing insight on the magazine and its legacy more than a decade after its final issue hit newsstands.
Stream Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine on Hulu.
Jackass: The Movie (Paramount+)
Tony Hawk has long been one of the many ancillary figures in the Jackass franchise, having shown up on the original show and various entries in its series of films. One of Hawk’s best segments, “Sweaty Fat Fucks,” was featured in Jackass: The Movie, where he, Bam Margera, and Mat Hoffman dressed up in massive suits and attempted their signature moves. Despite the limited mobility, Hawk was still able to pull off a 540 McTwist with relative ease.
You can also watch Hawk’s various appearances in all the Jackass movies streaming, including the surprisingly nostalgic fourth installment.
Stream Jackass: The Movie on Paramount+.
Rent/Buy Jackass: The Movie on Amazon.
30 For 30: The Birth Of Big Air (ESPN+)
Although it doesn’t get brought up all that much when discussing the best 30 for 30 documentaries, The Birth of Big Air is an entry in the franchise that shouldn’t be missed. The 2010 documentary details how Mat Hoffman, essentially the Tony Hawk of the BMX world, completely changed his sport throughout the final decades of the 20th Century with his intense work ethic and death-defying vert tricks.
Stream 30 for 30: The Birth of Big Air on ESPN+.
Buy 30 for 30: The Birth of Big Air on Amazon.
Being Evel (Peacock)
The late, great Evel Knievel will forever go down as one of the iconic figures of American pop culture in the second half of the 20th Century, and his impact can still be felt all these years after his passing. The 2015 documentary, Being Evel, dives into the legend and the man (and all his faults) in stunning detail with stories from those who knew him best. The documentary also includes tributes from some of his biggest fans like Johnny Knoxville, Mat Hoffman, and yes, Tony Hawk, who all talk about how the legendary figure influenced them to take their careers to the next level.
Stream Being Evel on Peacock.
Rent/Buy Being Even on Amazon.
Gleaming The Cube (Prime Video)
The 1989 crime drama Gleaming the Cube follows Brian Kelly (Christian Slater), an unruly skateboarder who sets off to find out who killed his adopted Vietnamese brother Vinh (Ar Chudabala), and why he was murdered in the first place. With Brian being the leader of a skate crew, it’s a given that there would be multiple real-life skaters featured in the movie. At the top of that list is Tony Hawk, who gets some screen time in as Brian’s friend and fellow skate rat, Buddy, who happens to be a Pizza Hut delivery driver (this was later referenced in the Destroying America skate video).
Stream Gleaming the Cube on Prime Video.
Tony Hawk has also made a number of cameos in movies like xXx, The New Guy, and Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, and countless others throughout his career. And, judging by how he's not really slowing down all that much, we'll be seeing him for quite some time.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.