Windrider (1986) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Originally to be called Making Waves, this is the Aussie equivalent of a Frankie/Annette movie. Filmed entirely in Perth in late 1985, it's a silly concoction of surfing, forgettable songs, romance, and sitcom humor. It features Nicole Kidman in the Annette role as the aspiring singer, and Tom Burlinson in the Frankie role as the dreamy surfer boy (or actually "windsurfer boy" in this case). It scores a 4.9 at IMDb, which would fit perfectly into the beach portion of the Annette filmography. All of the Funicello/Avalon beach flicks score between 4.5 and 5.4, averaging exactly 4.9. The retro addition to the Annette/Frankie series, Back to the Beach, was made two decades after the others and about the same time as Windsurfer, and that also scores 4.9!

  1. (5.37) - Beach Party (1963)
  2. (5.24) - Bikini Beach (1964)
  3. (5.17) - Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
  4. (4.86) - Back to the Beach (1987)
  5. (4.84) - Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965)
  6. (4.69) - Muscle Beach Party (1964)
  7. (4.51) - How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965)


The All Movie Guide describes Windrider as follows:

This is a youth-oriented romantic drama about the relationship of a champion surfer and a rock singer. Enhanced by impressive sequences of surfboard derring-do and the exotic scenery of Western Australia, this film has plenty to keep young audiences entertained. P.C. Simpson  lives in a magnificent beachfront home with his wealthy father and indulges his passion for surfing on a daily basis. His father may fault him for not working at a regular job, but he can appreciate his son's remarkable abilities on the waves. Jade is a rock singer who starts an romance with the surfer, but just as it seems his life could not get better, several setbacks occur that threaten a wipeout.

That description is WAY too generous, but the AMG has one thing right. This flick was obviously targeted at young audiences, meaning VERY young ones, who may find the ridiculous rubber shark believable, the juvenile humor amusing, and Nicole Kidman's (dubbed) lame pop songs entertaining. The film would have disappeared without a trace by now if its 18-year-old female star had languished in obscurity, but she didn't. To the contrary, she became just about the biggest female star on the planet, so this featherweight flick stands as a crucial artifact in her filmography  ... and in her life, for that matter, since Miss Kidman and her co-star, Tom Burlinson, dated for many years. Windrider was Kidman's first adult role, although the future queen of elegance is barely identifiable as she schleps around in "hip" clothing, sporting a pudgy face, and with an enormous mane of frizzy, unkempt red hair. When the hair is piled atop her head, it makes her 5'11" frame seem about 6'7", ala Fletch in the 'fro. Of interest to us is the fact that it also includes the first onscreen exposure of her naked flesh, in three very brief nude scenes.

Apart from its ... er ... historical value, this movie has no real strengths except for a pretty cool poster (right), and some nice photography of actual windsurfing in some attractive Perth locations. The dialogue is typical Beach Blanket Bingo stuff like, "I guess that's what makes you so gosh-darn compelling." The main dramatic conflict is that the surfer has to get to the big surfing finals even though he's late and there are sheep in the road. He ends up abandoning his cool beach buggy and ... (wait for it to maintain tension) ... windsurfing to the windsurfing competition. Whoda thunk it? There's never any real doubt that Aussie Frankie will win Aussie Annette as well as the Koala Kup for Windsurfing, and the film has a frustratingly abrupt ending: he comes to shore victorious, gets a big hug from Kidman, and waves to the crowd. Then the credits start rolling.

And it doesn't even have Eric von Zipper.

  • Not available on DVD
  • The link to the left leads to VHS info


Scene 1: Kidman shows one breast in a shower scene. Her bum is distorted by frosted glass.

Scene 2: Kidman shows her breasts while lying on her back in a dark sex scene.

Scene 3: Kidman offers a very clear look at her bum and some side views of her breasts as she gets out of bed.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online.


The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D+. I'd probably score it a C-, a worthwhile look for some, if it were available on DVD, but it is not. As a surfing film targeted at younger teens, it is badly dated and completely avoidable, but you may be curious to see what Nicole Kidman looked and sounded like at 18.

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