Lords of Dogtown is a dramatisation of a subject that was covered in the 2001 documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys.
The Z-Boys of that title were a group of teenage surfer friends, one of whom, Stacy Peralta, became the director of the documentary and wrote the screenplay for this film. They lived in a tough neighbourhood called Dogtown in Venice, California and, in the 1970s, created a new style of skateboarding that combined the death-defying moves of surfing with skateboarding.
The arrival in the local surf shop of polyurethane wheels which, when attached to the skateboards, allowed them to "grip" so that riders could start perfecting sharp turns and sudden direction changes, took the sport to exhilarating new heights and turned it into what would become known as an "extreme" sport. Another less obvious contributing factor in its development was - of all things - a 1975 drought. Because of it, many pools were left standing empty and they became playgrounds for the revolutionary skateboarders. Sponsored by the owner of the surf shop, Skip Engblom (Heath Ledger), the boys - Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch), Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk) and Peralta (John Robinson) became overnight legends.
But celebrity, as is often the case, had its drawbacks, notably in its effect on the friendship between the three guys who skated to fame and fortune, created a worldwide phenomenon and turned a hobby into big business.