The flip side of this is "How long was Winthorpe homeless and destitute?"

From looking at the movie it looks like a couple of days,but that's hardly enough time for Billy Ray to build a reputation and/or enough knowledge to be balancing the companies check book on Christmas Eve.

So, is there a known time period that the events of the movie took place over?

  • 2
    The only timeline that could be well established is that the Duke's first make their bet sometime before Christmas. Winthorpe tried to frame Valentine at the Christmas party (which likely happened sometime before Christmas, as no company throws a Christmas party on Christmas Eve), and Valentine and Winthorpe don't try to steal the USDA report until New Year's Eve. So, Winthorpe is probably homeless for about 3 weeks. Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 16:06
  • @JohnnyBones - I once worked for a company that threw their Xmas party in January.
    – user7812
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 16:26
  • 1
    I worked for a company that threw their Xmas party in February, but they didn't decorate it as an Xmas party.
    – stannius
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 16:36
  • 2
    Winthorpe wakes in his own bed (recovering from his failed overdose) on Christmas day. In Hollywood movies trees are decorated on Christmas Eve, Christmas parties happen on Christmas eve. (Just like bachelor parties happen the night before the wedding, seriously, what idiot has a bachelor party the night before the wedding?) Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 17:03
  • 1
    I'll figure this one out. I successfully determined that Patrick Swayze's character died on July 27th after looking at weather charts for Australia in 1990 and referencing dates in the movie, so now all my friends and I celebrate Point Break Day on that date. I'll figure this one out. :o) Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


The very first date that can be ascertained from the movie is December 1st, 1982. This date is written on the paychecks that Winthorpe has the Duke brothers sign.

enter image description here

I'm not a Payroll guy, but I'm fairly certain that paychecks are dated on (or close to) the day they're issued. This means the checks were likely signed on November 30th.

Immediately following the paychecks being signed, the Duke brothers first bring up their bet. On Winthorpe's way out of the club, where the checks were signed, he encounters Valentine. Valentine takes Winthorpe's briefcase, which leads to his arrest. The Duke brothers then officially make the bet that leads to Winthorpe becoming homeless.

They bail Valentine out of jail the following day, which is assumed to be December 1st, and give him Winthorpe's house. Winthorpe gets arrested that same day and spends a night in jail. The following day, December 2nd, he meets Ophelia and begins rooming with her (thus, he is not truly homeless).

Backtracking for a sec, while in jail Valentine is harassed by two larger men, one of which says, "It ain't cool bein' no jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving", which lends weight to the December 1st date.

The next date officially brought up is Christmas Eve, when Winthorpe is sick in Ophelia's bed. In between, there isn't a single calendar or newspaper with a date that is legible, so no other dates can even be assumed.

Lastly, the whole deal with the USDA report takes place on New Years Day, and the report is set to be officially released on Jan 2nd (as stated earlier in the film). Therefore, Winthorpe is officially "homeless" almost exactly 1 month.

If anyone with a Payroll background can back up my assumption, I'd appreciate it.

  • Dude! Most excellently and very well done :) Thanks. Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 10:53
  • There's another date: Billy Ray was also signing paychecks, during the Christmas party, and they have "December 24th 1982" written on them. Winthorpe got sick the day that party happened.
    – user28434
    Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 0:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .