What is it that makes the summer so much fun? Quintessential summertime is about adventure, road trips, barbecues, ice cream, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
A.frame has rounded up a list of movies that capture the vibe of summer. Watch as these characters spend their summers befriending lost aliens, gathering a group of friends to battle a killer clown, falling in love, fighting crime, and much more. Now, apply some sunscreen, pour yourself a glass of peach iced tea, and press play.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary on Aug. 21, this sultry summer classic follows a privileged girl nicknamed "Baby" (Jennifer Grey), who falls in love with her dance instructor, Johnny (Patrick Swayze), while vacationing with her parents at a resort in the Catskills, in upstate New York, in 1963. Baby's parents don't approve of her relationship with Johnny, at least not until he utters the iconic line, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." Dirty Dancing won the Best Original Song Oscar for the timeless bop "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
The one and only Steven Spielberg takes viewers on an unconventional journey of friendship between a boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) and a short extraterrestrial who has been left behind on Earth. The beloved sci-fi adventure won four Oscars, including Best Score and Best Visual Effects. The film would go on to become a pop culture phenomenon, inspiring theme park attractions at various Universal Studios locations around the world. What could be more summer than that?
Summertime is a bittersweet romance story that follows four-time Oscar winner and icon Katharine Hepburn while she vacations in Venice, looking for romance. The film was nominated for two Oscars: Hepburn for Best Actress and David Lean for Best Director.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom is a cute 1960s-era tale of a blossoming childhood romance between two kids who run away from their town in order to be together. Full of Anderson's signature visual style and idiosyncratic characters, the cast includes Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, and Lucas Hedges. Moonrise Kingdom was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
What would you do on a bet? This colorful adventure comedy tells the story of Phileas Fogg (David Niven), an ambitious Englishman who takes up the great challenge of traveling around the world in 80 days, meeting some adventurous and plucky characters along the way. Around the World in 80 Days won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography.
While the 1961 original with Hayley Mills is an undeniable classic, this remake from writer-director Nancy Meyers brought the magic to a whole new generation. The movie follows identical twins Annie and Hallie (both played by an 11-year-old Lindsay Lohan), who happen to discover that the other exists for the first time while at summer camp. While the two figure out that each one was raised by one of their biological parents on purpose, they hatch a plan to bring their parents (Natasha Richardson and Dennis Quaid) back together.
Marilyn Monroe is as beautiful and charming as ever in her first outing in a Billy Wilder film. The Seven Year Itch gives us probably the most defining image of Monroe’s career (pulling just ahead of "Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend" Marilyn). The actual plot of the film also delves into male fantasies versus reality, both of which Monroe often found herself caught between. Richard (Tom Ewell) thinks he is feeling the titular "Seven Year Itch," (better known as the idea that all men are driven to have an affair after seven years of marriage) when he meets and immediately becomes infatuated with Monroe’s character, The Girl, while his wife and son are out of town for the summer.
Angela Bassett plays Stella Payne, an ambitious and successful career woman who is tired of being single. Nudged by her best friend, Delilah (Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg), Stella decides to take a luxury vacation to Jamaica. There, she meets an array of potential suitors but is drawn to one particular young man who happens to be almost half her age. Before she falls in love, Stella must decide to either follow her career or follow her heart.
Who's up for a road trip? This wholesome comedy-drama is about a quirky, dysfunctional family that unearths hidden family secrets and traumas while taking their young daughter (Abigail Breslin) on a cross-country road trip to get her to the beauty pageant in which she'll be competing. Little Miss Sunshine won two Oscars, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (for Alan Arkin). Co-starring Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano and Steve Carell, the film was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (for Breslin).
Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is socially awkward, hopelessly romantic, and depressingly single. She's also obsessed with the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which starred Colin Firth. On a whim, Jane travels to England, hoping to find love at an Austen-themed summer resort geared towards helping women find the perfect Regency-era man they’re looking for. The movie has plenty of romance cred, having been produced by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer.
Widely regarded as one of the best films of the '80s, Spike Lee's 1989 drama Do the Right Thing is set on the hottest day of the year in a Brooklyn neighborhood. With the heat rising, as do tensions. The neighborhood's hate and bigotry builds and builds until it explodes into violence. Lee, in addition to writing, producing, and directing the film, stars as Mookie, a pizza delivery guy for Sal's Pizzeria, the neighborhood's pizza shop. Co-starring Danny Aiello, Rosie Perez, John Turturro, Richard Edson, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, and Samuel L. Jackson, the film was nominated for two Oscars, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (for Aiello, who played Sal).
For 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James), summer is his least favorite season. Besides generally lacking friends and self-confidence, he is forced to go on a family vacation with his mother (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend (Steve Carell). However, when Duncan escapes to a nearby water park, he discovers that friendship and romance were always just around the corner. Written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the movie co-stars Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, AnnaSophia Robb, and Allison Janney.
Like the 1990 TV mini-series did, this 2017 adaptation of the Stephen King novel from the '80s centers on a ragtag bunch of kids who team up to destroy the murderous clown that has been kidnapping kids in their small town of Derry, Maine during the summer of 1989. The horror film stars Bill Skarsgård, Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, and Wyatt Oleff. And don’t forget, when you're ready for more of killer clown Pennywise, there's It Chapter Two.
Crazy Rich Asians, directed by Jon M. Chu, is a modern romantic drama that follows an unsuspecting Chinese American professor, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), who is surprised to find out that her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding, in his breakout role), comes from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore. When Nick invites her to meet his family at his best friend’s wedding, Rachel, perceived as a commoner, becomes a threat to the Singaporean elite and his prejudiced mother (Michelle Yeoh). The film co-stars Awkwafina, Gemma Chan and Ken Jeong.
After helping save the world twice over with The Avengers, New York City's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Tom Holland), just wants to focus on school and having fun with his friends Ned (Jacob Batalon) and MJ (Zendaya) on an upcoming class trip to Europe. But the good times come to an end when a mysterious new enemy threatens to destroy his summer vacation.
The barrio of Manhattan's Washington Heights gets hot and humid in the summer. This vibrant film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical captures the summer vibe while depicting a wishful Bodega owner, Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who dreams of falling in love and saving enough money to expand his life past the Heights. In the Heights co-stars Miranda himself, Stephanie Beatriz (the voice of Mirabel in the Oscar-winning Encanto), Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, and Dascha Polanco.
No summer is complete without a trip to Camp Crystal Lake. In this legendary slasher, a group of young camp counselors find themselves getting more frights than fun when they learn that a mysterious killer is on the loose. Since its debut in 1980, the series has spawned 11 other sequels, making this one of the longest-running horror franchises.
Finally, there is, of course, Jaws, arguably the greatest summer blockbuster ever made. Spielberg’s breakout film features horror, suspense, action, adventure, and even a dash of comedy. Beachgoers are being picked off one by one by the unstoppable great white shark hidden in the water, but, at the insistence of the mayor of Amity Island (Murray Hamilton), the beaches cannot close on the 4th of July as that would result in a loss of tourism dollars. So, an unlikely trio of heroes, made up of a police chief (Roy Scheider), a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss), and a professional shark hunter (Robert Shaw), set off into the perilous waters to hunt the shark down, setting the stage for one gripping finale.
Jaws was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, winning for Best Film Editing, Best Sound, and Best Score for the suspenseful music composed by the legendary John Williams.