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Though our favorite season of hot, sunny beach days and warm nights may only last a few fleeting months, summer movies are a thing of great pleasure year-round. From classics like Dirty Dancing to family comedies like National Lampoon's Vacation, here’s our (by no means definitive) list of the best summer movies out there and where to watch them. Surfs up.

national lampoons
Warner Bros


What’s it about: Chevy Chase is the hapless moral center of this road trip movie that moves from Chicago to the Grand Canyon to a shuttered Los Angeles amusement park. Fun fact: Director John Hughes wrote the script based on his own childhood vacations.

Who’s in it: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

girls trip

2. “Girls Trip” (2017)

What’s it about: In this comedy, four friends, aka “The Flossy Posse,” take a trip to the annual Essence Festival to relive their college days.

Who’s in it: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish

Where to watch: Amazon Prime


3. “E.T.” (1982)

What’s it about: Steven Spielberg’s 1982 sci-fi movie—the highest-grossing film of its decade—was based on an imaginary friend the director created following his parents’ divorce.

Who’s in it: Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

karate kid
Columbia Pictures

4. “The Karate Kid” (1984)

What’s it about: After a life-changing summer, Daniel can’t seem to shake a group of bullies. So, he enlists a repairman (who just so happens to be a martial arts master) to train him for battle.

Who’s in it: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

the sandlot

5. “THE SANDLOT” (1993)

What’s it about: In the summer of 1962, a new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his rowdy team. And boy do they have fun.

Who’s in it: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, James Earl Jones

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

endless summer
Bruce Brown Films

6. “ENDLESS SUMMER” (1966)

What’s it about: Bruce Brown’s seminal 1966 surf film was a trailblazer because it introduced the newly popular California sport to a wider American audience.

Who’s in it: Robert August, Michael Hynson

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

vicky barcelona
The Weinstein Company


What’s it about: A summertime fling with Javier Bardem causes all kinds of havoc when two American women vie with Penélope Cruz for his affections (hey, we get it).

Who’s in it: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Messina, Patricia Clarkson, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

dr dolittle
20th Century Fox

8. “Dr. Dolittle” (1998)

What’s it about: The whole family can take a break from the summer heat to watch this movie about a doctor who’s able to communicate with animals.

Who’s in it: Eddie Murphy, Oliver Platt, Ossie Davis

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

the graduate
Embassy Pictures

9. “THE GRADUATE” (1967)

What’s it about: Simon and Garfunkel! Sixties counterculture! Mrs. Robinson! Plastics! This 1967 comedy-drama about a disillusioned college graduate has it all.

Who’s in it: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

i know what you did last summer
Columbia Pictures


What’s it about: This teen slasher film kept the summer thrills going when it opened in October 1997, thanks to writer Kevin Williamson's (Scream, Dawson’s Creek) mastery of teen angst and well-paced scares.

Who’s in it: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anne Heche, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillippe

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

dirty dancing
Vestron Pictures

11. “DIRTY DANCING” (1987)

What’s it about: While this classic 1987 film about a Catskills summer resort is remembered for fun dance scenes and nostalgic set pieces, it’s also a surprisingly gritty tale of class anxiety, sexual freedom and, um, abortion.

Who’s in it: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

crazy rich asians1
Warner Bros. Entertainment

12. “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018)

What’s it about: Rachel has been dating Nick for several years, but she’s never met his family. That all changes when she’s invited to a wedding in Singapore, where she’s introduced to Nick’s wealthy upbringing. Cue the hard-to-please mother-in-law.

Who’s in it: Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

bull durham
Orion Pictures

13. “BULL DURHAM” (1988)

What’s it about: You don’t have to like baseball, Kevin Costner or even romantic comedies to be won over by this story of a veteran catcher whose silly, soulful romance with a baseball groupie is second only to his love of the game itself.

Who’s in it: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

tin cup

14. “TIN CUP” (1996)

What’s it about: Bull Durham, but with golf.

Who’s in it: Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

columbia pictures
Columbia Pictures

15. “GHOSTBUSTERS” (1984)

What’s it about: So much to love about this supernatural comedy: New York in summertime, Bill Murray as a charmingly oily ghost exterminator and, of course, the evil Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Who’s in it: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

stand by me
Columbia Pictures

16. “STAND BY ME” (1986)

What’s it about: A poignant film about growing up, made even more so by the real life tragic death of one of its lead young actors, River Phoenix.

Who’s in it: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Paramount Pictures

17. “GREASE” (1978)

What’s it about: The high school musical to end all high school musicals, this story of a greaser in love with a good girl is as sweet and iconic as they come. (Minus the teenaged pregnancy subplot.)

Who’s in it: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

daddy day care
Columbia Pictures

18. “Daddy Day Care” (2003)

What’s it about: A recently unemployed father turns his home into a daycare center. The relatable scenes will make every parent with kids on summer break say, “same.”

Who’s in it: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

dazed and confused
Gramercy Pictures


What’s it about: Texas teens ramble on in this shaggy dog of a stoner story about the last day of high school in 1976.

Who’s in it: Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Wiley Wiggins

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

the great outdoors


What’s it about: The year was 1988. John Hughes had started making movies for grown-ups. In this, the second in the glorious “Candy trilogy” (along with Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Uncle Buck), two in-laws tangle with a bear in a lake cabin.

Who’s in it: Stephanie Faracy, Annette Bening, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

risky business
Warner Bros.

21. “RISKY BUSINESS” (1983)

What’s it about: It’s like F. Scott Fitzgerald, but with a 1983 bent: The story of a prostitute and a privileged high school boy manages to be heartwarming despite its crassness. And, umm, hello, Tom Cruise in tighty whities.

Who’s in it: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

little miss sunshine
Fox Searchlight Pictures


What’s it about: A meta-meditation on the triumph of the underdog, this 2006 comedy-drama road trip flick saw Steve Carell ace his first dramatic role. Made for $8 million, it grossed $100 million worldwide.

Who’s in it: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

7 year itch

23. “THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH” (1955)

What’s it about: When his family goes away for the summer, a faithful husband with an overactive imagination is tempted by a beautiful neighbor—Marilyn Monroe.

Who’s in it: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

little darlings
Paramount Pictures

24. “LITTLE DARLINGS” (1980)

What’s it about: This 1980 hit film has largely been forgotten, but the tale of two 15-year-olds who make a virginity-losing bet is a surprisingly nuanced look at young love.

Who’s in it: Tatum O'Neal, Kristy McNichol, Armand Assante

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

jumanji welcome to the jungle
Columbia Pictures

25. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (2017)

What’s it about: It’s the same old Jumanji we love to hate. And like last time, the game is fighting back against the players.

Who’s in it: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Madison Iseman

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

flamingo kid
Twentieth Century Fox

26. “FLAMINGO KID” (1984)

What’s it about: Will dreamy, 19-year-old Matt Dillon be corrupted during his summer as a private beach club cabana boy? This 1984 rom-com is as clean-cut as old Matty was back then.

Who’s in it: Matt Dillon, Héctor Elizondo, Molly McCarthy, Martha Gehman

Where to watch: Amazon

bill murray
Focus Features


What’s it about: This completely fresh and sweet film about two campers who run away together is so retro-dreamy, it had to come from the brain of Wes Anderson.

Who’s in it: Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Jared Gilman

Where to watch: Amazon Prime


28. “JAWS” (1975)

What’s it about: Beach towns, lifeguards and a rogue shark who is terrorizing the town.

Who’s in it: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

call me by your name
Memento Films

29. ‘“Call me by your name” (2017)

What’s it about: In 1980s Italy, romance blossoms between a 17-year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.

Who’s in it: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

wine country

30. “Wine Country”

What’s it about: Amy Poehler directs and stars in this comedy about a vacation to Napa Valley, where a group of long time friends reunites and revisits their past life choices.

Who’s in it: Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer

Where to watch: Netflix


31. “Adventureland” (2009)

What’s it about: A college graduate takes a boring job at his local amusement park, which turns out to be a way more exciting than it seems.

Who’s in it: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Wiig

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Walt Disney Pictures

32. “HEAVYWEIGHTS” (1995)

What’s it about: This 1995 cult comedy cowritten by Judd Apatow and Steven Brill stars Ben Stiller as a manic fitness instructor who terrorizes a children’s fat camp—until the kids triumph.

Who’s in it: Tom McGowan, Aaron Schwartz, Ben Stiller

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

the notebook
New Line Cinema

33. “The Notebook” (2004)

What’s it about: In 1940s South Carolina, mill worker Noah and rich girl Allie fall in love, but must separate because of their social differences.

Who’s in it: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Kevin Connolly

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

500 days of summer
Fox Searchlight

34. “500 Days of Summer” (2009)

What’s it about: An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn't believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her. Just a warning—this one’s a tearjerker.

Who’s in it: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

now and then
New Line Cinema

35. “Now and Then” (1995)

What’s it about: The story of four 12-year-old girls and the eventful summer they spend together in their small town in 1970.

Who’s in it: Melanie Griffith, Thora Birch, Rosie O'Donnell, Christina Ricci, Rita Wilson, Ashleigh Aston Moore, Demi Moore, Gaby Hoffmann

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

thelma and louise
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

36. ‘‘THELMA AND LOUISE” (1991)

What’s it about: If you’re looking for a summer road trip flick with two badass all-star female leads, then Thelma and Louise is the film for you. The classic comedy tells the story of two best friends, Thelma and Louise, who run into a wee bit of trouble together and subsequently decide to flee to Mexico in a 1966 Ford Thunderbird.

Who’s in it: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Warner Bros


What’s it about: Before Blake Lively had a website, before America Ferrera was Ugly Betty, before Alexis Bledel married Pete from Mad Men and Amber Tamblyn got hitched to funny guy David Cross, they starred in this beloved film about four friends who share a pair of Levi’s.

Who’s in it: Blake Lively, America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, Amber Tamblyn

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

somethings gotta give
Columbia Pictures

38. “Something's Gotta Give” (2003)

What’s it about: Two mature singles Erica Barry and Harry Sanborn end up living together in the Hamptons after Harry (who is dating Erica's daughter) has a heart attack. As you can probably guess, the duo fall in love.

Who’s in it: Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

wet hot
Eureka Pictures


What’s it about: This 2001 summer camp spoof movie follows a group of counselors try to complete their unfinished business before the last day of camp ends.

Who’s in it: Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

it takes two
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment

40. “It takes Two” (1995)

What’s it about: This 1995 flick takes place mostly at summer camp and has a similar plot to The Parent Trap. The film follows twins who were separated at birth and meet up at summer camp and hijinx ensues.

Who’s in it: Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Kirstie Alley, Steve Guttenberg

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

indian summer
Touchstone Pictures

41. “INDIAN SUMMER” (1993)

What’s it about: Big Chill on the water as a bunch of former campers have a reunion before the old camp closes.

Who’s in it: Alan Arkin, Matt Craven, Diane Lane, Bill Paxton

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

bluee crush

42. “BLUE CRUSH” (2002)

What’s it about: As a hard-core surfer girl prepares for a big competition, she finds herself falling for a football player. But we love it for the Hawaiian scenery, the girl-bonding-training-montage and the fairy-tale ending.

Who’s in it: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

a league of their own
Columbia Pictures

43. “A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN” (1992)

What’s it about: Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry. They also learn that there’s “no crying in baseball,” from their washed-up, alcoholic coach.

Who’s in it: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

breaking away

44. “BREAKING AWAY” (1979)

What’s it about: On the surface, this is a story about worthy underdog cyclists competing against entitled university kids. But really, this classic sports movie addresses something more universal—what the heck is there to life after high school?

Who’s in it: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

the way way back
Fox Searchlight Pictures

45. “The Way Way Back” (2013)

What’s it about: Teenage Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, he finds an unexpected friend in Owen, the manager of the Water Wizz water park.

Who’s in it: Liam James, Maya Rudolph, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, AnnaSophia Robb, Allison Janney, Toni Collette

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

RELATED: The 8 Best Summer Road Trip Movies of All Time

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