Summertime makes us feel like we should be cruising with our windows down, sipping on an ice-cold cocktail, and making lifelong memories with our family and friends. So it’s no surprise that this nostalgia is mirrored in our favourite classic movies about summer.
This summer, make sure you watch these top 15 movies which capture sweet summer joy.
Dirty Dancing has everything you could possibly want from a summer romance flick: forbidden love, sexy dance scenes and snobby resort folk. Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze) sizzle onscreen as a pair of unlikely dancing partners, who must not only overcome Baby’s lack of skill but also her overbearing parents.
Don’t discount the oldest movie on the list just because it was released over 60 years ago! Summertime stars Katharine Hepburn as Jane Hudson, a single, middle-aged secretary who empties her savings to fund a summer in Venice. While in Italy, she meets the alluring Renato Di Rossi (Rossano Brazzi), who, she comes to learn, is leading a double life. Travel? Check. Romance? Check. Beautiful ’50s costumes? Check!
Call Me By Your Name
No doubt Call Me By Your Name will make you want to immediately drop everything so you can live out your summer tanning by a pool on a historic estate. The film follows 17-year-old Elio who falls hard for his father’s intern Oliver during the summer of 1983. The scenery is vibrant, the story is sensual, and the movie basically captures the essence of what we all wish our summers could be.
500 Days of Summer
Tom, a greeting-card writer and hopeless romantic, is caught completely off-guard when his girlfriend, Summer, suddenly dumps him. He reflects on their 500 days together to try to figure out where their love affair went sour, and in doing so, Tom rediscovers his true passions in life.
A lesser-known summer rom-com, Summer Catchstars a young Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jessica Biel as Ryan Dunne and Tenley Parrish, a pair of star-crossed lovers who meet during a summer in Cape Cod.
Stand by Me
During the course of Labour Day weekend, four young friends trek out to find the body of a missing stranger. Each obstacle the boys encounter, and they encounter a lot, further solidifies their friendship and makes the trip a defining moment of their adolescence.
The Way, Way Back
Duncan is an awkward teen who must spend the summer at a beach house with his mother, her boyfriend, Trent, and Trent’s obnoxious daughter. Trent can’t resist badgering Duncan, so the youth steals away to a water park and gets a job that will help him stay off Trent’s radar. As Duncan tends to the slides and pools of the aging park, he finds a father figure in wisecracking park manager Owen at a time when he desperately needs one.
National Lampoons Vacation
This masterpiece is all about a doomed family road trip to Walley World. The Griswolds embark on a cross-country vacation and run into some disastrous detours along the way, from babysitting the terrifying family dog to getting stuck in a tragic old station wagon rental. Everyone feels a connection to this lovingly dysfunctional family, perhaps because it reminds us of some of our own family summer holidays?
Sure, maybe this musical is technically set at the end of summer; but good girl Sandy and greaser Danny surely had a summer romance for the history books. We could watch the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds hanging out at the drive-in and sipping on milkshakes at the diner any season, but it’s just a little better in the summertime.
Dazed and Confused
Where it all started: Matthew McConaughey’s famous line: “Alright, alright, alrighhht,” This coming-of-age film follows a group of high schoolers in Austin, Texas on their last day of school in 1976. The nostalgic movie features rowdy freshman hazing, melodramatic football coaches, and cruising in low-riding Chevrolets.
Set at the fictional Bushwood Country Club, this 1980 movie shows the comedic summer happenings at a prestigious golf club, following an eager caddy trying to make money for college and a quirky groundskeeper trying to handle a gopher infestation. This classic gives glorious moments from Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, making it a hilarious no-brainer for the summer.
Now and Then
There’s nothing like an innocent film about four best friends who are just becoming teenagers, but still love a treehouse hangout. Told as a series of flashbacks, watch how one summer affected the lives and friendships of four girls, and how it changed them later as adults. From having séances at the local cemetery to pulling pranks on the neighbourhood boys, this classic movie makes us more than a little nostalgic.
It’s the summer of 1962, and a group of young boys spend the season playing with their local sandlot baseball team, plagued by a ferocious neighbourhood dog known as the Beast. After a baseball signed by Babe Ruth lands in the Beast’s backyard, Scotty Smalls slaps on his PF Flyers and has to make a run for it. This ragtag sandlot team is exactly what summer should be about: friends and fun.
Weekend at Bernies
Fun-loving salesmen Richard and Larry are invited by their boss, Bernie, to stay the weekend at his posh beach house. Little do they know that Bernie is the perpetrator of a fraud they’ve uncovered and is arranging to have them killed. When the plan backfires and Bernie is killed instead, the buddies decide not to let a little death spoil their vacation. They pretend Bernie is still alive, leading to hijinks and corpse desecration galore.
A love story that makes us cry every time and it all started at a small-town carnival during the summer in South Carolina. Think: jumping in the rolling waves, clad in vintage swimsuits, and lying in the middle of the street, watching the traffic lights change. Can’t get much more summer than that!