Though our favorite season of hot, sunny beach days and warm nights may only last a few fleeting months, summer movies are forever (and they can be enjoyed year-round). The options are endless, whether you’re up for scary movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer, classics like Dirty Dancing or family comedies like National Lampoon's Vacation. Here's our list of the best summer movies out there and where to watch them, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more. Surfs up.
1. “NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION” (1983)
Who’s in it: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron
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.
2. “Girls Trip” (2017)
Who’s in it: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish
In this comedy, four friends, aka “The Flossy Posse,” take a trip to the annual Essence Festival to relive their college days.
3. “E.T.” (1982)
Who’s in it: Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore
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.
4. “The Karate Kid” (1984)
Who’s in it: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue
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.
5. “THE SANDLOT” (1993)
Who’s in it: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, James Earl Jones
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.
6. “ENDLESS SUMMER” (1966)
Who’s in it: Robert August, Michael Hynson
Bruce Brown’s seminal 1966 surf film was a trailblazer because it introduced the newly popular California sport to a wider American audience.
7. “VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA” (2008)
Who’s in it: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Messina, Patricia Clarkson, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz
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).
8. “Dr. Dolittle” (1998)
Who’s in it: Eddie Murphy, Oliver Platt, Ossie Davis
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.
9. “THE GRADUATE” (1967)
Who’s in it: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels
Simon and Garfunkel! Sixties counterculture! Mrs. Robinson! Plastics! This 1967 comedy-drama about a disillusioned college graduate has it all.
10. “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER” (1997)
Who’s in it: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anne Heche, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillippe
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.
11. “DIRTY DANCING” (1987)
Who’s in it: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes
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.
12. “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018)
Who’s in it: Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh
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.
13. “BULL DURHAM” (1988)
Who’s in it: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
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.
14. “TIN CUP” (1996)
Who’s in it: Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin
Think Bull Durham, but with golf. In this romcom, Costner plays Roy McAvoy, a pro golfer who falls for his rival's girlfriend.
15. “GHOSTBUSTERS” (1984)
Who’s in it: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver
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.
16. “STAND BY ME” (1986)
Who’s in it: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland
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.
17. “GREASE” (1978)
Who’s in it: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway
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.)
18. “Daddy Day Care” (2003)
Who’s in it: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn
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.”
19. “DAZED AND CONFUSED” (1993)
Who’s in it: Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Wiley Wiggins
Texas teens ramble on in this shaggy dog of a stoner story about the last day of high school in 1976.
20. “THE GREAT OUTDOORS” (1998)
Who’s in it: Stephanie Faracy, Annette Bening, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd
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.
21. “RISKY BUSINESS” (1983)
Who’s in it: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano
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.
22. “LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE” (2006)
Who’s in it: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin
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.
23. “THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH” (1955)
Who’s in it: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes
When his family goes away for the summer, a faithful husband with an overactive imagination is tempted by a beautiful neighbor—Marilyn Monroe.
24. “LITTLE DARLINGS” (1980)
Who’s in it: Tatum O'Neal, Kristy McNichol, Armand Assante
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.
25. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (2017)
Who’s in it: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Madison Iseman
It’s the same old Jumanji we love to hate. And like last time, the game is fighting back against the players.
26. “FLAMINGO KID” (1984)
Who’s in it: Matt Dillon, Héctor Elizondo, Molly McCarthy, Martha Gehman
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.
27. “MOONRISE KINGDOM” (2012)
Who’s in it: Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Jared Gilman
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.
28. “JAWS” (1975)
Who’s in it: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary
This Academy Award-winning thriller tells the story of a rogue shark who is terrorizing a beach town. Easily a classic.
29. “Call me by your name” (2017)
Who’s in it: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg
In 1980s Italy, romance blossoms between a 17-year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.
30. “Wine Country” (2019)
Who’s in it: Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer
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.
31. “Adventureland” (2009)
Who’s in it: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Wiig
A college graduate takes a boring job at his local amusement park, which turns out to be a way more exciting than it seems.
32. “HEAVYWEIGHTS” (1995)
Who’s in it: Tom McGowan, Aaron Schwartz, Ben Stiller
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.
33. “The Notebook” (2004)
Who’s in it: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Kevin Connolly
In 1940s South Carolina, mill worker Noah and rich girl Allie fall in love, but must separate because of their social differences.
34. “500 Days of Summer” (2009)
Who’s in it: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz
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.
35. “Now and Then” (1995)
Who’s in it: Melanie Griffith, Thora Birch, Rosie O'Donnell, Christina Ricci, Rita Wilson, Ashleigh Aston Moore, Demi Moore, Gaby Hoffmann
Follow the story of four 12-year-old girls and the eventful summer they spend together in their small town in 1970.
36. ‘‘THELMA AND LOUISE” (1991)
Who’s in it: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis
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.
37. “THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS” (2005)
Who’s in it: Blake Lively, America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, Amber Tamblyn
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.
38. “Something's Gotta Give” (2003)
Who’s in it: Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson
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.
39. “WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER” (2001)
Who’s in it: Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd
This 2001 summer camp spoof movie follows a group of counselors try to complete their unfinished business before the last day of camp ends.
40. “It takes Two” (1995)
Who’s in it: Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Kirstie Alley, Steve Guttenberg
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.
41. “INDIAN SUMMER” (1993)
Who’s in it: Alan Arkin, Matt Craven, Diane Lane, Bill Paxton
Indian Summer is essentially Big Chill on the water as a bunch of former campers have a reunion before the old camp closes.
42. “BLUE CRUSH” (2002)
Who’s in it: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis
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.
43. “A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN” (1992)
Who’s in it: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell
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.
44. “BREAKING AWAY” (1979)
Who’s in it: Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern
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?
45. “The Way Way Back” (2013)
Who’s in it: Liam James, Maya Rudolph, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, AnnaSophia Robb, Allison Janney, Toni Collette
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.
46. “Sylvie’s Love” (2020)
Who’s in it: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Aja Naomi King, Eva Longoria
Up for a feel-good summer romance that’ll have you grinning from start to finish? Sylvie’s Love is sure to do the trick. Set in New York during the 1960s, we follow Sylvie Parker, an aspiring filmmaker who falls in love with an up-and-coming musician, Robert Halloway. However, their careers seem to keep pulling them apart. Can they make this relationship work?
47. “Do the Right Thing” (1989)
Who’s in it: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, Martin Lawrence, Spike Lee, John Turturro
On a hot summer day in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, racial tensions rise to the point of violence after Mookie and his peers learn that the local pizzeria's Wall of Fame features no Black actors.
48. ‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’ (1998)
Stella Payne is a hard-working 40-year-old stockbroker who sets off to Montego Bay, Jamaica, for a well-deserved break. While there, she strikes up a romance with a gorgeous young man named Winston…who happens to be 20 years her junior.
49. “Bend It Like Beckham” (2002)
Who’s in it: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anupam Kher, Archie Panjabi
Jesminder Bhamra, better known as Jess, is passionate about football (aka soccer to us Americans), but unfortunately, her strict conservative family refuses to let her play because of her gender. Still, she sneaks behind their backs and joins the local women's football team.
50. “Real Women Have Curves” (2002)
Who’s in it: America Ferrera, Lupe Ontiveros, George Lopez, Ingrid Oliu, Brian Sites
America Ferrera made her feature film debut in this comedy drama, which is based on Josefina López's play of the same name. Ferrera stars as a Mexican-American teenager Ana García, who's torn between following her dream of going to college and following cultural traditions.
51. “Crooklyn” (1994)
Who’s in it: Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee, Zelda Harris
We follow 9-year-old Troy Carmichael, who lives with her parents and four brothers in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn during the summer of 1973. After Troy goes to visit her aunt in the south, she returns home and is greeted with some unexpected news.
52. “The Inkwell” (1994)
While vacationing with his family on Martha's Vineyard, 16-year-old Drew Tate stumbles upon an upper-class Black community of party-lovers known as The Inkwell. While there, he finds himself caught in a love triangle between Heather Lee and Lauren Kelly.
53. “Dope” (2015)
Who’s in it: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Kimberly Elise, Chanel Iman, Lakeith Stanfield, Blake Anderson, Zoë Kravitz
Meet Malcolm, a brilliant teen who happens to live in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in California. After he encounters a drug dealer named Dom, he winds up at a nightclub party that turns violent. Things get even messier when Malcolm leaves and discovers that drugs were stashed in his backpack.
54. “The Photograph” (2020)
Who’s in it: Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield, Chelsea Peretti, Kelvin Harrison Jr.,Chanté Adams
After famous photographer Christina Eames passes away, her estranged daughter, Mae, stumbles upon a few of her photographs, which prompts her to investigate her late mother’s early life. When Michael Block, a reporter, also takes an interest in Christina's work, he meets and falls in love with Mae.
55. “The Parent Trap” (1998)
Who’s in it: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter
We could never get tired of seeing Annie and Hallie (both played by Lindsay Lohan) perform the classic switcheroo and fool their parents. In this romcom classic, the young twins, who were separated at birth, meet each other for the first time when their parents send them to the same summer camp. But instead of returning to their actual homes, they switch places in an effort to bond with the other parent.
56. “In the Heights” (2021)
Who’s in it? Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace
From Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mastermind behind Hamilton, comes this vibrant musical about an ambitious New Yorker and bodega owner who wants to pursue a better life (and win the girl of his dreams).
57. “Mystic Pizza” (1988)
Who’s in it? Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor
Feeling nostalgic? Revisit Roberts in one of her earliest roles, where she plays one of three close teenage friends who navigate dating and relationships while working at a pizza parlor.
58. “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003)
Who’s in it? Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan
It’s almost impossible to watch this film without feeling tempted to book a flight to Italy. Based on Frances Mayes's namesake memoir, it follows a divorced writer who travels Tuscany in hopes of getting a fresh start.
59. “The Goonies” (1985)
Who’s in it? Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen
A group of brave young kids embark on a mission to save their homes from getting destroyed. But along the way, they come across an ancient map that takes them on the ultimate adventure.
60. “Hot Summer Nights” (2017)
Who’s in it: Timothée Chalamet, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe
Set in 1991, the film revolves around a teenager named Daniel (Chalamet), who gets involved in the drug trade after moving to Cape Cod to spend the summer with his aunt. Chalamet's acting chops are top notch in this coming-of-age drama.
61. “Fire Island” (2022)
Who’s in it: Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora
Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, this rom-com follows a group of queer BFFs as they try to make the most of their vacation at Fire Island Pines, though it proves to be more challenging than they anticipated. In his review of the film, PureWow Assistant Editor Joel Calfee wrote, "It feels honest and genuine without conforming to any standards. It's funny without trying too hard and it's romantic enough to hold its own against the rom-com classics of the past."
62. “My Best Summer” (2019)
Who’s in it? Landou He, Arthur Chen
We're always down for a cheesy love story that gives us all the feels. In this YA romance film, a young girl named Geng Geng enrolls at a prestigious school, where she meets and falls for Huai Yu.