July 23, 2024

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The 15 Best Movies To Watch Over The Summer

The 15 Best Movies To Watch Over The Summer

These are the films that capture the essence of summer.

When you think of summer, you think of sunny skies, sandy beaches, and going to the movies.

Illumination / Via YouTube

There are countless movies that are perfect to watch during the summer, and here’s a list to help you choose. However, this list doesn’t focus on “summer blockbusters” but rather on films that best convey the essence of the season. With that all cleared up, here are the 15 best movies to watch over the summer.


National Lampoon’s Vacation

Warner Bros.

In this classic Chevy Chase comedy, the Griswolds take a two-week-long road trip to an amusement park, and everything goes wrong in the worst way possible. But, of course, there wouldn’t be a film if the trip went smoothly. Written by the incomparable John Hughes, Vacation is packed to the brim with indelible lines and scenes that will keep you laughing all the way to Wally World.



Warner Bros.

We’ve all had to take a job over the summer, but I’m sure none of them were quite like this movie. This slapstick film follows a teenager caddying at the exceptionally snobby Bushwood Country Club, and all sorts of wacky antics ensue. Caddyshack is minute after minute of hilarious moments thanks to the top-tier performances of Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield, and a dancing gopher.


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


This film taught us how to make the most out of our day off. Ferris Bueller squeezes in an entire vacation in less than 12 hours as he ditches school with his friends, visits a museum, eats at a fancy restaurant, and goes to a ball game. We’ve all wished we could have a day of fun like Ferris and his friends, but watching him bluff his way through Chicago is entertaining enough.


Independence Day

20th Century Studios

What better to celebrate the 4th of July than with the end of the world? This revolutionary blockbuster follows multiple people trying to fight off a worldwide alien attack. With a star-studded cast and unforgettable special effects, this film is the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day.


The Sandlot

20th Century Studios

“You’re killing me, Smalls!” Even if you haven’t seen this film before, you’ve already heard someone quote it at least once in your life. The Sandlot follows a boy who joins a group of baseball-playing kids, which leads to them trying to recover a ball signed by Babe Ruth from a monstrous dog. Every member of the Sandlot is hilariously entertaining, and the film gives audiences a nostalgic and endearing story about growing up with childhood friends.


Stand by Me

Columbia Pictures

Though Stephen King is usually known for creating horror, this story stands out as one of the writer’s finest. Directed by Rob Reiner, Stand by Me tells the classic tale of four friends hiking out to see a dead body during Labor Day weekend. Due to its terrific performances and engrossing story, Stand by Me remains one of the greatest coming-of-age films of all time.


Close Encounters of the Third Kind


Why go for fireworks when you can see flashy UFOs? In one of the greatest alien films ever, director Steven Spielberg depicts the tale of an everyman who becomes obsessed with aliens after seeing a UFO in the night sky. Even nearly a half century since its release, Close Encounters remains one of the most unique first contact films, particularly due to its visual effects, engaging mystery, and heartfelt story.




In a beach vacation gone wrong, a family of four finds themselves hunted down by their murderous doppelgängers in the middle of the night. But what starts out as a single home invasion escalates into a nationwide crisis as everyone’s clones emerge from underground to take over the surface. Following his smash hit Get Out, director Jordan Peele once again proved that he is a master of horror and suspense with this modern classic.


It (2017)

Warner Bros.

In this Stephen King nightmare, seven kids face off against a shapeshifting monster terrorizing their town in the summer of ’89. While this film does feature some heavy moments, it achieves the right blend of horror and humor thanks in part to the performances of its child cast. All in all, It is the horror equivalent of walking through a carnival funhouse that will leave you with your head spinning long after it’s over.


Rear Window


In the middle of a Manhattan heat wave, a photographer bound to a wheelchair suspects that one of his neighbors has murdered his wife and becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth. Everyone knows what it’s like being stuck inside on a beautiful summer day, and Rear Window takes that feeling and intensifies it with Hitchcock’s trademark use of suspense in a cinematic masterpiece.


Finding Nemo


What screams summer more than swimming in the ocean? In this classic aquatic adventure, a clownfish travels across the sea to rescue his son after divers kidnap him. If you’re like me, you’ve had fond memories of enjoying this film growing up, and with so many enjoyable moments, you’ll never get sick of watching it.


Moonrise Kingdom

Focus Features

This Wes Anderson classic follows two kids who fall in love and run away together and the adults and camp scouts trying to find them. Filled with the director’s quirky style and charm, Moonrise Kingdom is a beautiful and childlike adventure through the island of New Penzance that will make you feel like a kid back at summer camp.


American Grafitti


Directed by George Lucas, this rockin’ comedy follows a group of California teens and their adventures during their last night together in the summer of ’62. Featuring big names such as Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, and Harrison Ford, American Graffiti is a landmark high school film often credited with helping the creation of the summer blockbuster. All in all, this Oscar-nominated picture is the ideal film for those looking to race back to the swingin’ ’60s.


Jurassic Park


Some people decide to go to Six Flags or Disney World over the summer, but why not take a trip to Jurassic Park? Oh right, because of the dinosaur attacks. Well, you’ll find yourself enjoying this film from a safe distance, but Jurassic Park is such a realistic and immersive experience you’ll feel like you’re right in the action the entire way through.




This Spielberg classic is remembered as the quintessential summer blockbuster. On the week of the 4th of July, Amity Island is tormented by a great white shark who eats anyone who dares to go in the water. With terrific performances, excellent filmmaking, and an unforgettable score, Jaws is an entertaining and suspenseful thrill ride that will never cease to amaze you. However, you may be too scared to swim at the beach after watching this.

Do you agree with this list? Are there any other summer movies that I missed? Please let me know in the comments section below.