Top 10 Summertime Movie Classics

Whether it’s a vacay for the whole family, taking a long holiday overseas, enjoying the sunshine at the beach, or off to summer camp for the kids, summer is a time for new adventures and a break from the old routine. And in the spirit of summer, here’s a top ten list to consider for a fun movie night with friends and family, my Top 10 Summertime Movie Classics.

1. Roman Holiday (1953). One of my all-time favorite Audrey Hepburn movies, and the only one that earned her an Oscar. Hepburn is a princess who, on the Roman leg of her European capitals tour, rebelliously sneaks away from her entourage and sets off on her own. She is discovered by an American reporter (Gregory Peck), who is thrilled that he can get the inside scoop on the runaway princess. A charming romance, of course, ensues. Rome often looks beautiful in the movies, and this film is no exception. See the sights like a tourist through this classic film. Perhaps for a moment you’ll feel like you’re vacationing abroad, zipping through the streets of Rome on a Vespa.

2. Dirty Dancing (1987). A sensational summertime movie. Baby (Jennifer Grey) goes up to the Kellerma’s resort in the Catskills with her parents (Jerry Orbach, Kelly Bishop) and older sister (Jane Brucker) and falls in love with the dance instructor (Patrick Swayze). Well known not only for its music and choreography, but also for famous lines like, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” The big final dance scene sends an epic farewell to summer vacation at the end.

3. Jaws (1975). This movie put Steven Spielberg on the map, scared a whole generation out of the water, and changed the way the general public thinks about sharks. It spawned classic lines like, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” and “Shaark!” Incidentally, this movie also spawned sequel-itis. While the shark obviously looks fake now, the movie still holds up in terms of its look and feel, and may keep you off the beach for a while after viewing it.

4. The Parent Trap (1961). Hayley Mills plays twins who, unbeknownst to their divorced parents, meet at a summer camp. Products of single parent households, they switch places in order to meet the parent they never knew, and then conspire to reunite them (Maureen O’Hara, Brian Keith). In its made-for-tv movie sequel Parent Trap 2 (1986), Mary and Nicki are best friends who want their unsuspecting single parents to marry. Nicki’s mother Sharon (Hayley Mills) wants to move to New York City. With the help of Sharon’s twin sister Susan (Hayley Mills), the girls try to get their parents together. The Parent Trap (1998, remake) updates the tale with identical twins Hallie Parker and Annie James (Lindsay Lohan), who were separated at birth when their parents divorced. After the two meet at summer camp, they begin plotting to reunite their estranged parents (Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson).

5. Grease (1978). Good girl Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and greaser Danny (John Travolta) fell in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they’re now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance? A musical melodrama ensues at Rydell High.

6. Summertime (1955). Jane (Katharine Hepburn), a lonely secretary on her dream vacation in Venice, Italy (filmed entirely on location), finds unexpected romance at an outdoor café, where she falls in love with an antique dealer Renato de Rossi (Rossano Brazzi). Hepburn was nominated for an Oscar for this leading role.

7. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). The tale of a boy (Matthew Broderick) who decides to take a day off. He first recruits his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), and the two of them, along with Cameron’s father’s Ferrari, go to get the last member of the trio, Ferris’ girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara). To get her out of school, they have to fake a death in the family and stage a very convincing escape. The three of them proceed to have the best day off ever.

8. The Seven Year Itch (1955). A professional book reader for a publishing company, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell), must endure the dog days of a New York summer alone while his wife and son are away in the country for the summer. To pass the lonely hours, the overly-imaginative book reader fantasizes about a young model (Marilyn Monroe) who is lodging temporarily in the apartment upstairs.

9. Forrest Gump (1994). The story follows the life of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and the love of his life, Jenny (Robin Wright). The film chronicles his accidental experiences with some of the most important people and events in America from the late 1950s through the 1970s, including a meeting with Elvis Presley, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, John Lennon and many more famous faces. It carries a feeling of summer love that suits the season.

10. Rear Window (1954). The scorching summer heat plays a catalyst for the story that unfolds. Thanks to a broken leg, wheelchair-bound photographer (Jimmy Stewart) spies on his neighbors from his apartment window to pass the time, and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. Eventually, he ropes his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) and nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) into snooping with him. It’s an essential must-see Hitchcock film and among my personal favorites.

So let’s have it… What’s your favorite flick to watch during the summer?

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

8 thoughts on “Top 10 Summertime Movie Classics

  1. Our personal favorites: Dazed and Confused; Say Anything; Before Sunrise and Before Sunset; American Graffiti; Shag; Caddyshack; Meatballs; National Lampoon's Vacation; Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer (Savage Steve Holland double-bill); Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Stand By Me; Early Summer; Cinema Paradiso; The Gold Rush (to cool off!)

  2. Jon, I like your thinking about watching "The Gold Rush" (1925). In fact, I'm dreaming of Alaska right now. ;)Julie, I agree. A nice summer-themed selection. Love me some Jimmy Stewart, although "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation" is not my favorite among his films. Perhaps another list for another day.

  3. I'd suggest baseball movies to add to the list. Classics like A League of their Own or Field of Dreams. Nuthin' feels like summer more than baseball.

  4. Thanks! Love this list! My personal faves for summer are My Girl (although it makes me cry) and Troop Beverly Hills.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s