21 Classic Summer Movies

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7. Meatballs

Before Stripes, Ghostbusters and Caddyshack, Bill Murray was Head Counselor Tripper Harrison at Camp North Star. As the mentor to young Rudy and other campers, Tripper is an inspiration to the camp, encouraging them to take on their rivals at Camp Mohawk in the annual Olympiad.

6. Stand By Me

Based on Stephen King’s story The Body, this classic coming-of-age film follows four boys as they search for the body of a teenager who was hit by a train. Stand By Me captures perfectly the adventures summer brings to adolescents, and brings to viewers a nostalgia that can only be associated with childhood friends.

5. Days of Summer

Sure, it’s not a film about summer in the classic sense, but Summer plays a pretty huge role in Marc Webb’s beautiful story about Boy Meets Girl. The heartbreakingly realisitic portrayal of true love found and lost is one of the best romantic films (albeit atypical) of the decade.

4. Dazed and Confused

This film depicts oh-so-accurately the last day of high school, and though it’s set in the 1970s, its events and characters are universal. Seniors hazing freshmen. Nerds trying to be cool at the kegger. Virgins trying to shed their innocence. Matthew McConaughey. Dazed and Confused has it all.

3. Jaws

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Peter Benchley’s novel is considered the father of the summer blockbuster. But perhaps the real mastermind of Jaws is composer John Williams, who, with only two notes, managed to instill fear in every audience member.

2. National Lampoon’s Vacation

Our favorite family man, Clark Griswold, and his family road-trip to an amusement park in California for the great American Vacation. It’s Chevy Chase. It’s funny. Watch it.

1. The Sandlot

The epitome of summer as a kid—complete with swimming pools, cute lifeguards, s’mores, treehouses, and, of course, baseball—The Sandlot touches on childhood memories of both boys and girls alike.