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The 40 Greatest Movies About the Summer

By / 06.13.12

Surfing, sleep-away camp, sailing, fishing, baseball, golf, summer school, sharks, roadtrips, invading aliens: These are the things that summer is made for. At least in the movies. While the “summer blockbuster” has been a Hollywood staple since 1975, when “Jaws” was released, Steven Spielberg's classic was actually just the latest in a long line of films in another genre: the summer movie. These are the flicks in which the sun is blazing, the beach and ocean are calling, and everyone is looking for the cute blonde girl to have that summer fling with. Here then, is a list of 40 of the greatest summer movies of all time, presented in no real order. Sound Off with your favorites in the Comments. One last note: surfing movies are tricky, because as any Brah knows, the best waves really come in the winter. But since these movies just make us think about grabbing our surf boards and heading out to the water, we included them.

 

1. “What About Bob”

 

Bill Murray drives his psychiatrist, Richard Dreyfuss, crazy on his summer vacation. 

Classic Quote: “I'm sailing! I'm SAILING!”

2. “Sandlot”

 

A cinematic classic about baseball, childhood, and summer.

Classic Quote: “You play ball like a girl.”

3. “Jaws”

The movie that launched the summer blockbuster… and Discovery Channel's “Shark Week.”

Classic Quote: “We're gonna need a bigger boat.”

4. “Caddyshack”

 

One of the funniest movies of all time. Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray all at their best. 

Classic Quote: “Looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.”

 

5. “Dazed and Confused”

 

Classic film about the first day of sumer vacation in 1976.

Classic Quote: “That's what I love about these high school girls, man: I get older, they stay the same age.”

 

6. “Summer School”

 

I really wish my teachers in summer school were as cool as Mr. Swoop. Or that my classmates were as hot as Courtney Thorne-Smith.

Classic Quote: “Can I call my folks and tell them I won't be coming home… ever?”

7. “Field of Dreams”

Another classic baseball film with a magical twist: “If you build it, he will come.”

Classic Quote: “Well, you know I… I never got to bat in the major leagues. I would have liked to have had that chance. Just once. To stare down a big league pitcher. To stare him down, and just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn't. That's what I wish for. Chance to squint at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it. To feel the tingling in your arm as you connect with the ball. To run the bases – stretch a double into a triple, and flop face-first into third, wrap your arms around the bag. That's my wish, Ray Kinsella. That's my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?” 

8. “American Pie 2″

 The old crew reunites, beach style, after their freshman year of college.

Classic Quote: “When a girl tells you how many guys she's slept with, multiply it by three and that's the real number. Didn't you f*ckers learn anything in college?”

9. “Friday the 13th”

 

The original horror film that set up the “Jason” franchise. 

Classic Quote: “If this is a joke, I'm gonna brain 'em!”

 

10. “National Lampoon's Vacation”

 

Another Chevy Chase classic, and don't forget about Christy Brinkley in the pool. 

Classic Quote: “I think you're all f*cked in the head. We're ten hours from the f*cking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much f*cking fun we'll need plastic surgeory to remove our godamn smiles. You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you're a**holes! I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!”

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11. “One Crazy Summer”

 

John Cusack, Demi Moore, and Bobcat Goldwaith star in this comedy about, well, one crazy summer in Nantucket, 1980s style. 

Classic Quote: “Hey, Cookie. How about we stop playing all these games?”

12. “Independence Day”

 

In the most memorable summer time alien blockbuster of my lifetime, Will Smith fends off alien invaders with style. 

Classic Quote: “THAT'S RIGHT! Thats what you get! Look at you, ship all banged up! WHO'S THE MAN? HUH? WHO'S THE MAN? Wait until I get another plane! I am going to lower your friends RIGHT BESIDE YOU!”

 

13. “I Know What You Did Last Summer”

 

Remember when Freddy Prince, Jr. was the man? Neither do I. At least Jennifer love Hewitt was in her prime.

Classic Quote: “Okay let's suppose someone was there that night, why send the letter one year later? It's probably some crack f*cking around.” 

 

14. “The Great Outdoors”

 

Brothers-in-law Dan Ackroid and John Candy battle for one week in the great outdoors. 

Classic Quote: “Sixty-six times? That's gotta hurt.”

 

15. “Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead”

 

When Mom goes to Australia for the summer, the Crandell children are left with a bitter old babysitter who soon dies, leaving Christina Applegate and her siblings left to fend for their own. 

Classic Quote: “The dishes are done, man.”

 

16. “Wet Hot American Summer”

 

A cult classic comedy about the last day of summer camp in the early 1980s.

Classic Quote: “You taste like a burger. I don't like you anymore.”

17. “Into the Blue”

 

Jessica Alba's ass and hidden treasure should be enough reason to check this movie out. 

Classic Quote: “He found the Zephyr?  Maybe we'll meet up in Never-Never Land. 'Cause I heard the tooth fairy was gonna be there.”

18. “Summer Rental”

 

Shacked up in Citrus Cove, Florida, John Candy and family just can't seem to catch a break on their family vacation. 

Classic Quote: “I love you, Scully. That's not the booze talkin' either.”

 

19. “Meatballs”

Comedy legend Bill Murray makes his first film appearance in this 1979 Canadian comedy about summer camp.

Classic Quote: “But, the real excitement of course is going to come at the end of the summer, during Sexual Awareness week. We import two hundred hookers from around the world, and each camper, armed with only a thermos of coffee and two thousand dollars cash, tries to visit as many countries as he can. The winner of course is named King of Sexual Awareness week and is allowed to rape and pillage the neighboring towns until camp ends” 

 

20. “Weekend at Bernie's”

 

After uncovering $2 million in insurance fraud, Larry and Richard spend a weekend at their boss's beach house. When they find him dead, they are forced to pretend that he is alive. 

Classic Quote: “What kind of a host invites you to his house for the weekend and dies on you?” 

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21. “Do the Right Thing”

 

Spike Lee's take on racial tensions in the black neighborhood surrounding a local pizza shop in sweltering Brooklyn. 

Classic Quote: “Today's temperature's gonna rise up over 100 degrees, so there's a Jheri curl alert! That's right, Jheri curl alert. If you have a Jheri curl, stay in the house or you'll end up with a permanent black helmet on your head fuh-eva!”

 

22. “Blue Crush”

 

Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake headline this action-packed surfing flick. 

Classic Quote: “Don't worry, Penny. There's still plenty of time to get pregnant and go on welfare.”

 

23. “Heavyweights”

 

Fat campers revolt against the counselors in this Judd Apatow-written comedy starring a much younger Ben Stiller. 

Classic Quote: “Attention campers. Lunch has been cancelled due to lack of hustle. Deal with it.”

24. “Stand By Me”

 

Four young Bros head out in search of a recently gone-missing local teenager, competing without the older guys in town to see who can find the body first. 

Classic Quote: “You got two choices. You leave quietly, we take the body. Or, you can stay, we beat the shit out of you, we take the body.”

25. “Adventureland”

To pay for his European dream trip, James Brennan has got to make a few extra bucks working at the local amusement park. He falls in love with that angry chick from “Twilight”, but the movie is really funny and from the same director as “Superbad.” 

Classic Quote: Tommy: “James, don't get drunk and fall asleep or anything.” James: “Why not?” Tommy: “Because I'll jack off in your face.”

26. “Dirty Dancing”

 

Chick flick or not, Swayze's a total bro. In this classic dance film, “Baby” leaves the life her family wanted for the stud dance instructor. 

Classic Quote: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

27. “Summer of Sam”

Another Spike Lee joint, based on the serial “Son of Sam” murders in the late 1970s. 

Classic Quote: ” I will kill. I will… I'll do anything you say. I'll do anything you say! Yes, master! I will kill! I WILL KILL!”

 

28. “Almost Famous”

 

One of the best films ever, in our opinion. High schooler William Miller lives every rock-obsessed kid's dream and gets to tour with up and coming rock band, Stillwater. (It starts in the school year, but finishes on the summer tour.)

Classic Quote: “Some people have a hard time explaining rock 'n' roll. I don't think anyone can really explain rock 'n' roll. Maybe Pete Townshend, but that's okay. Rock 'n' roll is a lifestyle and a way of thinking… and it's not about money and popularity. Although, some money would be nice. But it's a voice that says, “Here I am… and f*ck you if you can't understand me.” And one of these people is gonna save the world. And that means that rock 'n' roll can save the world… all of us together. And the chicks are great. But what it all comes down to is that thing. The indefinable thing when people catch something in your music.”

29. “Tommy Boy”

After Tommy Callahan graduates from college after seven years, his dad dies, and he must road-trip with David Spade to save the family business.

Classic Quote: “Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer's sake, for your daughter's sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.”

 

30. “Riding Giants”

 

Laird Hamilton is regarded by many as the best big wave surfer of all time. Check out his doc*mentary, where he surfs the largest wave known to man at the Teahupo breaks in Tahiti.

Classic Quote: “Not only are you riding down this mountain but the mountain is chasing after you, and you need to figure out how to not only escape the mountain but also use it.”

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31. “The River Wild”

 

Meryl Streep and family fight off armed robbers while white-water rafting. 

Classic Quote:

 

32. “Rookie of the Year”

After Cubs fan Henry Rowengartner breaks his arm, his tendons heal to tight, leaving him with the ability to throw 100 m.p.h. gas.

Classic Quote: “Pitcher's got a big butt! Pitcher's got a big butt!”

 

33. “Point Break”

Surfer Bro and FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) brings down a gang of surfing bank robbers dressed like presidents. 

Classic Quote: “If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love.”

34. “The Endless Summer”

Bruce Brown follows two surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, leading to a summer that ends up not ending. 

Classic Quote: “Summer means many different things to different people. To some it might mean the thrill of a high speed catamaran. Others like to float around and soak up a few stray rays. Still others like some kind of inland activity. But for us, it's the sport of surfing.”

 

35. “Deliverance”

What would have been a great summer canoe trip ends up to be a battle for survival in this 1972 classic.  

Classic Quote: “He's got a real purty mouth, ain't he?”

 

36. “Camp Nowhere”

Campers trick their parents into sending them to a day camp of their own creation. No parents, no counselors, no rules. 

Classic Quote: “Here's what you do: get lost! Disappear into the woods for five or six hours. When you show up they'll be so glad you haven't been eaten by bears, they'll forget the other stuff!”

 

37. “Little Darlings”

Two girls compete to see who can loose their virginity first at summer camp. 

Classic Quote: “[prepping Angel on losing her virginity] Now remember, don't be scared! That's the most important thing. And uh, don't… don't talk about your past. That turns men off.”

 

38. “Splash”

Allen Bauer manages to almost drown himself on two separate occasions off the beaches at Cape Cod. Luckily both times a mermaid is there to save his ass. Obviously they fall in love when she grows legs (weird) but if her legs get wet, her little secret will be revealed.

Classic Quote: “You see, drinking is a matter of algebraic ratio. How drunk you get is caused by the amount of alcohol you consume in relation to your total body weight. You see my point? It's not that you had too much to drink. You're just too skinny.”

 

39. “Eurotrip”

After being dumped by his cheating girlfriend, Scot Thomas and friends head to Europe to find his German smoke show pen-pal, Mieke. 

Classic Quote: “Oh, here it is. Bratislava. Hmm. Capital of Slovakia. Oh, here's a fun fact: You made out with your sister, man!”

 

40. “The Graduate”

After graduating from college, Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has an affair with his father's business partner's wife, then falling in love with her daughter. 

Classic Quote: “Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me.”


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