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50 Best Summer Movies Of All Time Ranked

When the weather gets warmer and the hours of daylight get longer, hiding away in a dark theater or curling up on the couch with a movie may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, movies have that uncanny ability to provide comfort and escapism, and what better way to escape than with one that encapsulates the good vibes, warmth, and happiness that comes with the summer season.

If you're skipping the vacation this year, or need something to get you in that holiday mood, putting on a summery film can almost make you feel like you're there already, recreating the feeling of that time of year whatever the weather may be. Under the broad (beach) umbrella of films that could be considered "summer" movies, you're likely to find one in almost every genre — whether you're after a warm and upbeat rom-com, a feel-good musical, action thriller, or even horror, there's a summer movie to fit every mood.

While there are some that tick both boxes, these are not necessarily movies released in the summer — a slot often reserved for the biggest blockbusters — but rather, films that take place during the summer season, or are set in sunnier climates to give you that summery feeling, all year long. Grab your sunglasses and an ice-cold beverage as we take a look at the 50 best summer movies.

50. The Great Outdoors

The odd couple dynamic between the characters played by John Candy and Dan Aykroyd is at the center of this entertaining comedy, focusing on two families who clash when one crashes the other's vacation. In an idyllic lake resort in Wisconsin, Chet (Candy) is determined to have a relaxing summer with his wife Connie (Stephanie Faracy), and their two boys, enjoying outdoor pursuits and time together as a family. This all falls apart when his obnoxious brother-in-law, Roman (Aykroyd) arrives with his family.

The comedic beats in "The Great Outdoors" are undeniably predictable, but there's plenty of fun to be had as Candy and Aykroyd lock heads and channel their dislike for each other into a heated competitive battle. With a subplot involving Chet's son, Buck (Chris Young), having a holiday romance with local girl Cammie (Lucy Deakins), "The Great Outdoors" manages to capture that often fleeting feeling of summer and the slightly chaotic nature of family vacations.

49. Friday The 13th

Later spawning numerous sequels, spin-offs, reboots, and crossovers, 1980's "Friday The 13th" introduces us to the notorious masked serial killer, Jason Voorhees — although a surprise twist reveals he is not the killer in this particular film. At the recently reopened summer camp at Crystal Lake, a group of promiscuous teenage camp counselors are picked off one by one by the anonymous murderer. It is a premise that has been re-done many times, but while formulaic, "Friday The 13th" manages to be both entertaining and chilling.

The film explores the idea of teenage liberation, and in setting the events during the summer, as well, it taps into that carefree feeling of young people being able to live without supervision. This is then shattered when the unknown threat begins targeting the group, and while the gory deaths remain the highlight, it contains cautionary elements about the possible dangers of teenage rebellion. If you're seeking something different from the sunny, feel-good movies, a summer-set slasher such as "Friday The 13th" is the perfect palette cleanser.

48. How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Angela Bassett stars as the titular character, who is persuaded by her outgoing friend Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg) to take a break from her high-pressure job as a stockbroker and vacation with her in Jamaica. Consumed by her career and taking care of her son, Quincy (Michael J. Pagan), Stella uses the vacation to take stock and give her a fresh outlook on life, and things take an interesting turn when she meets the man of her dreams, Winston (Taye Diggs).

"How Stella Got Her Groove Back" is a fabulous and fun feel-good movie, with great performances from Bassett and Goldberg who play the believable besties, and Taye Diggs in his feature film debut. Most people can relate to that feeling of refreshment and rejuvenation that you can find from going on vacation, and just as the trip gives Stella the chance to switch off from the daily grind, this film will help you switch off from the real world, offering up blissful escapism.

47. Mamma Mia!

When bride-to-be Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) discovers her mother's diary — giving a passionate account of her past summer flings — she decides to invite the three men mentioned in the pages to her wedding, believing one of them to be her father. However, she gets a lot more than she bargained for when all three of them show up, much to the shock and surprise of her mother, Donna (Meryl Streep).

Taking the format of a jukebox musical, "Mamma Mia!" is set on a Greek island at the fledgling hotel run by Donna and Sophie, and the idyllic sun-soaked backdrops are the perfect accompaniment to the unforgettable songs from ABBA that provide the soundtrack. As well as the gorgeous scenery, the film explores holiday romances and whether any of Donna's former flames could be more of a long-term prospect. "Mamma Mia!" is hardly a game-changer when it comes to romantic musicals, but it is a sunny slice of campy, toe-tapping fun.

46. Wine Country

The feature directorial debut from Amy Poehler brings together a cast of "Saturday Night Live" alums for a grown-up girls trip to Napa Valley. Also starring in the film, Poehler plays Abby — a control freak who tries to distract herself from her own life worries by planning a birthday trip for her friend Rebecca's (Rachel Dratch) 50th birthday. With a cast that also includes Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, and Emily Spivey, the plot of "Wine Country" is largely inconsequential but it almost doesn't matter as it is just fun spending time with this group of friends.

While there are ill-advised sexual liaisons and plenty of hilarious day-drinking shenanigans, there are also some touching and heartfelt moments and the feeling of genuine warmth from the cast — many of whom have known each other and worked together for a long time. The beautiful scenery of Napa Valley will make you wish you were there, or at the very least might persuade you to open that bottle of wine in the fridge.

45. Blue Crush

Starring Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake, "Blue Crush" explores the highly dangerous and highly competitive world of surfing through the eyes of determined Anne Marie (Bosworth). Raising her younger sister Penny (Mika Boorem) after their mother walked out on them, Anne Marie struggles to provide for them both, and competing in a coveted competition and attracting the attention of sponsors, offers them a possible ticket out of their situation.

While the film does become bogged down in an unnecessary romantic storyline between Anne Marie and NFL quarterback, Matt Tollman (Matthew Davis), the surfing scenes are exhilarating and the determination of Anne Marie to succeed — not just to make a better life for her sister but to overcome her past traumas — is hugely inspirational. Set on the stunning beaches of Hawaii, "Blue Crush" has all the drama, thrills, and excitement you need for the ideal summer movie.

44. The Sandlot

While centered largely around baseball, this charming 1993 coming-of-age film is packed full of childhood nostalgia about long, lazy summer days hanging out with friends and the adventures they get into. Over the course of the summer in 1962, Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood and is encouraged to join a group of boys playing baseball, despite his inexperience.

Not only does "The Sandlot" succeed in capturing that carefree feeling of being a child, but also the joy and hilarity that can arise from overactive imaginations. The "antagonist" of the film comes in the form of a large dog in the neighboring yard — who the boys nickname "The Beast" — and when an errant ball ends up on the wrong side of the fence, the boys concoct a series of hair-brained schemes to get it back. While trite in places, "The Sandlot"'s effortless depiction of wistful nostalgia and childhood innocence, has cemented its legacy as a cult classic.

43. Mystic Pizza

For Daisy (Julia Roberts), Kat (Annabeth Gish), and Jojo (Lili Taylor), high school may be over, but they still have a lot to learn as they spend one unforgettable summer working together in a pizza restaurant in the small town of Mystic, Connecticut. While the three girls are very different and have their own aspirations, they frequently muse on their hopes, dreams, and what they want to achieve when they escape from their hometown.

Later the undisputed queen of the rom-com in the '80s and '90s, this early role for Julia Roberts was a strong indication of the great things to come, with "Pretty Woman" coming just two years later. "Mystic Pizza" is cheesy and predictable fluff, but its summer setting is ideal for representing the feeling of these three women discovering themselves and what they want to achieve when the next season comes.

42. Point Break

With his cascading beach blonde waves, Patrick Swayze looks every inch the California surfer in this iconic action flick from director Kathryn Bigelow. Starring opposite him is Keanu Reeves, who plays federal agent Johnny Utah, who is tasked with bringing down a group of surfers led by Bodhi (Swayze), who are suspects in a string of bank robberies. As Utah infiltrates the gang, things become more complicated when he falls for female surfer, Tyler (Lori Petty).

With plenty of over-the-top action sequences, complex characters, and a host of memorable moments — including the famous chase scene — "Point Break" is a fast-paced and frenetic thriller. With the adrenalin-chasing characters constantly seeking their next thrill, the film is able to match this energy as it barrels towards its thrilling conclusion. If you've ever doubted how exciting surfing could be in an action thriller, then "Point Break" might just be the film that changes your mind.

41. Dirty Dancing

On holiday with her parents at the Kellerman's resort, straight-laced Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is more interested in joining the peace corps than chasing boys. This all changes when she inadvertently carries a watermelon into a lively staff party and meets dance instructor, Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Later, when Johnny's usual dance partner is unable to perform at a local event, Baby volunteers to learn the routine under Johnny's tutelage, and despite his bad-boy image, the two quickly fall for each other.

The idea of a summer fling or summer romance is frequently used in rom-coms, but the relationship between Baby and Johnny is particularly passionate, as they prove that opposites attract. Packed with iconic moments including the water lift, and of course, the final dance to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" — which saw the film pick up an Oscar for Best Original Song — "Dirty Dancing" is a simply unforgettable love story.

40. Something's Gotta Give

Aging womanizer Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) rarely dates women older than 30, however, when he travels to the Hamptons with his young girlfriend, Marin (Amanda Peet), he forms an unexpected connection with her mother, Erica (Diane Keaton). The big age difference between the two also causes a little friction in the family, particularly between mother and daughter. When a passionate night between Harry and Marin ends with Harry suffering from a heart attack, he is ordered by Dr. Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves) to rest up nearby, and reluctantly agrees to stay with Erica to convalesce.

While the plot is as predictable as you would expect, there is a cheery and sunny disposition to "Something's Gotta Give" that matches the beautiful beachside scenery. The will-they-won't-they developing romance between Harry and Erica is incredibly charming, and the film is undoubtedly buoyed by the performances of two experienced leads in Nicholson and Keaton.

39. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Four best friends who have spent every summer together are about to spend their first one miles apart, and while they may not be in the same place, they will be connected by passing between them a magical pair of pants that inexplicably fit them all. While you may be wondering if we will ever live in a world where such a garment exists, the pants themselves are tangential to the film, which paints a genuine portrayal of female friendship.

It isn't uncommon for coming-of-age films to be set during the summer — a time often used as a symbolic representation of the transition from childhood to adulthood — and this idea is at the heart of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." The film doesn't shy away from its difficult themes and presents them in a way that feels heartfelt and sincere, with the charming performances from Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, and Blake Lively, ensuring that the film's teen demographic will find someone they can relate to.

38. Crooklyn

A deeply personal Spike Lee joint, "Crooklyn" sees the director draw from his own childhood experiences in a film that delivers an episodic exploration of family, and hometown identity. As a Brooklyn native, this is something that Spike Lee wears proudly, and depicts in a lot of his early films, including "She's Gotta Have It," "Do The Right Thing," and "Clockers." While peripheral characters drift in and out, "Crooklyn" largely focuses on Troy (Zelda Harris), her mother Carolyn (Alfre Woodard), father Woody (Delroy Lindo), and her boisterous brothers.

As well as incredibly authentic performances from the young stars, "Crooklyn" manages to effectively capture the feeling of a scorching summer in Brooklyn. From the kids playing games in the streets to the conversations on the stoops outside their houses, there is a real sense of authenticity to this film, and it demonstrates a refreshingly sentimental and softer side to Spike Lee that audiences don't often get to see.

37. The Goonies

Directed by Richard Donner, and with the dream team of Chris Columbus and Steven Spielberg writing the script, "The Goonies" has all the ingredients for a classic, nostalgic adventure story. A group of friends who call themselves "The Goonies" are facing the prospect of losing their families' homes due to an expanding country club. The clock may be ticking, but they've got time for one last adventure, and when they discover a treasure map in the attic, they decide to follow the trail and find the gold.

Where "The Goonies" succeeds is perfectly tapping into that natural zest for adventure that kids have, and delivering the classic "Spielbergian" sense of wonder and joy that is best experienced through the eyes of children. As their mantra proudly states, "Goonies Never Say Die," and with its timeless sense of adventure and fun, this film is one that feels like it will never fade away.

36. The Parent Trap

A remake of the 1961 film of the same name, 1998's "The Parent Trap" is notable for being the feature film debut and breakout role for Lindsay Lohan, in the dual role of twins Annie and Hallie. After a chance meeting at the same summer camp, the girls discover that they are identical twins, separated at birth when their parents got divorced. Hatching a plan, the twins decide to switch places to spend time with the parent they missed out on, with the ultimate goal of reuniting their family.

The young Lohan is undoubtedly the highlight of the film, with her performance earning praise from critics including Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan who compared her to the original's Hayley Mills and said Lohan is, "more adept than her predecessor at creating two distinct personalities for the unknowing twin sisters." "The Parent Trap" also proved to be a huge box office success, making more than $92 million worldwide off a $15 million budget.

35. Grease

Holiday romances rarely last beyond the summer, but when prim and proper Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) arrives at her new school, Rydell High, she is shocked to find the sweet boy she met on the beach — the too-cool-for-school leader of the T-Birds, Danny Zuko (John Travolta) — also goes there. While it isn't as simple as it was when they met on their vacation, and Danny puts on an act in front of his crew, the pair gradually learn to overcome their differences and rekindle their romance.

If you can ignore the fact the cast are all far too old to be playing teenagers, "Grease" manages to accurately depict the high school experience — from the distinct cliques to the desperate desire to fit in and be considered "cool." "Grease" is a high-energy, joyous experience from start to finish — from "Summer Lovin'" through to "We Go Together," it is almost impossible not to sing along to this killer soundtrack.

34. National Lampoon's Vacation

A riotous road-trip comedy, 1983's "National Lampoon's Vacation" proved to be such a big hit that it led to several subsequent sequels, taking the Griswold family everywhere from Europe to Las Vegas. This film sees the accident-prone Griswolds — led by patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase) — embark on a trip from Illinois to the California-based amusement park, Walley World. As you would expect, chaos and mishaps abound as everything that could possibly go wrong inevitably does.

Highly quotable and still hilarious despite some of it feeling a little dated, "National Lampoon's Vacation" is an eventful comedy of errors that is the perfect showcase for Chevy Chase's impeccable comedy timing. With a clear destination in sight for the Griswold family, this film feels a little more focused than some of their other offerings, and it is easily one of the better films in the expansive "National Lampoon" series.

33. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is dealt a devastating blow when his actress girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) unexpectedly breaks up with him. Heartbroken, Peter travels to a luxurious Hawaiian resort to try and get over his ex, which seems to be going to plan when he appears to make a connection with concierge Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis). His peaceful vacation is quickly ruined when he discovers that Sarah is also staying there with her flamboyant new boyfriend, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" manages to strike that rare balance between raunchy sex comedy and surprisingly heartfelt romance, with Jason Segel particularly excellent as the forlorn Peter. In real life, Russell Brand can be a bit of a love-him-or-loathe-him character, so he's perfectly cast as the charismatic rock star boyfriend, and polar opposite to Segel's Peter. Funny, sincere, and featuring the best Dracula puppet musical seen on screen, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is a modern comedy classic.

32. The Karate Kid

When he moves with his family from New Jersey to California, teenager Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is almost immediately targeted by bullies who are trained in an aggressive form of karate. Rescued by the kindly Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), Daniel asks him to train him in karate so he can stand up to the bullies. While it initially seems that Mr. Miyagi is using Daniel to do household chores, the pieces start to fall into place when Daniel realizes this is all part of the training, and the chores have been teaching him defensive techniques.

Undeniably formulaic and cheesy, "The Karate Kid" is nonetheless a heart-warming and triumphant story, with the unlikely friendship between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel being the highlight. As well as teaching him how to defend himself, Mr. Miyagi also helps Daniel find balance and peace in his personal life, and it is this that helps him triumph over the bullies as much as his newly learned karate skills. Proving to be a huge hit at the box office, the legacy of "The Karate Kid" continues to endure with a number of sequels, reboots, and the popular "Cobra Kai" TV series ensuring it remains a classic.

31. Vicky Cristina Barcelona

When American tourists Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) arrive in the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona, they become involved in a complicated love triangle with painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) and his ex-wife Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz). While adventurous Cristina is quickly won over by Juan Antonio's charms, Vicky is a little more resistant — however, it isn't long before they are both seduced and sparks fly.

Deftly directed by Woody Allen, there is a relaxed and carefree feeling to "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" that matches the beautiful surroundings, with the ideal balance struck between comedy and drama. The chemistry between the actors is off the charts, and there is a tangible electric, and passionate atmosphere in the film. While all the performances were praised, Penélope Cruz was highlighted for her supporting role and went on to win the Oscar for her performance as the fiery Maria Elena.

30. The Way Way Back

In this charming coming-of-age film, Liam James plays awkward teen Duncan, who is forced to spend the summer on vacation with his mom (Toni Collette), and her boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell). Trent is particularly antagonistic to Duncan, so the teen decides to get a job at a water park so he can avoid spending time with his family. It is there that he meets Owen (Sam Rockwell), who manages the park and provides a valuable father figure for Duncan when he needs it the most.

Even though the film treads familiar ground, it is still wonderfully endearing in its depiction of those uncomfortable teenage years when you're feeling just a little too old to be vacationing with your parents, and the desire to start forging your own path away from them becomes palpable. In a similar way to "Little Miss Sunshine" — a film that shares several cast members with "The Way Way Back" — this film delivers a heart-warming and ultimately uplifting portrait of dysfunctional family dynamics.

29. Girls Trip

Ryan (Regina Hall), Sasha (Queen Latifah), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Dina (Tiffany Haddish), were best friends in college, but over the years they have drifted apart and their lives have gone in different directions. Keen to rekindle their friendship, Ryan reunites the "Flossy Posse" for a trip to New Orleans where she will be the guest speaker at a music festival, and it isn't long before things get wild.

From beginning to end, "Girls Trip" is absolutely hilarious, and as well as the outrageous and raunchy antics, there is an infectious joy that radiates through the film. These four women may be very different, but they each bring something to the group, with some providing balance, while others coax their friends out of their comfort zones — whether they like it or not. The strong performances from the cast help to elevate the film further, making it a trip you'll wish you could take as well.

28. Midsommar

After suffering unimaginable trauma, Dani (Florence Pugh) is reluctantly invited along by her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) to attend the midsummer festival with the Hårga community in Sweden. Taking place every 90 years, the festival is considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Christian isn't about to let his girlfriend's grief get in the way of the trip he has planned with his friends, Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter).

While the build-up to the truly unsettling moments is gradual, it isn't long before things start to get very weird, and the trippy imagery in the film helps to create a feeling of unease. Horror films may usually be about things that go bump in the night, but in the sun-soaked nightmare of "Midsommar," there are rarely any dark places to hide. Horrifying, absurd, and unforgettable, it is the kind of film that gets better every time you watch it, with clever clues and hidden images forcing you to look closely, even when you'll want to look away.

27. Dope

Growing up in an under-privileged neighborhood in Inglewood, California, high-schoolers Malcolm (Shameik Moore), Jib (Tony Revolori), and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) are a group of geeks, obsessed with '90s culture and playing together in a band. When they inadvertently encounter a local drug dealer (A$AP Rocky), some of the contraband is placed in Malcolm's backpack without his knowledge. When the friends discover the stash, the race is on to try and shift the drugs before the thugs catch up with them.

Combining an entertaining crime comedy with a coming-of-age story ensures that "Dope" feels fresh and inventive, and despite the situations the friends find themselves in, there is always a keen sense of fun. Passing the hazy summer days by getting into mischief with your friends is something frequently seen in films set during this season, and "Dope" has a wonderful irreverent quality to it that brilliantly captures this.

26. Lilo & Stitch

One of the sunnier Disney films, "Lilo & Stitch" is set in the picturesque Hawaii, and focuses on siblings Lilo (Daveigh Chase) and Nani (Tia Carrere). After their parents died in a car accident, Nani takes care of her younger sister by herself, but this isn't always easy. Frequently stroppy and mischievous, Lilo causes even more trouble when she adopts a blue alien who she later names Stitch (Chris Sanders).

Both Lilo and Stitch are misfits, and the real joy in this film comes through seeing these kindred spirits finding a new — albeit dysfunctional — family arrangement that changes both their lives. There are also huge amounts of pathos in the film. The relationship between Lilo and Nani is very honest and real, addressing the absence of their parents — seen so often in Disney films — and acknowledging the struggles of Nani in raising Lilo. Leaving us with the important message that "family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten," "Lilo & Stitch" is beautifully animated, hilarious, and delightfully sincere.

25. The Seven Year Itch

Featuring one of the most enduring pop-culture images — Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grate causing her white dress to lift up — "The Seven Year Itch" is a sultry comedy farce. With his wife away one scorching summer in New York, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) meets his beautiful new neighbor (Marilyn Monroe) and soon begins to fantasize about her, and considers whether he will be able to stay faithful to his wife.

While many may be familiar with Monroe because of her iconic look — and the image from this film that is still recognized today — it is also a wonderful testament to her incredible talent and particularly her proficiency as a comedic actress. As well as perfecting the snappy back and forth dialogue essential for a film in this genre, the chemistry between Ewell and Monroe is electric, resulting in a film that is sizzling in more ways than one.

24. Adventureland

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart are perfectly cast in this comedy about two bored teens — James and Em — who meet each other and embark on an on-and-off romance while working at an amusement park. Having just graduated college, James is hoping to spend the summer in Europe, however, when his family finances run into trouble, he is forced to take the job at Adventureland, working the menial task of carnival games.

There are plenty of awkward laughs to be had in "Adventureland," and a charmingly lackadaisical feeling that mirrors the languid sense of teen boredom shown in the characters. For anyone who has ever taken up a mundane summer job in order to make a few bucks, "Adventureland" will be deeply relatable, and it equally exudes that feeling of being between seasons of life and trying to figure out the person that you want to be that is typical of one's later teen years.

23. Crazy Rich Asians

Offering that unique form of escapism that comes with being able to take a peek into the outrageously extravagant lives of the mega-rich, "Crazy Rich Asians" has everything you could want from a romantic comedy. Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is an economics professor who agrees to go with her long-term boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding), to a friend's wedding in Singapore. On the way, she learns that not only is Nick's family incredibly wealthy, but they are crazy wealthy, living a life far beyond her wildest dreams.

While there is tremendous fun to be had in ogling the vast, unimaginable wealth on display, Rachel is a wonderfully grounded character that provides us as the audience with a more relatable way in. As well as the heart-warming romance, "Crazy Rich Asians" is the ideal showcase for Singapore as a vacation spot, and the incredible locations seen in the film will ensure it goes straight to the top of your travel bucket list.

22. The Talented Mr. Ripley

Beguiling and seductive, this stylish thriller sees the titular Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) sent to Italy by a wealthy businessman to persuade his errant son, Dickie (Jude Law) to come home. When he meets Dickie, Tom becomes dangerously obsessed with him and his lifestyle, and his expertise in imitation sees him try to assimilate himself into Dickie's life, with shocking consequences

The dark and duplicitous plot of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is perhaps even more potent against the stunning, sunny backdrop of an Italian summer — with it seeming like the last place where Tom's sinister actions would take place. As the web of lies becomes deeper and deeper, Ripley's unassuming facade becomes the perfect mask for his sociopathic qualities and Damon's quietly unnerving performance gives the film an unsettling and ambiguous feeling that you can't quite put your finger on. If a summer film with a side of murder sounds up your street, then "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is the film for you.

21. Sylvie's Love

With notes of 2016's "La La Land," "Sylvie's Love" is soundtracked by a gorgeous jazz score and focuses on a romance as sultry as the New York Summer of 1957 in which it is set. Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) dreams of working in television but spends the summer working in her father's record store in Harlem, waiting for her fiancé who is at war. There she meets Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a saxophone player and member of a jazz quartet who takes a part-time job at the store.

With a shared love of music and instant chemistry, Sylvie and Robert embark on a passionate affair, and even when their lives seem to be pulling them in separate directions, they always seem to find each other. Featuring excellent performances from Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, "Sylvie's Love" is an exquisite film about a love that defies all obstacles, and has the possibility to last beyond the summer that ignites it.

20. Luca

Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar's "Luca" is a delightful coming-of-age story about the young boy Luca (Jacob Tremblay) who embarks on a series of adventures with his new best friend Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) and fellow misfit, Giulia (Emma Berman). As with most of the films from the famed animation studios, there is a twist — both Luca and Alberto are sea monsters whose true identity is revealed when they are exposed to water.

There are echoes of "The Little Mermaid" with Ariel's desire "to be where the people are," but "Luca" is a gloriously original film that beautifully captures the childhood innocence of spending the summer getting into adventures with your best pals. Luca's journey sees him growing in confidence with the assured Alberto teaching him to say "Silenzio Bruno!" to that voice in his head that tells him he can't do things.

19. Everybody Wants Some!!

Something of a spiritual sequel to director Richard Linklater's breakout film "Dazed And Confused," 2016's "Everybody Wants Some!!" focuses on college freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) as he enjoys the final weekend of the summer before classes begin. Along with his new baseball teammates Billy (Will Brittain) and Kenny (Ryan Guzman), Jake enjoys a wild weekend of partying and chasing girls.

Despite the very obvious ticking clock in the film, counting down to when classes — and a greater sense of responsibility — are due to begin, there is a wonderful, easygoing quality to "Everybody Wants Some!!" Linklater's lens seems to focus on the feeling of the film much more than the plot, and this helps us to feel like we are there as well, just hanging out with the group and trying to capture that last glimpse of freedom and exploration before adulthood begins.

18. Summertime

Ohio secretary Jane Hudson (Katharine Hepburn) has all but given up hope of finding love and fears she may be alone forever. With her life savings, she decides to take a solo trip to one of the most romantic cities in the world, Venice, and it is there that she meets the charming Renato De Rossi (Rossano Brazzi). Jane wonders if she has met the man of her dreams, however, Renato is hiding a secret that could ruin her chance of happiness.

Venice is an idyllic, cinematic location, with beautiful canals and plazas, and in "Summertime," it has never looked more beautiful. It is also refreshing to explore a more mature love story, and Hepburn does a remarkable job of conveying Jane's loneliness and desire for companionship. David Lean's film — in glorious technicolor — is a sunny, romantic treat that showcases the stunning European destination, and the potential love that can be found there.

17. Tomboy

Told with remarkable sensitivity, "Tomboy" tells the story of 10-year-old Laure who decides to dress as a boy and call themselves, Mickaël, when they move to a new neighborhood one summer. Mickaël begins to bond with the local children, and they begin to explore their gender identity and figure out who they want to be — with the relaxed feeling of the summer season providing them with the freedom to wonder.

Director Céline Sciamma handles the subject matter with beautiful consideration, and allows for a certain level of ambiguity to mimic the character's journey of exploration and fluidity. Sciamma's deft storytelling teaches that in childhood — and through into adulthood as well — there is no need to be anything in particular or fit into any category, you can just be. "Tomboy" radiates warmth and joy, and it proved to be a hit with critics as well, including Roger Ebert who called it "tender and affectionate."

16. Dazed And Confused

Many movies set in the summer will also pair this with the end of the school year, with studying coming to a close and the time of partying, relaxation, and fun beginning. "Dazed And Confused" is one such example, focusing on a group of party animal teenagers as they celebrate the last day of high school in the summer of 1976. At the center of the purposefully meandering story is football hopeful Randall "Pink" Floyd (Jason London), who is trying to abstain from the temptation to focus on the game, while the incoming freshmen face the ritualistic hazing from the seniors.

Director Richard Linklater has a remarkable ability for being able to capture moments and feelings, with the performances from the cast feeling very naturalistic, making it easy to forget you're watching a film at times. With a scene-stealing performance from Matthew McConaughey as the twenty-something who seems determined to cling to his teenage years for as long as possible, "Dazed And Confused" is an unforgettable cult classic about American youth culture.

15. Stand By Me

Based on the novella, "The Body" by Stephen King, "Stand By Me" sees four boys from Oregon head out on an adventure to find a dead body. While it sounds morbid, the film is much more about the journey — both in the geographical and metaphorical sense — as Gordie (Wil Wheaton), Vern (Jerry O'Connell), Chris (River Phoenix), and Teddy (Corey Feldman) learn important lessons about life and growing up from each other.

"Stand By Me" is one of the quintessential coming-of-age films, and with the events taking place over the Labor Day weekend, it has an added significance in terms of the summer — and the boy's childhood innocence — coming to an end as they deal with some life-altering events. While there are of course moments of frivolity, and the boys have a natural and believable chemistry as friends, it also doesn't ignore the difficult circumstances they have gone through, presenting them in a way that is both accessible, sensitive, and at times, darkly funny.

14. Thelma & Louise

When two best friends — housewife Thelma (Geena Davis) and waitress Louise (Susan Sarandon) — decide to take a trip together to get away from the men in their life, things take an unexpected turn when they stop at a bar along the way. Defending Thelma after a man tries to assault her, Louise shoots and kills the man, leaving them as fugitives from the law, and on the run.

The sight of Thelma and Louise in their convertible Ford Thunderbird on the dusty desert highways is one of the most enduring images in cinema, and their friendship is one that seems as though it will defy all the odds. While Thelma finds a new love interest in J.D. (Brad Pitt), this is something wonderfully empowering in the way these two women look after each other and be together until the bitter end — something epitomized in the iconic finale.

13. Little Miss Sunshine

This surprisingly feel-good tragicomedy is both sunny by name and sunny by nature as it documents the dysfunctional Hoover family as they take a road trip to California. The youngest member of the family, Olive (Abigail Breslin), has aspirations of being a beauty queen, so the family travel with her so she can compete in the titular pageant. The Hoover family are undeniable misfits, from the moody older teen brother (Paul Dano) to the foul-mouthed grandfather (Alan Arkin), but all of them rally around the spirited young Olive in an unforgettable road movie.

One of the most memorable sights in the film is the Hoover family running behind their aging yellow Volkswagen van which malfunctions on the way so that it will only start when pushed. The family refusing to give up on the van even though it is slowly falling apart is a great representation of the family themselves who — for all their quirks and setbacks along the way — stick together through all the ups and downs of life.

12. The Graduate

Recently graduated from his prestigious college, Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) seems to exist in a perpetual state of boredom as he drifts through his post-education days in the summer spent at his parent's home in Pasadena, California. Plagued with the question of what he wants to do with his life, and lacking clear direction, Benjamin is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) — a beautiful older woman who is married to one of his father's business partners — before things take a complicated turn when he falls for her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross).

As Benjamin — the role that earned him his first Oscar nomination — Dustin Hoffman embodies the existential dread and listlessness of a character who finds himself between the seasons of life and unsure of what direction his life will take him. As well as the exceptional performances, "The Graduate" has proved to be hugely influential, with the term "Mrs. Robinson" making it into our modern lexicon to describe a seductive older woman, and the bittersweet ending referenced in everything from "(500) Days Of Summer" to "The Simpsons."

11. In The Heights

Lin-Manuel Miranda's vibrant musical about the tight-knit community of Washington Heights is set over several sweltering summer days and focuses on bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) who tirelessly saves his earnings in the hope of one day returning to the Dominican Republic where he is from. Along with Usnavi, we meet the other residents of the street who are chasing their own sueñitos ("little dreams") — including aspiring fashion designer (and Usnavi's crush) Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), and Nina who is dating Usnavi's friend Benny (Corey Hawkins) and wishes to return to her studies but is struggling financially.

A key theme explored in "In The Heights" is the idea of identity, and how it is shaped by where you live and who raised you, but also this idea that a sense of conflict can arise when you have aspirations to leave the community that was so formative in your upbringing. Where the film comes alive is in the streets of Washington Heights, rich in culture, music, and rhythm, creating an atmosphere that's as scorching as the temperature.

10. Booksmart

On the last day of school, best friends Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) suddenly realize that in prioritizing studying over partying, they have not optimized their school experience. Determined to make amends for the four years spent not partying hard, they head out for a night of debauchery. Along the way, this takes them to awkward yacht parties, murder mystery gatherings, and eventually the cool kids' party where their friendship faces the ultimate test.

While the story may have similar echoes to 2007's "Superbad" — with its focus on a group of misfits trying to have one final hurrah before college — "Booksmart" has considerably more heart and features one of the best and most authentic on-screen female friendships. With most of the events taking place in one night, "Booksmart" encapsulates the feeling of being right on the cusp of adulthood in all its terror and glory.

9. Moonrise Kingdom

Fans of Wes Anderson's unique whimsical style will not be disappointed, as "Moonrise Kingdom" pairs his trademark symmetrical shots and beautiful pastel color palettes with the charming love story between orphan boy scout Sam (Jared Gilman) and his feisty pen pal Suzy (Kara Hayward). The pair meet in the summer of 1964, and one year later, they decide to run away together, with Sam making a daring escape from Camp Ivanhoe under the watchful eye of Scout Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton), while Suzy runs away from her family home — coincidentally called "Summer's End".

"Moonrise Kingdom" is a wistfully funny romance, with an adventurous spirit that mirrors the plucky youngsters, who will do whatever it takes to be together. Having corresponded with each other for a year, there is the feeling that Sam and Suzy's love is more than just a summer romance, and it is refreshing to see that the film treats it genuinely and equally as valid as if they were adults.

8. Roman Holiday

In this charming summer romance, Audrey Hepburn lights up the screen as overworked European princess Ann who meets and falls in love with American reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) while on a state visit to the Italian capital, Rome. Initially, Joe has ulterior motives when he learns she is a royal, and promises his editor that he can get an exclusive interview, but it isn't long before they fall for each other as Joe shows Ann the sights of the beautiful city.

While the chemistry between Bradley and Hepburn fizzes, there are bittersweet undertones to "Roman Holiday." With Ann having evaded her royal responsibilities she is able to enjoy a feeling of freedom, joy, and romance with Joe, however, there is the nagging sense that this will be short-lived as government agents and law enforcement are called in to find the "missing" princess. "Roman Holiday" proved to be a hit with critics and won three Oscars, including Hepburn's first nomination and only win in her career.

7. Y Tu Mamá También

Set over the course of one summer, against the backdrop of political turmoil in Mexico, Julio (Gael García Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) are 17-year-old best friends engaged in a passionate ménage à trois with older woman, Luisa (Maribel Verdú). The three travel across country to a secluded beach, and along the way they indulge in sexual freedom and exploration, learning about themselves and each other in the process.

Represented by the open road in front of them and the long, laid-back days of summer in which the film is set, "Y Tu Mamá También" exudes a carefree and free-wheeling feeling where love, desire, and emotion are explored without inhibitions — in turn allowing Julio and Tenoch to discover who they want to be. While in theory the situation sounds idyllic, there is conflict between the characters, and a surprisingly emotional ending that gives the film added pathos.

6. Before Sunrise

After his breakout hit with "Dazed And Confused," director Richard Linklater introduced us to one of the all-time great cinematic romances between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), in a love story that would go on to span three films and almost 20 years. In "Before Sunrise," American student Jesse is on a train to Vienna when he meets Celine who is returning to Paris. When they strike up a conversation, Jesse persuades Celine to alight with him in Vienna and the pair walk around the city, talking and getting to know each other.

With the film taking place over the course of one day, it feels like we are watching Jesse and Celine fall for each other in real-time, and it is this element that makes "Before Sunrise" feel so special. It is a film that celebrates the art of conversation, as they discuss everything from trivial observations to deeper philosophical musings on life and love and Hawke and Delpy have an instant and believable chemistry. While it is dialogue-heavy, it is also incredibly engaging and much like the characters, you'll be hoping that the sun never comes up so that the day can last forever.

5. The Endless Summer

Documentarian and surfer Bruce Brown directs and narrates this magnificent documentary, that is in many ways the definitive surfing movie, following Michael Hynson and Robert August as they travel around the world in search of the biggest and best waves. Brown's observant and frequently witty narration imbues the film with a sense of fun while still being educational.

As Brown states in the film "summer means many things to many different people," and while the focus may be on surfing, it also showcases a number of beautiful beaches including ones in Hawaii, Australia, and South Africa, that will give you serious vacation envy. Even if you only have a passing interest in surfing, this film does an incredible job of showing why it is so popular, effectively conveying how as much of the thrill comes from finding the most secluded surfing spots as well as riding the wave. With no voices in the film apart from the narration, the exceptional footage has to do most of the heavy lifting, and this is bolstered by the surf-rock soundtrack provided by The Sandals.

4. Do The Right Thing

Spike Lee's 1989 film begins in comedic fashion as we meet the inhabitants of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, but as the sweltering heat rises, the tension also reaches boiling point, sparked by the white gentrification of a mostly black community. The events center around the pizzeria owned by Sal Fragione (Danny Aiello), where Mookie (Spike Lee) works as a delivery man. When Mookie's friend Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito) questions the lack of black representation on the pizzeria's Wall of Fame, it ignites hatred, division, and eventually violence.

The power of Spike Lee's films is not just in the way they authentically represent the specific communities and neighborhoods depicted, but in how they managed to stay relevant, even today. It perhaps speaks to the sorry state of the world that racism, division, and violence can still be so prevalent between communities, but "Do The Right Thing" balances its important message with moments of levity ensuring it is as potent now as it was then, and transcending the very specific time and place in which it is set.

3. Call Me By Your Name

17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) lives an idyllic life in his family's beautiful home in Italy, spending the long summer days reading books and transcribing music. Following the arrival of handsome Oliver (Armie Hammer) — a student who is working as an intern with Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg) — Elio offers to show him around, and soon a romance begins to blossom.

In the stunning surroundings of the Italian Riviera, "Call Me By Your Name" is an exquisite and tender romance that takes a slow-burn and considered approach, establishing the friendship between Elio and Oliver before it develops into something else. As seen in many summer-set movies that involve a love story, there is the bittersweet feeling that the romance will come to an end when the season does, and "Call Me By Your Name" utilizes this to devastating effect with a remarkably poignant moment that plays over the film's credits.

2. American Graffiti

Starring fresh-faced Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, and Harrison Ford, "American Graffiti" marks the second feature film for George Lucas — just four years before he became a household name with "Star Wars." The film is set on the last day of summer vacation in 1962 with Curt (Dreyfuss), Steve (Howard), Terry (Charles Martin Smith), and John (Paul Le Mat) driving around town listening to the radio, chatting up girls and engaging in drag races.

With the film taking place over the course of one evening, there is the sense of how fleeting the freedom of summer can be — shown in the brief conversations seized upon as the cars pass each other. "American Graffiti" feels like a snapshot in time, with added significance in terms of its early '60s setting. Both in music and world events, it was a decade of great change and transition, and this film conveys the remaining pieces of '50s-inspired culture, on the verge of being phased out. As far as films that effectively depict the last day of summer, and its connection to the coming-of-age trope, "American Graffiti" set the bar incredibly high for other films that employ similar ideas, and remains one of the very best films about youth culture.

1. Jaws

The ultimate summer movie in more ways than one, "Jaws" can be credited with changing the face of cinema as we know it. Previously regarded as the off-season for the movie industry, the summer slot has now become the peak time for the biggest blockbuster releases — and it is all thanks to "Jaws." After a series of shark attacks on the residents of fictional New England town, Amity Island, Chief of Police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) struggles to convince the incredulous mayor, Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) that the beaches have to be closed. Following a very public appearance from the shark on the 4th of July, Brody enlists the help of shark expert Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) to track down the killer beast.

More than just a shark film, "Jaws" is a thrilling and layered character study, and while the motivations of the main trio may be different, they are united in their mission to eliminate the threat. Set around the time of the Independence Day holiday, "Jaws" is also a distinctly American film, with the shark not only threatening a place that survives through its tourist trade, but also endangering the sense of freedom and liberty represented in both the holiday and the season. With the summer playing such an important part in the film, it feels fitting therefore that "Jaws" would become the first summer blockbuster, having an indelible impact on movies for generations to come.