Although I tend to watch more movies in the fall and winter, movie nights make it onto my calendar all year long. Whether it’s thunderstorming outside or just too humid or hot to spend time outdoors, a movie night can be a fun and relaxing summer activity. Check out my top 10 picks for movies to cozy up and watch during the summertime.
What Makes a Movie Feel Summery?
Certain movies just seem to belong in a certain season. For example: most of us wouldn’t choose to watch “A Muppet Christmas Carol” in July. However, not every season-oriented movie needs to be associated with a holiday. Some movies just seem to evoke feelings and memories associated with a certain season, and others are great to watch year round.
I love movies, and in the list below, I am going to cover my top 10 choices for movies that I love to watch in the summertime. Feel free to use them as inspiration to watch a movie you have never seen, or haven’t seen in a while.
10 Movies to Watch (or Rewatch) this Summer
Before I start this list, I want to say that these are in no particular order. I can’t say that every movie is a great choice for every audience, and I can’t promise that you’ll love them. These are my top 10 go-to summertime movies, but I am always open to adding to my favorites list.
1. The Sandlot
1993 – Rated PG – 1h 41min
The Sandlot is a classic by many people’s standards, but it truly feels like a movie that belongs to the summer months. From the feel-good story line to the 4th of July celebration, this baseball movie has something for grown-ups and kids alike.
“You’re killin’ me, Smalls!”
2. A Good Year
2006 – Rated PG-13 – 1h 57min
A Good Year has a great cast, a beautiful setting, and a quirky, romantic storyline. I love the character development, as the main character played by Russell Crowe experiences a change of pace and eventually a change of heart. It’s a movie that has me feeling summertime vibes, and also inspires me to really take in and enjoy what life has to offer.
“[driving past a group of french cyclists] Lance Armstrong!”
3. Pirate Radio
2009 – Rated R – 1h 57min
I love old music. Pirate Radio is a fantastic movie for people who enjoy some of the classic rock music from the 60’s. I also happen to love Bill Nighy. Definitely not appropriate for younger audiences, but this funny, heartwarming, and unique movie uses a great cast to tell an inspired-by-true-events story about a boat full of DJs sailing the ocean to bring music to the British people against the will of the government.
“[referring to their boat] No one likes it, apart from blind people, and I’m sure even they can sense its profound ugliness as it passes by.”
4. 50 First Dates
2004 – Rated PG-13 – 1h 39min
Another movie that is probably best watched by older audiences, but 50 First Dates is certainly a memorable comedy. Adam Sandler, as usual, plays a relatively obnoxious guy. However, the setting in Hawaii and the other great cast members makes this cheesy, goofy romantic comedy one of my favorite summer flicks.
“The Beach Boys? How nice of that man to give me a CD that will remind me of all the wonderful times I shared with his daughter. What an a**hole!”
2003 – Rated PG – 1h 57min
Maybe it’s because the story takes place in a desert, but Holes reminds me of the summertime. Based on a book, the movie version of Holes features Shia LeBoeuf as a teenager wrongly accused of stealing from an orphanage. He is sent to a work camp and discovers a family secret that changes his life forever. It’s a cool story with a heartwarming ending.
“I feel so sorry for the old lady who lived in the shoe, ’cause it must’ve smelled real bad.”
6. Pride and Prejudice
2005 – Rated PG – 2h 9min
If you hate slow movies, Pride and Prejudice might not be my top suggestion. However, the characters, music, romance, and scenery of this movie are enchanting. Kiera Knightley is able to portray both the elegance and intelligence required of the character of Lizzy, and that’s what really makes this version of Pride and Prejudice stand out to me. Of course, the lengthier BBC version from 1995 featuring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is definitely worth a watch as well.
“Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins… and I will never see you again if you do.”
7. Yes Man
2008 – Rated PG-13 – 1h 44min
Another comedy. I have to say that most of my choices in the summer are light-hearted and happy movies. Sunny weather and warm summer nights seem to be the right setting for comedies, and my husband is a big fan of Jim Carrey. Of all his movies, 50 First Dates seems to be the least quoted, but I think the quirky Zooey Deschanel and goofy Jim Carrey personalities make this stand out. Not to mention, there’s a scene that involves a Harry Potter themed party and that’s right up my alley!
“[while watching Saw on DVD] Oh come on, you’re halfway through, just snap it off already!”
2007 – Rated PG-13 – 2h 24min
Transformers, robots in disguise. What’s not to love? There may not be many action/adventure movies on this list, but Transformers is a fun and exciting one that feels like summer to me. Whether it’s because of the explosions or the comedic lines and quirky characters, Transformers just seems like one of those movies that it would be difficult to hate. It’s also worth saying that this is one of my husband’s favorite movies and he’s my favorite human being — part of me loves the movie just because he does!
“If he’s like, this super-advanced robot, why does he transform into this piece-of-crap Camaro?”
9. Finding Nemo
2003 – Rated G – 1h 40min
Water and ocean movies feel like summer to me, and Finding Nemo is one of the most ocean-related movies I own. The score is gorgeous, the story is adorable, and the characters are extremely lovable. Finding Dory, the sequel, is also worth a watch if you have the time. I love the way that the movie feels like an adventure and is a fun watch for kids and adults alike.
“I have short term memory loss. It runs in my family, or at least i think it does. Hmm…where are they?”
10. The Little Mermaid
1989 – Rated G – 1h 23min
Fun fact: The Little Mermaid was the first movie I ever watched and I’m pretty sure my mom would say it’s just about the only movie I watched for the first few years of my life. I think I have the whole thing memorized. This is one of my favorite Disney classics to throw on in the summer (especially as a sing-along while I clean the house.)
“[holding up a fork] It’s a dinglehopper. Humans use these little babies to straighten their hair out. See? Just a little twirl here and a yank there and voila. You’ve got an aesthetically pleasing configuration of hair that humans go nuts over.”
BONUS MOVIE: #11
11. Pirates of the Caribbean
2003 – Rated PG-13 – 2h 23min
What says summertime more than a movie about pirates and treasure? The gorgeous scenery and quirky acting style of Johnny Depp really make this movie stand out in my summer collection. Not a popular opinion: I actually like all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The first one is the best one, however, and the film score will forever be one of my absolute favorites.
“Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you never know when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid.”
More Movie Suggestions
As I was compiling this list, it was difficult not to add more. However, for the sake of keeping this readable, I had to stop. In the future I’ll create more suggestion lists based on my favorites for other season and holidays. Let me know if you’re looking for inspiration or recommendations for anything specific.
You won’t find Harry Potter on this list, but I promise it’s on my winter AND fall movie lists. If you know me, you know that it’s really pretty rare that HP doesn’t make it onto a movie favorites list.