20 movies to get you in a summer mood

Top 10 Summer Movies 2015

Dream of catching the perfect wave with "The Endless Summer" or stay safely inside and out of the water while watching "Jaws." Reminisce about summer romance's gone by with "Dirty Dancing and Mystic Pizza." Catch up on "Wet Hot American Summer" and "National Lampoon's Vacation" before this July's reboots. And recall your own childhood sports and camp fun with films like "The Sandlot," "The Parent Trap" and "Angels in the Outfield."

Vestron Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Read on for more summer-themed favorites, presented in alphabetical order by category, as well as where you can stream or download the films.

Movies Set at the Beach

The Endless Summer: This landmark documentary from the '60s follows three surfers on their international search for the perfect wave. Operating on a tiny budget, the trio spent three months going from Malibu to Ghana, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii. Their surfing footage is enough to make you plan your own beach escape or reminisce about a recent vacation.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime and for rent or to buy, Hulu and iTunes and Netflix

From Here to Eternity: This Army drama set in a military base on Hawaii in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor doesn't entirely take place on the beach and certainly isn't a fun-in-the-sun flick. But the eight time Oscar winner does feature one of the most famous oceanfront scenes in movie history, with Burt Lancaster's Sgt. Warden and Deborah Kerr's Karen Holmes, the captain's wife, rolling around in the surf during their ill-fated affair.
Where to watch: Amazon and iTunes

Jaws: Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Jaws will take you back to the beach and make you not want to return. Steven Spielberg directed the classic thriller about the hunt for a shark attacking swimmers off a New England beach, which stars Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider. You can follow all of the action off the beach while listening to John Williams' famous score by watching the original summer blockbuster from the comfort of your own home.
Where to watch: Amazon and iTunes

Click through for some of the greatest movies releasing this summer:

Summer Movie Showdown
See Gallery
20 movies to get you in a summer mood


July 17 (2015)

Fantastic Four

August 7 (2015)

Hitman: Agent 47

August 28 (2015)


September 4 (2015)

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

August 14 (2015)


July 10 (2015)


July 24 (2015)

San Andreas

May 29 (2015)


May 29 (2015)

Mr. Holmes

July 17 (2015)

Paper Towns

July 24 (2015)


July 24 (2015)


May 22 (2015)

Straight Outta Compton

August 14 (2015)

Hot Pursuit

May 8 (2015)


July 17 (2015)


July 10 (2015)

Inside Out

June 19 (2015)


August 14 (2015)


June 5 (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron

May 1 (2015)

Mad Max

May 15 (2015)

Jurassic World

June 12 (2015)

Terminator Genisys

July 1 (2015)


August 7 (2015)

Pitch Perfect 2

May 15 (2015)


June 5 (2015)

Ted 2

June 26 (2015)

Magic Mike XXL    

July 1 (2015)


July 31 (2015)


Summer Kids Movies from the '80s and '90s

Angels in the Outfield: Foster kids Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and J.P. are big Angels fans, and Roger has an additional reason to root for the poorly performing baseball team, when his father says their family will be reunited when the Angels "win the pennant." Roger prays to God that the Angels will win, and soon begins seeing real-life angels in the outfield. The media finds out about Roger's ability to see angels, which causes a stir with the baseball team's manager.

Flight of the Navigator: Twelve-year-old David walks into the forest after his dog alerts him of something, which sends him falling into a nearby ravine, where he becomes unconscious. When he wakes up, he discovers that eight years have passed and his family is bewildered as to why he hasn't aged. David is tested and his memory reflects images of both a nearby alien spaceship that crashed and his communication in a different language with the computer. David is soon able to discover what happened in those eight years, when he had an adventure with the alien ship.

Heavyweights: After school lets out for the summer, overweight boys attend a weight-loss camp led by fitness guru Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller). Perkis' goal is to make the camp's exercises into the leading weight-loss infomercial, forcing the campers to do strenuous activities and raiding their rooms of junk food. The campers bond together and devise a plan to get rid of the trainer altogether.

Homeward Bound: While their owners are on vacation in San Francisco, three pets, dogs Chance and Shadow and cat Sassy, are left at a ranch cared for by the family's friend. The animals think they have been abandoned and go on an excursion to find their owners, trekking through the wilderness and mountains.

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The Little Rascals: During the summer, the "He-Man Woman Haters Club" is in full swing. But Alfalfa, who is best friends with the club's leader, Spanky, has a secret relationship with Darla, and takes her on a date at the clubhouse. During the date, the clubhouse is burned down when Alfalfa and Darla are found together. In an attempt to punish Alfalfa, he is left looking after the boys' go-kart, which is signed up to participate in the local fair's go-kart race. The boys compete for the winning title and prize money to rebuild their clubhouse and to win back Darla's heart from the town's rich boy.

My Girl: My Girl tells the story of tomboy Vada (Anna Chlumsky) who is befriended by Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin) when he shoots her with a water gun and they run into the forest together, where she loses her mood ring. Over the summer, the two grow close and audiences witness the torn relationship between Vada and her widow father (Dan Aykroyd), her father's romantic relationship with his new girlfriend, Vada's coming of age, and the healing that can come about between a father and daughter.

Now and Then: Four childhood best friends reunite as adults in their hometown of Shelby, Indiana in 1991 and reminisce on the their 1970 summer together. The film flashes back to when the young girls focused on saving money to buy a tree house and, at all costs, avoided the Wormer brothers. During the summer, the girls play pranks, discover facts about their past and deal with the emotions of divorce, death and friendship. The film stars Gaby Hoffmann, Demi Moore, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Christina Ricci, Rosie O'Donnell, Ashleigh Aston Moore and Rita Wilson.

The Parent Trap: A reprisal of the 1961 original, 1998's version of The Parent Trap features Lindsay Lohan as both Hallie Parker and Annie James, who meet at summer camp. After each pulling out a torn half of their parents' wedding photo, the girls discover they are identical twins who were separated when their parents divorced. The girls switch lives after the camp in a forced attempt to have their mother (Natasha Richardson) and father (Dennis Quaid) reunite years later.

READ MORE: Summer Sequels and Reboots Refresher Course -- Where to Watch?

The Sandlot: During the summer of 1962, Scotty Smalls moves to a new neighborhood and joins the local sandlot baseball team, despite not being able to play the game. Benny, the baseball team's leader, takes him under his wing and teaches him the game. Over the course of the summer, the boys go on adventures around town, including visiting the local swimming pool, and Smalls is forced to face his fear, and the "beast" dog next door, when a signed Babe Ruth baseball ends up in his neighbor's backyard.

SpaceCamp: While on their summer break, four teens attend a space camp at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to learn about NASA. When one of the teens says "I wish I was in space" out loud, a robot at the center overhears him and sends the teens into space in the Space Shuttle Atlantis during a routine test. The kids must figure out how to survive and land the shuttle safely.

Films About Summer Romance

Brokeback Mountain: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal played young farm boys Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, hired to tend a large herd of sheep for the summer on Brokeback Mountain. There they fall in love and begin a romance that endured, in secret, for the next 20 years.
Where to watch: Amazon and iTunes

Dirty Dancing: Patrick Swayze's dance instructor and Jennifer Grey's Catskills resort guest had the time of their lives as he teaches her the routine for an upcoming annual show and the two fall in love.
Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes and Netflix

READ MORE: Movies Under the Stars: Summer Outdoor Screenings in NYC

Mystic Pizza: A then-unknown Julia Roberts plays a pizzeria waitress alongside Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor in this 1988 film, in which all of the girls have their own romantic storylines during their summer in Mystic, Conn. Roberts' character falls for rich summer visitor Charles Gordon Winsor and their family dinner also introduced moviegoers to Matt Damon, who has one line in his movie debut.
Where to watch: Amazon and iTunes

Wet Hot American Summer:David Wain and Michael Showalter's sex comedy following counselors on the last day of camp in 1981 flopped when it was released in theaters but went on to become a cult favorite. The film, which is getting a limited-series Netflix revival later this summer, featured a cast of relative unknowns who've since become household names, including Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper.
Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes and Netflix

Summer Travel Movies

Little Miss Sunshine: Join the Hoover family on their road trip to the eponymous children's beauty pageant in Redondo Beach. The two-time Oscar winner, which made more than $100 million worldwide, stars Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette and Steve Carell.
Where to watch: Amazon and iTunes

National Lampoon's Vacation: The Griswolds' cross-country road trip to the fictional L.A. amusement park, Walley World, spawned several sequels and a reboot hitting theaters this summer, with Ed Helms playing the grown-up Rusty who seeks to re-do his childhood vacation. The Harold Ramis-directed/John Hughes-scripted film about the dysfunctional family led by Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold should bring back plenty of memories about your own family trips.

READ MORE: Movies Under the Stars: Summer Outdoor Screenings in L.A.

Y Tu Mama Tambien: Alfonso Cuaron's Mexican road movie follows two teenage boys (Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna) on their trip with an older woman to the legendary beach named Heaven's Mouth. The trio also embark on a journey of sexual discovery.
Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes and Netflix

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