The official beginning of summer isn’t for a couple more weeks, but the summer movie season has already begun. With the sun shining and temperatures rising, there are certain movies that become must-visits, re-watched every summer. Here are my go-to summer movies from my film collection!

(Image via

(A quick note before we begin: Usually lists like these are populated by classic beach movies. You won’t see very many of those here, as I don’t own many, though I do enjoy watching them and usually try to catch a few on TCM in the warmer months, if they’re airing.)

The Classics

  • Gidget (1959)
    Sandra Dee takes on the wild surf in this lovable, stylish and sunshine-y ’50s romance.
  • Grease (1978)
    Much of this film takes place during the school year, but the carnival at the end screams summer time.
  • Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
    Gene Tierney and her sunglasses in the canoe are the ultimate summer fashion goal.
  • Mogambo (1953)
    This film was gorgeously shot on location in several African countries. I actually watch this one somewhat more often when it’s snowy out (so the location can really transport me from dreary winter Michigan), but it’s a great summer watch, too.
  • The Pirate (1948)
    One of Judy Garland’s least-beloved musicals is one of my favorites. This one is a lot of fun to watch in summer, with all of its bright colors and lighthearted ridiculousness.
  • Roman Holiday (1953)
    Audrey Hepburn lives everyone’s dream vacation in this film, eating ice cream and traipsing through Italy with Gregory Peck.
(Image via Fine Stagione)

The Childhood Favorites

  • Crossroads (2002)
    Summer hasn’t truly begun until I’ve watched this cheesy-but-underappreciated, end-of-school road trip movie.
  • The Sandlot (1993)
    Is there anything better than a childhood summer spent running around the neighborhood with friends? My fond memories are mostly of laying in the sun and reading rather than playing baseball, but this film still makes me feel nostalgic.

The Oddballs

  • (500) Days of Summer (2009)
    I don’t strongly associate this movie with summer time, but since it has a character named Summer, I tend to watch it most often in the summer.
  • Mamma Mia! (2008)
    This is a film that I will watch at any time of year, but its bright and beautiful setting of Greece makes it particularly wonderful to watch when the sun is shining.
(Image via Guides for Brides)
  • A Very Brady Sequel (1996)
    The wackier version of the Brady family takes a trip to Hawaii. They wear matching tropical-print shirts and sing on the airplane. This corny movie was made for me.
  • The Wicker Man (2006)
    This crazy Nicholas Cage remake is worth watching at any time of year if you’re a fan of the cheese, but the fact that it takes place on Summersile makes it particularly appropriate for summer!