Summer is here! And it only seems appropriate that we celebrate with some good ol’ fashion movie watching. There are tons of great movies to choose from, but for the sake of this list, I tried to find hidden gems and classics that everyone should see at least once. Some may be oldies but goodies, others underrated gems (pun intended) that deserve more attention than they get…and then there are those that just plain make you want to jump in a pool. Below is my Summer Movie Bucket List:
If you're looking for a feel-good movie that will bring back memories of your own childhood, Home Again is the perfect choice. The film follows Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon), who recently separated from her husband and decides to start over by moving back to Los Angeles with her two daughters. While celebrating her 40th birthday, Alice meets Harry (Michael Sheen), George (Jon Rudnitsky) and Teddy (Nat Wolff). The three young filmmakers need a place to live while they work on their next project so they move into Alice's guesthouse temporarily--and complications soon arise when she develops feelings for Harry while also having trouble getting along with his roommates.
A Nancy Meyers favorite! All of Meyers' films have beautiful settings that feel like summertime regardless of when they were made; Home Again is no different--it takes place entirely in a beautiful Nancy Meyers-esque home in Southern California where it feels like summer all year!
Step into the enchanting world of summer romance with a summer movie that is one of my personal favorites, starring Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, and John Krasinski. Set against the vibrant backdrop of New York City and the sun-soaked scenes of the Hamptons, this film is a must-watch for those seeking a lighthearted escape that will leave them yearning for an East Coast vacation. Join Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), a successful attorney and a devoted friend, as she navigates the complexities of love and friendship. When an impulsive encounter with her longtime crush, Dex (played by John Krasinski), turns her world upside down, Rachel finds herself entangled in a web of emotions as Dex is engaged to her best friend, Darcy (Kate Hudson). As the consequences of their actions threaten to unravel their lifelong bond, Rachel's confidant, Ethan (John Krasinski), holds a secret that could ignite further chaos. With its irresistible blend of humor, heart, and relatable characters, this movie is the perfect summer treat, leaving you eagerly anticipating your own magical moments on the East Coast.
Something’s Gotta Give
If you're looking for something light-hearted and fun, Something's Gotta Give is the summer movie for you! The film stars Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson as aging womanizer Harry Sanborn and his young girlfriend Marin respectively. When they arrive at her family's Hamptons beach house, they find that her mother, dramatist Erica Barry (Keaton) also plans to stay for the weekend. Erica is scandalized by the relationship and Harry's sexist ways. But when Harry has a heart attack and a doctor prescribes bed rest at the Barry home, he finds himself falling for Erica -- who may be out of his league after all!
The Parent Trap
The Parent Trap is an update of a 1961 film, in which twins Annie and Hallie (Lindsay Lohan) are strangers until happenstance unites them. The preteen girls' divorced parents, Nick (Dennis Quaid) and Elizabeth (Natasha Richardson), are living on opposite sides of the Atlantic, each with one child. After meeting at camp, American Hallie and British-raised Annie engineer an identity swap, giving both the chance to spend time with the parent they've missed. If the scheme works--and it does--it might just make this family whole again!
Although The Parent Trap is not a hidden gem and you will probably find it on every summer movie list out there, it feels wrong to leave this classic off my summer movie list. This feel-good summer movie has everything from a great and timeless soundtrack, to the best fashion, and a second chance romance.
The plot of this adventurous summer movie is about a couple who is on a treasure hunt to find gold right off the shore of Key West. Treasure hunter Ben "Finn" Finnegan has sunk his marriage to Tess (Kate Hudson) and his trusty boat in his obsessive quest to find the legendary Queen's Dowry. When he finds a vital clue that may finally pinpoint the treasure's whereabouts, he drags Tess and her boss, billionaire Nigel Honeycutt, along on the hunt. But Finn is not the only one interested in the gold; his former mentor-turned-enemy Moe Fitch will stop at nothing to beat him to it.
If you're looking for a fun summer movie with beautiful beaches that make you want to travel then this is your film! This movie has become a cherished summer tradition in my family, and we simply can't let a summer pass without watching it at least once.
Although It’s Complicated isn’t exactly a summer movie this 2009 romantic comedy feels like summer to me! The film is written and directed by Nancy Meyers (if you can’t already tell my personal favorite), and starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and John
Jane (Meryl Streep), a successful restaurateur, has been divorced from Jake (Alec Baldwin) for many years, although they remain friends. When an innocent meal together turns into an affair, Jane finds that she is the other woman in the now-remarried Jake's life. Meanwhile Adam (Steve Martin), an architect hired to remodel her kitchen is still stinging from his own divorce - he finds himself falling in love with Jane but soon realizes that he has become part of a triangle.
Set against the stunning backdrop of beautiful Santa Barbara, this captivating summer movie transported me to a world of sun-kissed beaches, vibrant festivals, and coastal charm, leaving me with an irresistible desire to pack my bags and make Santa Barbara my new home!
The Other Women
The Other Women is a summer comedy that will have you laughing the entire time. New York lawyer Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz) lives by strict rules when it comes to romantic relationships but when she falls for suave handsome Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), she begins an affair with him. A surprise visit to Mark's home reveals that he is married to devoted housewife Kate (Leslie Mann). Carly and Kate direct their hurt and anger toward Mark, and when they discover yet another woman caught in his web of lies - this time played by model-turned actress Kate Upton - all three join forces for revenge! This summer film takes place at a beach house one the east coast, New York City and Bahamas.
The Big Wedding
The Big Wedding is a comedy about a family of four that is forced to reunite at the wedding of their eldest son. Set on the most beautiful lake, this hilarious summer movie stars Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon and Katherine Heigl.
Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie Griffin (Diane Keaton) are long-divorced but when their adopted son's ultraconservative biological mother unexpectedly decides to fly in for the young man's nuptials he wants them to play happy couple. With their heartily amused friends and adult children looking on they must confront their past present and future--and hopefully avoid killing each other in process!
And So It Goes
And So It Goes is a 2014 comedy starring Michael Douglas as Oren Little, an embittered real estate agent whose life turns upside-down when his estranged son drops off a granddaughter he didn't know existed.
Directed by Rob Reiner, And So It Goes also stars Diane Keaton as Leah Collins who takes in her neighbor Oren's granddaughter after she finds out that he doesn't know how to take care of a child and decides she will teach him how to be a grandpa by example.
Field of Dreams
In my household, summer is not just about the weather - it's fundamentally connected to my undying love for baseball. There's nothing that quite matches the feeling of a baseball game on a summer evening. That's why, when it comes to summer movies, Field of Dreams holds a special place in my heart. This iconic movie's association with baseball and summer resonates with me in a powerful way, while also invoking an overwhelming nostalgia for days gone by. As much as I'd love to spend every summer night watching baseball, this article is not about watching baseball but about summer movies!
This baseball movie that’s perfect for summer, is about an Iowa farmer who hears a voice telling him to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. He does so and soon finds himself becoming friends with all-time greats like Shoeless Joe Jackson and Cy Young. The film is not only uplifting but also very funny in places too!
The Light Between Oceans
The Light Between Oceans is a movie about a lighthouse keeper and his wife who adopt a baby girl who washes up on shore. They keep the baby and raise her as their own, but then their lives are turned upside down by this decision. This summer movie is so cute and I’m obsessed with it’s beautiful ocean town setting but if you are anything like me you might want to pull out the tissues.
Yours Mine & Ours
If you're looking for a fun, heart-warming family movie for your summer watch list, Yours, Mine & Ours is a great choice. The movie follows the hilarious journey of a couple played by Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, who get married and have to adjust to living together with their enormous families - they have a total of 14 kids! The family dynamic is entertaining to watch as the families try to merge together and create a new household. The addition of the lighthouse and coastal setting adds an extra dose of charm and adventure to the story, especially if you love sailing. And, of course, with Dennis Quaid's character being in the coast guard, there is plenty of time spent out at sea which makes for an even more interesting story. Get ready for an enjoyable ride with Yours, Mine & Ours.
The Last Letter from Your Lover
The Last Letter from Your Lover is a movie I feel not many have heard of, but I highly recommend it! Set in two distinct time periods the novel follows two women, 1960s housewife Jennifer Stirling and modern-day journalist Ellie Haworth and how both of them become intrigued by a letter they accidentally discover. The movie is based on a book by JoJo Moyes, so if you like this film, it may be worth checking out her other work.
If you're looking for a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this one is it! It's a bit of a mystery and I personally think this is one of the most underrated summer movies I have seen. Although I have not personally read the book this is based off of I have heard this one is not half as good as the book (but when is the movie ever as good?)
Rebecca tells the story of young newlywed who arrives at her husband's imposing family estate on a windswept English coast and finds herself battling with his first wife Rebecca's legacy lives on in the house long after her death.
This movie is set in Venice and stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. During an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, math teacher Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) finds himself in an extraordinary situation when an alluring stranger, Elise (Angelina Jolie), places herself in his path. Their seemingly innocent flirtation turns into a dangerous game of cat and mouse while various people who all think that Frank is Alexander Pearce try to capture the pair. This movie has action, comedy and romance rolled into one great package! Another one of my favorite, expect the unexpected movies and a great romantic comedy!
Every time I try to find a new summer movie I always come across the same lists so as I was coming up with my own list I tried to think of all my favorites that make me want to stay in summer forever but aren’t talked about as often. Of course no summer movie list would be complete without some classics but I made sure to get my favorite hidden gems in there as well! There's also a romantic comedy or two and a drama or two. I tried to include as many genres as possible so you can find something that fits your interests and mood! I hope you enjoyed this post and found some new movies to add to your summer bucket list!
Looking for fun movie night ideas with your pals? Check out our outdoor movie night guide!