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16 Best Movies To Watch This Summer Vacation

Summer is finally here and students around the world are taking a well-deserved break. If you are looking for a way to really get that summer vibe, a summer movie marathon is a great way to set the scene. From modern blockbusters to indie favorites and vintage classics, we have compiled a list of 16 films perfect for summer break. Watch them all, curate your own movie night, or use our summer movie character quiz to find the one film that is perfect for you.

Sep 6, 2023
16 Best Movies To Watch This Summer Vacation

1. Booksmart (2019)

Booksmart is an American coming-of-age comedy film directed by Olivia Wilde in her feature directorial debut. The plot centers on best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) who are academic overachievers. On the night of their high school graduation, they realize that they should have worked less and played more. Deciding to make up for lost time, they attempt to party all night long, with predictably disastrous results. If you are looking for a feel-good movie to watch with your friends, then look no further than Booksmart.

IMDB Rating: 7.1

2. Empire Records (1995)

Empire Records was a commercial flop when it was released in theaters, but has since become a cult classic largely due to its portrayal of 90s teenage life and its eclectic soundtrack. The star-studded cast of Allan Moyle's film follows the employees of an independent record store as they try to prevent it from being sold to a large corporation while dealing with their own personal struggles to realize their hopes and dreams. Filled with teen angst, alternative rock, and a good dose of 'sticking-it-to-the-man,' Empire Records is a perfect mix of 90s nostalgia and cheeky comendy.

IMDB Rating: 6.7

3. In The Heights (2021)

In the Heights is a musical drama film directed by Jon M. Chu, based on the Broadway musical of the same name written by Linn Manuel Miranda. The film tells the story of a young man named Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who lives in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. He has idealized the memory of his homeland, the Dominican Republic, and dreams of returning to the island and starting a business. Usnavi is torn between his sueñito and his responsibilities in the barrio, as well as his attraction to the beautiful and equally ambitious Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who also hopes to leave Washington Heights and become a fashion designer. Set in the hot summer days leading up to a massive electricity blackout, Washington Heights is ultimately a story of hope, love, and determination, set against the backdrop of one of the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods in New York City.

IMDB Rating: 7.3

4. Friday the 13th (1980)

The American 80s slasher Friday the 13th is the perfect summer movie for anyone who loves a good scare! This classic horror flick follows a group of unsuspecting teens who are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp. With its suspenseful story and gruesome killings, Friday the 13th is sure to send chills down your spine! So grab some popcorn and settle in for a truly terrifying movie experience.

IMDB Rating: 6.5

5. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

In Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson paints an idyllic and nostalgic portrait of young love. Set against the backdrop of an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, the film follows the romance between two 12-year-olds, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward). After running away together, the young couple must contend with the search party that is dispatched to find them. With its stunning visuals and whimsical storytelling, Moonrise Kingdom is a charming ode to youthful romance. Anderson's trademark quirky style is on full display, making for a film that is both heartwarming and hilarious.

IMDB Rating: 7.8

6. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Y Tu Mamá También is a Mexican movie directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Best friends Julio (García Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) are alone for the summer while their girlfriends travel to Europe before they all head to university. The boys attend a family wedding where they meet an older woman, Luisa (Maribel Verdú), and attempt to seduce her by weaving a tale of a secluded beach. Luisa impulsively joins the boys on a road trip to the non-existent La Boca del Cielo (the Mouth of Heaven) and the journey becomes one of personal discovery for all three characters. Y Tu Mamá También is a beautifully shot movie that captures the essence of youth and love, in turn heartwarming and heartbreaking.

IMDB Rating: 7.7

7. Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar is a folk horror film written and directed by Ari Aster. It follows grieving Dani (Florence Pugh) who travels with her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor), and his friends to Sweden to attend a midsummer festival that quickly descends into a nightmare. Midsommar is a visually stunning and eerie film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The acting is superb, and the story is both terrifying and captivating. If you're looking for a truly horrifying and suspenseful film, then Midsommar is a must-watch.

IMDB Rating: 7.1

8. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You is an American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Gil Junger. Loosely based on William Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew, the story follows new student Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he tries to win the affections of popular girl Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). When Cameron learns that Bianca cannot date until her ill-tempered older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does, he pays a potential suitor (Heath Ledger) to take Kat out on a date in an attempt to get her out of the way. 10 Things I Hate About You is a hilarious and timeless story of first impressions and second chances.

IMDB Rating: 7.3

9. Spider-Man Far From Home (2019)

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends go on a summer trip to Europe. However, Peter's plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent. The movie received praise from critics for its humor, visual effects, and action sequences, with some calling it one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

IMDB Rating: 7.4

10. Jaws (1975)

Jaws is a classic Spielberg thriller about a massive, man-eating great white shark that terrorizes the residents of a small island town. The movie features some of the most iconic moments in film history, including the famous "jaws theme" music and the unforgettable scene where the shark attacks a swimming woman. Jaws is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

IMDB Rating: 8.1

11. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a heartwarming tale of friendship and self-discovery. Four teenage girls, best friends since childhood, are separated when they go their separate ways during the summer before college. But they stay connected through a special pair of jeans that they share - the pants seem to have a magical way of adapting to each girl's unique figure, and they become a symbol of the bond between the friends. The film follows the girls as they navigate their way through adolescence, first love, heartbreak, and everything in between.

IMDB Rating: 6.5

12. National Lampoon`s Vacation (1985)

National Lampoon`s Vacation is a hilarious movie about a family who goes on a vacation that ends up being anything but relaxing. The movie follows the Griswalds of Christmas Vacation fame as they make their way across Europe to visit distant relatives. True to form, the family patriarch - Clark Griswald (Chevy Chase), attempts to create the perfect family adventure, with predictably disastrous results. Everything that can go wrong, does, and Clark must deal with his own unmanaged expectations. If you are a fan of goofy comedy, National Lampoon`s Vacation is a hilarious movie that will have you laughing from beginning to end.

IMDB Rating: 6.2

13. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy film based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. The film tells the story of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an American-born Chinese economist, who travels to her boyfriend Nick Young's (Henry Golding) hometown of Singapore for his best friend's wedding. There, she meets his family and learns that they are among the country's wealthiest citizens. Despite their vast differences, Rachel and Nick continue to grow close, but when Nick's family disapproves of their relationship, the two must overcome their challenges to stay together. The film received high praise from critics for its acting, direction, writing, production design, and costume design.

IMDB Rating: 6.9

14. Dirty Dancing (1987)

Dirty Dancing is the ideal film for anybody who enjoys a great love story and some mid-century style. This 80s classic set in the 1960s follows a young girl nicknamed Baby (Jennifer Grey) from a wealthy conservative family who falls in love with Johnny, a working-class dance instructor (Patrick Swayze) while vacationing with her family at a resort. With its iconic soundtrack and unforgettable dance scenes, Dirty Dancing offers nostalgia and fun. But the film also comes with a hefty side of socio-political reality and this coming-of-age film packs a punch and the struggles of the central - and periphery - characters are as relevant today as they were in 1963 or 1987.

IMDB Rating: 7.0

15. IT (2017)

IT is a supernatural horror film based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. The plot centers around a group of seven children in the town of Derry, Maine who are terrorized by an evil clown named Pennywise. The children, who call themselves "The Losers Club", band together to try and stop Pennywise. However, their fight against Pennywise is hindered by their own personal fears. Ultimately, the children of the Losers Club must confront their fears head-on in order to defeat Pennywise once and for all. The movie is full of suspense, scares, and laughs, and is sure to keep viewers entertained.

IMDB Rating: 7.3

16. The Princess Bride (1987)

Beautiful, spoiled Buttercup (Robin Wright) falls in love with the charming stable boy, Wesley (Carey Elwes), but is heartbroken when he disappears at sea, presumably murdered by the Dread Pirate Roberts. In her despair, she agrees to marry the smarmy Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon) but is kidnapped on the eve of their wedding. So begins one of the greatest adventures of all time - a full-on classic fairy tale, complete with dashing heroes, scheming villains, rodents of unusual size, and above all, true love.

IMDB Rating: 8.0

Keystone Team


The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.

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