When you think of summer, you probably think of working outside on long, hot days, catching fireflies on warm, starlit nights, kicking up sand on the beach or splashing around in a lake.
However, not all the great things about summer happen outdoors. Summertime also lends itself nicely to some great movies, particularly coming-of-age and teen summer movies.
Over the years, there have been some really great summer movies for kids that perfectly encapsulate what it’s like to be a child or teenager, enjoying the summer at an age where it feels like you’ll live forever and that those summer days will never end.
Some of these films were huge blockbusters, while others received less critical acclaim but just as great. With this list, we’ve tried to narrow down the 25 Best Summer Movies for kids.
With few exceptions, we left out all the best summer camp movies. There are just so many of them that we felt they needed their very own list, so if you’re looking specifically for movies about summer camp, check out our “Best Summer Camp Movies” article here.
For Young Children (5-7)
The great thing about Moana is that not only is it a great summer movie, it also features a great summer soundtrack!
The plot is simple enough: Moana, the daughter of her village’s chief, is chosen by the ocean to undertake a sacred quest for the goddess Te Fiti.
Her dad isn’t thrilled about the idea, but Moana is strong-willed, independent and determined to do it anyway.
Although it isn’t a “typical” summer movie, it’s beautiful, filled with beaches, oceans and characters in light, summer clothing and grass skirts. If the setting and scenery in this movie don’t make you nostalgic for summer, nothing will.
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Although there’s nothing about the original Alice in Wonderland cartoon from the 50s that’s overtly summer-like, I’ve still always thought of it as a summer film. I think this is due in large part to the film’s bright, beautiful colors and vibrant visuals.
Alice is enjoying a warm, lovely day in the meadow with her sister when she becomes bored and follows a talking rabbit down a rabbit hole into a whole new world.
This world is full of bright, vivid flowers, wild tea parties that happen in the middle of the day, crazy, dangerous croquet games with royalty and all kinds of other misadventures that any young child would love to get into on a hot summer’s afternoon.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
I go back and forth on the Hotel Transylvania movies. Sometimes I really enjoy them, and then sometimes they kind of annoy me.
No matter which way I’m feeling about them at the moment, though, there’s no denying that the third movie is pretty great if you’re looking for a summer film that’s preschool/toddler-friendly. This follow-up film finds Drac, Mavis, Johnny and the rest of the gang on a summer cruise to Atlantis.
Despite being a (somewhat cheesy) animated film, it has all the staples of a good summer film – a sunny summer cruise, a hilariously doomed romance that works out in the end and a great summer soundtrack.
Without giving too much of the plot away, we’ll just say that Dracula, single for all the many years since his beloved Martha’s death, falls in love with the great-granddaughter of his arch nemesis, Abraham Van Helsing. Lots of fun and chaos ensue.
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, funny, clean and animated to watch this summer, check out Lilo & Stitch. This movie gives off summer vibes in much the same way that Moana does – the setting.
The movie is set in Hawaii and follows the story of six-year-old Lilo, an adorable Hawaiian girl who’s a little lonely after the death of her parents. In an effort to relieve some of her loneliness, Lilo’s sister, who’s now raising her, takes her to pick out a dog at the animal shelter.
Instead, Lilo finds a little blue alien, brings him home and names him Stitch. From then on, it’s similar to lots of other movies where kids find aliens or other non-normal lifeforms – E.T., Short Circuit, A.X.L, etc. The kid befriends the alien, and someone comes searching for it. Still, even though it’ll be pretty predictable for an adult, your younger children will love it, and you won’t hate it yourself.
Any film set in Rio de Janeiro is bound to give off some serious summer vibes. Plus, seeing all the beautiful, brightly colored birds flying around will really inspire some warm weather wanderlust.
Your children are certain to enjoy the catchy songs and the entirely lovable animals, and the plot, which centers around birds falling in love, an international bird-napping/smuggling case, a spurned cockatoo who was fired from his acting gig in favor of a parakeet and one bird’s journey to first learn to fly and then fly back home, isn’t half bad.
It’s about a decade old now, but this is one animated movie that never goes out of style.
Dolphin Tale (2011)
I am now closer to 40 than I am 30, and even so, this movie always makes me cry. I mean without fail, every single time, even though I know exactly what’s going to happen every step of the way.
I’m not sure if it’s because I know it’s based on a true story or if it’s just the story itself that makes me emotional, but whatever it is, it makes me boohoo (in a good way) every time.
Although there are a few (mostly inconsequential) changes in the movie from what actually happened in real life, this movie stays pretty true to Winter’s story.
If your children like animals and you enjoy stories about damaged animals finding new ways to become whole again, this one will be a hit at your next Family Movie Night.
For Big Kids (8-9)
The Sandlot (1993)
What’s the only thing that’s more summer-like than beaches, water balloon fights and lemonade stands all put together? Baseball!
If you find a movie that features a typical coming-of-age tale, a group of us-against-the-world boys and baseball, then you just might have the most archetypal summer movie ever made. That’s exactly what The Sandlot is.
At its core, it’s a story about growing up and overcoming both fear and preconceived misconceptions, and this heartwarming story of sandlot baseball teams, junkyard dogs and autographed baseballs isn’t one to miss this summer.
The Jungle Book (2016)
Okay, this one isn’t actually a summer movie, but there’s something about it that makes it feel very summery to me.
I think it’s the fact that it’s set in a jungle with the sun beating down on everything and that it follows a young boy raised by wolves in the wild who runs around in little more than a loin cloth.
All the animals, the beautiful jungle scenery and those cool, relaxing scenes in the water also add to the movie’s summertime feel. I may have stretched just a little with this one, but even if I did, it’s a great movie, and it’s a good choice for families.
The Baby Sitters Club (1995)
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of this movie, but then, I never enjoyed the books either. To me, it’s a little boring, but when I polled some of my students as to what they considered the “best summer movies for kids and teens,” this one came up a lot.
Based on the popular book series of the same name, this mid-90s movie follows seven young girls who are responsible for most of their neighborhood’s babysitting jobs.
In a quest to keep their business booming and see as much as possible of one another, the girls establish a babysitting summer camp so they can watch the kids together.
It’s a typical pre-teen/teen movie that features lots of love and loyalty between the friends and an outside problem that pops up and threatens to tear them all apart.
Apparently, it’s become a staple of most young girls’ childhoods. If your kids love it they are in luck because Netflix turned it into an original series.
The Little Rascals (1994)
Is there anything sweeter and more reminiscent of summer than young love? And by ‘young love,’ I mean kids of like five, six and seven years old.
This great summer flick is all about a group of young boys – the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club – and its one rogue member who’s head over heels in love with a little girl named Darla.
The movie is super sweet and cute, and though CommonSenseMedia puts its recommended age at about eight, it’s actually pretty clean and wholesome.
There are some innocent kisses between boys and girls, and there are scenes with bullies in the form of Butch and Woim, but there’s nothing too objectionable in the film, so it’s a good one for family movie night.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012)
After reading these books with my son two dozen times each and watching each and every movie at least ten times, I’m not really a big fan of this one.
Even so, it is a great movie to help middle-grade kids get into the mood for summer. It’s full of all the fun stuff most kids do on summer vacation – swimming at the pool, country club tennis, Boy Scout trips with their dads and more.
Of course, because this is a DoaWK movie, Greg ultimately ends up doing everything wrong and/or backwards and getting in all kinds of trouble for it.
In the end, though, everything works out okay. Greg gets the girl and reconciles with his dad, and Roderick – the bullying big brother – ends up covered in chocolate gunk!
Wonder Park (2019)
If you or your children love Alice in Wonderland, then you’ll probably also enjoy 2019’s Wonder Park. The two movies have a lot in common, and they’re both bright, energetic cartoons that are perfect for summer. The main character, June, and her mother, dream up a magical theme park they actually call Wonderland.
In Wonderland, all the animals can talk, and it’s just a really fun, magical place. When June’s mom gets sick, though, June abandons Wonderland, and when she comes across it again, it’s being devoured by an angry cloud called the Darkness.
All of this is, of course, a metaphor for June’s worry, fear, anxiety and anger over her mother’s illness. It’s being reflected onto the park that the two of them built together, and June’s mad rush to save the park from the Darkness is actually her way of dealing with all of her own ugly, internal feelings.
It’s actually a really beautiful movie, and it features a lot of surprisingly complex and adult themes. If there’s one movie I recommend you and your children watch together this year, it’s this one. It really can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
For Pre-Teens (10-12)
The Goonies (1985)
In my opinion, Stranger Things is one of the very best new shows that’s come out in a long time, and none of the seasons were better than that very first one. Although it isn’t really set in the summer, everything about it just feels like a great summer classic.
If you, too, think Stranger Things is exactly the kind of summer you wish you’d had with your friends – minus the death, monsters and mayhem – then you also need to check out The Goonies. (That is, of course, if you haven’t already seen it 1,000 times! If you have, watch it again anyway, and bring your kids along for the ride!)
The Goonies’ quest for hidden pirate treasure is every imagination-driven summer quest you and your friends ever undertook and every imagination-driven summer quest your own kids will take with their friends when they’re old enough.
Now and Then (1995)
I could watch this movie 10,000 times – and probably have – and never get tired of it. It’s kind of a lighter, less intense version of Stand By Me, only starring a group of inseparable, us-against-the-world girls instead of boys.
There’s a little bit of sadness, a ton of fun and laughter, a few scares and a lot of growing up. Over the course of a summer, four best friends experience so much both privately and as a group.
One’s living through a divorce; one’s adjusting to life after the death of her mother; one is boy crazy and stuffing her bra, and one’s a tomboy who uses tape and baggy shirts to hide her changing body.
There’s a near-death experience, a mysterious seance in the graveyard, a battle royale with a rival group of boys and more. It’s everything kids want out of summer and more.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
At 21, I was much too old to enjoy this movie when it first came out, but that didn’t matter because I adored it anyway and still do to this day. This is a typical coming-of-age summer flick for teens, particularly teen girls, and it has it all. Four friends who’ve never spent a summer apart are about to go their separate ways for summer vacation. They go out for a girl’s shopping trip beforehand, and despite their wildly different bodies, they find a single pair of pants that somehow “magically” fits them all. They agree to buy them and share them for good luck on their summer adventures.
Each girl goes her own way – one to Greece to visit distant relatives, one to South Carolina to be a part of her dad’s wedding, one to soccer camp and one to work at a department store – and each has her own powerful, relevant experience that teaches her an important lesson about life. In one way or another, the pants help them through these experiences and give them the strength to do what they need to do while wearing them.
While it’s true that the concept is somewhat ridiculous and unbelievable, the movie explores real themes of rushed and regretted sexual encounters, loneliness while surrounded by new “family,” budding love that’s nevertheless real and even death. It’s an absolutely beautiful movie, and I highly recommend you watch it with your older kids this summer. (Plus, the summer scenes in Greece are gorgeous!)
My Girl (1991)
There are two kinds of people in this world: people who were absolutely gutted by My Girl and people who somehow managed never to watch it. There’s no third option. If you watched My Girl, it ripped your heart out and stomped all over it, but even so, you loved it, and to this day, you haven’t forgotten it.
If your kids are old enough and won’t be too traumatized by that scene with Thomas J., then you should watch this one together. It’s a beautiful summer movie that showcases all those things every good summer film should have – the coming-of-age plot, the innocence and invincibility of youth and the feeling that summer and childhood will never end.
The Karate Kid (1984)
Fighting over a girl on the beach, bonfires under the stars, a small, lonely kid standing up to the larger, more popular bullies: What could be more typically summer tween movie-like than that?!
Almost everyone knows the story of Daniel San and Mr. Miyagi, and while the remake with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith is okay, the true masterpiece is the original version from 1984.
If you haven’t shared this 80s classic with your kid yet, now’s the perfect time. We’re living in very challenging times, and TKK is a constant reminder to never give up, even when it seems like you’re most certainly beaten.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
If you’re looking for something a little more modern and on your kids’ level, sit down and watch Spider-Man: Far From Home with them.
All of these new Marvel movies have been huge hits with kids of all ages and genders lately, and the new Spidey flick is pretty clean and wholesome. Plus, it features a really fun, action-packed summer trip to Europe where all Peter really wants to do is tell the girl he loves that he likes her.
Instead, all kinds of villains keep popping up, forcing him to don his Spidey suit and fight crime while still trying to pretend to be a normal kid enjoying his summer vacation.
I am absolutely opposed to all Spider-Man movies. I think they’re horrible! Even so, I actually enjoyed this one.
This one will certainly be before your kids’ time; in fact, it’s probably even before your time, but despite that, it’s the ultimate summer vacation movie, and no list about best summer movies is complete without it.
It stars Sandra Dee and was so popular that it spawned sequels, television films and a television series! In fact, to this day, it’s still recognized as the first of the “beach party” summer movies that have become so popular through the decades.
Because it was filmed in the late 50s, you can be sure that it’s fairly wholesome. There’s no profanity, very little violence – a brief fistfight does occur – and no sex or nudity. In fact, there’s not even very much innuendo, despite the fact that it’s a teen beach party movie.
If you can get past the “old look” of the film, it’s actually a very sweet story about a young girl who falls in love with a surfer boy and even more in love with the sport of surfing. Your kids may never love it, but you might actually enjoy it if you give it a shot.
For Teens (13+)
Stand By Me (1986)
Because this movie is rated R, I debated not adding it to the list. In the end, though, you just can’t have a complete list of best summer movies without Stand By Me being on it.
This is the coming-of-age summer movie in my opinion, but you should definitely be aware that the R-rating is well-earned. There’s bad language, some violence, sexual innuendo, drinking and, of course, the dead body, which is kind of at the center of the whole story.
It’s certainly not for younger children. If you have older teens, though, this is a great one to watch with them. It features a stellar cast of then-child actors, and the themes of friendship, loyalty, growing up and even growing apart are ones that all teens can benefit from watching.
Jaws is one of those movies that needs absolutely no description. Even if you’ve never seen it, you know exactly what it’s about – a killer shark!
This isn’t a movie for everyone, but if you have a teen who’s into scarier movies, you guys have to watch this one together.
Despite the prevalence of beaches, swimming and the ocean, Jaws is mainly considered a summer movie because it was initially released in the summer and instantly became one of the biggest summer blockbusters of all time.
Even now, over 40 years later, there’s nothing that gets me in the mood for summer quite like a rewatch of this gory action/thriller.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
This is another one that I hesitated to add to the list, but not because of an R-Rating. As a teen, I loved this movie. I thought it was the quintessential summer teen flick; it was hilarious and full of mischievous, rambunctious kids getting away with all kinds of crazy things. What’s more perfectly summer than cutting class to enjoy a gorgeous, sunny, adult-free day with friends?!
However, as an adult – and an educator – I can’t help but sympathize with Principal Rooney. I mean sure, the man’s methods were way too extreme, and he committed about a dozen crimes and ethics violations, but I get it! Ferris was actually awful! Still, for a teenager, this movie is definitely a fun, exciting ode to the beauty and careless freedom of youth.
Your kids will love it, and though you may find yourself looking on it with fresh, not-so-approving eyes, it’s still nice to give your kids the chance to love it as much as you once did.
Grease is pretty old-school, and because of that, a lot of parents have stopped showing it to their children over the years. I think that’s a shame.
It is old, and most of us have seen it a dozen times, but that’s no reason not to watch it once more or not to share with your kids.
Some of the material’s a little dated, and your kids will probably roll their eyes more than once at Sandy’s wholesome dresses and the greasers’ typical “bad boy” outfits, but the movie’s a classic, and between the plot, the music, the dancing and that insane flying car ending, your kids will enjoy it… even if they deny it vehemently to your face.
Just give it a day; you’ll hear them singing “You Better Shape Up” in the shower, and you’ll know you’ve won.
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
While the ‘Summer’ in this movie is actually referring to the female lead, played by Zooey Deschanel, the whole movie is a sappy, silly rom-com about two people – one who believes in love (Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and one who doesn’t (Summer) – falling in love over the course of 500 days.
I’m not sure why, but as long as they don’t take place entirely in a cold, snowy setting, rom-coms always remind me of summer. Perhaps that’s why they call it “the summer of love.”
Either way, this isn’t my favorite movie on the list, but older teens just starting to think about love seem to really enjoy it. Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt also make an incredibly adorable, quirky couple, so it’s almost worth watching just for them.
Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991)
To this day, this is still one of my favorite movies to watch in the summer months. A mom goes off on a trip and leaves her five kids – ages 11 to 17 – with a babysitter, only the babysitter is old and dies on the first night!
Instead of calling the cops or their mom like normal people, they stuff the babysitter in a trunk and drop her off at the funeral home so that they can have a fun, adult-free summer vacation. The only problem is that they buried their money with the babysitter!
Sue Ellen, the oldest, is then forced to lie her way into a position working at a prestigious fashion agency where she has absolutely no idea what she’s supposed to be doing.
This movie is hilarious and fun, and despite its dark comedy and sometimes ridiculous dialogue and plot points, it actually touches on a lot of mature themes like the perils of growing up too fast, the importance of family and the dangers of deception. Plus, the kids eventually get busted, so it’s a good reminder to your children that lying never pays off in the end.
Blue Crush (2002)
Beautiful young people falling in love, gorgeous Hawaiian beaches, surfing and 2000s clothing superstar Billabong – what could be more summer-like than all of that?
This is one of those movies that I loved when I, myself, was a young person falling in love, but watching it now, it’s not nearly as exciting or even all that well-written.
Still, if you have teenagers in the house, they’re sure to love it, and you might even get a little enjoyment out of it thanks to some summertime nostalgia.
Plus, seeing Kate Bosworth and Michelle Rodriquez play hardcore surfer chicks is still fun.
The Bad News Bears (2005)
This Billy Bob Thorton-lead remake of the popular 70s film is a lot of fun, but it’s definitely not for the younger kids in your home. There’s some cursing, a lot of drinking, some sexual innuendo and more. This is strictly a teens and up kind of flick.
Still, the remake stays fairly close to the original in script, and Thorton is hilarious as the washed-up baseball coach relegated to coaching Little League.
It’s the classic underdog tale featuring a team of semi-troubled kids being coached by a certainly troubled adult. Still, the ending holds a good message about winning not meaning everything, and it’ll provide you with plenty of laughs.
Clueless is a total classic, and whether you watched it when it premiered in 2005 and loved it or have never seen it, now’s the perfect time for a rewatch.
The cast is fantastic. It stars Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy, Jeremy Sisto, Stacey Dash, Breckin Meyer and Donald Faison, and they’re all phenomenal.
On the surface, it’s a sweet, slightly dopey rom-com, but underneath that, it actually has a really great story about growing up, maturing, learning there’s more to life than good looks and not judging people by what’s on the surface.
Although technically it takes place during the school year, the sunny Beverly Hills landscape will totally have you aching for summer!
Dirty Dancing (1987)
This is another well-watched classic romance, but just because everyone knows it and can probably quote it from beginning to end doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it again for the 300th time.
Plus, if you have teens who haven’t seen it, it’s about time you introduce them to the wonder that was a young Patrick Swayze who had all the best moves.
It’s got love; it’s got a wonderful summer trip to the Catskills; it’s even got dance training in the lake. If you’re looking for summer movies about love, Dirty Dancing is a staple.
The Way Way Back (2013)
Despite the fact that hearing the ‘F’ word in this PG-13-rated movie nearly blew my mind – apparently, even though I thought it was strictly forbidden, the ‘F’ word can be used once in PG-13 movies – I did like it, but then, I enjoy almost anything Steve Carell does.
The additions of Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell and Rob Corddry really just sealed the deal for me.
It’s the dream-team of comedy. It’s a fairly good coming-of-age flick about a teen who really dislikes his mom’s new boyfriend and finds solace in a summer job at a water park with a bunch of adults who teach him about life and being himself, whoever that happens to be.
Summer Blockbuster Actions Movies For Kids
Some summer movies aren’t “summer movies” because they’re set in the summer, take place on a beach or feature a lot of typical summer sun, fun and adventure. Instead, some summer movies are considered summer movies because they’re huge blockbuster movies that originally premiered in the summertime, which is, of course, the best time to release a new movie that you want to do well.
These movies may not strictly stick to summer themes and settings, but they’re great films nonetheless. They’re full of fun, adventure and excitement, just like anyone’s summer should be, and they always end with a promise of hope for the future. You won’t find any sad-sack endings in a true summer blockbuster. These are the kinds of movies you can watch over and over again, but they’re best watched outside on a warm summer evening under the stars, staring up at a huge projector screen.
So if you have a projector, call the neighbors, grab some blankets to lie on, and throw a summer blockbuster block party for the whole street right in your backyard. We’ve even provided you with a list of some of the very best summer blockbusters to show.
Independence Day (1996)
This movie may have come out in 1996, but of all these huge summer action blockbusters, it probably holds up the best.
It features an all-star cast of Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and others, and it’s full of aliens, big-budget special effects and some excellently done explosions and action sequences.
It’s unlikely you missed it when it premiered a day before the U.S. celebrated its own Independence Day in 1996, but if you did, now’s the time to rectify that.
This is the perfect option for outdoor viewing right before the fireworks go up this Fourth of July.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
All the Thor movies are just plain fun, but Thor: Ragnarok is definitely the best one when it comes to big budget blockbusters. The battle scenes are amazing, and the special effects, costuming and casting choices were all excellently done. Plus, the movie is hilarious.
It takes a really serious subject – pretty much the war to end all wars – and effectively tells that story without being too dark or hard to watch. The superb cast certainly helps, and the constant ad-libbing they did throughout the movie made it seem so much more natural and relatable.
When it’s all said and done, the movie feels more like a dysfunctional family dramedy than a superhero-saves-the-world movie. It’s a great one for summer.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
I’m a sucker for Johnny Depp, and I’m an even bigger sucker for Captain Jack Sparrow, so it’s no surprise that I love each and every one of these movies.
When it came to huge box office success stories, though, Curse of the Black Pearl shocked everyone with its $654.3 million worldwide grossing. It’s one of those movies that’s tons of fun and easily enjoyed by people of all ages.
If you really have some time to kill this summer, make it a weekly event, showing all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies over the course of the summer.
Superman: The Movie (1978)
Even though I enjoy the new Superman movies, they’re a little dark and certainly slower paced and more cerebral than the original film that premiered in the 70s.
Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder were the ultimate Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane, and the movie just had a lighthearted feel to it that made it more fun and exciting than dark and broody.
When you first propose watching this one with your kids, they may give you the, “But mom/dad…. It’s olddddd….” excuse.
Just reassure them that Superman has always been awesome, no matter how long ago he was filmed and convince them to give it a shot. They won’t be disappointed.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
This is another old-school summer blockbuster that has withstood the test of time. Despite being nearly four decades old, this movie is still blowing the minds of new viewers even today.
The first 12 minutes of the film are still largely considered to collectively be the greatest opening scene in a movie ever.
Even people who aren’t sold on the idea of watching this epic action/adventure film will be hooked after watching that beginning.
This one is a particularly good option if you have younger kids – aged 10-12 – who still get really excited about adventure/treasure hunting movies.
Jurassic Park (1993)
This movie came out when I was in the third grade, and at the time, I thought it was the most amazing, original and fun thing I’d ever watched, even though I was a little too young for it, and it scared me a lot.
When I first showed it to my son, who was also probably way too young for it at the time, I was so nervous. I was afraid he wouldn’t like it, which would have broken my heart, but I was even more afraid that I, myself, wouldn’t like it all these years later.
I had no reason to worry on either account. For me, it was just as wonderful and as magical as I remembered, and my son wanted to watch it again the very next day.
It’s a little dark and scary in places, so it’s better to wait until you have older children to watch it, but if you do have older children or teens who haven’t seen it, it’s time to take them back and share the wonder of the original Jurassic Park with them. If they want to binge the Jurassic World movies after, that’s just an added bonus.
Wonder Woman (2017)
In a lot of ways, movies and entertainment have gotten worse over the years. There seems to be more cussing, more violence, more sexual innuendo and more of everything that kids don’t need to see.
Hollywood’s new drive to be more diverse and inclusive, though, isn’t one of those bad things. Thanks to this new drive, there are more incredible movies with strong female leads than ever before, and 2017’s Wonder Woman is one of the very best.
Gal Gadot makes a stunning Amazon warrior princess, and the movie, itself, is excellent. Just because it stars a woman doesn’t mean it pulls any punches.
It’s every bit as action-packed and fight-scene-heavy as any of the other superhero movies that have been released over the last decade, but this one has a lot of heart and is, in my opinion, far superior to the last few Batman and Superman movies DC has released lately (although I like those, too).
The Princess Bride (1987)
If you’ve ever run across one of my movie lists before, you know that I’ve put The Princess Bride on more than a few of them. That’s because I absolutely love The Princess Bride! I think it’s pretty much the perfect movie, and it fits in with any list.
Looking for the best movies of the 80s? It fits! Looking for classic fairy tale movies? It fits! Looking for romantic comedies? It fits! Looking for a great summer blockbuster that’s fun for the whole family? It definitely fits.
This movie is a classic, and whether you’ve never seen it or have watched it a thousand times, summer is always a great time to watch it again.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
When it comes to summer blockbusters, you can’t leave E.T. off the list. If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you’ve definitely seen this movie. It’s a classic that’ll make you laugh and cry and then laugh some more.
It’s one of the sweetest, warmest, most heartfelt movies that’s ever been released. It’s also number three on the list of top grossing summer hits of all time, coming in only behind the original Star Wars and Jaws.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly classic to show at your backyard block party this summer, this is definitely the one.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
The original Harry Potter film did not make the list of the top ten biggest summer blockbusters of all time, but that’s only because the movie was released in November. Otherwise, it would have definitely been on there.
Technically speaking, Harry Potter isn’t a “summer blockbuster” or a summer movie at all. It was released in the fall, and the movie, itself, takes place during the school year and has quite a bit of snow in it.
Still, if you’re looking for a great movie that’ll bring all the neighborhood kids together and give them something to do this summer, you can’t go wrong with Harry Potter.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)
If you haven’t seen the new live action Dora the Explorer movie yet, you’re in for a real treat.
The young girl portraying the well-known character of Dora is pretty perfect for the role, and the rest of the cast includes such talented and well-known Hispanic actors and actresses as Danny Trejo, Eva Longoria, Benecio del Toro and Michael Peña.
It’s an excellent cast and a pretty excellent movie, and I’m not even a big Dora the Explorer fan. It’ll give you some strong Indiana Jones and Jumanji vibes, and your kids will love it.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) & Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
While the original Jumanji is by far my favorite movie of the franchise, the two newer flicks definitely have a more summertime feel to them.
Plus, the stars of these films – Kevin Hart, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Black and Karen Gillan – are much more likely to appeal to kids in your children’s generation than actors like Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt and Kirsten Dunst would.
Being sucked into a video game world is also more relatable than an old-school board game as well. Either way, these movies are full of action, adventure and a ton of comedy, and they’re perfect for the summer.