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8 classic movies that perfectly sum up the summer


Too hot to move? Chill out on the sofa with a Cornetto and a classic summer movie. Here's our round-up of the best.

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Back in 2001, this critically-clobbered sex comedy crashed at the box office. But in the years since, Wet Hot American Summer has become something of a cult favourite, no doubt helped by the fact that most of its cast, largely unknown at the time, have since become bona fide superstars. Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks headline this sun-dappled comedy about a group of nookie-starved teens working at a summer camp in the early 1980s. In fact, its reputation has ballooned so much since 2001 that Netflix has since reunited the cast for a prequel AND a sequel series.

Do The Right Thing (1989)

Arguably director Spike Lee's greatest and angriest film, Do The Right Thing takes place on the hottest day of the year in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Whereas most summer movies are a fizzy celebration of the joys of the sunshine season, Do The Right Thing tells instead a story about the oppressive forces of extreme heat. As the temperatures soar, so do tensions within the ethnically mixed but predominantly African-American neighbourhood.

Adventureland (2009)

This low-key gem from director Greg Mottola (Superbad) stars Jesse Eisenberg as an aspiring journalist who is forced to get a summer job at a local theme park so he can afford to go to Columbia University in New York City. An endearing coming-of-age tale, on the cusp of adulthood between school and adulthood, it also headlines Kristen Stewart as his pot-smoking co-worker and love interest, and a pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds as the park's guitar-strumming maintenance man.

National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

The summer season means summer holidays to most, but few of us will spend them cruising around the United States in a beaten-up station wagon, as many American families have done and still do. The first of the five-strong Vacation movie series is among the funniest, with Chevy Chase as the hapless dad of the Griswold family, setting off on a cross-country expedition from the suburbs of Chicago to California's Walley World, 'America's Favourite Family Fun Park'.

Summer Holiday (1963)

A decades-long staple of Bank Holiday afternoon telly, this bouncy British musical stars a magnificently quiffed Cliff Richard as a bus mechanic who somehow manages to persuade his employers to lend him and his mates a double-decker bus, like you do, to drive around Europe. Look out for Sherlock's Una Stubbs in an early role as the hip young black-bobbed girlfriend of Cliff's character, Don.

American Graffiti (1973)

Written and directed by George 'Star Wars' Lucas and produced by Francis Ford 'The Godfather' Coppola. As pedigrees go, American Graffiti has some seriously good DNA in its cinematic veins, and with a cast including Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and a pre-Han Solo Harrison Ford, it's no surprise that this 1950s-set comic-drama is so beloved by those baby boomers who came of age in the decade of Elvis.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

There's not much plot meat on Richard Linklater's cult indie, but few films capture the lazy languor and endless possibilities of those teenage summers better than this marijuana-drenched comedy-drama, headlined by a young Matthew McConaughey (it's actually the film where he debuts his famous "Alright, alright, alright" catchphrase) and an impossibly fresh-faced Ben Affleck.

Stand By Me (1986)

Coming of age dramas are rarely as poignant and affecting as Rob Reiner's masterful adaptation of Stephen King's nostalgia-fuelled short story, The Body. Set in the blazing hot summer of 1959, but so timeless it could be now, Reiner's film is a dewy ode to the innocence of childhood as it makes way for the ugly potential of adulthood. Have a hankie at the ready.

Mamma Mia! (2008)

It doesn't get much more summery than a Greek island, with cool blue waters and white buildings reflecting the hot Mediterranean sun. The plot is almost secondary to the lovely surroundings and all-star cast. Live vicariously through this modern classic of an ABBA musical as the characters dive off yachts, swim in the sea and sip cocktails, and Meryl Streep sings her heart out on a clifftop. 

Don't forget that the sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, is in Cineworld (with air conditioning) from 20th July. Booking is open so click here to get your tickets now for the feel-good film of this summer.

What's your favourite summer movie? Tweet us @Cineworld to share your suggestions.