The Best Years for Summer Movies Films
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The Best Years for Summer Movies

List Criteria: "Summer movies" in a given year must have opened in the months of May, June, July or August.

List of the best "summer seasons" for new mainstream films. The notion of the "summer blockbuster" movie season started in June of 1975, when Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" became the biggest box office draw to date. (The troubled production had spiraled out of control and wound up costing nearly 4 times as much as was initially projected.) Since then, studios have all attempted to program event movies for the summer months, typically including fare designed to appeal to younger audiences, such as action movies and broad comedies. The long July 4th weekend has always been a coveted release date for new films, but the summer season now extends far longer than it did in the '70s and '80s. New "summer" films now open in early May and continue coming out right up through Labor Day.

In the nearly 40 years since "Jaws," many classic films have seen release during the busy summer movie season. It's now possible to go back and look at the actual historical summers that have given us some of these memorable film experiences, and evaluate which season itself featured the most exciting releases. Here are the best years for summer movies, from '75 through the present day.

Check out more lists like Greatest Movies that Take Place During Summer, Movies That Take Place in Summer Camp, and Hottest Actors in Summer Movies
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  1. 1
    + 166
    - 74


    Notable releases: Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Karate Kid, Gremlins, The Neverending Story, Once Upon a Time in America, Purple Rain, Red Dawn, Revenge of the Nerds, Top Secret, Bachelor Party, The Natural
  2. 2
    + 147
    - 68


    Notable releases: The Empire Strikes Back, The Shining, Airplane!, The Blues Brothers, Caddyshack, Cheech and Chong's Next Movie, Dressed to Kill, Fame, Friday the 13th, Used Cars, The Big Red One, The Blue Lagoon
  3. 3
    + 122
    - 54


    Notable releases: Blade Runner, E.T., The Thing, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Poltergeist, The Road Warrior, Rocky III, Tron, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Conan the Barbarian, The Secret of Nimh, An Officer and a Gentleman
  4. 4
    + 99
    - 44


    Notable releases: Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, When Harry Met Sally, Dead Poets' Society, Do the Right Thing, The Abyss, Ghostbusters II, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Lethal Weapon 2, License to Kill, Parenthood, Uncle Buck, Road House
  5. 5
    + 120
    - 62


    Notable releases: Back to the Future, The Goonies, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Teen Wolf, Weird Science, National Lampoon's European Vacation, The Black Cauldron, Cocoon, Fletch, Fright Night, St. Elmo's Fire
  6. 6
    + 120
    - 66


    Notable releases: Forrest Gump, Speed, The Lion King, True Lies, The Mask, Clear and Present Danger, The Crow, Maverick, Natural Born Killers, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Spanking the Monkey
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