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Great Movies Set Along the Coast 

Ranker Film
Updated March 23, 2020 384 votes 91 voters 11.2k views 31 items

The coast may seem like a serene destination, but some of the most exciting movies of all time take place near the water. The top seaside movies feature stories about friendship, romantic relationships, and coping with life on the waterfront. This is a list of the top movies set in seaside towns featuring everything from Dan in Real Life to Moonrise Kingdom to Mermaids.

What movies will you find on this list of the top coastal films? Many movie fans would vote Jaws straight to the top. Set in the fictional New England town of Amity Island, this Steven Spielberg classic had movie-goers scared to even dip their toes in the water. Even its setting was authentic: much of Jaws was filmed on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Dolores Claiborne is another good film set in a coastal region. The coast proved to be the perfect setting for the coming-of-age story of the ladies of Mystic Pizza. Other good movies featured on this best coastal films list include About Time, Message in a Bottle, and The Ghost Writer.

Which movie set on the coast do you think is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up and add any great coastal flicks that are missing.

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1
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

Released: 1975

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more

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2
Mystic Pizza is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Vincent D'Onofrio

Released: 1988

Directed by: Donald Petrie

Mystic Pizza is a 1988 American coming-of-age film directed by Donald Petrie. It stars Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, and Lili Taylor. The film also stars Vincent D'Onofrio, William R. Moses, ...more

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3
The Perfect Storm is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
clash1977 added George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane

Released: 2000

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is an adaptation of the 1997 non-fiction book of the same title by Sebastian Junger, which ...more

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4
Message in a Bottle is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Message in a Bottle Hayden Panettiere, Kevin Costner, Paul Newman

Released: 1999

Directed by: Luis Mandoki

Message in a Bottle is a 1999 American romantic drama film directed by Luis Mandoki. Based on a novel with the same name by Nicholas Sparks, the film stars Kevin Costner, Robin Wright, and Paul ...more

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5
Moonrise Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton

Released: 2012

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Moonrise Kingdom is a 2012 American film directed by Wes Anderson, written by Anderson and Roman Coppola. Described as an "eccentric pubescent love story", it features newcomers Jared ...more

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6
The Way, Way Back is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Steve Carell, Amanda Peet, AnnaSophia Robb

Released: 2013

Directed by: Jim Rash, Nat Faxon

The Way, Way Back is a 2013 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash in their directorial debut. The film stars Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison ...more

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7
The Truman Show is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti, Ed Harris

Released: 1998

Directed by: Peter Weir

The Truman Show is a 1998 American satirical social science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Peter Weir and written by Andrew Niccol. The cast includes Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, Laura ...more

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8
Dan in Real Life is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Emily Blunt, Steve Carell, Dane Cook

Released: 2007

Directed by: Peter Hedges

Dan in Real Life is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Hedges, starring Steve Carell, Alison Pill, Juliette Binoche, Dianne Wiest, John Mahoney and Dane Cook.

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9
Mermaids is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Cher, Christina Ricci, Winona Ryder

Released: 1990

Directed by: Richard Benjamin

Mermaids is a 1990 American comedy-drama film directed by Richard Benjamin and starring Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder, and Christina Ricci in her first film role. The film is based on the 1986 ...more

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10
Evil Under the Sun is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Peter Ustinov

Released: 1982

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

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11
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey

Released: 2004

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie ...more

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12
One Crazy Summer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Demi Moore, John Cusack, Jeremy Piven

Released: 1986

Directed by: Savage Steve Holland

One Crazy Summer is a 1986 romantic comedy film written and directed by Savage Steve Holland, and starring John Cusack, Demi Moore, Bobcat Goldthwait, Curtis Armstrong, and Joel Murray. The ...more

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13
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

Released: 2010

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name. Production started in March 2008. ...more

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14
Dolores Claiborne is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Dolores Claiborne
15
Sabrina is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden

Released: 1954

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Sabrina is a 1954 American romantic comedy film directed by Billy Wilder, adapted for the screen by Wilder, Samuel A. Taylor, and Ernest Lehman from Taylor's play Sabrina Fair. It stars Humphrey ...more

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16
The Cider House Rules is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Charlize Theron, Michael Caine, Paul Rudd

Released: 1999

Directed by: Lasse Hallström

The Cider House Rules is a 1999 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström, based on John Irving's novel of the same name. The film won two Academy Awards, and was nominated for the ...more

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17
The Lighthouse is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman

Released: 2019

Directed by: Robert Eggers

The Lighthouse is a 2019 black-and-white psychological horror film directed by Robert Eggers. The story of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote and mysterious ...more

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18
About Time is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Rachel McAdams, Margot Robbie, Bill Nighy

Released: 2013

Directed by: Richard Curtis

About Time is a 2013 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Richard Curtis. A young man (Domhnall Gleeson) with the special ability to time travel tries to change his past in order to ...more

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19
Muriel's Wedding is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Hunter

Released: 1994

Directed by: P. J. Hogan

Muriel's Wedding is a 1994 Australian comedy-drama film written and directed by P. J. Hogan. The film, which stars actors Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Jeanie Drynan, Sophie Lee, and Bill ...more

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20
Blow The Man Down is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, June Squibb

Released: 2020

Directed by: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy

Blow The Man Down is a 2020 American dark comedy directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy. Two sisters (Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor) attempt to cover up a gruesome run-in with a ...more
21
Cape Fear is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange

Released: 1991

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Cape Fear is a 1991 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and a remake of the 1962 film of the same name. It stars Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange and ...more

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22
It is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Tim Curry, Seth Green, John Ritter

Released: 1990

Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace

It is a 1990 psychological horror/drama miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to ...more

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23
The Good Son is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Macaulay Culkin, Elijah Wood, David Morse

Released: 1993

Directed by: Joseph Ruben

The Good Son is a 1993 American psychological thriller film directed by Joseph Ruben and written by English novelist Ian McEwan. The film stars Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood.

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24
The Weight of Water is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Elizabeth Hurley, Sean Penn, Josh Lucas

Released: 2000

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

The Weight of Water is a 2000 French-American mystery thriller film based on Anita Shreve's 1997 novel of the same name. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the film stars Elizabeth Hurley, Catherine ...more
25
State and Main is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Sarah Jessica Parker, Alec Baldwin, Julia Stiles

Released: 2000

Directed by: David Mamet

State and Main is a 2000 comedy film, written and directed by David Mamet and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rebecca Pidgeon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Stiles, William H. Macy and Alec ...more