Entertainment

Great Movies Set Along the Coast 

Ranker Film
Updated October 18, 2019 347 votes 73 voters 8.8k views 30 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.

list ordered by
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

More Jaws 

#1 of 33 The Best Steven Spielberg Movies Behind The Scenes Of Every Death In ‘Jaws’listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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

More Mystic Pizza 

#119 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #21 of 84 Great Movies That Take Place in Autumn

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

More The Perfect Storm 

#12 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #387 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys Tragic Facts About The Perfect Storm, The Shipwreck Story No One Lived To Tell

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
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

More Moonrise Kingdom 

#1,211 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #408 of 1,009 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

6
Evil Under the Sun is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Peter Ustinov

Released: 1982

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

Evil Under the Sun is a 1982 British mystery film based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie.
7
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 7 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

More Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 

#323 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #423 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Mermaids is listed (or ranked) 8 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

More Mermaids 

#293 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #110 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time People From History Who Claimed To Have Encountered Mermaids (And Their Evidence)

9
The Truman Show is listed (or ranked) 9 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

More The Truman Show 

#805 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #96 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

10
One Crazy Summer is listed (or ranked) 10 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

More One Crazy Summer 

#543 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #13 of 26 The Best Brat Pack Movies

11
The Way, Way Back is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 12 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

More Shutter Island 

#105 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #9 of 37 The Best Martin Scorsese Movies #15 of 59 The Best Movies Where the Bad Guy Wins

13
Dan in Real Life is listed (or ranked) 13 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.

More Dan in Real Life 

#1,683 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #265 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

14
The Cider House Rules is listed (or ranked) 14 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

More The Cider House Rules 

#194 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #395 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
Dolores Claiborne is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Dolores Claiborne
16
It is listed (or ranked) 16 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

More It 

#269 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books Horrifying Things That Happened In The Book 'IT' Way Too Awful for the Movieslisted on List of Silent Movies

17
Sabrina is listed (or ranked) 17 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

More Sabrina 

#49 of 172 The Greatest Date Movies of All Time #35 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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

More About Time 

#167 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #168 of 173 Movies That Should Be Made Into Broadway Musicals

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

More Muriel's Wedding 

#184 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #406 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

20
Cape Fear is listed (or ranked) 20 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

More Cape Fear 

#13 of 99 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time #12 of 37 The Best Martin Scorsese Movies Behind The Scenes Of 'Cape Fear,' Robert De Niro's Most Unsettling Role

21
The Lighthouse is listed (or ranked) 21 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

More The Lighthouse 

#196 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #20 of 26 The Best Movies with a Psychotic Main Character

22
The Good Son is listed (or ranked) 22 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.

More The Good Son 

#79 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #22 of 36 30+ Great Movies About Juvenile Delinquents

23
The Weight of Water is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
State and Main is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
In the Bedroom is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies Set Along the Coast
Marisa Tomei, Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson

Released: 2001

Directed by: Todd Field

In the Bedroom is a 2001 American drama film directed by Todd Field, and dedicated to Andre Dubus. The film stars Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, and William Mapother. The ...more

More In the Bedroom 

#396 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #109 of 151 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #42 of 50 The Best Movies Based on Short Stories