11 quintessential summer movies

Published 5:05 PM ET, Tue July 3, 2018
'American Graffiti''American Graffiti'
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This drive-in diner classic from George Lucas features an all-star cast, including Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams and a pre-"Star Wars" Harrison Ford. Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical/Corbis via Getty Images
You can file this summer blockbuster under "things you don't want to happen when you go to the beach." Bud Gray/Universal Pictures
Are you ready for the summer? Bill Murray will have you chanting, "It just doesn't matter" in this ultimate summer camp classic. Paramount Pictures
If the opening bars of "Holiday Road" don't instantly get you into vacation mode (or "Vacation" mode, for that matter), you do not deserve one. Archive Photos/Moviepix/Getty Images
Find me another film that's simultaneously an ode to childhood curiosity, a thought-provoking message on mortality, and reminder to always bring a comb. From Columbia Pictures
Never put this movie in a corner when talking about iconic summer films. Great American Films Limited Partnership
Humor, heart and racial tensions run high in Brooklyn on a hot summer Sunday in this essential-viewing film from Spike Lee. Anthony Barboza/Archive Photos/Getty Images
"Alright, alright, alright," we know you can probably quote every Matthew McConaughey line in this comedy about a group of teens on their last day of school. Haven't seen it yet? "It'd be a lot cooler if you did." GramercyPictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
One viewing of this charming coming-of-age baseball flick is full of enough summer spirit to last for-ev-er. Twentieth Century Fox
Any camp with that counts Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and Amy Poehler among its counselors is clearly worth attending. USA Films
If your summer is suffering from a major lack of magical pants and transformative experiences, you can at least watch four friends enjoy theirs. Warner Bros.