To continue our weekly watch-list of stylish summer movies, we’re moving things outdoors for films that capture the joys of a hot summer’s day. Already had a day under the sun? Spend an evening cooling down with one of these favorites.
5. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Join Clark Griswold and family as they take a cross-country road from Chicago to California in hopes of visiting Walley World. The first in the National Lampoon series, this movie is rife with the awkward, situational hilarity characteristic of Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold. It features a face off between Clark’s ever-patient wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and a young Christie Brinkley, who cruises the American interstate in a bright red Ferrari. This was also writer John Hughes’ first breakout film, paving the path for other stylish ‘80s classics like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club.
4. American Graffiti (1973)
“Where were you in ’62?” the movie’s tagline asks. This film takes a nostalgic look back a group of high school students’ last days of summer as they cruise the streets of southern California, trying to mentally prepare for the future. As the second feature directed by George Lucas, and with performances by Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, and Harrison Ford, it opened the door for a number of iconic movie-making careers. Beyond that, we love its early-’60s flair. From waitresses in roller skates and pillbox hats, to Cindy Williams’ knee-length plaid skirt, to the definitive soundtrack of period pop songs, and then, of course, those brightly colored classic cars—when it comes to retro style, this movie has all the inspiration you need.
3. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
The offbeat comedic signature of writer-director Wes Anderson embraces the whimsy of summer camp and childhood romance in this film. Follow Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) as they escape the doldrums of everyday life and runaway together, venturing through the woods and waters of coastal New England. The playfulness of their rebellion makes it a story that captures the disarming power of a child’s conviction. Beyond that, as with Anderson’s other films, the carefully curated sets and wardrobe make the particular aesthetics of this film stand apart. Suzy’s wicker kitten carrier, the pair’s complementary knee-high socks, their vintage portable record player, and Sam’s classic camping gear (complete with coonskin cap), give this film iconic style.
2. The Sandlot (1993)
When it comes to summer favorites, this early-’90s story of the new kid in town finding a home on the neighborhood baseball diamond is a go-to. The second film on our list that harkens back to the early-1960s, The Sandlot takes on early boyhood coming of age. It comes chocked full of memorable moments—from Erector® Set engineering, to a how-to for a perfect s’more, to the diminutive Squints’ (Chauncey Leopardi) desperate poolside seduction of Wendy Peffercorn (Marley Shelton). The movie also comes with more of its fair share of vintage style inspiration, with those wide-rimmed glasses, gingham short-sleeve shirts, and classic all-black PF Flyers. This one will have you saying, “You’re killin’ me, Smalls,” for the rest of the summer.
1. A League of Their Own (1992)
Fun in the sun isn’t just a boy’s game. They certainly proved that back in 1943 with the launch of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. This film tells the story of the league’s creation during World War II, as business leaders looked to reinvigorate America’s favorite pastime. Centering on a fictionalized account of star-catcher Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and her pitcher sister Kit Keller (Lori Petty), their sibling rivalry takes them all the way to the league championship. With standout performances by Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and Tom Hanks, this film is full of priceless moments. When it comes to style, the line, “dirt in the skirt,” captures it all. These women paired etiquette and grooming lessons with professional athleticism. They even slid into home wearing miniskirts—the league’s requisite uniform.