Summer makes a perfect backdrop for all kinds of stories. The months from June to September seem to stretch out in an arc of possibilities, waiting to be filled with epic adventures, romances, and mysteries, while long days and warm nights conjure memories of summers past. Maybe this sense of promise and nostalgia explains the summertime settings for so many coming-of-age stories – the tales that chronicle a character’s shift from innocence to experience, marking the end of childhood and the beginning of something new. In honor of the longest day of the year, check out some classic movies featuring summer-themed stories of friendships, crushes, quests, and plenty of teenage angst.
“Everybody gets one chance to do something great. Most people never take the chance, either because they’re too scared, or they don’t recognize it when it spits on their shoes.”
– The Sandlot (1993)
The Sandlot is the story of a group of kids who spend the sweltering summer of 1962 playing ball in a dusty field, hunting down lost (& possibly priceless) baseballs, getting life advice from the ghost of Babe Ruth, and avoiding run-ins with the dreaded man-eating monster dog chained up in the yard next door. The Sandlot was an instant classic when it premiered 20 years ago– perfect inspiration for neighborhood adventures with friends.
“I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being. It happened in the summer of 1959– a long time ago, but only if you measure in terms of years.”
– Stand By Me (1986)
Based on a novella by Stephen King, Stand By Me follows a group of friends as they set out to become heroes by finding the body of a local boy who has gone missing. They pack their bags, fill their canteens, and embark on their journey through the woods outside of town, dodging trains and wading through leech-infested creeks along the way. In addition to its compelling storyline, Stand By Me also features an all-star 80’s cast and an awesome oldies soundtrack– a must-see summer flick.
“Things will happen in your life that you can’t stop. But that’s no reason to shut out the world. There’s a purpose for the good and the bad.”
– Now and Then (1995)
Now and Then is another nostalgia-driven story about four friends who spend the summer of 1970 saving money for a tree house, navigating love-hate relationships with the neighborhood boys, and solving the mystery of a local murder that happened before any of them were born. A 90’s classic that will make you want to ride your bike and research cold cases by combing through old newspapers in the basement of your local public library.
Check out more summer-themed cinema available at CLP: