This post: 25 Classic Summer Movies to Watch With Your Teen
Written by: Marybeth Bock
If you’re anything like me, you love summer! It’s that season of the year when we all slow down (just a bit, anyway) and spend a little more time with family.
The best part is, those long summer days give us all time (and more daylight) to hang out with our kids doing fun things like going to ballgames, riding roller coasters at the amusement park, chilling out at the pool, and catching a movie at the theater.
And, while it’s a ton of fun to see a summer blockbuster in the theater once in a while, it’s also fun to pick a classic movie you can stream at home!
Not only can you save a ton of money on movie tickets (can you believe how expensive it is to go to the movies?!), but you can also whip up your favorite movie night snacks and hunker down on your own comfy couch. Plus, it’s a great way to spend quality time chilling out with your teenager.
So, how about you take a break from the summer heat, grab a big bowl of popcorn and a few cold drinks, and sit back, relax, and enjoy a little bonding time with your teen? They’ll love these classic summer movies – some of which they’ve probably never seen!
25 Classic Summer Movies to Watch with Your Teen
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One of the all-time BEST movies about high school students, this classic never gets old – even if you and your teen HAVE seen it 10 times. Every teen dreams about playing hooky from school for a day and having a grand adventure like Ferris and his friends in this fun and funny film. If you haven’t already, be sure to share this 80s gem with your teen!
During the summer of 1979, a group of young friends witness a train crash and investigate subsequent unexplained events in their small town. This Steven Spielberg/J.J. Abrams movie has a little bit of everything – action, comedy, mystery, romance, and suspense. Add this one to your summer movie bucket list!
A shy 14-year-old boy goes on summer vacation with his mom, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, the teen finds unexpected friends in the manager and employees of the local water park. The cast of this movie, which includes Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, and Sam Rockwell, is what makes this movie so great!
This adorable movie is a must-watch for teen girls. It has everything – a mermaid, romance, and wonderful friendships! Two 12-year-old girls get a whole lot more than they bargained for when they find a sassy mermaid, Aquamarine, lolling at the bottom of their beach club’s pool. Her reason for coming ashore? She’s in search of finding true love.
Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, this isn’t just any old love story. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and uplifting at the same time. And, can we admit that it’s pretty hard to look away when Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling are on any size screen together? When you’re ready for a touching story and maybe a good cry, make THIS your go-to movie!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel have amazing chemistry in the lead roles of this not-so-predictable romantic comedy/drama. Their cute and quirky personalities really shine and topping it all off, it has an excellent movie soundtrack!
Has it been a while since your teen has watched this classic? It might be time to revisit this favorite trio OR introduce your teen to this wildly fun series from the Disney channel. In the first movie, romance blossoms when polar opposites Troy and Gabriella try out for the high school musical… and it just gets better from there!
When four best girlfriends spend their first summer after graduation apart from each other, they share a magical pair of jeans that mysteriously fits them all. To keep in touch, they pass these jeans along to one another – as well as the adventures they are going through while apart. If you have a teen daughter, this endearing movie is a must-see!
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth spark a teen romance that brings this movie to life. When the rebellious Ronnie Miller (Cyrus) is sent to stay with her dad over the summer, she comes with a heaping dose of attitude – at least until she meets someone who turns her eye and changes her view of life. This Disney coming-of-age drama is both sweet and endearing to watch!
This simply wonderful movie by director Wes Anderson focuses on a teenage crush with a fantastic cast full of oddball and misfit characters. With classic stars like Bill Murray and Bruce Willis, this is one of those rare movies you could watch with your teen AND their grandparents – no violence, no swearing, and an overwhelming feeling of innocence and goodwill throughout!
If your teen loved the popular “Wednesday” series on Netflix, they’ll also love this enjoyable horror/comedy about the same creepy Addams family. Wednesday and her brother, Pugsley, get shipped off to summer camp when a new baby and nanny arrive. You can only imagine how they fit in with the other campers!
High school senior Lloyd Dobler wants nothing more than to go out with gorgeous class valedictorian, Diane Court. Lloyd tries to win her heart before she leaves for a scholarship in England, despite the objections of her over-protective dad. John Cusack was perfectly cast to play the charming nice guy, and every teen needs to see the iconic boombox scene.
#13 Grease (1978) PG
Yep, there’s a good chance your teen will laugh at how old these high school “kids” look in the movie, but this one’s a classic for good reason! With great characters, plenty of (sometimes corny) humor, and fun dance numbers, your teen might just get into the 1950s nostalgia of this flick about a wholesome exchange student and a leather-clad guy who spark a summer romance.
This is the story of an introverted high school freshman who is taken under the wings of two seniors. He struggles with his first love, the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental illness while trying to find a group of people with whom he belongs. This charming movie has great acting, music, and some beautiful cinematography.
#15 Jaws (1975) PG
How can we possibly NOT include Jaws? It might seem a little corny for kids today who have been exposed to the thrills of amazing special effects, but this movie is truly a classic. Interestingly, a lot of teens haven’t seen it, either! Even with its dated technology, it’s still a fun movie to watch because it has so much suspense.
Can you get through the summer without watching Sandlot? I don’t think so! When Scotty Smalls moves to a new town, he’s convinced he’ll be spending the summer alone in his room, until, that is, he meets a group of boys whose passion in life is baseball. Everything goes well until a baseball signed by Babe Ruth ends up on the other side of a crotchety neighbor’s fence who has a big dog that eats kids… that’s when the movie gets hilarious!
Parents and teens will both love this star-studded movie about four childhood friends, who are now in their thirties, who get together for a reunion. Their lives have gone in vastly different ways and when they’re together they reminisce about their younger years, especially the eventful period when they were all 12 years old.
This was Emma Stone’s first major leading role, and she’s delightful as a high school student who decides to embrace an untrue rumor and advance her social and financial standing. Patricia Clarkson and Stanly Tucci play the main character’s parents and they are hilarious in every scene! You’ll love this funny movie with a modern twist on “The Scarlett Letter.”
The Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato became Disney’s official darlings when they debut in Camp Rock. The movie is about Mitchie, an aspiring musician who gets to attend a prestigious camp with her mom who has been hired to be the camp’s official chef. But little does her mom know she lied about her grades to get into camp. This is a fun summer movie your teen has to put on their bucket list if they haven’t seen it yet!
In this movie, the best-selling book series comes to life! Seven girlfriends start a babysitting day camp business that leads to an amazing and adventurous summer. This is one of those truly classic summer movies you don’t want to miss.
They had the time of their life and you and your teen will too when you settle in with a big bowl of popcorn and watch this classic summer movie! Romance blossoms between a young teen girl and a hunky dance instructor at a resort over the summer. You’ll be screaming, “Nobody puts baby in a corner!” when you’re done watching this movie.
I don’t think it’s possible to get through summer without catching this summer classic! Chevy Chase is hilarious when he decides to take his family on a summer road trip vacation to Wally World, but… let’s just say things go pretty sour and wacky quickly.
Movies For Older Teens (Rated R)
This classic 90s thriller tells the story of four teenagers who can’t escape a fatal mistake they made the summer before. A little fun and a little scary, this movie has an awesome cast, including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. If your teen hasn’t seen this flick, put it on your bucket list!
Three teen boys, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land in this indie coming-of-age flick.
An awkward high school girl must learn to deal with her best friend who starts dating her older brother. This movie will surely speak to any teen or young adult who has felt alone in the world or is struggling to fit in.
Marybeth Bock, MPH, is Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.