Forget blockbusters — during the next heat wave, get nostalgic and stay in with these summer classics.
Rear Window (1954)
Perhaps the greatest movie ever made about being trapped indoors while the weather is fine. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window features Jimmy Stewart as intense photographer “Jeff” Jeffries, confined to a wheelchair after a racetrack accident and taken to spying on neighbours to relieve his boredom. The trouble begins when Jeff believes he’s witnessed a murder, then decides to solve the crime himself. Creepy, with a healthy dose of sublime Hitchcockian cinematography.
The Endless Summer (1966)
Bruce Brown’s seminal surfing documentary follows the adventures of surfers Mike Hynson and Robert August as they criss-cross the globe in search of the perfect wave, introducing curious locals to the sport and inadvertently birthing global surf culture. Shimmering water, blue skies, and, well, endless summer: what more could you ask for?
American Graffiti (1973)
A group of high school grads take the night in George Lucas’ coming of age summer classic, set in Modesto, California in 1962. The star-studded cast includes Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Harrison Ford, but the movie’s unbilled stars are classic rides like the 1958 Chevy Impala, a white ’56 Ford Thunderbird and a 1932 Deuce Coupe.
Set at cut-rate Camp North Star (actually Haliburton’s Camp White Pine), Meatballs launched the careers of Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray while revelling in the misadventures, love triangles and general debauchery of a group of counsellors and campers who prove that nerds can actually be pretty cool. Bonus points for Murray’s turn as head counsellor Tripper Harrison and the consistently killer camp styles (striped tees, bucket hats, short shorts, Hawaiian shirts, retro Adidas).
Do the Right Thing (1989)
You can almost feel the sweat dripping and tensions reaching boiling point in Spike Lee’s powerful take on class and race in pre-gentrification, heat-addled Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. An intense and mesmerizing opening dance sequence by then-newcomer Rosie Perez sets the tone. Essential viewing.