It is hot outside (as if you needed reminding). Summer typically means three things: sweat, swimming, and near-suffocating heat and humidity. Most just accept the high temps and try to make do as best they can, even with the sweaty shirts stuck to their back. But why not relax inside instead – in the cool, heaven-sent air-conditioner and watch a few summer sweat-soaked movies. Just let the actors do all the sweating for you!
Check out the full list below!
Do the Right Thing
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
The blazing summer heat is, in part, the catalyst for much of what happens in Spike Lee’s breakout joint. It is the spark that eventually lights the racial tension-filled powder keg. Lee uses bright colors and even brighter lights to accentuate the heat and the resultant sweat swathing every single character.
Body Heat (Lawrence Kasdan, 1981)
In the movie world, sex, murder, and summer heat go together like peanut butter, jelly, and bread – and this sensual ‘80s noir film has all three in spades (the sex, heat, and murder, not the PBJ). A pulpy, twisty neo-noir set in the midst of an intense Florida heatwave.
Dog Day Afternoon
Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975)
Titled after the age-old idiom “the dog days of summer,” this based-on-a-true-story film is about a bank robbery that goes just as bad it can possibly go. Though he is under a tremendous amount of pressure, it is the unrelenting summer heat that keeps Al Pacino dripping in sweat throughout the entire film.
12 Angry Men
12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957)
Air-conditioner is a beautiful thing. It is hard to imagine (or rather not even try to image) a time before it was commonplace. Not long into the movie, the sweat has left every man’s (even Henry Fonda’s) brow drenched and his shirt to sticking to his back. That little fan in the corner is not doing much.
Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
Another classic film set amidst a strangling heat wave, Hitchcock’s film tries to match the high temperatures with equally high tension. The accomplished director goes out of his way on several occasions to show the viewer just how hot it really is (thermometer at almost 100, sweaty characters, etc.).
Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
Jaws hardly needs an introduction. The original summer blockbuster, this heat-and-fright filled flick should be required viewing for all over July 4th weekend. It will make think twice about trying to cool off from the sweltering summer heat by taking a dip in the ocean. Just watch out for sharks.
The Long Hot Summer
The Long Hot Summer (Martin Ritt, 1958)
I believe just the title explains everything you need to know about this film’s inclusion on the list. Based on the works of William Faulkner, the film sees a con-man (Paul Newman) who arrives in small Mississippi town and causes trouble, especially with a wealthy family headed by Orson Welles.
The Endless Summer
The Endless Summer (Bruce Brown, 1966)
This picturesque documentary follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters.
Falling Down (Joel Schumacher, 1993)
There are bad days and then there are BAD DAYS. In Falling Down, Michael Douglas’ seemingly milquetoast character is unfortunately having one of the latter. And thanks in part to the blistering summer heat, he snaps and begins trying to right some of the various flaws he sees wrong in society – often violently.
Vacation (John Hughes, 1983)
What summer would be complete without a family vacation? I can literally feel the cramped, sweat-soaked backseat now, all because my dad refused to turn on the air-conditioner.
The Sandlot (David M. Evans, 1993)
Baseball may be America’s Pastime, but it is also the official sport of summer. And no film captures that better than the nostalgia-filled kids flick The Sandlot. And what better way to cool off on those hot summer days after baseball than a nice, long dip in the pool with perennial first crush lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn.
Little Children (Todd Field, 2006)
Little Children is about a drama about suburban malaise, the disappointments of life, and two people’s desperate attempts to combat both by having a steamy love affair. The tension and paranoia-filled story is only accentuated by the long, hot summer days by the pool and sweat-soaked dalliances they characters have with one another.
The Wackness (Jonathan Levine, 2008)
This under-appreciated coming-of-age story shows just how fun, yet mostly mundane summers can be even as kids or teens. We all know it gets hot (real hot) in the south, but it gets pretty scorching up north too, especially in the NYC. The film also boasts one of the best mid-1990s soundtracks despite being made over a decade after the fact.
Y Tu Mamá También
Y Tu Mamá También (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001)
As we get older, the idea of summer changes from the carefree malaise of childhood to just another day as adults. There is often a clear breaking point, sometime around college-age, where reluctantly accept that you really only have one summer left to take full advantage of it all. In Cuarón’s film, two young men do just that by embarking on a road trip with a beautiful older woman and learn a thing or two about friendship, sex, and life.
Wet Hot American Summer
Wet Hot American Summer (David Wain, 2001)
A cult comedy hit, this movie pays homage to the classic summer camp movies of 1980s while at the same time, outrageously poking fun at them. With a cavalcade of future comedic stars, the film perfectly encapsulates everyone’s youthful summer shenanigans.