Top 10 Most Memorable Summer Movie Seasons

Summer movie season is upon us and that means that Hollywood will be throwing everything they have been cooking right in our faces. Sitting in a cool theater with popcorn and a drink has become a time honored tradition for over four decades. With that in mind, here is our selection for the most memorable summer movie seasons of all time. These may not have all been the most profitable, but they did produce some of the most iconic summer blockbusters of all time. If you disagree with our picks or think we missed something, let us know in the comments below.


Movies released: Jurassic Park, The Fugitive, Sleepless in Seattle, In the Line of Fire, The Firm, The Last Action Hero, Menace II Society, Cliffhanger, Dave, Free Willy, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, So I Married An Axe Murderer, Hard Target

I remember 1993 fondly. Week after week that summer I saw movies that still remain part of my pop culture grab bag for quotes and clips to this day. From John Woo's U.S. debut with HARD TARGET to Stallone hanging from a cliff in CLIFFHANGER, 1993 was an amazing season. But, it was truly the year of JURASSIC PARK and THE FUGITIVE, two stellar movies that are absolutely perfect examples of how to make a Summer movie.


Movies released: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Men in Black 3, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Brave, The Amazing Spider-Man, Moonrise Kingdom, The Dictator

While I could dissect PROMETHEUS and THE AMAZING-SPIDERMAN, we all know that 2012 came down to two films. On one hand, we had the conclusion to Christopher Nolan's trilogy with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES but we also saw Joss Whedon break records with THE AVENGERS, a film that changed the face of movies forever. Here we are six years later with INFINITY WAR having recently come out and it never would have happened if 2012 had not worked out so well.


Movies released: The Sixth Sense, South Park: Bigger Longer Uncut, American Pie, The Phantom Menace, The Blair Witch Project, Eyes Wide Shut, The Mummy, Notting Hill, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Run Lola Run, Deep Blue Sea, The Iron Giant

As the 20th Century wound to a close, we saw the return of STAR WARS with the first prequel THE PHANTOM MENACE. But, this was also the year that M. Night Shyamalan burst onto the scene with THE SIXTH SENSE, found footage became a craze with THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, Stanley Kubrick's final film premiered, and Brendan Fraser kick-started THE MUMMY. Plus, AUSTIN POWERS.


Movies released: Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, X2, The Matrix Reloaded, Bruce Almighty, The Italian Job, 28 Days Later, Whale Rider, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Legally Blonde 2, Bad Boys II, Freddy vs. Jason

2003 was chock full of sequels, many of which did not live up to their potential. But, we did get BAD BOYS II and X2, which rank as a pair of the best sequels of all time. There were also surprise hits in the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN as well as Danny Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER. This was also the year that Pixar began their reign of supremacy with the box office smash (and awards darling) FINDING NEMO.


Movies released: Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, When Harry Met Sally, Dead Poets' Society, Do the Right Thing, The Abyss, Ghostbusters II, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Lethal Weapon 2, License to Kill, Parenthood, Uncle Buck, Road House

Tim Burton gave us the modern superhero movie and forever changed how we looked at Michael Keaton while Steven Spielberg gave us the rip-roaring pairing of Sean Connery and Harrison Ford. James Cameron and Ivan Reitman made appearances as did John Hughes and Spike Lee. A damn good year.


Movies released: Blade Runner, E.T., The Thing, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Poltergeist, The Road Warrior, Rocky III, Tron, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Conan the Barbarian, The Secret of Nimh, An Officer and a Gentleman

More sequels but also a great mix of science fiction, fantasy, comedy, action and drama. If I could pick any year to go back in time and revisit (aside from 1977), this would be the one.


Movies released: Back to the Future, The Goonies, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Teen Wolf, Weird Science, National Lampoon's European Vacation, The Black Cauldron, Cocoon, Fletch, Fright Night, St. Elmo's Fire

Pretty much every film named here is considered a classic, cult or otherwise. While many of these films garnered sequels, you could feel the Spielbergian style hanging over at least three of these movies and continuing to set the summer template for decades to come.


Movies released: Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Kung Fu Panda, WALL-E, Hancock, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Sex and the City, Tropic Thunder, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Incredible Hulk, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Mamma Mia!, Stepbrothers, Pineapple Express

This was the year that Robert Downey Jr became an icon thanks to IRON MAN and TROPIC THUNDER. It was also the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with two films released. We got a fourth INDIANA JONES and the perfection that is THE DARK KNIGHT. Records were broken (only to be broken again later) but this was one of the best summers.


Movies released: Apocalypse Now, Alien, Rocky II, Dracula, Nutcracker Fantasy, Monty Python's Life of Brian, Escape from Alcatraz, The Muppet Movie, The In-Laws, Prophecy, The Main Event

Just four years later, Summer changed yet again with the release of ALIEN. An R-rated horror film showed that the prime summer months did not just need to be family fare but also adult blockbusters. This was also the year that ROCKY II debuted and ushered in the sequel craze we have become accustomed to year after year.


Movies released: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Wicker Man, Jaws

Looking at those three titles above may make you wonder why this year made it onto the list. Well, Steven Spielberg's JAWS essentially invented the Summer Blockbuster and 1975 marked the year that Hollywood began intentionally scheduling their tent-pole releases for the hottest part of the year. The rest is history.

Honorable Mention: 1977

Not much was released the Summer of '77 (EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE), but we will always remember it as the year George Lucas' franchise began and turned Memorial Day into the beginning of the Summer Movie Season.

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