The Best Summer Movies for a Date Night

Because sobbing to "Stand By Me" together is a mandatory summer tradition.
The Best Summer Movies for a Date Night
Photo: Amazon
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Brittany Barber
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Brittany Barber
The Knot Contributor
  • From top movie picks to celebrity scoops and travel advice, Brittany writes on a wide range of topics for The Knot.
  • While Brittany is a contributing writer for The Knot Worldwide, she also provides shopping content for publications like BuzzFeed, CTV and The National Post.
  • Brittany has a Bachelor of Arts in media and communications studies, along with minors in creative writing, theater studies and music performance....
Updated Jul 27, 2023
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There's a reason why summer movies are so cherished. They have the unique ability to make every adult feel like a kid again. Blockbusters and rom-coms fully capture the sense of longing you once felt for the last day of school. Even if you've seen certain flicks a dozen times, they still send waves of nostalgia back to the mouthwatering memories of buttery movie theater popcorn and a jumbo-size soda.

When it comes to easy date night ideas, enjoying summer movies with your significant other can be an absolute delight. Don't let the sweltering heat deter you from getting cozy. Embrace the cool comfort of air conditioning as you snuggle up together, armed with ice cream, popcorn and wine. From nostalgic teen comedies and Oscar-wining films to new summer 2023 releases, this curated guide features a collection of movies that will make couples laugh, cry or even scramble to purchase advanced movie tickets. With a total of 53 summer movies, each one of these films is worth watching together on your next date night.

The Best New Summer Movies for 2023

If you're looking for a brand-new movie to watch this summer, there are quite a few bangers that have just been released.

Best Overall: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Best Reboot: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Most Uplifting: White Bird
Best Double Date: Joy Ride
Best For IMAX Big Screen: Barbie
Most Underrated: Theatre Camp

Now and Then

Following four lifelong friends as they reminisce about their unforgettable summer adventures, Now and Then has it all when it comes to summer movies. Set in the 1970s, this ultra-nostalgic movie alternates between the characters' vibrant childhood experiences and their adult lives, highlighting the enduring bonds of friendship and the profound impact of their transformative summer together.

Release Date: October 20, 1995

500 Days of Summer

For a heartfelt summer romance movie with witty dialogue and charming performances, 500 Days of Summer tells the story of Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his complex relationship with Summer (Zooey Deschanel). The film takes a nonlinear approach, exploring their 500 days together by highlighting the highs and lows of love—all while challenging traditional romantic tropes.

Release Date: July 17, 2009

The Sandlot

The Sandlot and a glass of wine for your next date night in is a great choice for a summer evening of wistful nostalgia. This classic coming-of-age story is set in the summer of 1962 and captures the essence of childhood friendships, the freedom of summer, and an undying love for baseball.

Release Date: April 7, 1993


From the set that caused a worldwide shortage of pink paint, Greta Gerwig's Barbie is a no-brainer when it comes to new movies to watch this summer. Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, you'll want to hit your local cinema to truly take in the next-level costumes, sets and star-studded cast.

Release Date: July 21, 2023

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Based on Ann Brashares' novel of the same name, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants follows four teenage girls who share a pair of jeans that magically fit them all. The pants keep them connected with one another as they navigate love and loss during a transformative summer apart.

Release Date: June 1, 2005

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

This hilarious summer romance movie follows the story of Peter (Jason Segel), a devastated musician trying to move on after a devastating breakup. When he takes a trip to Hawaii, he coincidentally encounters his ex-girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), who is with her new rockstar boyfriend (Russel Brand)—all while becoming closer with cool-girl Rachel (played by Mila Kunis).

Release Date: April 18, 2008

Moonrise Kingdom

With its visually stunning cinematography, eccentric characters and Wes Anderson's signature style, Moonrise Kingdom is a cinematic gem that tells the story of two young lovers who run away together on a small New England island. Set in the 1960s, this coming-of-age tale beautifully captures the innocence, adventure and romance of young love.

Release Date: June 1, 2012

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This compelling film explores the complexities of past love as we follow Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) as they undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories after a painful breakup. It delves into the fragility of relationships and the profound impact of shared experiences, making it a thoughtful choice for summer movie date.

Release Date: March 19, 2004

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! is a feel-good musical wedding movie based on the stage musical of the same name, featuring the iconic songs of ABBA. The story follows the soon-to-be-wed Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), who invites three men from her mother's past to her wedding, hoping to discover who her father is.

Release Date: July 18, 2008

Thelma & Louise

Ridley Scott's Thelma & Louise tells the story of two women, Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon), who embark on a weekend getaway that takes an unexpected turn. Faced with a harrowing encounter, they find themselves on the run from the law, forming an unbreakable bond along the way.

Release Date: May 24, 1991

Haunted Mansion

Inspired by the classic theme park attraction, Haunted Mansion is an upbeat horror-comedy about a woman (Rosario Dawson) and her son (Chase Dillon) who enlist the help of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters. Featuring stars like Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito and Jamie Lee Curtis, this is one summer movie you won't want to miss.

Release Date: August 11, 2023

Stand By Me

Based on Stephen King's novella The Body, this quintessential summer movie follows a group of friends as they embark on a transformative journey to find the body of a missing boy. With its themes of childhood friendship, self-discovery, and the bittersweet nature of growing up, Stand By Me evokes a range of emotions that'll take you and your date back to the late 1950s.

Release Date: August 22, 1986

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

In a hilarious, fictitious take on the life of Nicolas Cage (played by Nicolas Cage himself), we're taken on quite the adventure when the unfulfilled and financially-ruined actor accepts an offer to attend a wealthy fan's (Pedro "Daddy" Pascal) birthday party. It's filled with wild twists and turns that'll keep you and your date entertained from start to finish.

Release Date: April 22, 2022

The Endless Summer

When it comes to surf and beach movies, Endless Summer is the place to start. It's a groundbreaking documentary that follows two surfers as they embark on a world-wide journey in search of the perfect wave. The film showcases breathtaking surfing footage from all across the globe, including Africa, Australia, and Tahiti. With its infectious sense of adventure, Endless Summer has become essential to surf culture and the pursuit of summer fun.

Release Date: June 15, 1966

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Fans of 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will without a doubt enjoy watching Mile Morales—Brooklyn's full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man—face new challenges in the second chapter of his adventures. This time, Miles encounters a team of Spider-People who are determined to protect the Spider-Verse, but when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds he must redefine what it means to be a hero.

Release Date: June 2, 2023


This iconic 1975 film by Steven Spielberg is a must-watch summer flick. It brings the suspense of a great white shark terrorizing a beach community, creating plenty of opportunities for hand holding and shared jumpscares. As the tension builds, you'll find that this summer movie is the perfect pick for couples who love classic American thriller films.

Release Date: June 20, 1975

Blue Beetle

If superhero movies are your jam when it comes to date night flicks, get ready for the summer 2023 release of Blue Beetle. The story follows recent graduate Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) who returns home to unexpectedly become host to an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab. The Scarab gives him epic armor and powers that turn him into a superhero, ultimately changing his life forever.

Release Date: August 18, 2023

The Goonies

This beloved 1980s cult classic takes you on a treasure hunt with a group of misfit kids, providing laughter, excitement, and a sense of nostalgia synonymous with summer. With its endearing characters, quotable one-liners and timeless charm, The Goonies makes for a fun and lighthearted summer date night.

Release Date: June 7, 1985

The Beach

This thrilling adventure drama will take you and your date on a journey to an idyllic, hidden paradise in Thailand. Directed by Danny Boyle, the film follows Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young backpacker, who becomes obsessed with finding a secluded beach rumored to be a utopia.

Release Date: February 11, 2000

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride is a beloved cult classic that'll have you and your date blurting quotes from the movie all night long. Directed by Rob Reiner, the film tells the story of a young woman named Buttercup (Robin Wright) and her true love, Westley (Cary Elwes), as they face all kinds of obstacles and eccentric characters in their quest for a happily ever after.

Release Date: October 9, 1987

Theater Camp

Theater kids, musical lovers, and anyone who has ever been to summer camp will love to laugh (and definitely cringe) at this new summer 2023 comedy. This movie follows drama instructors Amos (Ben Platt) and Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon), along with the rest of the staff and camp-goers, as they stage a masterpiece to keep their beloved, run-down theater camp afloat.

Release Date: July 14, 2023

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a quintessential summer movie that follows the mischievous and charismatic Ferris (Matthew Broderick) as he orchestrates an epic day of playing hooky from school. The film captures the spirit of teenage rebellion as we see Ferris spending the day running amuck with his best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara).

Release Date: June 11, 1986

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Those of you who loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as kids will be stoked for this awesome animated reboot by Seth Rogan. The story follows the same outrageous turtle brothers as they "cowabunga" through the streets of New York, searching for ways to be accepted as normal teenagers.

Release Date: August 2, 2023

The Iron Giant

This incredible animated film tells the story of a young boy named Hogarth and his unlikely friendship with a giant robot from outer space. Directed by Brad Bird, the movie explores themes of friendship, sacrifice, and the power of compassion in the face of fear. With its beautiful animation, poignant storytelling, and memorable characters, The Iron Giant is a tear-jerking film that'll leave you and your date feeling sentimental as heck.

Release Date: July 31, 1999

Call Me By Your Name

Based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman, this beautifully crafted film will transport you to the sun-drenched landscapes of Italy. Set in the 1980s, it follows the evolving relationship between Elio, a precocious 17-year-old, and Oliver, a charming graduate student staying with Elio's family, as they explore the complexities of sexual identity and first love.

Release Date: December 8, 2017

Rear Window

For film buffs who appreciate the trailblazers of cinema, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window should definitely be on your summer watch list. It takes place entirely from the viewpoint of a wheelchair-bound photographer, Jeff (James Stewart), who believes he witnesses a murder from his apartment window. As Jeff obsessively observes his neighbors, the film brilliantly builds tension, blurring the line between voyeurism and legitimate suspicion.

Release Date: August 4, 1954

Rye Lane

If you didn't hit the theaters to watch this spring-time release, you're in for a treat. Here's a hilarious movie about nightmare exes and reigniting one's faith in romance to watch on a summer date night. It follows two twenty-somethings, Yas (Vivian Oparah) and Dom (David Jonsson), who connect as they help each other navigate their bad break-ups.

Release Date: March 31, 2023

Knives Out

For couples who love a good "whodunit" film, Knives Out has all the twist, turns, and mystery you could ever want. The story follows renowned detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he investigates the death of a wealthy crime novelist and uncovers a web of deceit, secrets, and family drama.

Release Date: September 7, 2019

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

As the second and most recent movie in the Knives Out franchise, you'll find no shortage of twists and turns in this murder mystery. Set on tech billionaire Miles Bron's (Edward Norton) private island, we follow detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he searches for the truth once again.

Release Date: September 10, 2022

Dazed and Confused

This coming-of-age classic directed by Richard Linklater captures the spirit and nostalgia of the 1970s. The film follows a group of teens on their last day of school as they navigate friendships, parties, and the uncertainties of the future.

Release Date: September 10, 1993

Little Miss Sunshine

This quirky comedy-drama tells the story of the dysfunctional Hoover family as they embark on a road trip to support their young daughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin), in a beauty pageant. With themes of family, identity and going after your dreams, Little Miss Sunshine is a truly delightful and uplifting film that celebrates the imperfect beauty of life.

Release Date: July 26, 2006

To Have and Have Not

Based on Ernest Hemmingway's novel of the same name, this classic film noir is directed by Howard Hawks, featuring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in their first on-screen collaboration. Set in Martinique during World War II, this movie follows a cynical American expatriate, Harry Morgan (played by Bogart), who becomes entangled in a dangerous web of smuggling and espionage. With Bogart and Bacall's sizzling chemistry mixed together with the film's witty dialogue and suspenseful plot, To Have and Have Not is a captivating film you'll be happy to watch on your next summer date night.

Release Date: October 11, 1944

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

For a deeply emotional coming-of-age film you're not likely to forget, look no further than The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Based on Stephen Chbosky's novel, we gain insight into Charlie's (Logan Lerman) life as he figures out the challenges of high school, friendship, and mental health. Directed by Chbosky himself, the film tackles sensitive topics (including abuse) and should be watched with care.

Release Date: September 21, 2012


For a light and fluffy trip down memory lane, sit back and enjoy this comedy from the late 2000s. It follows the misadventures of two high school friends (played by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera) as they cope with an uncertain future and an absolutely wild night of partying.

Release Date: August 17, 2007

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Calling all Judy Blume fans! For a new coming-of-age movie to watch with your significant other this summer, check out Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Based on the classic Judy Blume novel, this screen-adaptation follows 11-year-old Margaret (Abby Ryder Fortson) as she deals with being uprooted from her home in New York City to the suburbs of New Jersey.

Release Date: April 28, 2023

Forrest Gump

Filled with humor, romance, and surprisingly profound life lessons, Forrest Gump offers a gorgeous blend of entertainment and heart-rending storytelling. With its captivating journey through decades of American history, y'all will laugh, cry, and find yourself chatting about destiny, Tom Hanks, and the whole "life is like a box of chocolates" analogy.

Release Date: July 6, 1994


This remarkable Pixar film delves into profound existential questions while delivering a seriously heartwarming and visually stunning cinematic experience. The story follows Joe Gardner, a passionate middle school music teacher who, after an unexpected accident, finds himself in the "Great Before"—a realm where souls prepare for life on Earth. As Joe embarks on a mission to reclaim his life, he encounters an ethereal soul named 22, and together they explore the meaning of existence, the pursuit of passion, and the importance of embracing the present moment.

Release Date: October 11, 2020


For couples who enjoy scary-but-not-too-scary movies, check out Jordan Peele's neo-Western sci-fi film, Nope. It follows OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister, Em (Keke Palmer) as they discover something sinister and otherworldly in the skies above their California horse ranch.

Release Date: July 22, 2022

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

This total throwback movie is fab for couples who love a Will Ferrell comedy. Directed by Adam McKay, this hilarious film satirizes the world of 1970s broadcast journalism as the charismatic and clueless Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) tumbles through ego clashes, absurd newsroom antics, and romantic entanglements.

Release Date: July 9, 2004

Pineapple Express

For a movie night that'll make you laugh this summer, throw on Pineapple Express and bask in the ridiculous comedic relief of Seth Rogan and James Franco. With a 10/10 blend of action and stoner humor, y'all will be giggling the night away in no time.

Release Date: August 6, 2008

Charlie's Angels

Throw on Charlie's Angels at your next movie night for the throwback extravaganza you didn't know you needed. You'll follow the adventures of three fierce female detectives (Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore) as they take on dangerous missions and outsmart their adversaries.

Release Date: October 22, 2000

Your Name

Couples who enjoy watching anime together won't be disappointed by this beautiful and emotional film by Makoto Shinkai. Your Name weaves elements of romance, fantasy, and coming-of-age as two teenagers, Taki and Mitsuha, mysteriously swap bodies and embark on a quest to find each other.

Release Date: April 7, 2017


This touching movie portrays the Solé family, who spend every summer together picking peaches in their Catalonian orchard. The story follows them as they face life-altering challenges, including family disputes and an eviction notice.

Release Date: April 29, 2022

Burn After Reading

This darkly comedic and unpredictable movie is sure to keep you on your toes this summer. Directed by the Coen brothers, the film follows a group of eccentric characters (played by Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, and George Clooney) who become entangled in a web of misunderstandings after stumbling upon classified information. With its sharp wit, stellar cast and a plot filled with unexpected turns, Burn After Reading is a wildly entertaining movie for your next summer date night.

Release Date: September 12, 2008

Isle of Dogs

Set in a dystopian future where dogs are banished to an isolated island, this Wes Anderson film follows a young boy's search to find his beloved pet. With its meticulous stop-motion animation and stunning visuals, here's a charming and thought-provoking film for your next date night.

Release Date: March 23, 2018

The Kings Of Summer

Capturing the essence of youth, teenage angst, and the freedom of summer, this film follows three teenage friends who decide to escape their mundane lives and build a house in the woods. With a combination of humor and coming-of-age drama, The Kings of Summer offers an introspective movie night that'll resonate with anyone looking for that nostalgic, summer-time feeling.

Release Date: June 7, 2013

This Is the End

This apocalyptic comedy directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg features a star-studded cast playing fictionalized versions of themselves as they deal with the end of the world. With its self-aware humor, outrageous situations, and constant stream of outrageous surprises, This Is the End is the perfect date night movie for couples who appreciate a raunchy comedy.

Release Date: June 12, 2013


Based on the 1998 novel by Louis Sachar, Holes revolves around Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf), a young boy falsely accused of stealing. He's sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention center, where he and his fellow inmates are forced to dig holes every day as punishment. As secrets unfold, Stanley and his pals eventually discover that there may be more to their digging than meets the eye.

Release Date: April 11, 2003

Seven Psychopaths

This dark comedy-crime movie follows Marty (Colin Farrell), a struggling writer, who becomes entangled in a series of events when his eccentric friends, Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans (Christopher Walken), kidnap a gangster's beloved pup. As they navigate the dangerous underworld of psychopathic criminals, Marty finds inspiration for his screenplay while confronting his own morality.

Release Date: October 12, 2012

White Bird

So tear-jerkers are your kind of date night movie? Well, get ready for this one. In an uplifting story about the power of kindness, we follow Julian (Bryce Gheisar), who has struggled to belong ever since he was expelled for being a bully. To give him some perspective, Julian's grandmother (Helen Mirren) reveals her own story about how a boy and his mother risked everything to keep her safe when she was a girl in Nazi-occupied France.

Release Date: August 18, 2023


Set in the summer of 1987, Adventureland follows James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), a recent college graduate who is forced to take a job at a run-down amusement park. As James deals with the challenges of this less-than-ideal job, he forms unexpected friendships, falls in love, and discovers valuable life lessons along the way.

Release Date: April 3, 2009

Dirty Dancing

Set in the summer of 1963, Dirty Dancing centers around Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey), a sheltered teenager who falls in love with Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), a charismatic dance instructor at a resort. As Baby confronts her own personal growth and learns to dance, class divides are challenged when their forbidden romance blossoms.

Release Date: August 21, 1987

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