The best summer movies to stream on Netflix, Hulu, and more

Stella McDaniel

What is a summer movie, anyway? Often, the term is used to refer to movies that come out in the summer (and there are plenty to get excited for this year). Studios will often save their biggest and boldest movies for that time of year, where you can cool down in a theater during warm days.

But that’s not what we’re here for today. We’re here to talk about movies that feel like summer. Beach parties, summer camp, hot days — it’s more than a season. It’s a vibe.

So our team of Polygon movie scientists has pulled together the following 17 movies for you to enjoy this summer. That’s 17 movies for 13 weeks of summer, so the adventurous among you can space it out accordingly. Enjoy!

What are you looking for?







Several girls decide to spend summer vacation in a mansion in the countryside. Too bad it’s haunted by ghosts, spirits, and monsters that perfectly blur the lines between silly, surreal, funny, and scary.

Whisper of the Heart

If there’s a movie that will make you nostalgic for experiences you’ve never had, it’s this film about one girl’s summer in 1995 Tokyo.

Stand By Me

Four young boys embark on a hike in search of the body of a missing child and form a lifelong bond of friendship.

A League of Their Own

This fictional version of the real story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was a smash hit and has an all-star cast, including Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, and Madonna.

Stray Dog

One of the first collaborations between Toshiro Mifune and Akira Kurosawa, two legends of Japanese cinema, Stray Dog follows a young police officer who loses his gun on a sweltering summer day and gets more and more panicked as the heat and danger set in.

Girls Trip

This uproarious raunchy comedy follows a group of friends who take a summer trip together, and was a breakout role for Tiffany Haddish.

Spirited Away

Your summer will probably be less eventful than Chihiro’s, but that doesn’t mean you can’t journey to the Spirit World with her.

Dog Day Afternoon

Al Pacino robs a Brooklyn bank on one of the hottest days of the year and things go wrong, leading to a long hostage situation and a very tense movie.

Rear Window

A suspense-filled Hitchcock classic about a man, recovering from a broken leg, who spends his summer watching other people’s apartment windows and becomes convinced he’s witnessed a crime.

Everybody Wants Some!!

Technically an end-of-summer movie, Richard Linklater’s comedy is set in the 1980s and follows a college baseball team on the last days before school starts.

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