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20 best summer movies of the 80s

Vacation It's Memorial Day, so let the summer officially begin. And what better way to start than rewatching a few of the truly great summer flicks of the 80s.

How did we compile the list? Mainly through reader contributions and by surveying my vast collection of DVDs.  (Yes, I own 11 of the movies below.) The criteria: The release date of the movie isn't important -- only that the "summer" play a significant role in the plot. Some real classics -- "Caddyshack," for example -- aren't high on the list because while they revolve around the summer, it's not a big enough plot point.

And in an unprecedented move, I've grandfathered in one 70s flick. Look below to see which movie won that unusual exemption.


20. WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S (1989): Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman. "How do you like that? The guy gets laid more times dead than I do alive."

19. MYSTIC PIZZA (1988): Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts. "Daddy banging the babysitter is a really old story, Kat; it happens all the time."

Rio 18. BLAME IT ON RIO (1984): Michael Caine, Michelle Johnson. "You only live once, but it does help if you get to be young twice."

17. SPACE CAMP (1986): Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson. "Max and Jinx... Friends... For-e-ver."

16. BEACHES (1988): Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey. "But enough about me, let's talk about you... what do YOU think of me?"

15. SECRET ADMIRER (1985): C. Thomas Howell, Kelly Preston. "Jesus! You are one gutsy virgin!"

14. KARATE KID 2 (1986): Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita. "You insult my honor again, I'll kill you."

Great_outdoors 13. THE GREAT OUTDOORS (1988): Dan Aykroyd, John Candy. "Why do Chet's kids look at him like he's Zeus and my kids look at me like I'm a rack of lawn tools at Sears?"

12. CADDYSHACK (1980): Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield. "You're probably high already and you don't even know it."

11. DIRTY DANCING (1987): Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze. "Oh, come on, ladies. God wouldn't have given you maracas if He didn't want you to shake 'em."

10. LOVERBOY (1989): Patrick Dempsey, Kate Jackson. "I had a Letter to Penthouse staring me right in the face, and I let it go."

9. SHAG: THE MOVIE (1989): Phoebe Cates, Annabeth Gish. "Well, don't play hard to get. You might miss something."

8. SAY ANYTHING (1989): John Cusack, Ione Skye. "The rain on my car is a baptism, the new me, Ice Man, Power Lloyd, my assault on the world begins now."

One_crazy_summer 7. ONE CRAZY SUMMER (1986): John Cusack, Demi Moore. "Hey, Hoops, you ever notice how people die in alphabetical order?"

6. SUMMER RENTAL (1985): Karen Austin, John Candy. "Come on thru. I'm Joe Public, welcome to my beach."

5. SUMMER LOVERS (1982): Peter Gallagher, Daryl Hannah. "Making love to you is like riding a horse."

4. THE FLAMINGO KID (1984): Matt Dillon, Hector Elizondo. "Gin, Phil."

3. MEATBALLS (1979): Bill Murray, Chris Makepeace. "The winner of tonight's mystery meat contest is Jeffrey Corbin who guessed 'some kind of beef.' "

Summer_school 2. SUMMER SCHOOL (1987): Mark Harmon, Kirstie Alley. "We have to see Annamaria in a bikini. It's very important."

1. VACATION (1983): Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo. "Sorry folks, park's closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya."

How'd we do? What movies are missing? What movies are overrated?

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:33pm]


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