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The Top 6 Summer Vacation Romance Movies

Updated on February 11, 2018

Love on the Beach and Elsewhere

What a romantic image.
What a romantic image. | Source

The Top 6 Summer Vacation Romance Movies

Fun films which probably rate no more than one hankie, if that, are described for romantic fun.

Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing (1987) ROMANCE and a FEW PROBLEMS. Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach. In the summer of 1963, a middle class high school girl does the usual summer vacation with her family at their usual Catskills, New York family resort. However, in order to escape utter boredom and do a good deed, she agrees to dance with the magnetic and attractive dance instructor for several hours a day for a week so that he can win a dance contest (watch the movie to learn why this is important; I will not give the spoiler.) Fortunately, she quickly figures out that the attraction is a short-term fling and avoids investing more of her hopes and dreams than fits the situation. This plot is the perfect set-up for romance. A song written from the movie, (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, won an Oscar.

I think most of us can relate to the utterly bored teenager forced to endure a vacation with her family. Characters in the movie are not one-dimensional. I thought I knew what many were and then they surprised me with their depth and compassion. I recommend this movie for a romantic, feel good time!

Rated PG-13. Drama/Romance. 100 minutes. Won Oscar for Best Music: Original Song.

From Dirty Dancing

The Graduate

The Graduate (1967). ICONIC FILM for the FREE THINKING SIXTIES. Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross. A recent college graduate without a job falls for a suitable young lady, but her cougar mother is working hard to seduce him. Complicating factors are his natural, healthy, lust and the connection this older woman has to his father’s successful business. The huge Simon and Garfunkle hit song, Mrs. Robinson, came from this flick. Learn whether he will follow his heart in the end.

Many cultural sixties sayings blossomed from this movie, such as "Plastics." If you watch the director's commentary version after viewing the film, you'll get some great surprises and laughs over how some of bits of business made their way into the film! Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft are fantastic actors and they infuse their characters with subtle, genuine strength without overplaying. Anne Bancroft creates a "cougar" decades before the term came into our consciousness.

Rated MA. Comedy/Drama/Romance. Won Oscar for best director. 106 minutes.

Weekend at Bernie's

Weekend at Bernie’s (1989). SILLY ESCAPIST ROMP and LOVE STORY. Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman are young singles in low-level insurance jobs in New York City. As the urban heat island cooks them, they stumble upon an important find at work which they feel will propel their careers at the office. Simultaneously, they are bemoaning the lack of romantic action in their lives. A gorgeous gal (Catherine Mary Stewart) at their company continuously bumps into them until…well, you’ll need to watch the flick to find out the result.

The budding romance is a satisfying tease throughout the movie. The plot has a silly premise, but many situations in which I could relate to the core frustrations or emotions. To enjoy this story, willful suspension of disbelief is required. Think about letting go of reality the way you would for an over-the-top comedian's monologue or the movie “Nine to Five.”

Rated PG-13. Comedy/Romance. 97 minutes.

Beach Blanket Bingo

Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) LIGHT, CLEAN BEACH FUN. This is the fourth in a set of 5 beach party movies with “Mouseketeer” Annette Funicello and singer Frankie Avalon. It also uses two well-known comedians of the time, Paul Lynde and Don Rickles. This is the sort of movie you can have 2-year-olds in the room with you and not worry. The plot is silly and you know that Annette and Frankie will be true to each other, but it is a fun flick. For those who aren’t baby boomers, this movie provides a cultural history of the California beach scene of the sixties.

You can vicariously be a sixties California surfer person while watching this movie.

Unrated, but would be a G. Comedy/Musical/Romance. 98 minutes long.

Summer of '42

Summer of ’42 (1971) POIGNANT COMING OF AGE AND ROMANCE. Jennifer O’Neill, Gary Grimes. Three young teenage boys ignoring the reality of the WWII hang out with each other on isolated Nantucket Island during their families’ vacations in 1942. They pal around, bust on each other, and do what teenage boys do – obsess about sex and try to gain sexual experience. There are lots of teenage missteps. However, one of the boys develops a true friendship with a soldier’s twenty-something wife also vacationing there., by herself. As fate would have it, the two have a night of intimacy during her grief over the news that her husband was killed in action.

Comedic moments are supplied by the boys being typical socially clumsy guys trying to figure out life and trade pecking order with each other. The drama springs from the longing for acceptance, belonging, and safety in the two main characters.

Rated PG. Comedy/Drama. 103 minutes. Won Oscar for Best Music: Original Dramatic Score.

Summer of '42


Grease (1978) MUSICAL ROMANCE WITH DEAD-END HIGH SCHOOLERS. John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John. In California summer of 1959, a good girl exchange student has a wonderful romance with bad boy “greaser.” When they bump into each other as school resumes, they struggle with who is going to change, how much is anyone going to change, or should we just drop the romance and be true to ourselves? You will probably recognize many of the songs written for the movie in the style of the fifties rock and roll, such as Hopelessly Devoted to You, You’re the One that I Want, and Grease.

I do not like the end, but you decide for yourself. It's light and enjoyable.

Rated PG-13. Musical/Romance. 110 minutes.

Copyright text 2013 Maren E. Morgan.

© 2013 Maren Elizabeth Morgan


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