10 Best Summer Themed Movies of the 1970s

The 1970s were a time of fast cars, long hair…and some of the best summer themed movies to ever grace the silver screen. The best part about these movies is that they still hold up well today! Here are 10 of the best from the decade to help you get in the mood for summer.

American Graffiti (1973)

One of George Lucas’ most beloved films, American Graffiti tells a story about one last night before high school graduates go their separate ways. It’s not just your typical teen movie either – it features hot rods, rock ‘n roll and drag racing. 

Animal House (1978)

John Belushi stars as Delta Tau Chi fraternity member John “Bluto” Blutarsky in this 1978 classic comedy film directed by John Landis. The film follows the misadventures of a group of college students who are pledging the fraternity and their subsequent interactions with other groups on campus, including their school’s football team coached by Archie Leach (played by director John Landis).

Jaws (1975)

Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film tells the story of a great white shark that terrorizes the fictional coastal town of Amity Island, intent on killing swimmers and vacationers. The movie stars Roy Scheider as police chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as marine biologist Matt Hooper, Robert Shaw as shark hunter Quint, Lorraine Gary as Brody’s wife Ellen, and Murray Hamilton as Mayor Larry Vaughn.

Grease (1978)

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John star in this 1978 musical film. It is a remake of the 1950s RKO Radio Pictures teen drama, which was adapted from Fanny’s Broadway stage hit “Grease,” about teenage love in the American mid-west during the early rock n’ roll era.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

A 1977 action comedy starring Burt Reynolds as the Bandit and Sally Field as Carrie. The film was directed by Hal Needham, with Jerry Reed as co-star in a supporting role.

The film tells the story of a truck driver, who accepts an offer to transport 400 cases of beer from Texarkana to Atlanta in 28 hours. In order to keep him on his toes, heavy-handed Sheriff Buford T. Justice attempts to stop the Bandit’s efforts with sheer brutality and intimidation; he is joined by his sons Luke, Junior and the town’s mean street bully named Snowman.

Logan’s Run (1976)

A 1976 sci-fi film directed by Michael Anderson, with a screenplay written by David Zelag Goodman. It is based on the 1967 novel of the same name and stars Michael York as Logan Five who runs away from his post within the computer controlled society in which people are not allowed to live past 30 years old. He meets up with Jessica Six, played by Jenny Agutter who is from a different caste. They can’t get away though and are eventually captured by the society’s police force called Sandmen led by Francis “Dome” Foster (Peter Ustinov).

Love Story (1970)

A 1970 American romantic drama film directed by Arthur Hiller, with a screenplay written by Erich Segal. The film is based on the best-selling novel of the same name (1970) by Erich Segal and revolves around two young lovers who meet at Harvard University in 1968 and fall in love during their last semester together before graduation.

Deliverance (1972)

Directed by John Boorman, the film is based on James Dickey’s novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Dickey and W.D. Richter who adapted their own work from a 1970 article in Esquire magazine called “The Death Of An Outdoorsman.”

Plot: Four affluent suburbanites – Lewis (Burt Reynolds), Ed Gentry (Jon Voight), Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty) and Drew Ballinger, Jr. played by Ronny Cox – decide to canoe down a remote river in Georgia from an air strip near the Tennessee-North Carolina border all the way into Atlanta, a distance of about 160 miles. They are looking for the true sense of adventure they believe exist in this “pristine” area, but find terror and death instead when their river journey becomes a horror story.

Meatballs (1979)

Noted as the breakout for director Ivan Reitman, Meatballs stars Bill Murray as a summer camp counselor put in charge of counselors-in-training at Camp North Star, a cut-rate summer camp. When the campers (kids) arrive for the summer, the counselors bumble their way through a summer of hijinks.

Nashville (1975)

Set in Nashville, Tennessee during the country music boom of the 1970s. A look at three generations and their involvement with both each other and society around them over two years – 1975-1977.

(Like Summer Themed Movies of the 1970s? Then you might like our article about Horror Movies of the 1970s, click here. Or how about 1970s Vampire Movies, click here.)

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