When the heat of summer has ebbed away and the cold, wet misery of winter has set in, we could all use an instant pick-me-up by escaping to the warmer waters of the movies. While thoughts of the beach in film may conjure up the fear of needing a bigger boat, these films are curated to mimic the vibe of a beach vacation that will make us want to go in the water again and ride off into the sunset. Most comforting of all, no summer bodies are necessary, all of these can be enjoyed from the comfort of your couch. For the best instant vacations, check out these 10 beach-bound titles.
10/10 Forgetting Sarah Marshall
After Peter (Jason Segel) is devastated by his break-up with the titular Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) he decides to escape the painful reminders of her with a Hawaiian vacation…only to find she is staying at the same hotel with her new boyfriend, the famous musician Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Thankfully he is rescued by hotel worker Rachel (Mila Kunis) who initially takes pity on him, before feelings begin to develop. Genuine, sweet and funny, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a reminder of how much a holiday can change your life for the better.
9/10 Point Break
Sometimes a beach holiday can be a relaxing affair, full of lazing about on a beach towel and sipping piña coladas. Other times, it’s an adrenaline-fueled adventure, just like the wildly entertaining Point Break. The fantastically named FBI Agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is on the trail of a group of bank robbers known as the Ex-Presidents. Working under the belief that they are surfers, Utah infiltrates a surfing group led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) thanks to his burgeoning relationship with Tyler (Lori Petty). Each scene is more action-packed than the last, treating the audience to a front-row seat to sky-diving, bank heists, shoot-outs, and some truly gnarly surfing. The film is majestically shot by director Kathryn Bigelow and has become a cult classic, perhaps because of its unique style as a female-gaze action film, or perhaps because of its so-bad-it’s-good dialogue.
8/10 Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! uses the hits of ABBA to tell the story of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) attempting to discover which of the three men (Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, Colin Firth) her mother Donna (Meryl Streep) had a relationship with is her father, in order to have the right man give her away at her upcoming wedding. Gloriously utilising the stunning backdrop of the Greek Islands, the film is a campy classic, winning over audiences again and again with its upbeat attitude, sun-kissed faces, and fabulous array of musical numbers. If you have ever dreamed of a destination wedding, this film is akin to the heady fizz of a bubbly champagne.
7/10 Blue Lagoon
After their ship is sunk, two young children (Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins) are marooned on a bountiful tropical island. As the years pass, the children are forced to navigate surviving the island, a neighbouring cannibal tribe, and their own burgeoning emotional and sexual feelings for each other. While the film was a critical failure, it was a huge commercial success, becoming one of the highest grossing films of 1980. The lush locale of Fiji and the (controversially) sensual underwater photography will have you pining for your own secluded beach vacation, but be warned about eating any scarlet berries.
6/10 Blue Hawaii
Blue Hawaii features everything you want in a beach vacation; sun, surf, sandy beaches, romance, music, and whimsy. Audiences delighted in sharing Elvis’ holiday with him, and the film proved so popular that many of his subsequent films followed the same formula (placing Elvis in an exotic location, then piling on romance and songs until the happy ending) but none could match the success of Blue Hawaii. Elvis Presley‘s most financially successful movie also featured his most successful soundtrack, thanks to the timeless ballad “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
5/10 The Endless Summer
Filmed on location around the globe, The Endless Summer is a seminal surfing documentary that will remind you how beautiful the world can be. When filmmaker Bruce Brown and surfers Robert August and Michael Hynson set out in 1966 in search of warm waters and the perfect wave, they had no idea of the wanderlust their film would inspire. Over 50 years later their journey still tempts audiences to ditch their day-to-day lives and instead chase a life filled with wonder, adventure, sand, surf, and sun.
4/10 Just Go With It
All you need to score an all-expenses paid vacation to Hawaii is a dishonest boss and a child who refuses to negotiate. At least, that’s how Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) ends up on a luxury Hawaiian vacation with Danny (Adam Sandler) in the surprisingly funny Just Go With It. The film is breezy, light, and fun like a summer vacation, only made more enticing by its supporting cast featuring Nicole Kidman, Brooklyn Decker, and the stunning landscape of Hawaii. Deep pools of water by a cascading waterfall have never looked so tempting.
3/10 The Odyssey
There is more to do at the beach than surf, sunbake and sip cocktails. Immerse yourself in an undersea world in The Odyssey, a biopic of famous French filmmaker, researcher, scientist, and diver Jacques Cousteau. A clear inspiration for filmmakers like Wes Anderson and James Cameron, Cousteau was a champion of exploring the depths of the ocean and bringing the hidden secrets of the sea into the living rooms of his audience. The film features some phenomenal underwater photography and will leave you tempted to pick up a scuba mask and seek out your own mysteries of the deep.
2/10 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will fuel your nostalgia for a time when summer meant a long carefree holiday shared with friends. This film has the benefit of exploring four different holidays; Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) stays at home, Carmen (America Ferrera) heads to South Carolina, Bridget (Blake Lively) travels to Baja California in Mexico, and Lena (Alexis Bledel) flies to the island of Santorini in Greece. Santorini is perhaps more magical than a pair of pants that somehow miraculously fit four teenage girls of differing sizes; it is a sea of white and blue houses accented with colorful flowers, surrounded by soft sand and clear water. If the settings don’t float your boat, then the heartwarming story of four friends who are there for each other through all the ups and downs will still leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.
1/10 50 First Dates
Hawaii is a spectacularly beautiful place for a romantic comedy — something Adam Sandler has utilized more than once. Henry (Sandler) uncharacteristically falls for local Artist Lucy (Drew Barrymore) but discovers she has a rare form of amnesia that causes her to forget him every night when she falls asleep. He attempts to charm her over and over again with each new dawn. Predominantly filmed on location, the story makes the most of its breathtaking backdrop by ensuring much of the action occurs outside; showcasing the rolling hills as Henry devises ways stop Lucy on the road, playing golf on a course overlooking a pristine beach, even setting Lucy’s pivotal amnesia reveal scene at the end of a long pier. The film ensures the Hawaiian setting will be unforgettable.