The 1970s ushered into Americana the idea of summer blockbusters, like those listed here in our picks for the 10 best summer holiday movies ever produced. In the mid to late 1970s, mega blockbusters like Jaws and Star Wars helped set the stage for what is now one of the biggest movie seasons of the year. With the exception of the Christmas holidays, the summer movie season is the biggest theatre draw in America.

During the summer, the kids are out of school, the weather’s beautiful, and Tinsletown is tripping over itself to churn out the best of the year’s entertainment for the bulging theater crowds. Some seasons, the movie lineup is phenomenal, others are nothing really to write home about. But these movies, these illustrate all that draws us into the air conditioned fantasy world of Hollywood. So pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave, plop yourself down in your favorite recliner, and take a gander at our contributor’s picks for the best summer holiday movies.

  1. “Jaws” Released in 1975, you can trace the popularity of summer holiday movies back to this gem about a huge killer shark. The movie sparked sequels and its own amusement park attractions. Is it safe to go in the water yet?

  2. “Star Wars”  Does this choice really need any explanation? Released in 1977, it was such a great movie that it still inspires expansions to the story into the new millennium.

  3. “Grease” In a season full of sequels, this example of great summer holiday movies, released in 1978, emerged to become an American classic. Set in the height of the 1950’s doo wop era, the story is a classi high school romp.

  4. “Airplane” An ex-pilot with a drinking problem, his flight attendant ex-girlfriend, a doctor, and an inflatable autopilot play a crucial role in landing a plane after the crew gets food poisoning. Jokes, sight gags, and timing; this work of comedic genius, released in 1980, is still hilarious 30+ years later.

  5. “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial” In terms of blockbuster summer holiday movies, ET, released in 1982, managed to topple “Star Wars” for the highest earning film during the 1982 summer season. All that from a little lost alien developed from an imaginary friend from Spielberg’s childhood.

  6. “Batman”  Tim Burton set the stage for future comic book movies with this mega blockbuster from 1989. When it comes to summer holiday movies, there’s nothing quite like super heroes like the Caped Crusader.

  7. “Jurassic Park”  A theme park full of real dinosaurs created from reconstituted DNA? You know that’s a storyline ripe for cool special effects. Combine a Michael Crichton novel with a director like Steven Spielberg and you’re sure to get one of the best summer holiday movies available.

  8. “The Mummy” 1920s era Cairo, an Egyptologist, and an Indiana Jones-style adventurer combined for one of the best mummy movies ever. It spawned a total of 4 sequels and spin off movies.

  9. “Iron Man” Continuing the comic book movie trend of summer blockbusters, 2008's “Iron Man” was a huge crowd pleaser for kids and adults alike. The special effects and soundtrack alone were worth the price of admission.

  10. “Inception” Taking the idea of shared dreaming to a whole new level, this one has it all. Special effects, mind-stretching multi-layered realities, and lots of action make this entry for the best summer holiday movies worth going to the theater.