20 popular drama, rom-com and thriller movies with beach backdrops to watch this summer (2024)

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Put your summer movie knowledge to the test

It's the first annual Greg Gutfeld summer movie trivia quiz!

Sunshine, sandy beaches and crisp blue waters are the settings for quite a few popular films. Both well-known and hidden southern or exotic beach locations have appeared in many star-studded films, dating back to the 1950s.

Hollywood has drawn in massive audiences with coastal waters and scattered summer storms.

Whether a summer tale of two people falling in love or the setting for a thriller, you can expect sun-kissed skin from this long list of movies featuring memorable scenes on the beach.

20 popular drama, rom-com and thriller movies with beach backdrops to watch this summer (2)

If you love a classic beach film, the movies on this list are ones you are sure to enjoy. (Paramount/Getty Images)

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Grab your favorite snacks, cozy up on the couch and kick off summer with these films during one of your own hometown storms.

  1. "Cast Away"
  2. "Mamma Mia!"
  3. "The Notebook"
  4. "Grease"
  5. "Jaws"
  6. "Blue Lagoon"
  7. "Fool’s Gold"
  8. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest"
  9. "Blue Crush"
  10. "Teen Beach Movie"
  11. "The Last Song"
  12. "Point Break"
  13. "Baywatch"
  14. "Top Gun" and "Top Gun: Maverick"
  15. "Anyone But You"
  16. "Something's Gotta Give"
  17. "Blue Hawaii"
  18. "Just Go With It"
  19. "Message in a Bottle"
  20. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

1. "Cast Away"

Tom Hanks stars in the 2000 movie "Cast Away." Hanks captured nearly all the film's screen time, alongside appearances from Wilson the volleyball and American actress Helen Hunt.

The movie does not give happy beach vibes, though. Hank’s character, Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee, winds up on a deserted island for many years following a plane crash.

The movie was filmed on one of Fiji’s islands, Monuriki.

20 popular drama, rom-com and thriller movies with beach backdrops to watch this summer (3)

In the movie "Cast Away," Tom Hanks' character gets stranded on a beach. (20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)

2. "Mamma Mia!"

"Mamma Mia!" is a classic beach film. The first of the two movies was released in 2008 and features classic ABBA songs like "Honey, Honey," "Money, Money, Money," "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia."

Nearly the entire movie is set on a stunning Greek island. Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried, and her mother Donna, played by Meryl Streep, live on the island. Throughout the film, in the days leading up to her wedding, Sophie is trying to uncover who her father is.

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Scenes were filmed in Skiathos and Skopelos, Greece. Kastani Beach, in particular, was the backdrop for multiple music numbers from the movie. Tanya, played by Christine Baranski, sings "Does Your Mother Know" at this beach.

3. "The Notebook"

"The Notebook" is set in a number of summer fun locations in Charleston, South Carolina. A carnival, a nursing home and a beautiful estate on a lake are all important scenic shots from the film. Although the beach is not the main setting of the classic romance, there is a memorable scene filmed on one.

"If you’re a bird, I’m a bird," said Noah, played by Ryan Gosling, during the popular movie scene.

During the scene, Allie, played by Rachel McAdams, is wearing a red swimsuit as she splashes around in the water, where Noah joins her.

Head to El Matador State Beach in California to visit this beach scene location.

4. "Grease"

"Grease" is the ultimate summer movie, and it appropriately starts out on a beach.

The first visual shown in the 1978 movie is waves crashing up against rocks and rolling onto the shore with silhouettes of Danny, played by John Travolta, and Sandy, played by Olivia Newton-John.

20 popular drama, rom-com and thriller movies with beach backdrops to watch this summer (4)

In "Grease," Danny and Sandy sing to their respective friends about their beach summer romance. (Paramount/Getty Images)

The two take a walk along the shore, build a sand castle, splash in the water and get soaked by waves.

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Travolta and Newton-John’s characters both share details about their beach romance with their respective friends during the first main number in the movie, titled "Summer Nights."

5. "Jaws"

This movie is not a happy love story but is still a classic beach film.

The thriller, directed by Steven Spielberg, is set in a fictional New England beach town, but was actually filmed on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

This film about a killer shark wreaking havoc on the beach community is sure to give you a fright, so hold on tight to your popcorn while watching.

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"Jaws" is far from a comforting beach classic. Instead, it is ideal for those who love a good thriller. (Universal Pictures courtesy of Getty Images)

If you love the original 1975 film, there are plenty more to watch that came out over the next 20 years.

6. "Blue Lagoon"

"Blue Lagoon," starring Brooke Shields, is a 1980 drama about two kids who end up on an island after surviving a shipwreck.

The movie was filmed in Fiji on the privately owned island of Nanuya Levu, or Turtle Island.

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Brooke Shields starred in the 1980 drama "Blue Lagoon" with Christopher Atkins. (Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)

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Christopher Atkins also stars in this film.

7. "Fool’s Gold"

Blue waters will fill your screen with the movie "Fool’s Gold."

The comedy was released in 2008 and stars Matthew McConaughey opposite Kate Hudson.

There were many different locations filmed in this movie, most of which were in Queensland, Australia.

8. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest"

Most of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies include multiple scenes of the beach, but "Dead Man’s Chest" includes one of the most well-known.

This movie features Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, and his famous "Jack Sparrow run" that many have recreated on social media apps like TikTok.

A scene in this particular movie features Sparrow running back to his ship on the beach’s shore.

9. "Blue Crush"

"Blue Crush," starring Kate Bosworth, was filmed in Oahu, Hawaii, and released in 2002.

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"Blue Crush" is a surfer movie that is the perfect watch during summer and any time of year. (Universal Pictures/Getty Images)

The sport/romance film follows surfer enthusiast, Anne Marie, as she wakes early every morning to train for competitions.

10. "Teen Beach Movie"

Disney released "Teen Beach Movie" in 2013.

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The musical is a movie about two surfers who find themselves trapped in the summer flick, "Wet Side Story," after being swept away by an enormous wave. The movie's filming locations were beaches in Puerto Rico.

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Disney released two "Teen Beach Movie" films. The first of the two movies has more of a beach feel. (Francisco Roman/Disney Channel via Getty Images)

A sequel, "Teen Beach Movie 2," was released in 2015, starring the original cast.

11. "The Last Song"

"The Last Song" is a romance starring ex-couple, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. The movie is based off of a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Most of the filming for "The Last Song" took place on Tybee Island in Georgia.

Cyrus and Hemsworth met while acting in this film and began a real-life romance that ultimately ended in divorce.

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The pair's first kiss was on Tybee Island during the making of the movie.

12. "Point Break"

If you like action-packed films featured on beaches, watch "Point Break" starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves.

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If you are looking for an action-packed beach flick, give "Point Break" a try. (Richard Foreman/Fotos International/Getty Images)

Filming locations for this movie included Ecola State Park in Oregon, Waimea Bay in Oahu, Hawaii, and Malibu, California.

13. "Baywatch"

"Baywatch," the film, was released in 2017 and stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario as lifeguards.

The movie is based off the popular TV show from the 1990s.

The beaches featured in this film are Deerfield Beach in Florida and Tybee Island, Georgia.

14. "Top Gun" and "Top Gun: Maverick"

One of the most famous beach scenes in a movie appeared during "Top Gun."

In the original scene from the 1986 film, Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, and the Top Gun pilots take a break from flight school to play volleyball on Navy Air Station North Island's Breakers Beach in San Diego.

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The "Top Gun" beach volleyball scene is a classic long remembered. (CBS via Getty Images)

In the sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick," the scene is recreated with a football game. The remake was filmed on Naval Air Station North Island.

15. "Anyone But You"

This 2023 movie features Australian beach scenes throughout the film.

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In the film, the two main characters, Beatrice, played by Sydney Sweeney, and Ben, played by Glen Powell, both find themselves at a destination wedding in Australia after a messy split.

The two pretend to rekindle their relationship in front of their family and friends.

16. "Something's Gotta Give"

This 2003 film stars Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.

This movie, about two people finding love later in their lives, mainly takes place at an upscale beach house in the Hamptons.

17. "Blue Hawaii"

If you are an Elvis Presley fan, "Blue Hawaii" is a must-watch.

The musical movie came out in 1961 and, as the name implies, is set in Hawaii.

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In the film, Presley plays Chad, a man recently discharged from the U.S. Army, who is pressured to join the family business. Instead, he becomes a tour guide.

18. "Just Go With It"

"Just Go With It" is one of Adam Sandler's many movies set on a beach.

This film is set in Hawaii and also stars Jennifer Aniston.

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Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler have worked together on numerous occasions, including the 2011 movie "Just Go With It." (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Many years before this 2011 film, Sandler starred in another movie set in Hawaii.

In 2004, Sandler was in "50 First Dates" alongside Drew Barrymore.

19. "Message in a Bottle"

Kevin Coster and Robin Wright star in the 1999 romance film "Message in a Bottle."

The movie is based off the book of the same name by Nicholas Sparks.

In this movie, a woman finds a love letter in a bottle on the beach. Upon finding the letter, she goes on a mission to discover the author.

20. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

Yet another summer film set in Hawaii is "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

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After Peter Bretter, played by Jason Segel) and his girlfriend Sarah Marshall, played by Kristen Bell, go their separate ways, he jets off to a Hawaiian resort to leave his troubles behind.

To his surprise, Marshall is staying at the same resort, accompanied by her new boyfriend.

Ashlyn Messier is a writer for Fox News Digital.

20 popular drama, rom-com and thriller movies with beach backdrops to watch this summer (2024)
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