Twelve Great Beach Movies For an Endless Summer

Part Titanic, part Cast Away, part White Lotus, part something you’ve never seen before, Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness was easily one of the smartest, most hilarious and absurd movies to have come out of 2022. Here’s the premise: a bunch of rich, mostly good-looking people embark on what they assume will be a relaxing luxury cruise. The cruise—and I don’t think this is spoiling too much, you can see from the trailer—comes to a juddering halt, and they wind up parked on a island. Class becomes meaningless, luxury unavailable and the hierarchy shuffles in ways that you’ll gasp and laugh at. You can watch Triangle of Sadness on Hulu.

Rotting in the Sun (2023)

There are some films and TV shows—Girls, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Bottoms—that really hinge on the fun, colloquial dialogue, and Sebastián Silva’s Rotting in the Sun is definitely one of those. First, if you’ve not seen this one yet, be warned: there are a lot of dicks. Flaccid dicks. Hard ones. Dicks that are incidental. This is a film that is essentially about beaches and dicks. But what starts as a chill gay holiday soon becomes a murder mystery-type thriller, which will feel like those anxiety-inducing nightmares you have when you’ve accidentally killed someone and are desperately trying to cover up your tracks (no? just me?). You can watch Rotting in the Sun on Mubi.

The Beach (2000)

You didn’t think we’d put together a list of beach movies without including the mother of them all, The Beach, did you? Based on the 1996 Alex Garland novel of the same name, The Beach (directed by Danny Boyle) follows young traveller Richard (Leonardo Dicaprio) on his escapades around Bangkok, Thailand, before he eventually discovers a map to a secret, remote island inhabited by people wishing to live off grid, nicknamed “the beach”. When he finds it, the beach is beautiful – white sands, crystalline ocean, gorgeous young people living off the land. But what first seems like paradise quickly spirals into something a lot darker, more brutal and nightmarish.

When this film first came out, it received mixed to negative reviews and moderate box office success. In the two decades since, however, it’s become a much-loved time capsule of the era. So much so that the beach in which it’s actually filmed had to be shut down because it eventually became so trashed and overrun with tourists. Why must we ruin everything! You can watch The Beach on Amazon Prime.

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