The summer season is the best time for movies. Big blockbuster bonanzas roll out explosions, car chases, superheroes, giant robots and Tom Cruise hanging off of planes to keep us entertained throughout the hottest months of the year. But let’s face it, going to the movies is expensive.
Thankfully, you can still get your summer blockbuster fix through Netflix. Here are the best of the best, available for streaming in the comfort of your own home.
Before Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck, there was the delightfully weird Michael Keaton as Batman, who was only out-weirded by Jack Nicholson as the Joker.
Not many blockbusters can claim to be Best Picture winners, but the thrilling Gladiator can. Come for the battles and tigers. Stay for Russell Crowe’s soulful performance and Joaquin Phoenix’s twisted one.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
The sequel to 2010’s delightful How to Train Your Dragon had a lot to live up to, and it delivered. If you missed this gem last summer, here’s your chance to catch up with all the heartfelt storytelling and epic dragon adventures.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Okay, so Catching Fire actually came out in November, but it’s a summer blockbuster at heart. Curiously, it’s the only Hunger Games available on Netflix, but that’s okay. It’s one of the best in the series and the perfect companion for a night in.
The Italian Job (2003)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that heist movies and car chases can’t be beat. The Italian Job has both. It’s a light breeze of a movie, and it’s perfect summertime entertainment to watch this charming cast enjoy themselves as their characters plan and pull off a gold robbery with a wave of Mini Coopers.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Twenty years ago, the series started with a bang. Mission: Impossible is pure 1990’s summer action movie bliss, and still really, really good. It’s worth watching for the famous “Tom Cruise on a Wire” scene alone, which remains one of the most suspenseful movie moments ever made.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Skip J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness (which is also on Netflix) and go straight to the source: the original Kirk and the original Khan. Watch it and you shall live long and prosper…or your summer will, anyway.
Total Recall (1990)
Total Recall is Arnold Schwarzenegger in all his beefcake, one-liner, action star glory. This sci-fi adventure is classic summer entertainment. Plus, the hostile outdoor climate of Mars will provide a nice bit of perspective for the summer heat you might be dealing with.
World War Z (2013)
There’s nothing like watching a zombie apocalypse movie to make you appreciate being in the safety of your own home. It also helps that World War Z is surprisingly good end-of-the-world entertainment—it’s Walking Dead and Dawn of the Dead all in one.