Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson’s twee classic gets better with each viewing. The young romance between Sam and Suzy nails those “first love feelings” we’ve all experienced. Plus, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis are stellar in their supporting roles.
This is the movie that launched Bill Murray’s film career (Stripes and Caddyshack weren’t far behind). Here he plays camp counselor Tripper Harrison, who mentors an awkward camper. It was certainly a precursor to his relationship with Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore.
The Parent Trap (1961)
All apologies to Lindsay Lohan, but the original version of this Disney classic reigns supreme. We love Haley Mills playing a set of twins trying to get their parents back together.
Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)
Comedian Jim Varney ruled the 1980s with his rubber-faced “Ernest.” In this installment, the country bumpkin helps save Camp Kikakee from evil land developers, and, well, hilarity ensues.
Addams Family Values (1993)
Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) is sent away to summer camp. And she is not there to make friends.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Okay, so this slasher film scores low in the warm and fuzzies department, but it takes place at a camp, and it’s certainly a classic. Camp Crystal Lake, to be exact, where a group of teenagers are picked off, one by one, as they attempt to reopen the facilities. Fun fact: Jason, the antagonist of the Friday the 13th movies, doesn’t actually make an appearance until the sequel.
Camp Nowhere (1994)
Admit it: When you were a kid, you had fantasies about going to a camp with no adults and no rules. That’s the main premise of this movie, which features Christopher Lloyd—and Jessica Alba in her film debut.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
This parody/homage (to movies like Meatballs) was a box office bomb. But it was a cult smash. Thank goodness there’s reportedly a Netflix prequel in the works.
Trivia time: Judd Apatow was a co-writer for this movie about a fat camp for kids and an evil camp director (Ben Stiller) who they plot to overthrow. And there’s an All That-era Keenan Thompson, long before his days as an SNL mainstay.
Indian Summer (1993)
Not all camp movies are wacky comedies or scary slasher flicks. This underrated film is about a retiring counselor (Alan Arkin) who welcomes back his now-adult campers for one last summer. It’s full of heartfelt moments and midnight kitchen raids rife with sexual tension.