Favorite Summer Blockbusters by year (starting with Star Wars of course!)

Decided to be specific with my criteria:

(1) - No animated features.
(2) - Only films released from April 25th through August 25th in the USA.
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1.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader. (121 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
“ I was not even alive during this decade but I decided to start the list off with arguably the greatest, most influential summer blockbuster of all-time. ” - daja_ace
 
2.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall. (127 mins.)
“ I was very limited on options for the Summer of 1978. Never seen Grease in its entirety and have no desire to but George Romero's original Dawn of the Dead should fit the bill for this year. ” - daja_ace
 
3.
Alien (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, their landing on the source planet finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform. Continuing their journey back to Earth with the attacked crew having recovered and the critter deceased, they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (117 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
“ Scary and claustrophobic. Ridley Scott managed to scare the living hell out of audiences with the start of this franchise. ” - daja_ace
 
4.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke. (124 mins.)
Director: Irvin Kershner
“ Widely considered to be the best Star Wars 'episode' of all-time and rightfully so. ” - daja_ace
 
5.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. (115 mins.)
“ How many modern filmmakers can boast about crafting one of the greatest summer blockbusters of all-time, one of the finest films of all-time, inventing an original character who has become a literal household name across generations, and generating scientific interest in the pursuit of a real-life artifact? Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can. ” - daja_ace
 
6.
The Thing (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
It's the first week of winter in 1982. An American Research Base is greeted by an alien force, that can assimilate anything it touches. It's up to the members to stay alive, and be sure of who is human, and who has become one of the Things. (109 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
“ Wow, the Summer of 1982 had a LOT of noteworthy blockbuster films including E.T., Tron, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Road Warrior, Blade Runner, Rocky III, and of course John Carpenter's The Thing. One reason this is my favorite is because it is literally surreal and terrifying when I imagine myself in the situation of MacReady and co. in this movie. ” - daja_ace
 
7.
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the rebels attempt to destroy the second Death Star, while Luke struggles to make Vader return from the dark side of the Force. (131 mins.)
“ This film is the recipient of way too much hatred and criticism in my humble opinion, especially after watching the inferior 'prequels' that Lucas made for 'my generation'. But then again, I was not around when the original trilogy started. Maybe the hateful SW fanboys are justified. Having that said, it most certainly could not have been easy to close out a trilogy for two of the most incredible and epic films of all-time.

I can understand the complaints about the Ewoks maybe and the 'creepy' twist about Luke and Leia but otherwise I personally think the final conflict and resolution between Luke and Anakin was handled incredibly well. Also, The Emperor was top-notch. As far as I'm concerned, still one of the best third installments ever made.
 ” - daja_ace
 
8.
Ghostbusters (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. (105 mins.)
Director: Ivan Reitman
“ Underrated. Arguably the greatest fantasy-comedy-horror movie of all-time. It was mentioned in Zombieland that Bill Murray just gets your funny bone and I agree wholeheartedly. This classic film had a hand in defining a generation of fantastic cinema.

Dr. Peter Venkman, Egon, Ray, and Winston all made the idea of fighting ghosts seem fun and funny as hell. Plus, Ray Parker Jr.'s classic soundtrack to this is the final bonus. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!!!
 ” - daja_ace
 
9.
Back to the Future (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A young man is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown, and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence. (116 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ If Ghostbusters was a fantasy-comedy, this might be the best sci-fi comedy ever made.

Man, I truly miss Michael J. Fox during his acting days. It's sad to see his fight with Parkinson's disease now. He was a rare talent and was already truly amazing as Alex Keaton on Family Ties but this movie further highlights his charisma as Marty McFly.

Fox and Christopher Lloyd's Doc Brown have unshakable chemistry, Lea Thompson is sexy, and this movie shows us the Power of Love (according to Huey Lewis and The News, that is). One of my all-time favorite films.
 ” - daja_ace
 
10.
Aliens (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The planet from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough? (137 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
“ Excellent sequel by James Cameron, picking up where Ridley Scott left off. I also miss these days as well: the days when James Cameron made films that were actually amazing, not just popular ones or the kind that simply manipulate the masses. Sigh.

Anyway, Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley is forced to become tough as nails in this movie cementing her status as arguably the strongest female character that cinema has ever known. A classic.
 ” - daja_ace
 
11.
Predator (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior. (107 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
“ It was really a toss-up between this movie and Robocop, another favorite classic summer blockbuster of 1987. In fact, I declare my first tie! Look below... ” - daja_ace
 
12.
RoboCop (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories. (102 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ Tied with Predator as my favorite summer blockbuster of 1987 ” - daja_ace
 
13.
Die Hard (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. (131 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
“ Yippee-ki-yay, [EXPLETIVE].  ” - daja_ace
 
14.
Batman (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker. (126 mins.)
Director: Tim Burton
“ Another film that is underrated. Despite the 'lovefest' and often strange devotion given to the recent ones, IMHO THIS is the greatest live-action Batman film of all-time. Also, one of the best movies of the decade. Nuff said.  ” - daja_ace
 
15.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Indiana Jones must follow in his father's footsteps and stop the Nazis. (127 mins.)
“ My second tie: Even with Batman as my favorite summer blockbuster of 1989. ” - daja_ace
 
16.
Total Recall (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or does he? (113 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ Among the most popular films Arnold's ever made, this might be the strangest. However, I feel as if it is still slightly better than Die Hard 2 on repeat viewings. ” - daja_ace
 
17.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her young son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg, made out of liquid metal. (137 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
“ Again, when James Cameron (and Arnold) made truly great films. Not only one of the greatest summer blockbusters ever made but one of the best science-fiction movies of all-time.

The sequels after this one were strictly cash-grabs. This is the last movie in this franchise as far as I'm concerned.
 ” - daja_ace
 
18.
Batman Returns (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
When a corrupt businessman and the grotesque Penguin plot to take control of Gotham City, only Batman can stop them, while the Catwoman has her own agenda. (126 mins.)
Director: Tim Burton
“ Underrated like its predecessor though a bit more of a gamble. This film angered Soccer Moms, 'family' groups, and was labeled 'too dark and mature'.

Some argue that it's actually better than the original and while I slightly disagree with this viewpoint I can definitely see why.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman makes this movie worth a watch by herself but the complexity that both The Penguin and Catwoman bring as reflections of Bruce Wayne's psyche is truly unique.

Mixing drama, dark comedy, tragedy, and great character study this movie like the original is a film that I've come to appreciate and respect even more in my adult years.
 ” - daja_ace
 
19.
Jurassic Park (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok. (127 mins.)
“ Steven Spielberg firing on all cylinders is always a beautiful thing to watch in action, and man oh man did he put it down with this underrated, classic summer blockbuster. ” - daja_ace
 
20.
Forrest Gump (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him. (142 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ Poignant, funny, and tragic. A movie I truly did not expect to even like before I watched it but ended up being one of my favorite films of the decade. ” - daja_ace
 
21.
Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
John McClane and a Harlem store owner are targeted by German terrorist Simon Gruber in New York City, where he plans to rob the Federal Reserve Building. (128 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
“ Tied with Mortal Kombat for 1995. Third tie so far. ” - daja_ace
 
22.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world. (101 mins.)
Director: Paul Anderson
“ MOORRRRTALL KOMMMBAATTTT!!!!! *cue hype music*  ” - daja_ace
 
23.
Independence Day (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive. (145 mins.)
Director: Roland Emmerich
“ This receives insane amounts of hostility on this website but I consider it to be a very entertaining classic that I can honestly say that I don't tire of watching every year. ” - daja_ace
 
24.
A Time to Kill (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the K.K.K. (149 mins.)
Director: Joel Schumacher
“ "Tied with ID4 for this year. My fourth tie!" ” - daja_ace
 
25.
Men in Black (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth. (98 mins.)
“ Unique concept executed quite well. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have great chemistry on-screen. Plus, the theme song is catchy and memorable as hell. The sequels unfortunately did not quite live up to the original though. ” - daja_ace
 
26.
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A young thief, seeking revenge over the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro, who is also seeking a vengeance of his own. (136 mins.)
Director: Martin Campbell
“ Easy pick for this year. ” - daja_ace
 
27.
The Mummy (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An American serving in the French Foreign Legion on an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Hamunaptra accidentally awakens a mummy. (125 mins.)
Director: Stephen Sommers
“ Don't get too excited about this being on the list. Despite the love that many have for the Summer blockbusters of 1999, I personally found it very difficult to place a movie for this particular year.

Although it had a couple of memorable and iconic scenes, The Phantom Menace was of course largely disappointing. The Sixth Sense, imho, is highly overrated as I figured out the 'surprise ending' within the first 25 minutes. I've grown to hate the Austin Powers films.

The Iron Giant was probably by far the best summer blockbuster of 1999 but I already eliminated anything animated in my criteria.

So...this by default ended up being my favorite summer blockbuster of 1999, partly because it surprised me (in a good way) back then when I saw it. Not a "great" movie by any means but not awful either.
 ” - daja_ace
 
28.
Gladiator (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor's corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge. (155 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
“ Epic and tragic. Easy choice for my top summer blockbuster of 2000. ” - daja_ace
 
29.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother. (146 mins.)
“ Despite the fact that this receives a lot of disdain in some circles I found it to be a notable film for Steven Spielberg. I enjoyed it overall and found it to be pretty interesting.

At the very least more interesting than the other summer blockbusters of 2001, a cinematic summer that was for the most part VERY disappointing. Although I will admit that The Mummy Returns wasn't bad either and would come in second place to this movie.
 ” - daja_ace
 
30.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and suffering from amnesia, before racing to elude assassins and regain his memory. (119 mins.)
Director: Doug Liman
“ Could not let this one go. Tied with Spider-Man. ” - daja_ace
 
31.
Spider-Man (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family. (121 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
“ Aside from a few issues, which depending on context and perspective could be considered minor, this film is brilliant work.

I had almost forgotten how excellent this movie was. But now that I've seen the mislabeled 2012 Marc Webb reboot, which should have been titled 'The Asinine Spider-Man', that will NOT happen again.

'With great power comes great responsibility'. Thanks Sam Raimi for remembering what Stan Lee stated this character was truly about and brilliantly telling a universal story about how true those words are.
 ” - daja_ace
 
32.
X2 (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The X-Men band together to find a mutant assassin who has made an attempt on the President's life, while the Mutant Academy is attacked by military forces. (134 mins.)
Director: Bryan Singer
“ The X-Men franchise peaked here, NOT with First Class or Days of Future Past. ” - daja_ace
 
33.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius. (127 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
“ Improves on the original in some aspects. Amazing. ” - daja_ace
 
34.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
During the near end of the clone wars, Darth Sidious has revealed himself and is ready to execute the last part of his plan to rule the Galaxy... (140 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
“ The best of the Star Wars 'prequels'. ” - daja_ace
 
35.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Agent Ethan Hunt comes into conflict with a dangerous and sadistic arms dealer who threatens his life and his fianceé in response . (126 mins.)
Director: J.J. Abrams
“ Vast improvement over the previous installment to this series. ” - daja_ace
 
36.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Jason Bourne dodges a ruthless CIA official and his agents from a new assassination program while searching for the origins of his life as a trained killer. (115 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
“ This trilogy ended on a high note. Excellent work. ” - daja_ace
 
37.
Iron Man (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
After being held captive in an Afghan cave, a billionaire engineer creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil. (126 mins.)
Director: Jon Favreau
“ Fantastic work by Jon Favreau. Who would have guessed that Robert Downey, Jr. would not only be cast as Tony Stark but completely own the role?

This was Marvel Films' foundation for The Avengers Initiative but an excellent film in its own right.
 ” - daja_ace
 
38.
Star Trek (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father's legacy with Commander Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful, time-traveling Romulan creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time. (127 mins.)
Director: J.J. Abrams
“ It was a very good idea to reboot this franchise, especially after the lifeless mess that TNG movies became.

J.J. Abrams delivered a well-made new start for Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, and co. Now, he has to not drop the ball with the sequels, which is no small task.
 ” - daja_ace
 
39.
The Expendables (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A CIA operative hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent. (103 mins.)
“ Iron Man 2 was disappointing. Toy Story 3 is actually my favorite summer blockbuster of this year but again I eliminated animated films from my criteria.

So again, by default only, this film ended up being my favorite (live-action) summer blockbuster of 2010.
 ” - daja_ace
 
40.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a "Super-Soldier serum". But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization. (124 mins.)
Director: Joe Johnston
“ Truthfully, this film could have ended up being wasted effort but beats the odds.

Chris Evans, previously known as The Human Torch from both FF movies conquered his fear of taking on this role and portrayed the titular character. He did an exceptional job and proved his detractors wrong.

Hugo Weaving shines as The Red Skull. Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, and Hayley Atwell all give strong performances. Surprisingly a very good film.
 ” - daja_ace
 
41.
Thor (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The powerful but arrogant god Thor is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders. (115 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
“ Another Tie. This was a film that most likely would have been a failure if not for the right combination of cast, script, and direction.

Fortunately, it fires well on all cylinders. Chris Hemsworth as Thor and his character development are the truth. Anthony Hopkins is in top form as Odin. Tom Hiddleston is fantastic as Loki.

All in all, more risky than even Captain America was but a very good end result.
 ” - daja_ace
 
42.
The Avengers (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity. (143 mins.)
Director: Joss Whedon
“ The most risky and arguably the most deserving film on this list. Period. I sincerely hope that this film has made Stan "The Man" Lee as happy as it made me. Who would have ever thought a project like this would work in live-action, especially in the current world we live in?

Never before has a film like this ever been produced. Marvel Films created its own cinematic storytelling universe, Phase One of which started with Iron Man in 2008 and ended with this epic, fantastic film in 2012.

To be perfectly honest, I had a LOT of doubt, skepticism, and fear going into this movie even on opening night but Joss Whedon and company nuked all of those negative feelings in a way I will not forget.

This film is so fantastic and well-made that it easily blew away the competition in 2012, making competing film studios 'green' with envy; Marvel's The Avengers earned the title of 'greatest super hero film ever' as well as one the greatest blockbuster films of all-time; it enraged fan bases of other films as well as elitists everywhere, including Meryl Streep and Wally Pfister. The complaining, nitpicking, desperate and even immature tearing down of this movie only comes from ignorance, bias, and agendas. Objectively, this film is damn-near perfect.

The script, story, dialogue, and direction are brilliant. The cast has more than plenty of good to great performances. The action, adventure, and visual effects are top notch. Loki is an excellent villain who unlike other villains we usually see a lot of late is not generic, one-dimensional, or insane just for the hell of it or simply because the plot desperately needs him to be. He is also not the only good thing going for this film by overshadowing the entire purpose of the heroes, which is great filmmaking.

Critics, fans, and the masses love this film. To those who care about these kinds of things it received near-universal critical acclaim, has a 96 percent "Like" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was surprisingly recognized and nominated by the Academy for an Oscar (who usually looks down on these kinds of films), and was ranked as the greatest film of 2012 by Empire Magazine - Online.

This film is a testament to the fact that it is not just what you do but how you do it. Nuff said.
 ” - daja_ace
 
43.
Pacific Rim (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse. (131 mins.)
“ I changed my mind. This is my favorite summer blockbuster of 2013. Although this particular summer for films was a disappointment overall so take that for what its worth. ” - daja_ace
 
44.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe. (121 mins.)
Director: James Gunn
“ Well, Marvel Studios triumphs yet again. I had serious doubts about this movie before it was released but wow what a hell of a great time at the cinema! ” - daja_ace