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Summer of '42 (1971)

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During his summer vacation on Nantucket Island in 1942, a youth eagerly awaiting his first sexual encounter finds himself developing an innocent love for a young woman awaiting news on her soldier husband's fate in WWII.



Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Oliver Conant ...
Katherine Allentuck ...
Christopher Norris ...
Lou Frizzell ...


Silent as a painting, the movie shows us day-dreamer Hermie and his friends Oscy and Benjie spending the summer of '42 on an US island with their parents - rather unaffected by WWII. While Oscy's main worries are the when and how of getting laid, Hermie honestly falls in love with the older Dorothy, who's married to an army pilot. When her husband returns to the front, Hermie shyly approaches her. Written by Bob Dawson <dawsonb@lfs.loral.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In everyone's life there's a "Summer of '42" See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 April 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Verano del 42  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Maureen Stapleton has an uncredited role as the voice of Hermie's mom. See more »


When Dorothy drops her grocery bags in front of the store, we see a 1970s blue Rice Krispies box among the items that fall out. In 1942 Rice Krispies were housed in a white box. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: [voice-over] When I was 15 and my family came to the island for the summer, there weren't as many houses or people as they are now. The geography of the island and the singularity of the sea were far more noticeable then. And if a guy wasn't to die of loneliness, this family made certain that other families from his neighborhood contributed other kids to the island. Present with me in the summer of '42 were Oscy, my best friend. And Benji, my next best friend. We called ourselves ...
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Referenced in The Facts of Life: The Summer of '84 (1984) See more »


Theme from Summer of '42
(The Summer Knows)
Composed by Michel Legrand
Played several times throughout the film
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The summer knows
27 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie in the theater during it's initial release and several times on TV since then but it's been many years since I've seen it last and would like to see it again. This is a classic coming of age movie. A great story and script with a wonderful cast. Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser and Oliver Conant as the the three teenage boys and Jennifer O'Neil as the war bride. Robert Mulligan certainly had a diverse directorial career with such varied memorable films as To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Imposter, The Man in the Moon and The Other and quite a few forgettable films as well. He certainly made a memorable one with Summer of 42. Mulligan brought Harper Lee's words to life in his wonderful adaptation of her novel in Mockingbird and he brings Herman Raucher's screenplay to life in 42. Two examples of very personal semi-autobiographical remembrances of growing up successfully brought to the big screen. Michel Legrand's music couldn't be any more perfect for this film. I was the exact age of the boys depicted in this movie when it was released so I could relate to this and the ethereal beauty as represented by O'Neil. Maybe today I would classify this under guilty pleasure like something on the Lifetime channel but movie has stayed with me over time and I would like to see it again on the big screen. I would recommend this and give it a 8.5 on a scale of 10.

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