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The Five Best Summer Blockbusters Ever!

Did your favorite film make the list of top five summer blockbusters of all time?

| BY Kent McDill

Dating back to 1975, the summer blockbuster movie has been a staple of American society.

The anticipation for some of these films has resulted in disappointment when the film is actually released, but often times the film matches the level of interest spawned by months of trailers, spoiler rumors and buzz.

The website, dedicated to film and film history, surveyed a panel of 12 film critics to determine the best summer blockbusters of all time. They came up with a list of 50, but the top five are revealing in one aspect: Steven Spielberg spawned and maintained the Summer Blockbuster concept.  Three of the top five films on the list were directed by Spielberg, and he also had a hand in No. 9 (Jurassic Park) as well.

Also revealing is that three of the top 10 films listed are sequels, noting that the success of the original produced a desire in the audience to see the characters and stories revisited a few summers hence.

A look at the top five, with comments from the Dissolve about each film:

No. 5: E.T. (1982) – Spielberg’s story of Henry and the alien he found. The Dissolve notes that before the film’s release, no one knew what E.T. even looked like, something that could almost certainly NOT happen in today’s world of social media and spoiler alerts. “If the most cherished and meaningful summer blockbusters are the ones seen during childhood, then E.T. is the ultimate summer blockbuster.”

No. 4: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Spielberg and George Lucas collaborated on the first of a series of films (including copycats) that brought to mind the serial adventure films kids watched in movie houses in the 1950s. The first adventure of Indiana Jones made archeology intriguing to a generation of viewers. “What sets Raiders of the Lost Ark apart from its sequels and imitators is the way Spielberg and Lucas turn it into a genuine clash between good and evil, with truly despicable Nazis and their profit minded sympathizers seeking to exploit a sacred artifact to the worst possible ends.”   

No. 3 – Die Hard (1988) – A film based on a terrorist attack before terrorism was the ugliest of concepts as it is today, this adventure film turned Bruce Willis into a film star and gave us a brilliant villain turn by Alan Rickman. “In Die Hard, (John McClane) is battered and bruised, yet resourceful and irreverent, an avatar of American grit squaring off against a legion of smarmy foreigners.”     

No. 2: Back to the Future (1985) – Robert Zemeckis makes the top 10 twice, with Who Framed Roger Rabbit coming in at No. 8. The sprawling time travel film that spawned two sequels takes Marty McFly from 1985 to 1955 with consequences that come with time travel. “If Back to the Future isn’t the greatest summer blockbuster of all time, then at the very least, it is the most ingeniously constructed.”  

No. 1: Jaws (1975) – The one that started them all. The story of a great white shark terrorizing a New England town had an astounding effect on the country and made sharks seem much more dangerous than they were considered before the film came out. It also gave us Richard Dreyfuss as a movie star, and it sparked Spielberg’s career, for which we should be thankful. “Jaws has it all: a killer hook of a premise, three unforgettable characters, sharp dialogue, brilliant misdirection, genuinely startling jump scares, surprising pathos, grisly humor, and a score by John Williams that taps directly into the nervous system.”

No. 6-10 were Aliens, The Empire Strikes Back, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Jurassic Park and Dark Knight.

About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.