Best-Reviewed Summer Blockbusters by Year Since 1975

by | August 2, 2016 | Comments

When it comes to big summer movies, the opinions of critics and audiences are always out of sync. Right? Not so fast. Using our weighted formula, we at Rotten Tomatoes decided to spotlight the best-reviewed wide releases from each summer since 1975 — the year Jaws kicked off the blockbuster era — and it turns out that many of the big winners with the pundits have become perennial favorites with regular moviegoers as well.

1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s


Jaws (1975)

Adjusted Score: 109124%
Critics Consensus: Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.
Synopsis: A New England police chief (Roy Scheider), a shark hunter (Robert Shaw) and a scientist (Richard Dreyfuss) have a showdown... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Adjusted Score: 94924%
Critics Consensus: Recreating the essence of his iconic Man With No Name in a post-Civil War Western, director Clint Eastwood delivered the first of his great revisionist works of the genre.
Synopsis: A Missouri farmer (Clint Eastwood) hunts down the Union soldiers who killed his family and left him for dead.... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood


Star Wars (1977)

Adjusted Score: 108201%
Critics Consensus: A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
Synopsis: Robots and other allies help a youth (Mark Hamill) and a space jockey (Harrison Ford) rescue a rebel princess (Carrie... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

Adjusted Score: 96262%
Critics Consensus: The talents of director John Landis and Saturday Night Live's irrepressible John Belushi conspired to create a rambunctious, subversive college comedy that continues to resonate.
Synopsis: Bluto (John Belushi), Otter and the rowdy Deltas make fools of the dean and the square Omegas at 1962 Faber... [More]
Directed By: John Landis


Alien (1979)

Adjusted Score: 111092%
Critics Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.
Synopsis: Crewmembers (Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver) aboard an interstellar freighter encounter a merciless monster that crawls around their ship's dark corridors... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

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