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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

#1990
#1990
Adjusted Score: 90.583%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to an outstanding script, focused direction by Alan Pakula, and a riveting performance from Harrison Ford, Presumed Innocent is the kind of effective courtroom thriller most others aspire to be.
Synopsis: Rusty Sabich (Harrison Ford) is a bland, oppressed man who burns with a quiet, corrosive intensity that can flare uncontrollably.... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#1991

Boyz n the Hood (1991)
96%

#1991
Adjusted Score: 101.031%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and thematically rich, Boyz N the Hood observes Black America with far more depth and compassion than many of the like-minded films its success inspired.
Synopsis: Director John Singleton's debut chronicles the trials and tribulations of three young African-American males growing up in South Central Los... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#1992

Unforgiven (1992)
96%

#1992
Adjusted Score: 104.15%
Critics Consensus: As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.
Synopsis: Dedicated to his mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood's 1992 Oscar-winner examines the mythic violence of the Western,... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#1993

Jurassic Park (1993)
91%

#1993
Adjusted Score: 101.654%
Critics Consensus: Jurassic Park is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg's best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.
Synopsis: Steven Spielberg's phenomenally successful sci-fi adventure thriller is graced by state-of-the-art special effects from the team of Stan Winston, Phil... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#1994

The Lion King (1994)
93%

#1994
Adjusted Score: 101.91%
Critics Consensus: Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, The Lion King is a pride within Disney's pantheon of classic family films.
Synopsis: One of the most popular Disney animated musicals, The Lion King presents the story of a lion cub's journey to... [More]
Directed By: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff

#1995

Babe (1995)
97%

#1995
Adjusted Score: 101.349%
Critics Consensus: The rare family-friendly feature with a heart as big as its special effects budget, Babe offers timeless entertainment for viewers of all ages.
Synopsis: A young pig fights convention to become a sheep dog -- or, rather, sheep pig -- in this charming Australian... [More]
Directed By: Chris Noonan

#1996

Supercop (1996)
96%

#1996
Adjusted Score: 98.298%
Critics Consensus: Blending hand-to-hand combat with breathtaking stunts and slapstick comedy, Supercop reminds us why Jackie Chan is one of the world's great entertainers.
Synopsis: A Hong Kong detective fights to stop a Chinese drug czar.... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Tong

#1997

Men in Black (1997)
92%

#1997
Adjusted Score: 97.452%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script, spectacular set pieces, and charismatic performances from its leads, Men in Black is an entirely satisfying summer blockbuster hit.
Synopsis: For his fifth effort as a feature-film director, one-time cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld brought his cartoonish visual style and darkly humorous... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#1998

The Truman Show (1998)
95%

#1998
Adjusted Score: 102.495%
Critics Consensus: A funny, tender, and thought-provoking film, The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives.
Synopsis: Jim Carrey gives a remarkable performance as a man learning that his entire life in a storybook coastal village has... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#1999

The Iron Giant (1999)
96%

#1999
Adjusted Score: 102.317%
Critics Consensus: The endearing Iron Giant tackles ambitious topics and complex human relationships with a steady hand and beautifully animated direction from Brad Bird.
Synopsis: "Iron Giant" is based upon the 1968 story,'Iron Man,' by the British poet laureate Ted Hughes. The film is about... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

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