(Last updated on: 01/02/2021)
Binging on Spring Break movies is a great way to satisfy your inner wanderlust without leaving the comforts of your couch. But with Netflix, Amazon, Disney and many other movie outlets, which do you choose and why?
In this article I introduce you to the absolute best Spring Break movies. You might be sat at home, but these flicks can transport you to warmer climes, exotic shores and exciting adventures….
What is Spring Break?
Before we get down to detail by discussing the best Spring Break movies, lets first be clear about what spring break is.
Spring Break is predominantly an American concept. Dating back to the 1930s, its roots lie in the formal education system. Traditionally used as an opportunity to let off some steam before the final end of year exams, college students have frequented beaches in southern USA and Central America in search of a lively nightlife and party scene for almost a century.
But nowadays Spring Break is more than a giant student beach party. Spring Break is celebrated in many other countries around the world and many types of people, aside from students. This is a peak season for travel and a time when many tourism operators increase prices as demand often outweighs supply.
Many people around the world look forward to their Spring Break vacation, and what better way to wet your appetite than to watch some of the best Spring Bream movies on the box….?
Spring Break movies – what are they?
Below you’ll find a list of some fun films that feature (or are set during) Spring Break. This is the annual spring vacation time for school, college and university students. While it is a global holiday – a time for kids and young adults to enjoy some downtime before the final push of the end of term – it is America that really does ‘Spring Break’.
American students flock to sunny areas of the country to party. There are deals ensuring affordable travel, party packages, 24/7 bars, pool parties, packed beaches and so much more. It is a popular tradition among students. And we have Spring Break movies, too!
The best Spring Break movies
Spring Break movies are generally comedies, with some other genres thrown into the mix here and there too. And watching Spring Break movies is the perfect way to satisfy your inner wanderlust during times that you are unable to physically travel. Here are the best ones….
Passport to Paris
A hit among teenage girls in the late 90s/early noughties, Passport to Paris (1999) is a Mary-Kate and Ashley (Olsen) direct-to-video film.
It was the first of seven Tapestry Films movies starring the twins. They are 13 in the film, heading to Paris to spend Spring Break with their estranged grandfather (portrayed by Peter White). Upon their arrival it turns out they’ll actually be spending more time with his assistant, played by Matt Winston; still, they manage to befriend a model named Brigitte and meet some French boys.
There are ups and downs, adventures and first kisses. It may not be a party-filled storyline like many Spring Break movies, but it is a fun film that features travel during this vacation period.
22 Jump Street
Released in 2014, 22 Jump Street is the sequel to Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s successful 21 Jump Street (2012).
These two movies are set firmly in the ‘buddy-cop action-comedy’ genre. Alongside Tatum and Hill, 22 Jump Street stars Amber Stevens, Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell and Jillian Bell. The two stars go undercover as college students, aiming to locate the supplier of a particular drug. This leads to them heading out on Spring Break.
The latter part of the film is full of classic party scenes along the beach and in bars, and there is plenty of fun action towards the end of the movie. This is a great option if you’re looking for Spring Break movies. There is more to the story line that just Spring Break, but it is an important feature in the film nonetheless!
When it comes to Spring Break movies, you can’t get more spot on than this. Spring Breakers (2012) stars James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine and Ashley Benson. The film was an absolute hit.
It follows four college-age girls, three of whom get high and rob a restaurant to pay for their Spring Break trip. The scenes in St. Petersburg, Florida, are very reminiscent of stereotypical Spring Break: sex, drugs, alcohol and all-night parties. The girls end up getting arrested, but are bailed out by a drug dealer named Alien (played by Franco).
From then on its more parties, drama and drugs throughout! This is definitely a Spring Break movie that plays on the negative image of this vacation time, but it is a great film that has garnered plenty of amazing reviews over the years.
Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
One of the best old-school Spring Break movies, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987) is set in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This is an incredibly iconic Spring Break location. The film stars Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Curtis Armstrong, Larry B. Scott, Donald Gibb, Timothy Busfield and Andrew Cassese among others. The film sees a fraternity of nerds head to Florida for Spring Break, where they end up getting picked on and humiliated – thus wanting to enact their revenge!
As with many Spring Break movies, the plot is filled with drama, drugs and sex. These tropes are popular as they do reflect typical Spring Break scenes across America and beyond. It is a time for hedonism and partying, getting out of the study mindset and letting your hair down before things get serious at the end of term. Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise was a box office success, but didn’t go down well with critics whatsoever…
Another direct-to-video movie, Spring Breakdown (2009) stars Parker Posey, Rachel Dratch, and Amy Poehler. It is a comedy which sees three women head to South Padre during Spring Break to relive their college days, despite being ‘losers’ during their actual college days. Becky (Posey) is technically there to keep an eye on her boss’ daughter, who is there to win back her boyfriend. Gayle (Poehler) and Judi (Dratch) spend the entire time getting drunk, while Becky tries to do her job. This leads to her fighting with the young girl she has been instructed to watch out for. They both get arrested.
As with many Spring Break movies, it is full of party scenes, drugs, drink, drama and more. Described as quick-witted with a girl-power message, the film got a good reception despite being low budget and not particularly well known.
Where The Boys Are
The 60s was a great era for movies, and Where The Boys Are (1960) is no exception. It was this film that popularised Spring Break as a concept.
Where The Boys Are stars Connie Francies, Dolores Hart, Paula Prentiss, George Hamilton, Yvette Mimieux, Jim Hutton, and Frank Gorshin. The film was based on a novel of the same name. It was one of the first teen movies that focused on adolescent sexuality. Attitudes towards sex among college youth in America were changing at this time. The film does a great job of showing this.
It is set in iconic Spring Break location Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Four girls head here to party and have sex, but find out that it’s not all it is cracked up to be. With a rather melancholy ending, the film was a big success at the box office. It led to long-term MGM contracts for director Henry Lavin as well as actors Hart, Prentiss and Hutton.
With a name like Dirty Grandpa (2016) this film was bound to be a comedy. It is, and it stars Zac Efron alongside Robert De Niro, Aubrey Plaza and Zoey Deutch. Many critics said it was the worst film they’ve ever seen, despite it grossing over $100 million dollars.
The movie sees young lawyer Jason Kelly drive his Army vet grandfather, Dick, to Florida after his wife (Jason’s grandmother) dies. Many of these Spring Break movies are set in Florida. It was the origin of Spring Break as we know it, and has continued to be one of the most popular locations for a college student to spend spring vacation.
In the film, Jason and Dick bump into Jason’s old classmate; they meet up later in Daytona Beach. Here the film moves into classic tropes of the Spring Break movie genre. There is beer chugging, beaches, drugs, contests, fights, jail and more. Despite its negative reviews, if you are looking for a film that really showcases Spring Break, this might be worth a watch! Although, it did receive five nominations in the Golden Raspberry Awards – an award series dedicated to the ‘worst’ in movies. So make of that what you will…
Well, the clue is in the name with this one. Spring Break (1983) is another of our Spring Break movies set in Florida. This time, we’re back in Fort Lauderdale with actors David Knell, Perry Lang, Paul Land and Steve Bassett. The plot sees two nerds (Knell and Lang) meet two cool guys (Land and Bassett) during Spring Break.
Amongst the partying and wet t-shirt contests which are so typical of Spring Break movies, there is a secondary plot involving Knell’s character, Nelson, who’s step-father is running for office. He hires Eddie, who is trying to buy the hotel the four young men are staying in. He wants Eddie to find his step-son and bring him home.
Spring Break is a movie full of fun and adventure. From Nelson getting locked on a yacht to a beer and whipped cream fight between the boys and Eddie, there is plenty going on. With a happy ending and a great soundtrack, this is definitely one to add to the list if you are looking for a classic movie featuring Spring Break to watch in 2021!
Best best Spring Break movies
So there you have it- these are, in my opinion, the best Spring Break movies on the box! Do you have any other recommendations? I am always on the lookout for a good travel-themed movie! Please let me know your recommendations in the comments below!