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Business_news The 14 best beach movies you can stream right now

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  • Though many beaches have opened for the season, those with COVID-related concerns are looking for summer entertainment from the safety of their homes, including films available for streaming.
  • We compiled a list of award-winning and cult-favorite movies from a diverse range of directors and actors to replicate the experience of visiting the beach and inspire new bucket list travel destinations.
  • Picks include coming-of-age dramas, queer love stories, and family-friendly animated films set on beaches and coasts around the world, all available for streaming acrossAmazon,Disney Plus,Hulu, and more.
  • For more streaming recommendations, check out our guide tothe best streaming services you can sign up for online.

With strict travel guidelines and the continued need for social distancing, planning a relaxing vacation is a daunting task. Now, more than ever, there are considerable risks to enjoying normal summer activities, like dining out, traveling, and even going to the beach. If your summer getaway has been cancelled and you’ve been longing to feel the cool ocean breeze again, consider simulating the experience through film.

Our picks for the best international beach movies will allow you to marvel at some of the most alluring shorelines in the world from the comfort and safety of your home. Buckle up for a road trip to a secluded Mexican beach with a young Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal in “Y Tu Mamá También,” or sing along to an ABBA tune in Greece with the cast of “Mamma Mia!” These beloved and award-winning features are sure to impress with coastal sites you’ll soon add to your own travel bucket list.

Aesthetics aside, some of the beaches and coastal settings in our top picks also help represent central themes, reflect emotional states, and even personify their own characters. With a mix of comedy and drama, including important work from queer and BIPOC storytellers, these lively narratives deliver strong performances while transporting us to different corners of the globe. Whatever your preference, we recommend you make a refreshing drink to enjoy as you watch and let your mind drift to one of these on-screen oases.

Note: Mild spoilers ahead.

Business_news For more armchair travel, check out these additional articles:

Business_news Here are the best international beach movies to stream right now:

Business_news “Call Me by Your Name”



Sony Pictures Classics


A staple in queer cinema, “Call Me by Your Name” follows the secretive but passionate affair between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and an American grad student named Oliver (Armie Hammer) who is studying and living with Elio’s parents during the summer of 1983. Their ethereal romance plays out in Crema, a small Northern Italian city where the Perlmans reside, stimulated by picturesque foliage and historic architecture. The beautiful Italian landscapes showcased throughout the film include the crystal blue waters in Sirmione, Italy onJamaica Beach, where an intimate dialogue between Chalamet and Hammer takes place.

A quintessential summer romance film, this coming-of-age story explores sexuality, love, and discovery with the surrounding Italian scenery serving as the perfect backdrop to capture the intense emotional currents Elio experiences both alone and when he is with Oliver. “Call Me by Your Name” received several international nominations and awards, including winning the 2017 Academy Award for best adapted screenplay, and the movie earned Chalamet his first-ever nomination for best Actor.

Business_newsStream “Call Me by Your Name” orsign up for Amazon Prime here

Business_news “The Talented Mr. Ripley”



Ana Presa


Working-class pianist Tom Ripley (played by Matt Damon) becomes embroiled in sex, lies, and murder as he travels to Italy in order to retrieve the playboy son (played by Jude Law) of a New York magnate. A majority of the film was shot in Italy, with the fictional Southern Italian town “Mongibello,” where Damon first meets Law and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, actually identifiable asIschiaandProcida, sunny islands that are part of the Bay of Naples.

Along with filming on Bagno Antonio beach, the coastal roads, open piazzas, and narrow cobblestone paths showcase Southern Italy’s allure as Damon’s character becomes captivated by the extravagantly lavish lifestyle he now finds himself living. As Damon jet-sets through the Italian islands throughout this psychological thriller, the audience is spoiled by displays of Italy’s charm and glamour, demonstrating why its coast remains such a popular vacation destination to this day.

Business_newsStream “The Talented Mr. Ripley” orsign up for Hulu here

Business_news “Moana”



IMDb


“Moana” is an easy choice for a family-friendly movie that both children and adults can enjoy. In order to restore balance within her community, the titular heroine embarks on a life changing journey in search of a slighted demigod voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Though Moana hails from the fictional Polynesian island Montunui, the animated tropical landscapes from the film were inspired by actual islands, like Tahiti, Samoa, Hawaii, and Fiji. These influences are apparent throughout the film’s visuals including the tropical foliage, distinct rock formations, and crystal clear waters. Auli’i Cravalho, the Hawaiian native who voices Moana, has alsonotedthat the creators of “Moana” spent five years researching in order to make the film as authentic as possible and aptly convey a deep cultural respect for the land and ocean on-screen.

Business_newsStream “Moana”orsign up for Disney Plus here

Business_news “The Beach”



20th Century Fox


In this drama, Leonardo DiCaprio plays an American backpacker drifting from place-to-place in search of paradise. After the backpacker befriends a French couple during his travels, the vagabond trio embark on a journey to Southern Asia in search of a hidden oasis that promises to fulfill all their desires. The beautifulMaya Bayon Southern Thailand’sKoh Phi Phi Leh Islandis the actual location of the movie’s fabled utopia, where tropical foliage, clear ocean waters, and imposing rock formations make for an idyllic hideaway.

While “The Beach” received unfavorable reviews from critics, the film serves as a powerful and important warning about the dangerous side effects of ecotourism. Maya Bay wasclosed by government officials in 2018after the two decades of ecological havoc that ensued from both the movie’s filming as well as tourists flocking to the destination to follow in young Leo’s footsteps. As a result, Maya Bay’s once pristine waters have now been closed to the public for more than two years in order for the ecosystem to peacefully restore itself. Until it reopens, “The Beach” serves as a proxy to enjoy the bay’s beauty.

Business_newsStream “The Beach” orsign up for Amazon Prime here

Business_news “Mama Mia!”



IMDb


Laughter, love and the music of ABBA make “Mama Mia!” a great summer pick for movie night with friends. The film, set in fictitious Kalokairi, was actually shot inSkopelos, a Greek Island with lively beaches and cliff sides lined with charming homes.

Glisteri Beachwas close to where Hotel Villa Donna was located, and its sweeping bay and surrounding areas served as the ideal spot to shoot key scenes, like when Sophie is reading Donna’s diary singing “Honey, Honey,” and when Bill, Harry, Sam, and Sophie reminisce crooning “Our Last Summer” together.Kastani Beachon the southwest coast also provided ideal acoustics to film musical numbers like Sophie and Sky’s duet of “Lay All Your Love On Me,” and Tanya’s rendition of “Does Your Mother Know.”

If you’re in the mood for a double feature, follow up with the movie’s sequel, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” which focuses on Donna’s life as a young woman. The sequel was filmed predominantly on the equally impressiveCroatian island of Vis.

Business_newsStream “Mama Mia!” orsign up for Hulu here

Business_news “Whale Rider”



Newmarket Films


Shot on the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, “Whale Rider” explores a young Maori girl’s desire to become the leader of her tribe while struggling with her community’s long held patriarchal conventions. Both the film and the book are set inWhangarei, a small community historically populated by Maori, with the choice to film on-location culturally significant in maintaining the narrative’s authenticity.

The ocean and aquatic wildlife play important roles in the story and several key scenes showcase the Whangarei coast’s distinct geographical features such as its whale-shaped island and crescent bay. At the time of release, “Whale Rider” won multiple international awards and the film’s star, Keisha Castle-Hughes, even became the youngest best Actress nominee in Oscar history at the 2003 Academy Awards.

Business_newsStream “Whale Rider” orsign up for Amazon Prime here

Business_news “On Chesil Beach”



IMDb


This love story with commentary on sexual freedom and the tradition of marriage follows a newlywed couple played by Saorise Ronan and Billy Howle as they realize the deep seated implications their different socioeconomic backgrounds have on their union. Told in flashbacks of the pair’s initial meeting as well as in the present where the young couple are spending their honeymoon, “On Chesil Beach” demonstrates that not all love stories are happy.

As its title suggest, this film’s beach scenes were filmed onChesil Beach’spebbled coast in Dorset, England. While the beginning sequences show still shots of the area’s vibrantly colored landscapes and windy atmosphere, Chesil Beach truly shines as the couple have their climactic argument in which they decide to part ways. While the pair dispute on the seemingly desolate beach, the camera also captures beautiful shots of the tides running up and down the rocky shore as well as a visible sunset peaking from behind the cloudy sky.

Business_newsStream “On Chesil Beach” orsign up for Amazon Prime here

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Business_news “Portrait of a Lady on fire



IMDb


“Portrait of a Lady on fire” is a historical French drama that follows the Secret romance between Marianne, a French artist, and Héloïse, the young aristocrat whose portrait she is commissioned to paint. Hired by Héloïse’s mother and assuming the guise of a walking companion, Marianne accompanies Héloïse on intimate beachside strolls that were filmed inSaint-Pierre Quiberon, Morbihan, a North Western French commune in Brittany.

“Portrait of a Lady on fire” prominently features the region’s rocky cliffs, crashing waves, andPointe Du Percho‘s distinct natural archway, providing a serene setting for the budding love that ensues. Throughout the film, the beach serves as the young couple’s escape from eighteenth century society’s constraints, and director Céline Sciamma uses the ocean’s sometimes calm, sometimes violent tides to reflect the characters’ inner turmoil.

Business_newsStream “Portrait of a Lady on fire” orsign up for Hulu here

Business_news “To Catch a Thief”



IMDb


Cary Grant and Grace Kelly make a memorable duo in this 1950s thriller about a cat burglar (Grant) looking to clear his name of a crime he didn’t commit. “To Catch a Thief” was filmed in Cannes, Nice, and the surrounding countryside along the French Riviera, with scenes featuring several historic landmarks in France’s southern coast, such as theHotel Carltonin Cannes and Boulevard Jean Jaurès in Nice.

One of the film’s most iconic scenes shows Grant and Kelly driving a powder blue convertible in Beausoleil on the Cote d’Azur. As Kelly’ character zips through the winding roads, the camera captures a wide shot overlooking Monaco’s coast and the Mediterranean ocean.La Croix des Gardes, where the couple stop to have a picnic, still has public trails where visitors can hike today, but watch the film to experience what the area looked like in the 1950s, or if you’re in the mood to add some old-school glamour to your life.

Business_newsStream “To Catch a Thief” orsign up for Amazon Prime here

Business_news “Breath”



IMDb


Set in Western Australia during the 1970’s, “Breath” follows two childhood best friends who pick up an interest in surfing when they meet and form a connection with an older, retired professional surfer. As this mysterious local begins to encourage the boys to take risks, like surfing in shark-infested waters, the teenagers begin experiencing new emotions and ultimately find themselves at a loss of innocence in this coming-of-age tale.

The film was shot inDenmark, a popular area for surfing along the coast of Western Australia, and the movie’s opening sequence and several surf scenes throughout prominently featureCrusoe beach. The visibly gentle waters, open skies, and scenic mountain peaks captured on-screen help demonstrate precisely why Denmark would be any surfer’s paradise.

Business_newsStream “Breath”onAmazon PrimeorNetflix

Business_news “Lilo and Stitch”



Walt Disney Pictures


If your Hawaiian getaway was cancelled, this Disney classic might serve as an upbeat substitute for the real thing. When precocious Lilo accidentally adopts an alien fugitive disguised as a dog, the two misfits develop a heartwarming friendship neither knew they were searching for.

The movie’s charming depictions of beachside living, which include surfing, shaved ice, and an Elvis-heavy soundtrack, make the film quintessentially Hawaiian. This animated children’s film also celebrates Hawaiian culture by incorporating historic Island traditions into the narrative, like hula as well as the deep-rooted importance of family. While not a popular tourist destination, the relaxed town ofHanapepe on Kauaiis said to be the inspiration for “Lilo and Stitch,” though the community’s only nod to the movie seems to be a mural on the side of a local cinema, theAloha Theatre.

Business_newsStream “Lilo and Stitch”orsign up for Disney Plus here

Business_news “Y Tu Mamá También”



IMDb


Alfonso Cuarón’s “Y Tu Mama Tambien” follows Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal), a pair of best friends who embark on a summer road trip with Luisa, the sick wife of Tenoch’s cousin whom they meet at a wedding. After boasting to Luisa about knowledge of a beautiful unknown beach, the duo are shocked when she takes up the boys’ invitation to accompany them to the fictional paradise, “Heaven’s Mouth.”

Though the group does make it to the shore, the movie’s stunning beach scene where the trio frolic in the ocean was filmed atPlaya Cacalutain Huatulco, Oaxaca. Though Cacaluta is noted as not the easiest beach toaccess, many say the secluded bay’s white sands and clear waters are well-worth the trek. “Y Tu Mamá También” was praised for its powerful depictions of love and intimacy as well as interesting narrative structure, plus the film actually had a hand in changing Mexican censorship laws when it was released in 2001. 

Business_newsStream “Y Tu Mama Tambien” onAmazon PrimeorNetflix

Business_news “Fast Five”



Universal Pictures


In the fifth installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) returns with his team of highly skilled auto thieves to pull off a job that will financially set all of them for life. Set in Rio de Janeiro, though filmed in both Brazil and Puerto Rico, the movie is able to incorporate stunning aerial footage of the city that includes iconic sites, likeSugarloaf Mountain, theCopacabana Fortress,Ipanema Beach, and theChrist the Redeemer statue.

In addition to capturing some of Rio’s impressive landmarks, one of the film’s key scenes finds Gal Gadot and Sung Kang’s characters staking out a luxurious Brazilian beach club while swaying palms and sparkling waters are visible in the distance. Along with its visually impressive components, the film’s action-packed race sequences and fast-paced fight scenes make “Fast Five” the perfect escape from a drab day indoors.

Business_newsStream “Fast Five” orsign up for Hulu here

Business_news “Crazy Rich Asians”



IMDb


Based on the bestselling novel, “Crazy Rich Asians” follows the protagonist, Rachel Chu, as she travels to Asia to meet her boyfriend Nick’s family for the first time who, unbeknownst to her, is extremely wealthy. While thehistory-makingmovie captures Singapore’s impressive grandeur and advanced modern architecture, the scenes where Colin and Araminta’s bachelor and bachelorette parties take place also showcase Malaysia’s stunning beaches.

Though the couple’s parties supposedly take place on different beaches in the film,Langkawi, which is made up of over 100 islands on Malaysia’s west coast, serves as the location for both pre-wedding celebrations. Araminta’s festivities were filmed at theFour Seasons Langkawialong the Andaman Sea, while the remote spot where Nick tells Colin he plans to propose was actually built and shot on a separate part of Langkawi.According to director Jon M. Chu, the cast and crew felt spoiled while filming with the island’s coastal mangrove trees, Boat rides, and sunsets.

Business_newsStream “Crazy Rich Asians”orsign up for Amazon Prime here

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by theInsider Reviewsteam. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at reviews@businessinsider.com.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.


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