There are some films that just capture the essence of how summer feels. The cinema is all about escapism, and so what better way to convey the lazy, carefree sensation of summer than on screen? Hastily-planned roadtrips, long hot days at the beach and evenings spent in sultry heat; here’s our pick of the best summer movies …

Cinema Paradiso

Possibly the perfect summer film. Childhood, cinema and an old-fashioned romance; get ready to fall in love with Giuseppe Tornatore’s Oscar-winning film all over again.

National Lampoon’s Vacation

Well we couldn’t leave this off the list, now could we? Rambunctious fun, riotous antics and a whole load of belly laughs – just pray your holiday doesn’t turn out like this one, or any ideas of a road trip may be shelved pronto.

The Talented Mr Ripley

Stylish, sexy and gripping to the end, Anthony Minghella’s thriller is a fascinating, compelling watch. Set against a opulent backdrop of luxury yachts and pretty Italian coastal towns, it’s 100% glamorous – and we’re certainly not going to complain about watching Jude Law and Matt Damon.

Mr Hulot’s Holiday

Oh Monsieur Hulot! It’s impossible not to fall for the quiet charm of the accident-prone holidaymaker who causes havoc right, left and centre when he arrives at a coastal resort. The almost-silent film is still every bit as funny today as it was at release in 1953.

Almost Famous

Captivating performances and a cracking soundtrack (Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Cat Stevens et al), this is a coming-of-age film that really channels that Bohemian 1970s vibe.

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Intense Mexican heat, a lengthy road trip, sensual fun galore – and a journey of discovery, Alfonso Cuaron’s film is a seriously sexy watch. And good fun to boot.

My Summer of Love

Another coming-of-age tale, this time focusing on the intense relationship between two teenagers from very different backgrounds. The bittersweet BAFTA-winning film captures those seemingly endless, languorous summers, intensely close friendships and that incomparable feeling of beginning to become an adult – and that nothing really matters except right now.

Roman Holiday

An incognito princess (Audrey Hepburn) and an undercover reporter (Gregory Peck) up to high jinks zipping around sunny Rome on a scooter. Impossibly stylish, incredibly fun – and set in the Eternal City. They don’t make them like this any more.