21 Tremendously Sweaty Movies That Feel Your Pain This Summer

The sticky heat of summer has been an attractive backdrop and metaphor for intense relationships and difficulties in storytelling. As the temperature increases, the voltage also increases.

With some parts of the UK expected to hit 40 degrees next week, many of us may be avoiding any drama and sticking our heads in the fridge instead.

But if you can forgo that and you’re looking for some on-screen relationship, here are 21 movies that will really make you feel the heat…

Holes (2003)

“You take a bad boy, make him dig holes all day in the hot sun, it makes him a good boy. That is our philosophy here at Camp Green Lake.” So says you, the chief officer of a prison camp in scorching Texas, holes. Shia LaBeouf stars – and sweats profusely – as Stanley Yelnats IV, a boy wrongfully convicted of stealing a pair of sneakers. EH

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Luca Guadagnino’s romantic drama is set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983. It stars Timothée Chalamet as Elio Perlman, a teenager who falls in love with Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student. coming to stay with his family for the summer. This one might make you grab a refreshing fruit – a peach, perhaps – to cool down. EH

Armie Hammer (left) and Timothee Chalamet (right) on 'Call Me By Your Name' (Sony)

Armie Hammer (left) and Timothee Chalamet (right) on ‘Call Me By Your Name’ (Sony)

A Bigger Splash (2015)

Yes, Ralph Fiennes does a big nude dance in this movie. No, it’s certainly not the hottest thing about it. The psychological drama – another Luca Guadagnino triumph – takes place in a secluded village on the sizzling Italian island of Pantelleria and features Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson frolicking around the pool like lizards… EH

Atonement (2007)

“I love England in a heat wave,” declares Leon Tallis in Ian McEwan’s Atonement. “It’s a different country. All the rules change.” In Joe Wright’s adaptation of the brilliant novel, the hot weather is an integral part of the erotic tension between Cecilia and Robbie (Keira Knightley and James McAvoy) – even though they may be feeling more like gray skies and torrential rain after their younger sister. Cecilia, Briony (Saoirse Ronan) separates them. EH

Labor Day 2013)

In the Stockholm syndrome novel Work day, Kate Winslet plays an agoraphobic single mother of a teenager. During a damp bank holiday weekend in 1987, a fugitive assassin, played by Josh Brolin, enters their lives… and he’s been around for more than just the air conditioning. EH

Boiling Point (2022)

This is one of the sweatiest movies on the list and doesn’t feature a single ray of sunshine. Philip Barantini’s one-shot masterpiece stars Stephen Graham as a chef in a very hot and stressful kitchen on a busy night in Dalston. There are flames, there are burns, there are red-hot furies. And it will leave you squeaking. EH

Mud (2012)

Set in the scorching heat of Arkansas, this coming-of-age film follows two 14-year-old boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), who set out on an adventure downriver to find an old boat, stranded high in a tree in a desert island. They end up meeting a mysterious fugitive named Mud (Matthew McConaughey), and together they repair the vessel. It all feels like a lot of hard work – I prefer sunbathing. EH

Tye Sheridan, Matthew McConaughey and Jacob Lofland in 'Mud' (Jim Bridges)

Tye Sheridan, Matthew McConaughey and Jacob Lofland in ‘Mud’ (Jim Bridges)

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

In this heist film based on a true story, Al Pacino and John Cazale play two thugs who choose a terribly hot day in August 197 to rob a bank. Get ready for terribly tight hiding places, terrifying temperatures and a load of tension. EH

Do the Right Thing (1989)

In Spike Lee’s masterpiece, New Yorker Radio Raheem finds a fate eerily similar to that of George Floyd in 2020. The film uses the extreme heat of a summer’s day as a metaphor for the latent racial tension in the borough of Brooklyn, where happens. EH

And your mom too (2001)

The heat of the sun seems to radiate through the screen in this Mexican road movie by Alfonso Cuarón, which follows two teenagers who set out on a sunny adventure with a beautiful and troubled older woman. Its heady combination of politics, sex and drugs will have you reaching for a glass of ice water. EH

Gael Garcia Bernal and Maribel Verdu in 'Y tu mamá también' (Moviestore/Shutterstock)

Gael Garcia Bernal and Maribel Verdu in ‘Y tu mamá también’ (Moviestore/Shutterstock)

Hurt’s Closet (2008)

Is there a movie sweatier than the wounded man’s closet? Jeremy Renner must not just drop bombs in the heat of battle, he must do so in a 40kg bomb suit under the Iraqi sun. “We all try not to keep it [the suit] on me for a long time,” Renner said of filming. “I tried to keep it on for no more than 20 minutes or half an hour, because then you start to want to pass out. It was 125 degrees [51 degrees Celsius] there.” MT

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Temperature plays a central role in A Streetcar Named Desire, set in the heat and humidity of New Orleans. The heat in the room increases with the heat between the characters as Blanche takes her epic showers to stave off a sweat, leaving Stanley’s nerves getting thinner and thinner. Marlon Brando can only switch between a vest, a tight T-shirt with stains of deep sweat, or, in fact, no top. It’s a reminder that nothing does more to heighten background tensions in a character drama than a very hot, very cramped apartment. MT

Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (Rex)

Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (Rex)

Body Heat (1981)

Often touted as one of the “sexiest movies of all time”, this neo-noir thriller sees attorney Ned Racine (William Hurt) begin a passionate affair with Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner). In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Matty rubs ice on his chest to cool it down and asks Ned if he’d like to lick it off. MT

Chinatown (1974)

LA seems to rot in the sun in this classic about California’s water wars, starring Jack Nicholson. Nicholson plays private detective Jake “JJ” Gittes, hired to expose an adulterer in 1930s Los Angeles. Of course, the case soon becomes much more than it first appeared. Considered by some to be the best screenplay ever written, Chinatown was nominated for 11 Oscars. MT

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Norman Jewison’s 1960s racing thriller, set in the stifling South, stars a graceful Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs, a Philadelphia homicide detective who finds himself wrongly and racist accused of murder. After proving his innocence, Tibs is summoned to find the real killer. MT

Wake Up (1971)

“Have a drink, mate? Fight, man? Do you taste like dust and sweat, mate? There is nothing else out here.” Then read the poster to wake up with fright, the seventies psychological thriller directed by Ted Kotcheff. Gary Bond plays a Sydney schoolteacher who becomes trapped in a country town and subsequently descends into moral degradation. MT

In the heights (2021)

Heat is a big factor in this musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The dizzying temperature and humidity of New York City in the summer causes a power outage, sending the neighborhood into chaos. MT

'Up in the Air' (© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.)

‘Up in the Air’ (© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.)

Rear Window (1954)

In a heat wave similar to the one the UK is experiencing right now, a wheelchair-bound Jeff (James Stewart) watches his neighbors through their open windows. In doing so, he becomes convinced that one of them murdered his wife. This is widely considered to be one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Gasoline and water are in short supply in this post-apocalyptic thriller reboot of the original Mad Maxtrilogy. This movie will leave you feeling thirsty but excited as you watch Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy try to outrun a ruthless warlord.

Tom Hardy in 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (Warner Bros)

Tom Hardy in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (Warner Bros)

Time to Kill (1996)

the heat in a time to kill adds layer after layer of sweaty tension. Samuel L Jackson plays a heartbroken father who avenges his daughter’s rape by shooting the bigoted men responsible for the crime while on their way to trial.

12 Angry Men (1957)

A panel of 12 jurors must decide the conviction or acquittal of an 18-year-old accused of murder. The heat represents the pressure exerted on the jurors who must decide the young man’s fate. In these conditions, they are quick to argue and lose patience with each other.

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