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Movie Info

Teenage Herman Raucher (Gary Grimes), summering on Nantucket Island with his sex-obsessed pals Oscy (Jerry Houser) and Benji (Oliver Conant) during World War II, meets Dorothy (Jennifer O'Neill), a newlywed in her 20s whose husband is off at war. As his friends awkwardly attempt to woo girls their own age, Herman slowly befriends the older woman and finds himself becoming increasingly in love with her, until a sudden tragedy changes their lives forever.

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Critic Reviews for Summer of '42

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (5)

  • Summer of '42 is one of those rare films yon can't help liking simply for its aspirations which are so honest and open-minded.

    June 2, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Thanks to director Robert Mulligan and a largely unfamiliar cast it turns cut to be a delightful film.

    June 2, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Summer of '42 has a large amount of charm and tenderness; it also has little dramatic economy and much eye-exhausting photography which translates to forced and artificial emphasis on a strungout story.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • In the early hijinks phase, the film seems like a dry run for Porky's, but it later gets into the business of fluttering curtains, walks on sandy beaches and longing glances.

    December 30, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It forever misses, unlike American Graffiti, the heady sexual climate of adolescence to concentrate on the circumstances of the sex act itself.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • "Summer of '42" is a memory movie, written, directed and acted with such uncommon good humor that I don't think you'll be put off by its sweet soft-focus, at least until you start analyzing it afterwards.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Summer of '42

  • Nov 28, 2019
    Summer of '42 is the epitome of nostalgia. The film was written by Herman Raucher, whose character, Hermie is based on. The film was made first, but Raucher was asked by the studio to write a novel version of the screenplay to release before the movie to build anticipation. It worked, the novel was a bestseller and the movie was a huge hit. Raucher was able to secure 10% rights to the movie, plus royalties for the book, which paid him millions. Summer of '42 is a gentle, agreeable movie about a young man's recollection of his summer of 1942 on the island of Nantucket, long before every square inch of the island was built up by people. Hermie, a 14 year-old boy, has 2 friends on the island. His interactions with them are realistic, as the boys are immature, emotional and restless. They talk about girls, and attempt to meet them at the movies and "make out" with them. Hermie sees an older woman who is seeing her husband off to war on a ship. Hermie ultimately befriends the woman, carrying her groceries home and offering to help her at her cottage. Their interactions are meant to be awkward, with Hermie attempting to act more mature than he really is. When Hermie visits the woman, Dorothy, at her home one evening, he discovers her husband has been killed at war and finds Dorothy drinking, smoking and weeping. He says only "I'm sorry," and they embrace, dance and cry together in a deeply moving and sincere scene. Dorothy takes Hermie to her room, and they disrobe. We are left to believe they make love, with Hermie later following Dorothy to the porch. She says only, "Good night, Hermie." He leaves, returning the following day to find only a note from Dorothy. She says she must go, there is much she must do. She hopes he will find a proper way to remember their night together, and that he be spared "all senseless tragedy." The movie is at its best with several speechless, quiet scenes featuring a beautiful score and a idyllic seaside backdrop. Summer of '42 might feel too light and subtle for some viewers, like a pleasant made-for-tv drama. But the story is well-written, and the actors succeed at giving life to their characters. They feel like fairly real people, and they make the film believable. Summer of '42 is a favorite of mine and an underrated, almost forgotten gem.
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • Nov 19, 2016
    A deliberately tender and sentimental coming of age tale wherein a young man is given his longed for first experience with sex, only under dark and tragic circumstances. Together with this, in this incredibly spare tale, is a nostalgic longing for what innocence there might have been in America in the time before WWll. That and a simple soundtrack by Michel Legrand translate what might've been tacky into a pretty decent Hallmark card from the home front circa 1942.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 25, 2012
    Simple coming of age drama with great scores by Michel Legrand and beautiful scene. It has a very similar plot with Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena, which is one of my fave movies ever. I enjoyed this movie very much.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 20, 2010
    Very good romance :)
    Cassie H Super Reviewer

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