Free summer movies in NYC: ‘Jaws,’ ‘Wizard of Oz’ and more

It’s not summer in New York City until you’ve grabbed a group of friends and an oversized blanket, doused yourself in mosquito repellent and staked out a spot in the grass to watch a movie as the sun goes down. Yes, it’s humid, but it’s fun, kind of romantic, and best of all– it’s FREE.

There are plenty of films to choose from, but here’s at least one to get you through every week of the summer. (You can find the full list on nyc.go.)

May 11



Spike Lee’s film about a girl growing up in Bed-Stuy in the summer of ’73 starts at 8 p.m. at Habana Outpost, an “eco-eatery and community gathering space” in Fort Greene.


May 23


“Top Gun”

There is nowhere cooler to watch Tom Cruise as a daredevil pilot in this all-American 1986 classic than aboard the Intrepid flight deck. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the action starts at sunset.


May 31


“Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla”

The new “Godzilla” hits theaters May 16, but if that doesn’t give you your fill of city-wrecking monsters, take a step back in time with this version, originally released in Japan in 1974. It’s playing indoors at the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, (and maybe it’s better that way). The movie starts at 3 p.m.


June 6



Since “Frozen” isn’t exactly a summer-themed flick, take the kids to “Brave,” the 2012 Disney/Pixar film with another adorable heroine — Merida– a Scottish princess with a strong independent streak. It plays at 8 p.m. at Crocheron Park in Bayside.


June 15



If “Rocky” on Broadway has you craving more Sylevster Stallone, he trades the ring for the field in this 1981 film about soccer-playing Word War II POWs. You may also spot some of your favorite athletes– even Pelé has a part. It plays at 8 p.m. at Habana Outpost in Fort Greene.


June 21


“The Social Network”

High-tech movie-goers can beat the heat while getting their Facebook fix at the air-conditioned Sony Wonder Technology Lab. The 2010 film about Mark Zuckerberg also features two hot stars of the moment– Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. It starts at 12:15 p.m.


June 30


“A Soldier’s Story”

This New York Drama Critics Award winning film with Denzel Washington centers around a black officer who investigates the murder of a black sergeant towards the end of World War II in the segregated south. The movie starts at sunset at Bryant Park. See the full Monday night movie line-up at bryantpark.org.


July 9



We celebrated the 10th anniversary of “Mean Girls” this year, but Alicia Silverstone’s hit is still just as quotable almost 20 years later. Regina George stealing Cher Horowitz’s thunder? As if! It hits the screen at 8:30 p.m. in Riverside Park as part of the Summer on the Hudson series.


July 18



Remember the late Harold Ramis as you watch this 1984 comedy about three wacky scientists who, left unemployed, decide to start a spirit-fighting service. It starts at 8:30 p.m. at Pier 46 as part of the Hudson River Park’s RiverFlicks Family Fridays series.


July 30


“The Lego Movie”

This animated adventure was applauded by both kids and adults for its humor and visual effects when it debuted in February 2014. Check it out with the whole family on Pier 63 as part of the Hudson River Park’s RiverFlicks Big Hit Wednesdays series at 8:30 p.m.


Aug. 6



The shark thriller is the movie of the summer every summer, and it’s been that way since 1975. This one won’t be shown at a waterfront venue, which is probably for the best. It’s part of the Close Encounters of the Spielberg Kind series at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. It starts at 6:30 p.m.


Aug. 13


“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”

Everyone’s favorite alien takes the screen along with a young Drew Barrymore in this 1982 classic at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, as another tribute to Steven Spielberg’s work.


Aug. 22


“Wizard of Oz”

Round out the summer with a trip over the rainbow (OK, just to Pier 46, really) as you watch Judy Garland’s legendary performance at the Hudson River Park’s RiverFlicks final Family Friday production. It starts at 8:30 p.m.