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Summer of '42 Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Richard Farr

Herman Raucher's autobiographical (or first person, anyway) coming-of-age tale is set, as the title suggests, among sand dunes and departing GIs. Hermie (Gary Grimes) and his two buddies Oscar (Jerry Hauser) and the nerdy Benjie (Oliver Conant) are spending the summer doing the things preadolescents do: hanging out, eating ice cream, stealing "dirty" books from their parents, and trying unsuccessfully to act manly around the gawky girls they take to the movies. Then Hermie spoils everything by really falling in love, this time with the adorable older woman Dorothy, played by Jennifer O'Neill. Dorothy's husband conveniently leaves for duty overseas, and then, even more conveniently, becomes one of those "we regret" telegrams. Dorothy, desperate for comfort and sweetness, turns to Hermie--and surely makes his summer. The setting and the date give this movie a double helping of nostalgia for anyone who was once an adolescent boy desperately trying to get rid of both his callowness and his virginity. But the slow pace and dreamy atmosphere, courtesy of Robert Mulligan's direction and Michael Legrand's famous score, may give it less appeal to anyone who is still in that situation.

Academy Awards

Summer of '42 received an Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score (Michel Legrand). Summer of '42 also received Academy Awards nominations for Writing (Best Story and Screenplay based on factual material or material not previously published or produced; Herman Raucher), Cinematography (Robert L. Surtees), Film Editing (Folmar Blangstad).

Share Your Memories!

Is Summer of '42 one of your favorite movies? What do you remember about it? Share your stories (or your reviews) with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"Hi there, I was an usher back when they had ushers at theatres when SUMMER was playing. I probably saw it about 42 or more times, and yet is still one of my favorite movies. At the end of the movie Herman says "he was never to see her again, I would love to know that after the release of the movie if still held true. Did she ever contact him or did anyone who saw the movie back at it's release time know someone who was or could have been "Dorothy.""


"I first saw the summer of 42 when I was 14 years old I found it to be just what I was going thought and loved it there should be more movies told based on fact like that I like so many people fell in love with Jeniffer O'Neil."


"I have seen the movie "The summer of '42" twice on TV in The Netherlands, where I'm living. Since then I cannot forget the movie,the story and all the actors. I have never been so much impressed by seen such a master piece of art, a story of a short but impressing part of the lifes of people. I am very, very gratefull to had the opportunity to see the movie twice...and who knowes..!"

--Abraham Swanenburg

"I saw the movie in 1971 when it was first released, and I was EXACTLY the same age as Hermie in the film when I saw it. I had even, just recently, gone through a big crush on a girl in my school who looked a little like Jennifer O'Neill in the movie, so the film really "hit home." It's still one of my perennial favorites, even now, when I'm the age Herman Raucher was when he wrote the book. I must say, though, that as funny as the movie is, the novel is MUCH funnier. In the novel you can hear Hermie's thoughts much louder than you can in the film. The book, as a dear late mother once remarked, is a "scream.""


"This is a sweet, lovely and sentimental film. The music is haunting yet beautiful. Listening to the score and watching the film evokes fond yet awkward and at times uncomfortable feelings that came with adolescence and coming of age.

The acting is wonderful and the direction is done with a light hand. It is refreshing to view a film with such an slow and easy pace; in stark contrast to the frenetic nad hard driving violent films that have made up so much of the Awesome80s and 90s.

Notwithstanding the Mr. Farr's review, many other critics across the country savored and subsequently honored this memorable film. It's charming and should not be missed."

--USC Film School Dropout

"This movie is a real gem, from the fantastic cinematography to the fine acting...oozing with nostalgia."

--Jim Falcione

"The cinematography of Robert Surtees is second to none. This film took me back to my angst-filled teen years when the grass seemed greener, the sea breeze more fragrant. This is a real gem of a movie, and one of my all-time favorites."

--Geo Man

"I loved this book. In fact, it was the most important book of my adolescence. I wish I knew Herman Raucher's e-mail address because I'd like to tell him how much his writing has meant to me."


"I sure do remember the first time I saw Summer of 42. I saw it in a theatre in Walnut Creek , Calif. It was the night I fell in love with Jennifer O'Neil. I even told my wife on the way home . She looked at me. I told her that I wished I could have had a summer of 42. She looked at me and would have been 7 years old. Then smiled and shook her head.

I have watched the movie more times than I have kept track of. Each time I am carried away by the fresh charm of the entire story."


"Summer of 42 is one of my favorite movies and I just watched it on the "True Stories" channel. Is this a true story? I never knew it was! Why didn't Hermie try to find out where Dorothy was or at least contact her in later years? I think it had an unhappy ending and I wish he would have located her in later years. I would like to have known how she lived her life and maybe an interview with the real Dorothy and Hermie at the end of the movie would have been a nice touch.

I really never realized it was a true story until I just watched it on the "True Stories" channel tonight. It's always been one of my favorite romantic movies but to think it was true makes it really special. The cast was wonderful too!"




Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Robert Mulligan

Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Gary Grimes, Christopher Norris

Released: April 9, 1971

Availability: DVD VHS CD

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