Sixty years ago this week, on August 5, 1953, From Here to Eternity debuted in theaters and gave us the most unforgettable beach scene in film history. Sixty summers later, we still associate the beach with movies, maybe because in film, the beach itself is a theater screen.
With the sky as a proscenium arch, it’s a stage that inspires us to ponder our own insignificance in the grand scheme of things, at least compared to the larger-than-life stories we tell ourselves. It’s a blank slate onto which we project our desires, fears, and philosophical questions, a slate that gets wiped clean every few hours, in time for the next showing.
In the movies, then, the beach isn’t just a place for vacation frolicking, swimming, and surfing – though it is that, too. As you’ll see in the following gallery of ten of the most memorable beach scenes on film, it’s a place of inspiration, where dreams are born – and sometimes, where they die.