No. 3: "Gidget" (1959)
"Gidget" pioneered the summer beach flick and in many minds is synonymous with the genre.
Audiences fell in love with the spunky character played by Sandra Dee, who falls for surfer Moondoggie, played by James Darren. A young Cliff Robertson stars as The Kahuna.
The movie is often credited with bringing a surfing subculture to the mainstream. Gidget was followed by two sequels and launched a TV show starring Sally Field. It pioneered a long string of beach party and romance movies, including Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello romps "Beach Party," "Bikini Beach" and "Beach Blanket Bingo."
Ultimately, Gidget helped pave the way for the likes of more modern girl-power beach movies, including the surfer-chick film "Blue Crush" (2002), which suffered from a trite plot but helped make a star of actress Kate Bosworth with spectacular surf scenes.