Check out our picks for films that best capture the agony and ecstasy of the sweatiest season (just make sure your AC is working first)

By Keith Staskiewicz
August 23, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Stray Dog 1949
Akira Kurosawa set his often overlooked film noir in the middle of a brutal heat wave, as Detective Murakami (Toshirô Mifune) pounds the sticky asphalt in post-WWII Tokyo, desperate to find his stolen handgun before it’s used again.

The Seven Year Itch 1955
According to the psychology of Billy Wilder’s classic comedy, a married man adopts a wandering eye once he hits the seven-year mark. Fidelity glides even further out of reach when temperatures are soaring and he meets a gal (Marilyn Monroe) who beats the heat by keeping her underwear in the icebox and standing iconically over subway grates.

In the Heat of the Night 1967
Mississippi’s burning in Norman Jewison’s Best Picture winner, as Sidney Poitier’s Philly homicide detective tries to solve a murder in a racist small town in the South alongside the local police chief (Rod Steiger). You practically have to wipe the sweat off the screen as the emotional mercury rises, tick by tick.

Body Heat 1981
Things get steamy in Lawrence Kasdan’s neo-noir — in every sense of the term. Set during a Florida scorcher so searing that it forces everyone out of their clothes and into each other’s beds, Body Heat features William Hurt and Kathleen Turner in some of the hottest love scenes ever filmed. These two have so much sexual chemistry, they’re practically exothermic.

Do The Right Thing 1989
”I have today’s forecast for you: hot!” intones Samuel L. Jackson’s DJ at the start of Spike Lee’s pressure-cooker race drama, which takes place in Brooklyn’s sweltering Bed-Stuy neighborhood. Much like in Lee’s Summer of Sam (1999), you can feel the oppressiveness of New York’s muggy months slowly ratcheting up neighborhood tensions until they reach a rolling boil.