The 15 Best Teen Movies

High School Movies That Everyone Should See

A list of all the can't-miss high school movies from the past couple of generations.

Director John Hughes is the king of teen angst movies, and The Breakfast club is arguably his best work. This flick depicts five high school stereotypes ("the nerd" and "the jock" among them) and shows what happens when they're forced to hang out one Saturday.
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This classic 90's high school movie is based on Jane Austen's Emma and follows the transformation of a popular valley girl (perfectly played by Alicia Silverstone) from a self-centered airhead into a do-gooder. A young Paul Rudd stars as the love interest.
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Starring a pre-gossip rag Lindsay Lohan as a former "Mathlete" who tries to fit into the popular clique, this high school dramedy sets the perfect tone between satirical and sentimental, thanks to a great script by Tina Fey.
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Better Off Dead (1985)

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Super-irreverent and dark, this teen cult comedy stars John Cusack as a depressed high schooler who wants to end his life but keeps getting interrupted.
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Grease (1978)

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The original high school musical, Grease stars John Travolta as a 50's greaser and Olivia Newton-John as a sweet, naïve exchange student. The classic soundtrack (including hits like "Summer Nights" and "Greased Lightning") makes this a can't-miss.

The "makeover" is a classic teenage movie sub-genre, and this one, based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, stars Rachel Leigh Cook as the nerdy, artsy girl who's transformed into the prom queen.
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07
of 15

Never Been Kissed (1999)

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Depicting the fantasy of every adult who was less-than-cool in high school, Drew Barrymore stars as an undercover reporter who gets a second chance at being a teen.

This totally classic movie is the godfather of the sexy high school comedy. It's most famous for starring a young Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli, a burnt-out surfer dude with a sharp tongue.
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09
of 15

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

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Another John Hughes classic, Ferris Bueller is a teen fantasy about the ultimate day of playing hooky. Despite its silly tone, it's got deep messages about teen-parent relationships and the identity crisis teens face after high school.
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of 15

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

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This cult hipster comedy is a look at life from the perspective of a goofy, unpopular teen in Idaho. The deadpan one-liners, killer soundtrack and hilarious dance scene make this movie a classic.

Named after a Led Zeppelin song, this flick follows the last day of high school for the stoners, jocks and nerds of a Texas town in 1976. Look for some surprises in the cast, including Ben Affleck as an upperclassman bully and Matthew McConaughy as a stoner.
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In this nod to William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a female high school journalist goes undercover as a boy at a rival high school. The best high school movies are ones that explore what it would be like to have a different identity, and this one's got that in spades.
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13
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10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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Another teen movie based on a William Shakespeare comedy (this time The Taming of the Shrew), this film stars the talented Heath Ledger as a brooding, outcast heartthrob and Julia Stiles as the girl who might fall for him against her better judgment.
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of 15

Heathers (1989)

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This dark, deadly satire about the popular crowd stars Winona Ryder as one of the snobby rich girls who go on a killing spree at their high school.
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of 15

American Pie (1999)

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Steer clear of the sequels, but the original American Pie is a quintessential high school sex comedy balanced by some tender coming-of-age moments. Eugene Levy is totally perfect as the awkward dad.