Our Ten Favorite High School Movies
High school provides an excellent backdrop for films in various genres. The following ten films deal with relevant high school issues while appealing to various tastes.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Hollywood icon James Dean made a name for himself in this ultimate tale of teen angst. He co-stars with Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo as a brooding adolescent struggling with parental misunderstandings and romance.
American Graffiti (1973)
George Lucas’s film is a throwback to the 1950s. It stars talents like Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard as teens hanging out and getting into trouble. There’s some great classic music and dramatic moments.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
No matter what “clique” you may have belonged to in high school, odds are you can relate to one of the five main characters stuck in detention in this must-see John Hughes film starring Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and others. It’s an inspiring and amusing story about overcoming social differences.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Most of this movie (also from John Hughes) takes place outside of school, although the main characters are supposed to be in class. Matthew Broderick plays hooky with his girlfriend and hesitant best friend. You’ll be amazed at all the activities he can fit into one day.
This dark comedy was a precursor to Mean Girls. This time the meanies are three girls named Heather. Winona Ryder plays double agent, working her way into the popular clique (which includes Shannen Doherty) while scheming with bad boy Christian Slater to destroy them—with violent results.
Would we forget this beloved look at privileged Beverly Hills teens? As if! Alicia Silverstone is lovable in this modern take on Jane Austen’s Emma. Matchmaking is Cher’s forte, but in setting up her friends, the fashion plate overlooks her own heart. Paul Rudd and Brittany Murphy round out a great cast in this quotable rom-com.
The Faculty (1998)
Horror and sci-fi meet high school hierarchy in this campy take on the Breakfast Club setup. An unlikely group of teens from different cliques (including Elijah Wood and Jordana Brewster) fights off an alien invasion.
A Walk to Remember (2002)
This Nicholas Sparks adaptation stars Mandy Moore and Shane West as two teens from different social circles who fall in love and face heartbreak. It’s definitely a tearjerker.
Mean Girls (2004)
This contemporary classic is full of screenwriter Tina Fey’s quirky humor. Lindsay Lohan plays a new student who’s working with her outcast friends to destroy the lives of the “Plastics,” the snobby girls who rule the school. Rachel McAdams is vicious as the queen bee.
Easy A (2010)
The adorable Emma Stone captured our hearts in this hilarious and heartfelt comedy about a girl who sets out to change her social standing by pretending to sleep with unpopular guys. Stone’s spot-on delivery makes this an instant classic.
Whether you prefer drama, horror, comedy or romance, there’s a relatable and entertaining high school movie out there for you. Did we leave out your favorite? Let us know in the comments.