High school movies are sometimes fun, sometimes irreverent, and sometimes incredibly dramatic. I like all kinds, but when it comes down to some of the most classic high school films you should watch with your friends, I decided to keep things lighter. If you want something more poignant or simply darker, there are films like Lucas, the esoteric Brick, and who knows how many others? For now, take a look at these awesome movies about high school, and feel free to add your own favorites!
1. The Breakfast Club
You really can’t discuss high school movies without talking about John Hughes. I’ve tried to keep his movies to a minimum, but some of the must be included – like The Breakfast Club. When I was four, my older, terribly inappropriate cousin let me watch it with her, thereby insuring that I learned the eff-word at an early age. Watching it as I got older, I was able to notice its many other fantastic qualities. It’s actually a really poignant movie, and I don’t think I know anyone who can’t quote the last scene.
2. Dazed and Confused
Part comedy, part drama, this high school movie is classic for a variety of reasons. Matthew McConaughey is one of those reasons, thanks to his very memorable lines concerning high school girls. The film has a lot in common with another, earlier movie on the list, in terms of showcasing the fact that high school is always more or less the same. And actually, that’s kind of depressing.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day off
Ferris Bueller is probably the most iconic movie about high school ever. I adore this movie. Matthew Broderick was just a dream – he was so cute! And Cam is just one of the greatest characters I’ve ever seen – so much snark and awkwardness mixed in one long, lanky, emotionally damaged package!
4. Can’t Hardly Wait
This is one of my favorite high school movies, as a matter of fact. I love Ethan Embry, although I wasn’t quite as interested in the main story involving his character’s infatuation with Amanda. I found myself much more interested in the storyline between Seth Green and Lauren Ambrose. Twilight fans, give this one another watch and see if you can spot Peter Facinelli!
5. American Graffiti
Ah, this is the high school film I was talking about earlier. Don’t get me wrong, it’s much more epic than Dazed and Confused, but you definitely see a lot of the same themes. There are so many great actors in this movie, stars that were barely even recognized at the time. It’s a celebration of freedom, independence, and fear, all combined with an absolutely groovy soundtrack.
6. Mean Girls
There are a lot of high school films floating around out there, but this one really showcases the cliques you often see in the hallowed halls of practically any secondary school. «Plastics» is really an apt name for those particular social groups that focus solely on popularity, prettiness, and preppy pep. This movie is highly quotable, in addition to being a darker representation of the more harmless shallowness you see in, say, Clueless, the most adorable film ever.
If you’re interested in seeing a group of mean girls get a more serious, twisted comeuppance, this early Winona Ryder movie is a great choice. You get to see Shannen Doherty at her finest as well, in addition to seeing Technicolor proof of just why Christian Slater was once such a huge teen idol. Honestly, I love this movie; it’s morbid to the extreme.
Juno is an adorable movie in so many ways. There are so many things going on there, making it much more dimensional than other films that focus on teenage pregnancy. A lot of people argue that it glamorizes the problem, which is practically an epidemic, but considering we live in a world that includes 16 and Pregnant, I never saw it that way myself. And I just love Ellen Page!
Rushmore is an excellent high school film for a variety of reasons – like the presence of Bill Murray! It’s also a Wes Anderson film, and I love me some Wes Anderson. It’s a classic tale on the surface: high school boy falls totally in love (lust?) with his teacher. But there it veers away from the norm, turning into a smart, witty, often sarcastic comedy that will leave you and your friends laughing.
10. American Pie
And last but most certainly not least, we have the paragon of all high school movies: American Pie. It was like an instant classic, with tons of quotes and, unfortunately, a lot of scenes so iconic that boys across the world decided to enjoy their own slice of pie. The franchise is finally coming to an end, and while I’ve loved many things about it, the first one is unquestionably the best.
No matter how old you are, high school movies make you feel young again. Unfortunately I only had room for ten, yet there are so many more which are really great. Like say, there are also tons of darker, more dramatic movies about high school out there as well, films about underdogs, drug addiction, bullying, and many other subjects. What’s your favorite high school centered film, of any genre?
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