Best High School Movies

High School always seems so glamorous in the movies...

Although the big screen portrayal of high school is often never what it is actually like in real life, that does not make the films any less enjoyable. Coming of age stories are a consistent favorite among all audiences as people can relate to it no matter their age.  Over the years many spectacular high school films have been released so without further ado, here is a definitive ranking of the top 10 best high school movies to help you pass the days as the 2018-2019 school year winds down.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) | PG-13

Kicking off this list with a 90s classic, 10 Things I Hate About You is a loose, modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. This film is about strong willed Kat Stratford and her high school experiences with a socialite sister, strict father, and new student Patrick Verona, who is paid to take her out. I would recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of other 90s romantic comedies like Clueless, Notting Hill, and Never Been Kissed. This film is a perfect little 90 minute gem filled with intriguing characters, a fantastic soundtrack, and ample quotable lines.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) | PG-13

John Hughes is the father of 80s coming of age stories, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is no exception to his great work. Differing from his trio of Molly Ringwald led classics, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off serves as primarily a lighthearted comedy about growing up and how high school will ultimately not define our entire lives (crazy, I know!). This film follows the wild adventures Ferris goes on when he skips school for a day and takes on the city of Chicago with his friends. Filled with hilarious moments and many close calls, this film is perfect for anyone looking for a high school comedy.

Mean Girls (2004) | PG-13

Arguably one of the most well known and frequently talked about high school movies, Mean Girls follows the life of new student Cady Heron as she attends public school for the first time and navigates her way through the complex social landscape filled with close knit cliques. This film doesn’t need an introduction, I mean who could forget all the iconic moments like the burn book, the candy cane deliveries, the jingle bell rock performance, and the math competition? Mean Girls is a movie that is going to be permanently ingrained in our minds, especially now that Ariana Grande featured it in her “Thank U, Next” music video. This movie is a perfect throwback to help you relax and wind down these last few weeks of school. You can at least be comforted knowing that Magnet isn’t filled with petty drama this extreme. Hopefully at least…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) | PG-13

Another frequently discussed high school movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the movie adaptation of the book by the same name. Centered around the life of socially awkward senior, Charlie, this film details his adventures during his year when two outgoing students take him under their wing. This movie is perfect for anyone in the mood for a film that focuses on more serious subject matter while still providing an enjoyable experience. Bonus points to this film for the expertly placed Rocky Horror Picture Show scene and the absolutely stellar cast.

Lady Bird (2017) | R

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut follows the life of Christine McPherson, who prefers to go by Lady Bird, during her senior year of high school. This indie film is an absolute triumph filled with a star studded cast and many relatable and emotional moments. At the surface, the movie focuses on Lady Bird’s struggles with applying to college, dealing with fake friends, and the disappointing rollercoaster ride known as high school romances, but it is truly at its core, a movie about self discovery and unconventional mother-daughter relationships. If you’re in the mood for an Oscar nominated, Golden Globe winning flick that not only provides cringeworthy relatable moments but also packs an emotional punch, then Lady Bird is the film for you.

Blockers (2018) | R

The most recent film on this list, Blockers tells the story of three best friends who decide to lose their virginities on the night of their senior prom. After their parents find out about this pact, they join forces and go on a wild adventure to try and stop their daughters. I truly have never laughed harder than I have in this movie so if you’re in the mood for a modern gut wrenchingly funny film, then this is the one for you. This movie, which is perfect for prom season, balances the humor with many heartwarming moments too so it truly is a film that has something for everyone. Also bonus points to this film for featuring tastefully done and important representation!

Clueless (1995) | PG-13

Did you really expect to read a list of the best high school movies and not see Clueless pop up? Ugh, As If! This 90s cult classic follows the life of Cher, a shallow and materialistic teen from southern California. She uses her popularity and egotistical personality to declare herself a matchmaker for not only two teachers at her school but also new student Tai. Throughout these makeovers she ends up learning more about herself and her true personality and dreams. This incredibly quotable film is a classic comedy that is perfect for anyone looking for a solid, formulaic 90s rom com.

Juno (2007) | PG-13

This indie film follows the life of Juno, a sixteen year old, who has to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Throughout the film, she must decide if she should or should not keep the baby as well as how to navigate the pressures of adulthood while still being a teenager. This Oscar winning film, brings the best soundtrack and opening title sequence on this list as well as another all star cast. I recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of indie movies such as Little Miss Sunshine and The Kings of Summer or just anyone looking for a well made film with a great script and lovable characters.

Grease (1978) | PG-13

A classic musical, Grease follows a group of high schoolers in the 1950s and is certain to have you singing and dancing by the end of it. I’m sure almost everyone has seen Grease in some form whether it was the original movie or the live version that FOX produced in 2016, but regardless, it is a film that is worth the rewatch. Filled with catchy tunes, compelling characters, and a pure high school romance, this is a movie that will stand the test of time. It is sure to satisfy all the romantics out there for many years to come.

The Breakfast Club (1985) | R

Any article about high school movies would not be complete without mentioning John Hughes’ classic 80s film, The Breakfast Club. The story follows five high schoolers from completely different social circles who are forced to spend a Saturday together in detention. The Breakfast Club has influenced countless other films that follow and is essential for any movie fan to watch. If you love classic 80s films with stellar soundtracks and an all star cast then this is the film for you.

Honorable Mentions: Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, Easy A, and The Edge of Seventeen

Enjoy these great coming of age films!

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