The Greatest Shows & Movies About High School

Over 500 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Greatest Shows & Movies About High School
Voting Rules
Vote up the most entertaining films & series about life for high school students.

High school is a time many people recall with fond memories, choosing to forget the homework and inability to go to the bathroom without a pass. The time we spent in high school often includes great stories about playing sports, making friends, having a good time at parties, and of course, meeting that special girl or guy you had a crush on the entire year. Considering all this, high school has long been depicted in television and film, which is probably due to the fact that most of the population had similar experiences. Were you the jock, the nerd, or even a mean girl? Whatever your role, there are movies and TV shows about high school pretty much everyone can relate to.

Whether you're looking for new shows about high school or a classic high school comedy, there's certainly something to suit your interests. For those who love a good teen romance story, some of the best movies about high school are all about relationships. John Hughes' entries into the genre are all about "getting the girl" and navigating the halls of a school where you just don't fit in. Ferris Beuler's Day Off is all about a guy who doesn't attend school while TV series like Glee spend most of their screen time with the kids in school. Whatever your preference in the genre, be it comedy, romance, or drama, there's plenty to see that will remind you of your days in high school. 

Which high school movies and shows deserve the top spots on this list? Help decide by giving your favorites a thumbs up and adding any good ones missing from the list.

Most divisive: Glee
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  • In the film The Breakfast Club, five high school students, each representing a different stereotype, meet in detention. There's the brainy Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), the athletic Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), the rebel John Bender (Judd Nelson), the princess Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), and the outcast Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy). As they spend a Saturday together under supervision of the strict assistant principal Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason), they gradually open up to one another, revealing their deeper selves beneath their public personas. This 1985 coming-of-age comedy-drama directed by John Hughes explores themes of identity, peer pressure, and adolescence within its 97-minute runtime. To this day, it remains a classic in teen cinema.
  • Mean Girls
    213 votes
    In the teen comedy Mean Girls, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) is a naive newcomer to public school, having been homeschooled in Africa. She finds herself in the whirlwind of high school politics and cliques, especially when she crosses paths with Regina George (Rachel McAdams), the queen bee of North Shore High School's most popular clique, The Plastics. As Cady navigates this new terrain, she becomes entangled in The Plastics' manipulative games. Tina Fey, who also wrote the screenplay, stars as Ms. Norbury, a teacher who provides guidance for Cady. Mean Girls was nominated for multiple awards and won a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Comedy.
  • Clueless
    206 votes
    In the heart of Beverly Hills, high schooler Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) reigns as a self-proclaimed fashionista and matchmaker. Clueless, a comedy-drama flick directed by Amy Heckerling, sees Cher navigating the tricky waters of adolescence while attempting to handle love interests and maintain her social status. Alongside Cher is her best friend Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), who aids in her various escapades. The film, an amusing modern adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, cleverly taps into teenage angst and the complexities of young love. Despite its light-hearted tone, it subtly addresses pertinent social issues, making it a timeless classic.
  • In the early 1990s, a sitcom emerged that deftly combined humor and heart, exploring themes of family, class, and culture. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a beloved classic, follows the life of West Philadelphia-born teenager, Will Smith (played by none other than Will Smith), as he adjusts to his new life with wealthy relatives in their posh Bel-Air mansion. With its talented ensemble cast, including the late James Avery as stern yet caring Uncle Phil and Alfonso Ribeiro as the endearingly dorky cousin Carlton, the show earned numerous award nominations and wins during its six-season run. The series remains a touchstone of television history, fondly remembered for its catchy theme song, memorable moments, and the undeniable charm of its star, Will Smith.
  • In a small Californian town lies the seemingly ordinary Sunnydale High School, but beneath its surface lurks an underworld of supernatural forces. Buffy the Vampire Slayer follows the life of Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a teenager with a destiny to protect humanity as a vampire-slaying warrior. This iconic series is a seamless blend of horror, comedy, and drama, earning multiple accolades throughout its seven-season run. With memorable characters such as Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon), the show expertly tackles themes of friendship, love, and self-discovery while maintaining a thrilling atmosphere that keeps viewers engaged.
  • That '70s Show
    Set in the nostalgic era of the 1970s, this sitcom offers a humorous and heartwarming glimpse into the lives of six teenage friends navigating the ups and downs of adolescence. With an ensemble cast including Topher Grace as the endearingly geeky Eric Forman, Laura Prepon as the fiercely independent Donna Pinciotti, and Ashton Kutcher as the dim-witted yet lovable Michael Kelso, the show strikes a perfect balance between humor and relatable teen drama. Garnering numerous award nominations throughout its eight-season run, That '70s Show remains a beloved classic, capturing the essence of a bygone era while exploring timeless themes of friendship, love, and self-discovery.