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The Best Intelligent Teen Movies of All Time

Updated March 27, 2021 941 votes 99 voters 4.0k views66 items

List RulesVote up the best intelligent movies, or those that are smart, clever, etc.

In everyday life, we don't always view teenagers as the most intelligent beings—and a lot of movies follow the same lines. While there are plenty of movies with smart teens, the movies themselves aren't always these clever masterpieces. More often than not, they focus on things like teen angst, those teenage romances, high school and so on, and at most teach fellow teens not to ditch class or disobey their parents. However, plenty of intelligent teen movies do exist. That is, films with clever plots, well-thought-out dialogue, and even deep insight into the lives and minds of teenagers.

In this sense, movies like Mean Girls are prime examples of intelligent teen movies. While it's certainly a goofy comedy, it also takes a close look at the effect of cliques, bullying, and other common issues post-pubescent kids. Of course, these smart teen films don't have to focus on high school, and you'll find plenty of great teen movies below that really make the viewer think. Whether that's a great coming-of-age flick or harrowing family film, you'll find the best of them right here.

Check out the list below and vote up the best intelligent teen movies, or those you feel are most clever, insightful, etc. You can also vote down any films you don't find as smart as the next, and add your own to the list. Then, check out our list of movies about smart people.

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    10 Things I Hate About You

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gabrielle Union

    Released1999

    Directed byGil Junger

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  • 2
    27
    7

    Heathers

    Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty

    Released1988

    Directed byMichael Lehmann

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  • 3
    27
    8

    Almost Famous

    Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson

    Released2000

    Directed byCameron Crowe

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  • 4
    36
    17

    Easy A

    Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes

    Released2010

    Directed byWill Gluck

    More Easy A 

    #1 of 22 The Funniest Movies About Teachers#6 of 326 The Best Teen Movies Of All Time

  • 5
    25
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    The Breakfast Club

    Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald

    Released1985

    Directed byJohn Hughes

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  • 6
    38
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    Mean Girls

    Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams

    Released2004

    Directed byMark Waters

    More Mean Girls 

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  • 7
    22
    7

    Stand by Me

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1986

    Directed byRob Reiner

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  • 8
    24
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    Saved!

    Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin

    Released2004

    Directed byBrian Dannelly

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  • 9
    19
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    Sixteen Candles

    John Cusack, Molly Ringwald

    Released1984

    Directed byJohn Hughes

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    #66 of 375 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime#59 of 73 The Greatest Movies To Watch Outside

  • 10
    18
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    The Edge of Seventeen

    Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson

    Released2016

    Directed byKelly Fremon Craig

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  • 11
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    The Outsiders

    Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage

    Released1983

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

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  • 12
    8
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    The Princess Diaries

    Anne Hathaway, Mandy Moore

    Released2001

    Directed byGarry Marshall

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  • 13
    17
    11

    Can't Buy Me Love

    Paula Abdul, Patrick Dempsey

    Released1987

    Directed bySteve Rash

    More Can't Buy Me Love 

    #74 of 305 The Funniest '80s Movies#135 of 783 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

  • 14
    15
    9

    Sing Street

    Aidan Gillen, Jack Reynor

    Released2016

    Directed byJohn Carney

    More 

    #305 of 360 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time#2 of 40 Great Movies About Starting a Band

  • 15
    15
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    She's All That

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anna Paquin

    Released1999

    Directed byRobert Iscove

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    #277 of 440 The Best Movies Of The 1990s#15 of 203 The Best Teen Romance Movies

  • 16
    15
    10

    Lady Bird

    Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf

    Released2017

    Directed byGreta Gerwig

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  • 17
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    Juno

    Jennifer Garner, Ellen Page

    Released2007

    Directed byJason Reitman

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    #329 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#366 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • 18
    18
    15

    Say Anything...

    John Cusack, Jeremy Piven

    Released1989

    Directed byCameron Crowe

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    #36 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks#39 of 61 The Best Movies to Curl Up And Watch When You're Sick

  • 19
    16
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    Superbad

    Emma Stone, Seth Rogen

    Released2007

    Directed byGreg Mottola

    More Superbad 

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  • 20
    14
    11

    Dope

    Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori

    Released2015

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

  • 21
    10
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    Brick

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Meagan Good

    Released2006

    Directed byRian Johnson

    More Brick 

    #222 of 232 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#66 of 248 The Best Whodunit Movies

  • 22
    5
    1

    Pretty in Pink

    James Spader, Gina Gershon

    Released1986

    Directed byHoward Deutch

    More Pretty in Pink 

    #1 of 16 Movies That Completely Changed Their Endings After Everyone Freaked Out#208 of 306 The Greatest Movie Themes

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    11
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    Splendor in the Grass

    Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty

    Released1961

    Directed byElia Kazan

    More Splendor in the Grass 

    #93 of 174 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made#94 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s

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    The Fits

    Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett

    Released2015

    Directed byAnna Rose Holmer

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    Flipped

    Stefanie Scott, Rebecca De Mornay

    Released2010

    Directed byRob Reiner

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