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The Best Intelligent Teen Movies of All Time

Updated January 20, 2021 699 votes 85 voters 3.5k views61 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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  • Heathers1
    28
    5

    Heathers

    Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty

    Released1988

    Directed byMichael Lehmann

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  • 10 Things I Hate About You2
    29
    9

    10 Things I Hate About You

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gabrielle Union

    Released1999

    Directed byGil Junger

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  • Easy A3
    34
    16

    Easy A

    Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes

    Released2010

    Directed byWill Gluck

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  • Stand by Me4
    23
    7

    Stand by Me

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1986

    Directed byRob Reiner

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  • The Breakfast Club5
    22
    6

    The Breakfast Club

    Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald

    Released1985

    Directed byJohn Hughes

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  • The Outsiders6
    20
    7

    The Outsiders

    Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage

    Released1983

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

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  • Flipped7
    21
    11

    Flipped

    Stefanie Scott, Rebecca De Mornay

    Released2010

    Directed byRob Reiner

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  • Mean Girls8
    32
    26

    Mean Girls

    Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams

    Released2004

    Directed byMark Waters

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  • The Edge of Seventeen9
    18
    9

    The Edge of Seventeen

    Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson

    Released2016

    Directed byKelly Fremon Craig

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  • Sixteen Candles10
    17
    9

    Sixteen Candles

    John Cusack, Molly Ringwald

    Released1984

    Directed byJohn Hughes

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  • Say Anything...11
    14
    8

    Say Anything...

    John Cusack, Jeremy Piven

    Released1989

    Directed byCameron Crowe

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  • Almost Famous12
    14
    8

    Almost Famous

    Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson

    Released2000

    Directed byCameron Crowe

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  • Dope13
    14
    8

    Dope

    Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori

    Released2015

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

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  • Can't Buy Me Love14
    16
    12

    Can't Buy Me Love

    Paula Abdul, Patrick Dempsey

    Released1987

    Directed bySteve Rash

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  • She's All That15
    12
    8

    She's All That

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anna Paquin

    Released1999

    Directed byRobert Iscove

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  • Lady Bird16
    13
    10

    Lady Bird

    Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf

    Released2017

    Directed byGreta Gerwig

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  • Saved!17
    12
    9

    Saved!

    Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin

    Released2004

    Directed byBrian Dannelly

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  • Splendor in the Grass18
    11
    9

    Splendor in the Grass

    Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty

    Released1961

    Directed byElia Kazan

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  • Superbad19
    12
    12

    Superbad

    Emma Stone, Seth Rogen

    Released2007

    Directed byGreg Mottola

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  • It's Kind of a Funny Story20
    6
    6

    It's Kind of a Funny Story

    Emma Roberts, Viola Davis

    Released2010

    Directed byRyan Fleck, Anna Boden

  • Booksmart21
    5
    5

    Booksmart

    Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein

    Released2019

    Directed byOlivia Wilde

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  • Rushmore22
    6
    7

    Rushmore

    Bill Murray, Alexis Bledel

    Released1998

    Directed byWes Anderson

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  • Sing Street23
    7
    8

    Sing Street

    Aidan Gillen, Jack Reynor

    Released2016

    Directed byJohn Carney

  • Juno24
    15
    21

    Juno

    Jennifer Garner, Ellen Page

    Released2007

    Directed byJason Reitman

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  • The Fits25
    3
    5

    The Fits

    Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett

    Released2015

    Directed byAnna Rose Holmer