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The Best Coming of Age Movies 

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Updated May 11, 2020 18.7k votes 1.5k voters 145.7k views 188 items

List Rules Vote for the greatest coming of age films, regardless of how popular or successful they were at the box office.

For this list, we're ranking the best coming of age movies of all time, with the help of your votes. The coming of age films list is special in the sense that everyone on the planet can relate to these movies. They tell stories of awkward teenagers transitioning from children into adults, and the journey is almost always familiar to grown men and women who have already been through it themselves. Many of the top coming of age movies were released in the '80s and '90s, including Dazed and Confused, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. A good example of a newer coming of age film is Superbad, the movie that launched the careers of Michael Cena and Jonah Hill.

Don't be afraid to add one of your favorites to this coming of age movies list if it's missing. Try not to downvote the films you haven't seen, as we want this list to be as accurate as possible.

Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas are among the directors who have worked on Coming of age movies in the past.

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1
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Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall

Released: 1985

Directed by: John Hughes

The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John ...more

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The Best Quotes From 'The Breakfast Club' Make Detention Fun Again #12 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #4 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

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Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, John Cusack

Released: 1986

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Stand By Me' That Prove The Film Shaped The Child Actors #36 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #11 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

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Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick, Jeffrey Jones

Released: 1986

Directed by: John Hughes

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. The film follows high school senior Ferris Bueller, who skips school and spends the day in ...more

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Behind The Scenes Of The Famous Parade Scene In 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' #11 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #2 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

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Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey

Released: 1993

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Dazed and Confused is a 1993 coming of age comedy film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film features a large ensemble cast of actors who would later become stars, including ...more

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#31 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #115 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #134 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

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James Earl Jones, Denis Leary, Karen Allen

Released: 1993

Directed by: David M. Evans

The Sandlot, also known as The Sandlot Kids, is a 1993 American coming-of-age film Comedy directed by David M. Evans, which tells the story of a group of young baseball players during the summer ...more

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What Ever Happened To All The Kids From The Sandlot? #31 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #20 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies

6
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Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Lara Flynn Boyle

Released: 1989

Directed by: Peter Weir

Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set at the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy in the ...more

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#61 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #64 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Coming of Age Movies
Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Matt Damon

Released: 1997

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgård. Written by Affleck and ...more

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#56 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #140 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita

Released: 1984

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, who was 22 years old during principal ...more

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#33 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #7 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #135 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

9
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John Cusack, Molly Ringwald, Joan Cusack

Released: 1984

Directed by: John Hughes

Sixteen Candles is a 1984 American coming-of-age comedy film starring Molly Ringwald, Michael Schoeffling and Anthony Michael Hall. It was written and directed by John Hughes.

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The Funniest Quotes From 'Sixteen Candles' #54 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #27 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

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Nicolas Cage, Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Released: 1982

Directed by: Amy Heckerling

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a 1982 American coming-of-age teen comedy film written by Cameron Crowe, adapted from his 1981 book of the same name. As a freelance writer for Rolling Stone ...more

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#90 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #47 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #68 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

11
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Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz, Elizabeth Perkins

Released: 1988

Directed by: Penny Marshall

Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood ...more

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'Big' Is Actually An Existential Nightmare #26 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #15 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

12
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Jamie Lee Curtis, Macaulay Culkin, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 1991

Directed by: Howard Zieff

My Girl is a 1991 American comedy-drama film directed by Howard Zieff and written by Laurice Elehwany. The film, starring Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky in her feature film debut, depicts the ...more

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#53 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #94 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #8 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

13
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Emma Stone, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill

Released: 2007

Directed by: Greg Mottola

Superbad is a 2007 American teen comedy film directed by Greg Mottola and starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. The film was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who began working on the ...more

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#14 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #250 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #8 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

14
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Jennifer Garner, Ellen Page, Jason Bateman

Released: 2007

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Juno is a 2007 Canadian-American comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. Ellen Page stars as the title character, an independent-minded teenager confronting an ...more

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The Funniest Quotes From 'Juno' #593 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
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Harrison Ford, Ron Howard, Suzanne Somers

Released: 1973

Directed by: George Lucas

American Graffiti is a 1973 American coming of age comedy-drama film directed and co-written by George Lucas starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin ...more

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#368 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #216 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #14 of 347 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

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Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried

Released: 2004

Directed by: Mark Waters

Mean Girls is a 2004 American teen comedy film. Mark Waters directed, and Tina Fey wrote the screenplay, which is based in part on Rosalind Wiseman's non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes, ...more

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Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth

Released: 1999

Directed by: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz

American Pie is a 1999 teen comedy film written by Adam Herz and directed by brothers Paul and Chris Weitz, in their directorial film debut. It is the first film in the American Pie theatrical ...more

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Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson, Anna Paquin

Released: 2000

Directed by: Cameron Crowe

Almost Famous is a 2000 comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit. It tells the fictional story of a teenage journalist ...more

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#1 of 208 The Best Movies About Music #535 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
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James Spader, Gina Gershon, Molly Ringwald

Released: 1986

Directed by: Howard Deutch

Pretty in Pink is a 1986 American romantic comedy-drama film about love and social cliques in 1980s American high schools. It is one of John Hughes' films starring Molly Ringwald, and is ...more

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#75 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #53 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #1,015 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

20
The Lion King is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Coming of Age Movies
Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick

Released: 1994

Directed by: Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical epic film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more

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21
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Haylie Duff, Jon Heder, Diedrich Bader

Released: 2004

Directed by: Jared Hess

Napoleon Dynamite is a 2004 American independent art-house comedy film written by Jared and Jerusha Hess and directed by Jared. The film stars Jon Heder in the role of the title character, for ...more

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#55 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #313 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #56 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

22
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Natalie Wood, James Dean, Dennis Hopper

Released: 1955

Directed by: Nicholas Ray

Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers. The film stars James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood. Directed by Nicholas Ray, ...more

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23
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Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Diane Lane

Released: 1983

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

The Outsiders is a 1983 American drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton. The film was released on March 25, 1983. Jo Ellen ...more

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24
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looksharp added Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

Released: 1988

Directed by: Michael Lehmann

Heathers is a 1988 comedy, drama film written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann.

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The Most Popular Quotes From 'Heathers' #127 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #108 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

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Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd

Released: 1995

Directed by: Amy Heckerling

Clueless is a 1995 American comedy film loosely based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma. It stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd, and Brittany Murphy. The film is set in Beverly Hills ...more

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