30+ Great Movies About Juvenile Delinquents

Over 300 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of 30+ Great Movies About Juvenile Delinquents

The hijinx of troubled teens are rough to deal with, unless you are watching them unfold on the big screen. The top juvenile delinquent movies feature characters dealing with drug use, crime and rebelling against authority. This is a list of rebellious teen movies featuring everything from Heathers to Less Than Zero to City of God.

What movies will you find on this list of the best movies about juvenile delinquency? Fans of the classics might rank Rebel Without a Cause at the very top. James Dean became the iconic misunderstood teen in this 1955 classic. A Clockwork Orange, with its unforgettable portrayals of juvenile "ultra-violence" and teen rebellion, also appears on this trouble teen movies listKids shocked movie-goers with its content when it was released in 1995. Other films that appear on this roundup of the best juvenile delinquent movies include Bully, The Outsiders, and Boyz n the Hood.

Which teenage rebellion movies deserve the top spot on this list? Decide by giving your favorites a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

Most divisive: Less Than Zero
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  • The Outsiders
    1
    Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio
    144 votes
    • Released: 1983
    • Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
    In the heartland of 1960s Oklahoma, The Outsiders tells the story of a group of underprivileged teenagers known as the Greasers. Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell), an introspective youth, and his friends Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio) and Dallas Winston (Matt Dillon) navigate their way through social inequalities and personal struggles. This coming-of-age drama, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is built on themes of friendship, societal pressure, and the harsh realities of socio-economic divisions. The film has been recognized for its authentic portrayal of teen angst amidst class conflicts.

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  • Boyz n the Hood
    2
    Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding
    97 votes
    • Released: 1991
    • Directed by: John Singleton
    In the heart of South Central Los Angeles, Boyz n the Hood unravels a gripping tale of urban life. Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.), under the stern guidance of his father Furious (Laurence Fishburne), navigates through the challenges of violence and poverty. His friends Doughboy (Ice Cube) and Ricky Baker (Morris Chestnut) tread contrasting paths, offering a stark portrayal of realities in this crime-ridden neighborhood. Directed by John Singleton, this 1991 drama is lauded for its authentic depiction of race relations and social issues. Garnering two Academy Award nominations, it's a pivotal piece in cinema history.

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  • Thirteen
    3
    Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed
    88 votes
    • Released: 2003
    • Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
    In the gritty drama Thirteen, Tracy Freeland (Evan Rachel Wood) is a promising student whose life spirals out of control after befriending the rebellious Evie Zamora (Nikki Reed). As Tracy plunges headfirst into a world of petty crime and substance abuse, her mother, Melanie (Holly Hunter), struggles to save her from self-destruction. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, this stark portrayal of adolescence earned Holly Hunter an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Thirteen is a riveting exploration of teenage turmoil, peer pressure, and parental desperation.

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  • Kids
    4
    Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloë Sevigny
    98 votes
    • Released: 1995
    • Directed by: Larry Clark
    Delving into the raw and unfiltered reality of youth, Kids is a riveting drama directed by Larry Clark. The narrative orbits around Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), who prides himself on deflowering virgins, and his reckless friend Casper (Justin Pierce). Unbeknownst to Telly, a former partner Jenny (Chloë Sevigny) learns she's HIV positive, setting off a desperate quest across New York City. As their paths converge, Kids paints an unsettling portrait of teenage life. Complemented by an authentic cast and gritty storytelling, it offers an uncompromising look at the consequence-laden world of adolescence.
  • Rebel Without a Cause
    5
    James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo
    87 votes
    • Released: 1955
    • Directed by: Nicholas Ray
    After moving to a new town, troublemaking teen Jim Stark (James Dean) is supposed to have a clean slate, although being the new kid in town brings its own problems. While searching for some stability, Stark forms a bond with a disturbed classmate, Plato (Sal Mineo), and falls for local girl Judy (Natalie Wood). However, Judy is the girlfriend of neighborhood tough, Buzz (Corey Allen). When Buzz violently confronts Jim and challenges him to a drag race, the new kid's real troubles begin.

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  • Heathers
    6
    Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
    91 votes
    • Released: 1989
    • Directed by: Michael Lehmann
    In the dark comedy Heathers, high school senior Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) finds herself entangled in an unusual relationship with the mysterious new kid, J.D. (Christian Slater). Amidst the social pressures of Westerburg High School, dominated by a clique of girls all named Heather, Veronica and J.D. embark on a rebellious journey against the popular crowd. Their actions quickly spiral into a series of disturbing events that blur the line between teenage rebellion and criminal activity. This 1988 cult classic explores themes of popularity, power, and the chilling lengths some will go to leave their mark on society.

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