725 voters

20+ Great Movies About Teen Life in the 1950s

Updated June 2, 2020 4.0k votes 725 voters 45.5k views30 items

Teen movies set in the 1950s have a timeless feel that taps into universal childhood memories. The top 1950s teen movies feature stories about friendship, relationships, and becoming adults. This is a list of the top life in the 1950s films, featuring everything from The Outsiders to American Graffiti to Rebel without a Cause.

What movies will you find on this list of the best films about teenagers in the 1950s? John Waters directed two of the best with Cry-Baby and Hairspray. Both films stand out from the pack for their ability to highlight misfits, rebels, greasers, and outcasts from the era and make them the stars of the show. Peggy Sue Got Married is another great film about teens set in the 1950s. Young love is at the heart of the classic teen musical Grease, which is set in the summer and fall of 1958. Other good films featured on this best fifties teen movies list include Stand By Me, Back to the Future, and Pleasantville.

Do you have a favorite teen movie set in the 1950s? Vote your favorites up to the top, and add any great flicks that are missing.

  • 1

    Stand by Me

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman
    Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob...  more

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  • 2


    John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John
    Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy-drama film directed by Randal Kleiser and...  more

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  • 3

    Back to the Future

    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd
    Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis. Marty...  more

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  • 4

    The Outsiders

    Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage
    The Outsiders is a 1983 American drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, an adaptation of...  more

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  • 5

    Rebel Without a Cause

    Natalie Wood, James Dean
    Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film about emotionally confused suburban,...  more

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  • 6

    American Graffiti

    Harrison Ford, Ron Howard
    American Graffiti is a 1973 American coming of age comedy-drama film directed and co-written...  more

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  • 7

    West Side Story

    Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno
    West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and...  more

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  • 8


    Reese Witherspoon, Paul Walker
    Pleasantville is a 1998 American fantasy comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by...  more

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  • 9


    Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe
    Cry-Baby is a 1990 American teen musical romantic comedy film written and directed by John...  more

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  • 10

    Dead Poets Society

    Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke
    Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter...  more

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  • 11


    Debbie Harry, Jerry Stiller
    Hairspray is a 1988 American romantic musical comedy film written and directed by John Waters,...  more

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  • 12


    John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer
    Hairspray is a 2007 American musical romantic comedy film based on the 2002 Broadway musical...  more

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  • 13

    Peggy Sue Got Married

    Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey
    Peggy Sue Got Married is a 1986 American comedy-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola...  more

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  • 14


    Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper
    Hoosiers is a 1986 sports film directed by David Anspaugh. A coach with a checkered past (Gene...  more

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  • 15

    The Wanderers

    Karen Allen, Olympia Dukakis
    The Wanderers is a 1979 drama film about gangs and the greaser subculture, based on the novel...  more

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  • 16

    The Man in the Moon

    Reese Witherspoon, Sam Waterston
    The Man in the Moon is a 1991 American coming of age drama film and was the final film of...  more

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  • 17

    The Last Picture Show

    Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd
    The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted...  more

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  • 18

    The Lords of Flatbush

    Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler
    The Lords of Flatbush is a 1974 American drama film about street teenagers in leather jackets...  more
  • 19


    Christopher Lee, Peter Sellers
    Lolita is a 1962 comedy-drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same...  more

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  • 20

    This Boy's Life

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro
    This Boy's Life is a 1993 film adaptation of the memoir of the same name by American author...  more

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  • 21

    Quiz Show

    Ralph Fiennes, Martin Scorsese
    Quiz Show is a 1994 American historical drama film produced and directed by Robert Redford,...  more

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  • 22

    The Hollywood Knights

    Michelle Pfeiffer, Fran Drescher
    The Hollywood Knights is an American motion picture comedy written and directed by Floyd...  more

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  • 23

    The Vast of Night

    Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz
    The Vast of Night is a 2020 retro-science fiction film directed by Andrew Patterson. In the...  more

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  • 24


    Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen
    Badlands is a 1973 American film written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring Martin...  more

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  • 25

    Streets of Fire

    Willem Dafoe, Diane Lane
    Streets of Fire is a 1984 film directed by Walter Hill and co-written by Hill and Larry Gross....  more