The Best Movies About Going Back To School As An Adult

Over 60 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Movies About Going Back To School As An Adult
Voting Rules

Vote up your favorite movies where characters go back to grade school and high school.

Going back to high school is not something most of us would ever want to do but these movies imagine what it would be like to go as an adult. The classic comedy, Billy Madison has Adam Sandler returning to school in order to take over his father's lucrative chain of hotels. 17 Again has Mathew Perry transform himself back into a teenager and return to high school where he has a chance to correct past mistakes. Most of these films show what a nightmare high school can be but they are all hilarious for the audience. Now it's time to determine which one of these is the best movie about returning to school.

Vote up your favorite movies about going back to school as an adult and vote down any that you think other fans should skip. Be sure to check back as new movies about going back to high school are added to the list once they are released.

  • Billy Madison
    Photo: Universal Pictures
    79 votes

    Alongside Happy Gilmore, this 1995 comedy is ranked among Adam Sandler's best comedic performances. It brought home over $26 million from the box office and gave us such quotable lines as “Of course I peed my pants! Everyone my age pees their pants; it's the coolest!”


    Billy Madison is a comedy flick that showcases the life of Billy Madison, a man-child played by Adam Sandler. He's an heir to a hotel empire, but his father (Darren McGavin) doubts his capability to take over. Hence, he's forced to go back to school, starting from kindergarten up to high school, in order to prove his worthiness. The movie takes viewers through hilarious situations as Billy navigates the education system and tries to win over his teacher Veronica Vaughn (Bridgette Wilson). This film marked a significant point in Sandler's career and is noted for its humorous portrayal of adult immaturity with a unique twist on the redemption narrative.
    • Actors: Adam Sandler, Darren McGavin, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Bradley Whitford, Josh Mostel
    • Released: 1995
    • Directed by: Tamra Davis

    Available On:


  • 21 Jump Street
    Photo: Columbia Pictures / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    This comedic take on the 1980s classic TV show was a surprise hit when it was released in 2012. Making over $200 million at the box office and establishing the careers of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord, 21 Jump Street's legacy, all these years later is evident. Brie Larson and Dave Franco cut their teeth on this action-comedy while Ice Cube, Rob Riggle, Nick Offerman, Jake Johnson, and Ellie Kemper round out the phenomenal cast.


    In 21 Jump Street, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), two underachieving cops, are sent back to high school in an undercover operation. Their mission is to bring down a synthetic drug ring run by the popular kid, Eric (Dave Franco). As they navigate teenage drama and old high school rivalries, they must avoid blowing their cover. This action-comedy, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, won the Golden Trailer award for Best Comedy Poster. It's a comedic twist on crime dramas with a dash of nostalgic high school reminiscence.
    • Actors: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle
    • Released: 2012
    • Directed by: Phil Lord, Chris Miller

    Available On:



  • Never Been Kissed
    Photo: 20th Century Fox

    Drew Barrymore broke everyone's heart when she introduced us to “Josie Grossy” in this 1999 romcom classic. Sure some of its tropes seem cliché now (and even a bit problematic– looking at you Sam Coulson), but Never Been Kissed invented so many of the conventions that made '00s teen movie so unique. There's a reason this movie continues to be referenced to this day.


    In the heartfelt romantic comedy, Never Been Kissed, Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) is a Chicago Sun-Times copy editor with dreams bigger than her cubicle. With winning enthusiasm, she's assigned to go undercover at a high school, reliving her own torturous teen years while attempting to pen an exposé on contemporary adolescence. Along the way, she crosses paths with English teacher Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan), leading to unexpected romantic sparks. As Josie grapples with her assignment and newfound feelings, a story of self-discovery and first love unfolds. With a dash of humor and a sprinkle of charm, this film navigates the often choppy waters of high school life and love.
    • Actors: Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly
    • Released: 1999
    • Directed by: Raja Gosnell

    Available On:


  • 17 Again
    Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
    41 votes

    There have been plenty of age swap movies throughout the years, but none starring top-of- his game Zac Efron. Playing the younger version of Matthew Perry's out of touch dad and husband, Efron proved he could hold his own in something other than a Disney movie. Audiences loved it, making close to $140 million at the box office. 


    In 17 Again, Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) finds himself reliving his high school days after a mysterious event transforms him back to 17 from his adult self (Matthew Perry). He seizes this chance to rewrite his life, navigating teenage problems and rekindling the spark with his estranged wife, Scarlett (Leslie Mann). As he tries to fix past mistakes, he realizes that age is just a number. This light-hearted comedy-drama explores themes of regret, second chances and self-discovery without sacrificing its humorous undertone, making it a well-rounded family entertainment piece.
    • Actors: Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, Matthew Perry, Tyler Steelman
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Burr Steers

    Available On:

  • Senior Year
    Photo: Senior Year / Netflix
    49 votes

    Apparently Rebel Wilson's first order of business after a total body transformation was to go back to high school. Taking cues from her time in the Pitch Perfect franchise and on her rom-com Isn't It Romantic, Wilson handles the social gaffs one would experience going back to high school with comedic precision. Sam Richardson rounds out the film with an endearing performance as her guide to adulthood.


    A high-school cheerleader falls into a coma before her prom. Twenty years later, she awakens and wants to return to high school to reclaim her status and become prom queen.
    • Actors: Rebel Wilson, Zoe Chao, Sam Richardson, Mary Holland, Justin Hartley
    • Released: 2022
    • Directed by: Alex Hardcastle

    Available On:


  • 6
    21 votes

    Night School

    In Night School Kevin Hart plays a successful salesman whose life takes an unexpected turn when he accidentally blows up his place of employment. Hilariously forced to attend night school to get his GED, Hart soon finds himself dealing with a group of misfit students, his former high school nemesis, and a feisty teacher (Tiffany Haddish) who doesn't think he's too bright.


    Teddy Walker is a successful salesman whose life takes an unexpected turn when he accidentally blows up his place of employment. Forced to attend night school to get his GED, Teddy soon finds himself dealing with a group of misfit students, his former high school nemesis and a feisty teacher who doesn't think he's too bright.
    • Actors: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Rob Riggle, Taran Killam, Romany Malco
    • Released: 2018
    • Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee

    Available On: