The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Teen Movies
We all grew up watching them, so it's only natural everyone has their favorite teen movie. Whether it was released back in the '60s or in recent history, teen films tend to appeal to young adults via relatable storylines, light humor, and - of course - plenty of angst. These films have made us all laugh, cry, and fall in love with pretty much whoever was on the screen. If you want to relive your adolescence, there are some teen movies everyone should watch to recall what it was like to be that age. But which teen movies are truly essential?
If you feel unfamiliar with the genre - hey, not everyone was into mainstream cinema in high school! - this list can help familiarize you with the world of teen films. These are basically teen films for beginners. There are hundreds of must-see teen movies, but this list compiles the most influential films of the genre. From the groundbreaking Breakfast Club to the more recent Mean Girls, these famous films pushed the boundaries of adolescent entertainment.
Get an intro to teen movies below by checking out some of these must-see films. Then, vote up your favorites.
- 1278 VOTESFive high school students from different walks of life endure a Saturday detention under a power-hungry principal (Paul Gleason). The disparate group includes rebel John (Judd Nelson), princess Claire (Molly Ringwald), outcast Allison (Ally Sheedy), brainy Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) and Andrew (Emilio Estevez), the jock. Each has a chance to tell his or her story, making the others see them a little differently -- and when the day ends, they question whether school will ever be the same.
- Released: 1985
- Directed by: John Hughes
- 2283 VOTESShallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale. Seeing herself as a matchmaker, Cher first coaxes two teachers into dating each other. Emboldened by her success, she decides to give hopelessly klutzy new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) a makeover. When Tai becomes more popular than she is, Cher realizes that her disapproving ex-stepbrother (Paul Rudd) was right about how misguided she was -- and falls for him.
- Released: 1995
- Directed by: Amy Heckerling
- 3252 VOTESSam (Hilary Duff), a teenager in California, is obliged to work as a janitor and dishwasher in the diner of her stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge). After a cell phone mix-up, Sam begins an anonymous text-messaging and e-mail relationship with a boy. They agree to meet at a school dance, but when Sam finds out that her secret pen pal is none other than Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray), the cutest boy in school, she panics and looks for a way to make herself cooler.
- Released: 2004
- Directed by: Mark Rosman
- 4235 VOTESA girl who's sick of the social strictures of junior high is transformed into a grownup overnight. In this feel-good fairy tale, teenager Jenna (Christa B. Allen) wants a boyfriend, and when she's unable to find one, she fantasizes about being a well-adjusted adult. Suddenly, her secret desire becomes a reality, and she is transformed into a 30-year-old (Jennifer Garner). But adulthood, with its own set of male-female challenges, isn't as easy as it looks.
- Released: 2004
- Directed by: Gary Winick
- 5285 VOTESKat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is beautiful, smart and quite abrasive to most of her fellow teens, meaning that she doesn't attract many boys. Unfortunately for her younger sister, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), house rules say that she can't date until Kat has a boyfriend, so strings are pulled to set the dour damsel up for a romance. Soon Kat crosses paths with handsome new arrival Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger). Will Kat let her guard down enough to fall for the effortlessly charming Patrick?
- Released: 1999
- Directed by: Gil Junger
- 6224 VOTESHigh school hotshot Zach Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is the envy of his peers. But his popularity declines sharply when his cheerleader girlfriend, Taylor (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), leaves him for sleazy reality-television star Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard). Desperate to revive his fading reputation, Siler agrees to a seemingly impossible challenge. He has six weeks to gain the trust of nerdy outcast Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) -- and help her to become the school's next prom queen.
- Released: 1999
- Directed by: Robert Iscove