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The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Teen Movies

Updated September 30, 2019 9.8k votes 825 voters 8.9k views25 items

List RulesVote up the teen movies that define the genre and should be required viewing for beginners in an Intro to Teen Movies class.

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 Girlsthese 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. 

  • Grease
    Video: YouTube
    Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy-drama film directed by Randal Kleiser and produced by Paramount Pictures. It is based on Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs' 1971 musical of the same name about two lovers in a 1950s high school. The film stars John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, and Jeff Conaway. It was successful both critically and at the box office. Its soundtrack album ended 1978 as the second-best selling album of the year in the United States, behind the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever, another film starring Travolta. A sequel, Grease 2, was released in 1982, starring Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer. Only a few of the original cast members... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Sid Caesar, Joan Blondell
    • Released: 1978
    • Directed by: Randal Kleiser
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  • Superbad
    Video: YouTube
    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 script when they were both 13 years old; they completed a draft by the time they were 15. The film's main characters have the same given names as Rogen and Goldberg. It was also one of a string of hit films produced by Judd Apatow.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Emma Stone, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jenna Haze, Michael Cera
    • Released: 2007
    • Directed by: Greg Mottola
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  • 17 Again
    Video: YouTube
    17 Again is a 2009 American comedy film directed by Burr Steers. The film follows 37-year-old Mike who becomes a 17-year-old high school student after a chance incident. The film also features Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon and Michelle Trachtenberg in supporting roles. The film was released in the United States on April 17, 2009. ... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Zac Efron, Michelle Trachtenberg, Matthew Perry, Kat Graham, Leslie Mann
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Burr Steers
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  • Sixteen Candles
    Video: YouTube
    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.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: John Cusack, Molly Ringwald, Joan Cusack, Anthony Michael Hall, Jami Gertz
    • Released: 1984
    • Directed by: John Hughes
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