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The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Teen Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated September 30, 2019 8.4k votes 824 voters 8.8k views 25 items

List Rules Vote 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. 

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The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. The storyline follows five teenagers, each a member of a different high school clique, who spend a Saturday in detention together and come to realize that they are all more than their respective stereotypes, while facing a villainous principal. Critics consider it one of the greatest high school films, as well as one of Hughes' most memorable and recognizable works. The media referred to the film's five main actors as members of a group called the "Brat ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, + more

Released: 1985

Directed by: John Hughes

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Clueless is a 1995 American comedy film loosely based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma. It stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd, and Brittany Murphy. The film is set in Beverly Hills and was written and directed by Amy Heckerling and produced by Scott Rudin, it was released in the United States on July 19, 1995. The film spun off a television sitcom and a series of books. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, Wallace Shawn, + more

Released: 1995

Directed by: Amy Heckerling

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10 Things I Hate About You is a 1999 American romantic comedy film directed by Gil Junger, and a modern retelling of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. After finding out his crush (Larisa Oleynik) is forbidden to date, new student Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tries to circumvent her strict father's rules by paying a rebel (Heath Ledger) to date her ill-tempered older sister (Julia Stiles). ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gabrielle Union, Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Allison Janney, + more

Released: 1999

Directed by: Gil Junger

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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, + more

Released: 1978

Directed by: Randal Kleiser

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