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The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Teen Movies

Updated September 30, 2019 9.7k votes 824 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. 

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  • A Cinderella Story is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Teen Movies
    Video: YouTube
    A Cinderella Story is a 2004 American teen romantic comedy film. The film stars Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge, and Regina King and was directed by Mark Rosman. The film's plot revolves around two Internet pen pals who meet at a school dance and fall in love but two different worlds keep them apart. It received negative reviews from critics, but was a commercial success. The film was followed by two direct to video sequels, Another Cinderella Story and A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Hilary Duff, Jennifer Coolidge, Chad Michael Murray, Regina King, Madeline Zima
    • Released: 2004
    • Directed by: Mark Rosman
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  • Clueless is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Teen Movies
    Video: YouTube
    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
    • Released: 1995
    • Directed by: Amy Heckerling
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  • 13 Going on 30 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Teen Movies
    Video: YouTube
    13 Going on 30 is a 2004 American romantic comedy fantasy film written by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, and directed by Gary Winick. Starring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis and Kathy Baker, the film was produced by Revolution Studios for Columbia Pictures and it was released on April 23, 2004. It follows a 13-year-old girl who dreams of being popular. During her birthday party, she engages in the party game Seven Minutes in Heaven. The game turns out to be a humiliating experience for her, and she refuses to come out of the closet. When she eventually does emerge, she finds herself five days shy of her 30th birthday, uncertain to how she got there. The film... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Jennifer Garner, Ashley Benson, Mark Ruffalo, Renee Olstead, Judy Greer
    • Released: 2004
    • Directed by: Gary Winick
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  • 10 Things I Hate About You is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Teen Movies
    Video: YouTube
    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
    • Released: 1999
    • Directed by: Gil Junger
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