Nostalgia for our younger days is one of the easiest ways a movie can take hold of you and never let go. Even if you’re the same age as the characters when you first saw the movie! Coming-of-age, teen movies are masters of not just tugging on those heart strings but yanking on them. For most of us, the idealized view of what it’s like to grow up in the world, even when the stories are tragic and heartbreaking are far too important to our ever-growing psyches and movie knowledge to ever forget.
There are so many facets to growing up that crafting a truly great and memorable teen movie is harder than it looks. But the ones that breakthrough have been a part of plenty of moviegoers’ rite of passages for decades now. So, no matter the film or the era it was released in, there’s usually something for everyone in these 10 Timeless Teen Movies You Need To See At The Right Age.
10 10 Things I Hate About You
It’s “When Robin Met The Joker” in the late nineties Movie, 10 Things I Hate About You. Adapted from Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew, the movie starred Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Heath Ledger, and Julia Stiles before any of them became household names.
The movie only gained traction after they all achieved fame. Cameron wants Bianca, Bianca wants Joey, but isn’t allowed to date until her antisocial sister does. Kat however has no interest in dating, until she meets bad boy Patrick, who she is smitten by until she figures out that Cameron convinced him to date her; no wonder the movie asks, “how do I loathe thee?”
9 The Craft
In most teen social cliques, there’s usually an outcast or two. Some of those girls and guys might even partake in practicing Wicca. In The Craft, those girls are actually witches! Sarah’s the new girl at a private school but soon finds some friends - Bonnie, Rochelle, and Nancy.
All four of them come from some form of a broken home and all four of them practice witchcraft together. Besides the actual witch scenes, plenty of teens could empathize with how the girls are feeling both individually and as a group.
8 Mean Girls
In between being a Disney tween and a borderline Hollywood casualty, Lindsay Lohan was on the rise as an actress to watch. It was all thanks to portrayal as Cady Heron in Mean Girls.
Cady’s been home schooled and on safari most of her life. She’s a little naive when joins the cliquey group at school called the Plastics. Imagine what went on behind closed doors of teenage girls and then multiply it by movie plot lines to find out how the effects of cliques on teen girls could be in the satire of the genre.
7 Empire Records
A lot of people remember their first “cool” job. Guaranteed it wasn’t as cool as working at Empire Records. A signing, a seance, and a rooftop concert all happen in just one day at the store. That, and a whole lot of teen drama.
The movie is one of the many that didn’t do very well at the box office, but word of mouth, a killer soundtrack, and video releases, not to mention early performances from Renée Zellweger and Liv Tyler helped make the movie the hit that it should’ve been in theaters.
The boys of summer are on full display here in the best baseball movie ever made - The Sandlot. The neighborhood boys are all on the cusp of becoming teenagers. New kid Smalls comes to town and is encouraged by his mom to head out and meet some friends.
They play all day and occasionally head to the fair at night or try to make it with Wendy Peffercorn. Smalls tries to fit in by bringing a ball to play with but has a panic attack when it’s smashed out of the park. His new friends all freak when they realize the ball was signed by the Great Bambino!
Between shows like Saved By The Bell and Beverly Hills, 90210, everyone wanted to live in California and have fun in the sun and live the life of Valley Girl or Guy. Clueless didn’t just exasperate the idea, it exploded it.
Beverly Hills debutant, Cher gets it in her head that she should give new grungy girl Tai a makeover so that she can be set up with Elton, even though she likes the stoner kid Travis. But Elton likes Cher, but Cher likes Christian, but he likes boys, no matter how good her intentions are, she nearly ruined several people’s lives in the classic comedy.
Seth Rogen was getting tired of not seeing himself or his friends represented enough in film. He and his friend, Evan Goldberg wrote a screenplay when they were 13 and Superbad is the result. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill play Seth and Evan.
The two best friends want to each try and snag a girl before they head off to college, Becca and Jules to be precise. But the movie really belongs to Christopher Mintz-Plasse as “McLovin.”
The dye was cast for Juno’s success nearly the instant the film was released. It had everything a Hollywood movie would want in an indie movie to adore.
Directed by a second-generation director, written by screenwriter with almost too wild to be true backstory, and starring up-and-comer, Ellen Page in the titular role. Part love story, part commentary on teen pregnancy, all a tour-de-force performance from Page.
2 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
There might not be a soul on this planet that didn’t want to be Ferris Bueller at one point or another. In his epic Day Off, the guy uses all of his wits to have the ultimate day playing hooky.
He gets his girl and beat friend out of school for a day of fine dining, a Cubs game, and even partaking in a mid-day parade. The kid was right - “life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
1 The Breakfast Club
As if detention wasn’t bad enough, try going to detention on a Saturday. Members of various high school cliques are forced to deal with another under the watchful eye of strict assistant principal, Richard Vernon.
It’s the premier teen movie, as even the kids realize that they might never speak with each other after detention is over, but they’ve all learned a lot about one another and will be able to see each other in a new light.