25 College Movies That’ll Make You Want to Revisit Your Alma Mater
Ah, college. It was a time when we lived on ramen noodles, crammed last-minute for final exams and partied the night away with our BFFs (despite early morning classes). Unfortunately we can’t go back to those days, but we can still satisfy our nostalgia by enjoying a variety of college movies that capture the experience, from navigating a brand-new environment to deciding on a major. Below, see 25 titles that’ll definitely make you want to revisit your alma mater.
1. ‘School Daze’ (1988)
Inspired by Spike Lee's real-life experiences as a Morehouse student during the 1970s, School Daze offers a refreshingly honest look into Black college life. Starring familiar actors like A Different World’s Jasmine Guy and Kadeem Hardison, the musical comedy tackles issues like hazing, classism, texturism and colorism within the Black community. Consider this one required viewing.
3. ‘Drumline’ (2002)
Nick Cannon is simply delightful as Devon Miles, a gifted street drummer from Harlem who struggles to adapt to his new environment at the fictional A&T University. After joining the school’s marching band, he quickly learns that it takes more than talent and overconfidence to lead the team to victory.
4. ‘Legally Blonde’ (2001)
Reese Witherspoon stars as Elle Woods, better known as the ultimate IT girl in this iconic comedy. Follow Elle on her exciting journey as a Harvard law student who completely shatters stereotypes against blondes. Oh, and did we mention that part three is coming soon?
5. ‘Damsels in Distress’ (2011)
A tight-knit group of fabulous young ladies are on a mission to help fellow students with their depression through Seven Oaks College’s suicide prevention program. But when they all get involved romantically with different men, it puts a strain on their friendship.
6. ‘Animal House’ (1978)
If you think films like Old School and Neighbors are wild, then just wait until you see Animal House—the iconic college movie that pretty much paved the way for those titles. When two freshmen, Larry (Thomas Hulce) and Kent (Stephen Furst), fail to get into a prestigious fraternity, they settle for the rowdiest frat house on campus: Delta Tau Chi. Little do they know, however, that the school’s dean has concocted a plan to take the group down.
8. ‘Old School’ (2003)
Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell star as a trio of middle-aged men who create a brand-new fraternity at a nearby college campus. Before they know it, their home turns into the ultimate party spot for local students, much to the dismay of the school’s dean.
9. ‘The Graduate’ (1967)
Recent college grad Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) begins an affair with a seductive older woman, but he’s faced with quite the dilemma when he falls for her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). *Cue “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel*
10. ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997)
Although Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a high IQ, he's content with working blue-collar jobs. But things go south for Hunting when he gets arrested for fighting an officer. It isn't until he meets the delightful Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), a psychology professor, when things start to look up for the young genius.
11. ‘The Paper Chase’ (1973)
Join first-year Harvard Law student James Hart (Timothy Bottoms) as he tries to navigate college life and survive one of the school's toughest instructors: Professor Charles Kingsfield Jr. (John Houseman). The comedy-drama wound up earning Houseman an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
12. ‘The Great Debaters’ (2007)
This film tells the inspiring true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a passionate debate coach who famously created an award-winning debate team that pioneered interracial college debates during the 1930s. Denzel Washington shines as the legendary coach, and other cast members include Forest Whitaker, Nate Parker and Jurnee Smollett.
13. ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ (2016)
Ah, the thrill of newfound freedom and independence. There's nothing quite as exciting (or challenging) as getting to explore unsupervised adulthood. Set in Texas in 1980, a group of college baseball players seek to make the most of their college experience, from punk concerts to drunken parties.
14. ‘Mistress America’ (2015)
Adjusting to college life as a freshman is no easy task, and Tracy Fishko (Lola Kirke) knows this all too well. Feeling lonely and out of place, Tracy decides to spend some quality time with her soon-to-be step-sister, Brooke (Greta Gerwig), whose adventurous lifestyle does quite a number on Tracy.
15. ‘Like Crazy’ (2011)
British exchange student Anna (Felicity Jones) and her American peer Jacob (Anton Yelchin) fall deeply in love after they meet in college. But there's just one problem: Anna overstays her student visa, causing her to be denied re-entry to the United States after she leaves. Can their relationship survive the long distance?
16. ‘Liberal Arts’ (2012)
When Jesse Fisher (Josh Radnor), a college admissions officer in his 30s, is invited to visit his alma mater for an old professor’s retirement party, he falls in love with a 19-year-old college student named Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen).
17. ‘Neighbors’ (2014)
As Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and his wife try to adjust to their new life as parents, a rowdy fraternity that’s known for their loud parties moves in next door. When they refuse to keep the noise down, Mac resorts to calling the cops—but this doesn’t solve the problem. Instead, a full-blown war ensues.
18. ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ (2003)
Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts) is no ordinary history professor. When she signs on to teach at the all-female Wellesley College in Massachusetts, she encourages her students to be independent and challenge the status quo. Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal also star.
19. ‘Stomp the Yard’ (2007)
DJ Williams (Columbus Short), a new student and talented dancer, pledges to a Greek fraternity at the historically-Black Truth University. But things get intense when his team has to face off against a rival fraternity from the same school. We may or may not have tried to mimic the synchronized footwork during every single step routine (FYI, it didn’t go as planned).
20. ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ (1984)
BFFs and freshman nerds Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert Lowe (Anthony Edwards) plot their revenge when fraternity jocks at Adams College continue to mercilessly taunt them. Will their retaliation finally earn them some respect?
21. ‘The Program’ (1993)
Pre-Monster's Ball Halle Berry stars in this poignant drama, which follows the lives of several college athletes at the fictional Eastern State University. The film depicts how each player handles the pressures of college life and football, touching on issues like parental neglect, alcoholism and steroid abuse.
22. ‘Accepted’ (2006)
After getting rejection letters from every single college he applied to, Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) invents a fake college, the South Harmon Institute of Technology. Bartleby and his fellow rejects go to great lengths to make this “college” look legitimate, but keeping up the ruse proves to be more difficult than they initially thought. Get ready to laugh your socks off.
23. ‘Rudy’ (1993)
Set during the 1960s, Rudy chronicles the inspiring real-life story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a motivational speaker who had big dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame, despite his lack of skills and good grades. After he loses his best friend in a horrible accident, Rudy (Sean Astin) sets out to pursue his dream, even if it means facing multiple rejections along the way.
24. ‘Life of the Party’ (2018)
It’s never too late to return to college and finish your degree, and if you need proof, just look at Deanna (Melissa McCarthy), better known as "Dee Rock." In Life of the Party, the determined mom decides to enroll into her daughter’s college after her ex-husband, Dan (Matt Walsh), announces that he’s leaving her for someone else. Wild frat parties and dance-offs ensue.
25. ‘Real Genius’ (1985)
What do you get when you add a secret CIA mission, deceitful college professor and a teenage genius? A whole lot of chaos. Val Kilmer, Gabriel Jarret, William Atherton and Michelle Meyrink star in this wild sci-fi comedy.