The 50 Best Teen Movies of All Time
So, your kid has outgrown Disney animations and trying to find something to watch on family movie night has become quite the challenge. Don’t fret—here are 50 of the best teen movies to help them navigate through the tricky adolescent years and keep Mom entertained, too. Get the popcorn ready and enjoy.
1. ‘Freedom Writers’ (2007)
A dedicated teacher goes above and beyond to ensure her students plan for the future.
2. ‘Clueless’ (1995)
Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, this funny teen classic set in Beverly Hills is a must-see for its iconic ’90s fashion, quotable dialogue (“as if”) and killer soundtrack.
3. ‘The Karate Kid’ (1984)
When Daniel (Ralph Macchio) enrolls in a new school, he becomes the prime target of a group of bullies. In an attempt to defend himself, he enlists Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita), a repairman who just so happens to be a martial arts master.
4. ‘The Outsiders’ (1983)
A coming-of-age drama directed by Francis Ford Coppola that tells the story of the ongoing gang rivalry between the Greasers and the Socs in rural Oklahoma. It features a stellar cast that includes Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise. Stay gold, guys.
5. ‘Little’ (2019)
Jordan (Regina Hall) is a badass businesswoman—that is, until she magically transforms into a 13-year-old version of herself (Marsai Martin). Sassy attitude included.
6. ‘Lady Bird’ (2017)
This coming-of-age flick directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan has it all: brilliant writing, stellar performances and all the nostalgia (the main character is a high school senior in 2002). No wonder it garnered five nominations at the 90th Academy Awards including one for Best Director (Gerwig becoming only the fifth woman ever to do so).
7. ‘The Longshots’ (2008)
A former football player becomes coach of the Pop Warner team. His secret weapon? His niece Jasmine (aka the quarterback).
8. ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ (2005)
We love this sweet story about magical jeans (it makes sense in the movie, we promise) and friendship almost as much as we love the fact that its four stars have stayed super close since then.
9. ‘American Honey’ (2016)
When Star runs away from home, she becomes friends with a group of teenagers, who aren’t the best influence. (Disclaimer: Viewer discretion is advised due to serious themes, including smoking, alcohol and sexual content.)
10. ‘Easy A’ (2010)
If The Scarlet Letter is on your teen’s school curriculum, then this witty flick starring the very talented (and hilarious) Emma Stone is a must-watch.
11. ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ (2008)
Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) visits a small South Carolina town in an attempt to learn more about her late mother. While there, she meets the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo), who take her in and teach her about beekeeping.
12. ‘Hoop Dreams’ (1994)
Follow two inner city kids from Chicago as they dream of basketball glory in this riveting documentary that tackles race and class issues.
13. ‘Crazy Beautiful You’ (2015)
Jackie is less than thrilled to be accompanying her mom on a medical mission—that is, until she meets Kiko.
14. ‘Juno’ (2007)
Pop culture references abound in this quirky and critically acclaimed film about a pregnant teen. The soundtrack is just as brilliant as Ellen Page’s wisecracking yet sensitive performance.
15. ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ (2002)
Jess’s strict parents won’t let her play soccer. When she secretly joins a semi-pro team, she creates a web of lies to hide her whereabouts.
16. ‘Inside Out’ (2015)
OK, so this Disney Pixar flick may be aimed at a younger audience, but teens and up will fall in love with its sweet message, relatable emotions and lovable characters.
17. ‘An Education’ (2009)
Carey Mulligan’s breakout role in this drama set in 1960 taps into every teenage girl’s desire to be treated like an adult. This Oscar-winning script navigates heartbreak, consequences and what it means to grow up.
18. ‘Annie’ (2014)
A modern-day version of the story we know and love, following an orphan whose hard-knock life is changed for the better when she’s taken in by a lonely billionaire.
19. ‘Aladdin’ (2019)
Everyone knows the lovable street urchin, but they’ve never seen him like this. Relive the classic story with Disney’s live-action adaptation, which follows Aladdin as he teams up with a genie to defeat the evil sorcerer, Jafar.
20. ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ (2001)
This art-house movie follows two Mexican teenage boys on a spontaneous road trip with an older woman. Rated R, this one’s best for the older set. No giggling, kids.
22. ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ (1955)
Starring the original teenage heartthrob, James Dean.
23. ‘To All the Boys I've Loved Before’ (2018)
Things get complicated for high school junior Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) when five of her secret love letters get mailed out to their recipients—including her friend Josh, who happens to be dating her older sister Margot. She quickly enlists the help of Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) to fake a romance in order to convince Josh that her letter meant nothing. Based on the YA book of the same name, this is a sweet ode to young love.
24. ‘Love, Simon’ (2018)
Young love can be tough, especially for 17-year-old Simon Spier who hasn't told his family or friends that he's gay. And that's not all—Simon falls for one of his classmates online but has no idea who this person is.
25. ‘Superbad’ (2007)
Sure, the plot seems like your run-of-the-mill male teen movie (hormone-fueled high schoolers on a quest to buy booze so that they can get laid), but it’s surprisingly funny and endearingly sweet.
26. ‘13 Going on 30’ (2004)
A feel good rom-com that transports 13-year-old Jenna (Jennifer Garner) into adulthood, thanks to some clever birthday wish magic. But being a grown-up isn’t quite as fun as she thought it would be—good thing her old pal Matt (Mark Ruffalo) is there to help.
27. ‘Twilight’ (2008)
When it comes to teenage fantasy films, this vampire saga is the ultimate viewing experience. Watch with your kid and then discuss whether you're Team Edward or Team Jacob for the next six hours.
28. ‘Hunger Games’ (2012)
For a dose of fantasy that's a little more badass, look no further than this dystopian science fiction-adventure flick. Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, the brave member of the 12th district who volunteers to take her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games—an annual fight to the death.
29. ‘Eighth Grade’ (2018)
Watch thirteen-year-old Kayla navigate the challenges of early adolescence (including social media and constant phone use) as she makes her way through the last week of middle school. This teenage movie is awkward, sweet and will give you all the feels.
30. ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’ (1986)
Another John Hughes classic, this time starring Matthew Broderick as Ferris, a whipsmart high schooler who calls in sick, borrows a Ferrari and takes his friends on an epic one-day adventure around Chicago. But will the principal catch him before the day is over?
31. ‘Freaky Friday’ (2003)
Don't you sometimes wish your kid could see the world from your perspective (and vice versa)? Enter this sweet flick that stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan as a mother and daughter whose bodies are switched thanks to a magical Chinese fortune cookie.
32. ‘Heathers’ (1989)
This dark comedy follows popular girl at school Veronica (Winona Ryder) and her new boyfriend, J.D. (Christian Slater) who devise a plot to kill all the cool kids. (We told you it was dark.)
33. ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999)
In this modern twist on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, quick-witted and super smart Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is totally uninterested in the boys at school. But her younger sister, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), isn't allowed to date until Kat has a boyfriend. So, Bianca and nice guy Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) join forces so that Kat meets handsome and rebellious Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger). And well, you'll just have to watch to see what happens next.
34. ‘Booksmart’ (2019)
Directed by Olivia Wilde, this charming comedy about two best friends is the ultimate feel-good Friday night flick. When Amy (Beanie Feldstein) and Molly (Kaitlyn Dever) realize how much they missed out on in high school because they were busy studying, they decide to make the most out of the night before graduation.
35. ‘Your Name’ (2017)
This beautiful Japanese film follows two teenagers—one in Tokyo and the other in a rural village—who suddenly begin to switch bodies. The duo fall in love and try to find each other even though they've never actually met or even know each other's names.
36. ‘The Princess Diaries’ (2001)
Anne Hathaway's breakout role as Mia Thermopolis, a regular girl who finds out that she's the Princess of the fictional country of Genovia. But being royalty isn't quite as fun as you think.
37. ‘17 Again’ (2009)
A middle-aged man (Matthew Perry) gets the chance to rewrite his past when he somehow finds himself back in his 17-year-old body (Zac Efron). Things seem great at first but being seventeen isn't so easy. So yeah, basically the opposite of 13 Going on 30.
38. ‘Grease’ (1978)
This classic musical may be set in the 1950s but the soundtrack is just as good as ever.
39. ‘Pitch Perfect’ (2012)
For more killer tunes (but contemporary ones this time) check out this pop-perfect flick about an all-female a cappella group as they try to make their way back to the top.
40. ‘Dead Poets Society’ (1989)
Bring on the tissues—this moving story about a conservative New England prep school for boys is a tearjerker in its own right, but Robin Williams’s performance as an unconventional English teacher will really pull at your heartstrings.
41. ‘The Diary Of A Teenage Girl’ (2015)
Refreshing and laugh-out-loud funny, this adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner's autobiographical novel takes an honest look at a teen’s complicated journey into womanhood. Parental advisory: The themes in this one are definitely more mature, so make sure you know your audience.
42. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (2006)
Follow the dysfunctional Hoover family as they road trip to California to support the youngest member of their clan (Abigail Breslin) in her bid to win the Little Miss Sunshine contest. Funny, touching and totally original.
43. ‘The Breakfast Club’ (1985)
We could have picked any film from director John Hughes’s canon, but this one reigns supreme. Five high schoolers—the jock (Emilio Estevez), the punk (Judd Nelson), the geek (Anthony Michael Hall), the popular girl (Molly Ringwald) and the outcast (Ally Sheedy)—bond over one day’s detention, and realize that maybe they’re not so different after all.
44. ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ (2012)
Adapted from a novel of the same name, this sensitive film follows a young high school-er (Logan Lerman) with clinical depression as he navigates school, friends and his first love (Emma Watson).
45. ‘Now and Then’ (1995)
Watch this one with your teen—it’s pure childhood nostalgia. A beautiful story of friendship, adventure and Devon Sawa.
46. ‘Almost Famous’ (2000)
This sweet coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy going on the road with an up-and-coming rock band in the 1970s is required viewing for every budding musician and/or journalist.
47. ‘Persepolis’ (2007)
An animated adaptation of a graphic-novel memoir, this may feel like a very different childhood existence to the one you had (or the one your teen is experiencing), but nonetheless this coming-of-age movie set during the Islamic Revolution and told from a young girl’s point of view is a definite must-see.
48. ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ (1982)
Sean Penn’s best performance. Yep, we said it. This classic high school comedy takes a peak into the lives of multiple high school-ers trying to figure out the whole growing up thing in the ‘80s. Oh, and Matthew McConaughey’s there, too.
49. ‘Breaking Away’ (1979)
Remember that weird but momentous summer you had right after you graduated high school? This charming (and totally underrated) film follows four friends during that time, as they figure out their next step into adulthood. A fun flick that will make you feel pretty damn great at the end (and also possibly considering taking a bike tour of Italy).