The 23 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—these great films will help them navigate through the tricky teen years and keep Mom entertained, too. Get the popcorn ready and enjoy.
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.
'Little Miss Sunshine'
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.
'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'
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).
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. Features a stellar cast that includes Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise. Stay gold, guys.
'The Diary Of A Teenage Girl'
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.
'13 Going on 30'
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.
'Dead Poets Society'
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.
'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants'
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.
'The Breakfast Club'
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 all so different after all.
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.
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.
Follow two inner city kids from Chicago as they dream of basketball glory in this riveting documentary that tackles race and class issues.
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).
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.
'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'
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.
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.
Carey Mulligan’s breakout role in this drama set in 1960 taps into every teenage girl’s desire to be treated like an adult. An Oscar-winning script that navigates heartbreak, consequences and what it means to grow up.
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 Islamic Revolution and told from a young girl’s point of view is a definite must-see.
'Now and Then'
Watch this one with your teen—it’s pure childhood nostalgia. A beautiful story of friendship, adventure and Devon Sawa.
'Y Tu Mama Tambien'
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.
Written by Tina Fey and starring Rachel McAdams and Lindsay Lohan (plus Amy Poehler as the “cool mom”), this move is so fetch. (Translation: smart, funny and an instant classic.)
'Rebel Without A Cause'
Starring the original teenage heartthrob, James Dean.
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.