To be young again would be a fine thing. But let’s not complain; after all, we certainly have the opportunity to become 13-year-old teenagers again with the right movies – and fortunately without acne and hormonal chaos. Come with us on a tour through your and our youth and enjoy the 45 best and most successful teen movies of all time!
Starting at #20, you’ll also find more recent youth films!
1st place: The Breakfast Club (1985)
Who does not want to hear must be detained! This is what the five teenagers Brian, John, Claire, Andrew, and Allison experience firsthand when they are unceremoniously herded into their high school’s library one Saturday morning. The teenagers have been tasked with writing an essay about who they really are.
Fortunately, the task for the bullies was not to characterize their counterparts because, in fact, the students had never met before. The group consists of the most different characters here who meet nerds, rebels, and outsiders on celebrated athletes. What unites teenagers are the prejudices they hold against their contemporaries.
“The Breakfast Club,” however, shows viewers in a timelessly touching way that even the most diverse personalities can unite in friendship.
2nd place: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Let’s face it: just about all of us have fooled our parents into thinking we have a cold or two in order to avoid going to school. The student Ferris, played by Matthew Broderick, also joins the ranks of the truants and decides instead to make the streets of Chicago unsafe with his friends Sloane and Cameron. After the three of them have several adventures, some major, some minor, the truants face an entirely different problem.
This problem is called Ed Rooney and is the principal of the school which the notorious blue-collar Ferris so reluctantly attends. To finally put a stop to the unpleasant problem child, the principal sets out to find the teenager in order to prove his unexcused absences and thus be able to expel him from school legally.
3rd place: Back to the Future (1985)
Out of the way, you wannabe tuners! How to pimp your car properly shows us Dr. Emmet Brown (Christopher Lloyd) in the legendary “Back to the Future” from 1985. Instead of tail spoilers, however, the absent-minded professor relies on flux compensators and time travel. Before 17-year-old Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) finds himself behind the wheel of the pimped-out vehicle and unintentionally races back to 1955.
Here he meets not only the young doctor but also the youthful editions of mom and dad. Now it’s up to Marty to guide the fortunes of time so that his parents fall in love without them catching wind that the mysterious cupid is his own bundle of joy from the future.
Place 4: Mean Girls (2004)
There was a time when Lindsay Lohan was not yet a scandalous girl. In the period around the turn of the millennium, the US-American was a popular cast for youth films, which is proved to us by the example of “Girls Club. In the comedy, the redhead plays the teenager Cady Heron, who has spent the last 15 years of her life in faraway Africa. The culture shock follows when the teenager is supposed to attend a regular high school in the U.S. one day.
Here Cady first finds herself in the outsider role before joining forces with two other marginal figures. The group of outcasts forges devious plans, and Cady is to infiltrate the fashion doll clique number one in order to expose the popular students with their leaked secrets afterward. It comes as it must, and Cady runs the risk of mutating into an arrogant diva himself.
5th place: Clueless (1995)
Schools are not infrequently places of stereotypical groupings. Cher Horowitz has the supposed good fortune to be part of a popular group of girls. Together with their friend Dionne, the fashion-conscious divas transform the hallways of their high school into a catwalk.
To polish up their image, the two schoolyard queens take the outsider Mai under their wing. In the process, the popular schoolgirls see the shy wallflower as a kind of project to successfully rebrand and popularize. However, the teens have no idea that the once-fringe figure will soon rise to become the troupe’s leader.
#6: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik) can not complain about a lack of admirers. But dad has his own principles, which say that his daughter can only go on a date if the second junior finds someone to go out with. However, Bianca’s sister Kat (Julia Stiles) doesn’t care much for testosterone-fueled teenagers, so the date night is put on hold indefinitely.
But of course, Bianca doesn’t throw in the towel that easily. She hires the rebel Patrick (Heath Ledger) to win her sister’s heart. The interpretation of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” is unforgotten until today, which the later Joker performs in “10 Things I Hate About You”.
7th place: Sixteen Candles (1984)
In 7th place is another gem of the ’80s! Samantha (Molly Ringwald) has been looking forward to her sixteenth birthday for a long time, which she naturally wants to celebrate with her family. But since the wedding of Samantha’s older sister Ginny (Blanche Baker) is coming up at the same time, mom and dad completely miss their youngest daughter’s special day.
Frustrated, the forgotten girl seeks the company of Jake (Michael Schoeffling), with whom she has a hopeless crush. The role played by the outsider Ted (Anthony Micheal Hall), whose heart beats solely for his Samantha, is told in 93 minutes of film from 1984.
8th place: Grease (1978)
With a greasepaint (as Danny Zuko), John Travolta meets gray mouse Olivia Newton-John (as Sandy Olsson). The plot of “Grease” takes us back to 1959 and sees the aforementioned actors fall in love and spend a summer together full of butterflies in their stomachs. When vacation time rolls around, however, easygoing Danny is faced with a difficult decision: If he publicly confesses to wallflower Sandy at his school, he risks losing his reputation as a cool checker. But when he turns his back on his summer love, he knowingly breaks her heart.
The film adaptation of the material adapts the original from the musical of the same name. It is therefore not surprising that “Grease” is not only one of the best films for young people but also that the soundtrack of the film has become one of the most commercially successful of its kind.
9th place: The Goonies (1985)
Children have nothing but mischief in mind. At least that’s what one thinks. However, the motivations that drive the gang of kids, “the Goonies,” are quite respectable in nature. Instead of playing doorbell pranks on their neighbors, the kids have taken it upon themselves to save their families homes from demolition. To make it happen, the kids want to find a fabled pirate’s treasure brought to their attention by an old treasure map.
Suppose that’s not a setting for a successful adventure! It is funny to see the later acting greats as blameless youngsters. Among other things, we enjoy the play of young Sean Astin, who later, in the role of Samwise Gamgee, accompanies his friend Frodo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy to the fiery Mount Doom.
Rank 10: American Pie (1999)
In order to finally get rid of their virginity, the four high school friends, Jim (Jason Biggs), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris Klein), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), make a pact: By the time of the big prom, the damn coitus should be successfully completed. Of course, a sex partner doesn’t fall from the sky into your arms, which is why the four youngsters embark on a mission to sweet-talk a lady of their choice.
“American Pie” does not spare obscenities and should be watched with a wink of the eye. Nevertheless, it’s amazing what you can do with an apple pie.
11th place: Dazed and Confused (1993)
In his coming-of-age film “Confusion,” director Richard portrays the last days of a group of students who want to give a fitting welcome to the first-year students of the upcoming school year. In the case of the ’70s-set flick, this “welcome home” ritual includes spanking and bathing in all manner of foods. In addition to a lot of comedy, the youth film also deals with the conflicts of life upheaval that blaze inside adolescents.
At the time of its release, however, “Confusion” flopped at the box office and could only develop into a real insider tip over the years, which we of course don’t want to deprive you of here.
12th place: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
The story of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” went back to the real youth experiences of screenwriter Cameron Crowe and was released in 1982. The material focuses on a clique of teenagers who have been friends like peas and carrots for years. Now, however, a drastic event is about to take place that will put the teenagers’ friendship to the test for the long term: The school years are finally ending. Life now teaches adolescents what it means to grow up. Whether the young people can always live up to their own role expectations is another matter altogether.
Rank 13: Bring It On (2000)
What is the stereotypical dream of every American teenage girl? Right, armed with miniskirt and pompoms to choreograph the home football team to victory! This dream actually comes true for Torrance, who the youthful Kirsten Dunst plays. As the new captain of the “Toros,” it is now up to the blonde to successfully delegate the new pyramid figures and chants.
However, a momentous reproach is made to the professional Einheizerinnen. The cheerleading group is said to have brazenly cribbed its dances from a rival team. Consequently, we see Torrance trying to mend fences while dealing with heartbreak and stress at home.
Rank 14: Easy A (2010)
Actually, there is nothing really unusual about Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone). In the shadows of the other girls, the teenager lives more of a background existence in her circle of friends. One day, however, Olive confides in a friend and claims to have lost her virginity a few days ago. In a group of young people, such news is a solid sensation, which is why half the city soon knows about the wallflower’s supposed lovemaking.
The “news” completely turns the life of the former gray mouse upside down so that she can hardly save herself from admirers, admirers, and enviers soon. Being in the limelight doesn’t always have its advantages and doesn’t need to be emphasized. There is also the question of whether Olive’s love story really happened as described or whether the teenager is not possibly adorning herself with false feathers.
Rank 15: Dead Poets Society (1989)
How powerful the power of poetry is! Robin Williams also conveys this in the role of teacher John Keating to his students. No sooner has the young crammer taken up his new post at a thoroughly conservative college than the eager-to-learn youngsters are glued to the lips of their new instructor. He uses classical poetic works to awaken the desire for freedom and new ways of thinking in intellectual teenagers.
Again, these are so fascinated by the new teaching methods that they found a secret club without further ado. The covenant has the same title as the film and is the platform for its members to recite poetry to each other in secret at night. However, this new free spirit displeases the old-established principal of the school, which is why he does everything he can to stop the goings-on.
Rank 16: Superbad (2007)
The trio at the center of the movie “Superbad” isn’t exactly what you’d call a hip clique. On the one hand, we have the chubby Seth (Jonah Hill), who attracts attention mainly because of his loose mouth. On the other hand, Evan (Michael Cera) finally lacks the courage to confess his love to his crush.
On the other hand, mcLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is so clumsy that he brings tears to our eyes with laughter. By a lucky twist of fate, the three are invited to a party hosted by Evan’s secret flame Jules (Emma Stone). Of course, chaos is inevitable in such a constellation.
The jokes in the film are not for the prudish but still strike a chord with receptive viewers as they did at the time of the film’s release.
17th place: The Outsiders (1983)
While most of the films on our list were rather cheerful, the story of “The Outsiders” highlights the trials and tribulations of the hostile youth gangs “Socs” and “Greasers.” The conflict between the rival gangs takes on a dynamic that turns initial displeasure into deadly seriousness.
This is how it happens that a member of the Socs dies during a fight between the two parties. This is just the beginning of a downward spiral that will push everyone to their limits. The film adapts the novel’s plot of the same name, published in 1967 and penned by Susan Eloise Hinton.
18th place: Footloose (1984)
Oil up that dance leg; it’s time for “Footloose”! Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) previously lived in Chicago and loved dancing above all else. When the teenager is forced to move from the vibrant metropolis to the suburban hamlet of Bomont with his mother, he experiences the culture shock of his life. The Bible-believing residents of the small town abhor anything to do with rock music, dancing, and fun in general. It is not surprising that the rebellious Ren is soon a thorn in the side of the conservative inhabitants, headed by Reverend Shaw Moore (John Lithgow).
Rank 19: Juno (2007)
An unwanted pregnancy can turn many adult women’s lives upside down, so how is a 16-year-old teenager supposed to cope with the unplanned offspring? At first, protagonist Juno (Ellen Page) decides to keep her conception a secret and secretly consults an abortion clinic.
Here, the teen mother-to-be learns that her baby already has fingernails, which is why the young woman can’t reconcile it with her conscience to terminate the pregnancy. Instead, she decided to give birth to her baby and then give it up for adoption. Find out how Juno finally copes with the emotional chaos in 96 extremely entertaining minutes.
20th place: Karate Kid (1984)
Grab the car polish and the painting tool, and it’s time for our karate lesson! If you’re raising your eyebrows in amazement at this point, you’re most likely not familiar with the teaching methods of the legendary Mr. Myiagi (Pat Morita) familiar. The latter has been persuaded to instruct outsider Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) in martial arts, as the teenager has been bullied by a gang of hooligans for some time now.
The Tunichtgute are themselves members of a karate dojo, which is why “Daniel-San” can’t stand up to his opponents at the beginning. The conflict between the two parties culminates in a great karate match, in which Daniel finally proves himself a worthy opponent to his tormentors. But does our hero also manage to win the tournament in the end?