The 10 Best Movies About High School


This was an extremely hard list to compile mainly because the topic is so broad.  However, I want to make it very clear what this article is about.   It’s not about High School movies.  It’s about movies that focus on life in high school.  Know what I mean?

There are tons of high school movies out there but I don’t think too many do a great job of capturing what high school life is truly like.   So I decided to span generations and try to gather what I thought were great representatives of the culture.

Here are my picks for the 10 best movies about high school…..

Dazed and Confused

If had to choose a number one I would probably pick this movie.   Linklater does an excellent job of directing this movie and capturing the lives of high school students in rural Texas in the 70s.  The soundtrack kicks ass and the characters absolutely rule.  You can’t go wrong with this one.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

This was one of the first movies that truly explored sex in high school.  Cameron Crowe writes a bold movie here and Amy Heckerling had the balls to direct it.  Naturally it was a smash hit and probably changed the high school movie from that point on.


Of all the movies on this list I’d say that Heathers is the weirdest.  However it was a pretty bold movie when you think about it.   It explored high school suicides and the pressures of school in a way no movie ever had.   It may not have won at the box office but it was definitely a great movie.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

There’s no way I was leaving this one off.   If you haven’t seen this movie then you have no business reading this article.

Napoleon Dynamite

I might get reamed for this one but think about it.   How often do we explore the geeky side of high school in films?  Sure we have your geeky characters and what not but the weirdos actually make up a pretty large majority of students, something that’s overlooked in movies.

The Breakfast Club

Other than Dazed and Confused this one ranks pretty high up on my list.   What differentiates this movie is that all facets of high school are pretty much represented here:   The geeks, athletes, criminals, princesses, and basket cases.


I can only assume this is how high school life was in the 60s?  One giant musical?  Other than all the characters looking like they were in their 30s, this movie has to be on this list.


Totally underrated movie and totally awesome if you ask me.   They take a funny crack at teachers being attracted to students as well as attempt to classify groups, rivalries, subcultures, etc etc.

American Pie

You didn’t think I’d leave this off did you?  Probably the funniest movie of all these by far.

Can’t Buy Me Love

If only for the amazing line of “You shit on my house!”  All you high school kids out there have to see this movie.  I know it was made in 1987 but trust me, you’ll love it.

Honorable Mention:  Can’t Hardly Wait, Lucas, Cooley High, Pretty in Pink, Clueless, Superbad, Pump up the Volume, To Sir with Love, She’s All That

  • Daniel

    Good list, may I submit 10 Thing I Hate About You?

  • Winona Ryder was so hot in Heathers!

  • crazytom


    • Nattyb

      Great movie but don’t you think they were a little too smart in that movie? And was it really about high school, at least did it depict it accurately?

  • Lyre

    Mean Girls.

  • Henrik


  • Bernardo

    @Lyre – Yeah I was gonna say Mean Girls too.

  • “That’s the thing about high school chicks man…I get older, they stay the same age…”

    “I came here to do two things…kick @$$ and drink beer. Looks like we’re bout out of beer.”

  • Metallimetal

    Dazed and Confused would definitely be my number 1. I think “There Goes My Baby” would make a good addition to this list.
    The ratings for this movie, according to IMDB, don’t do this movie justice. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you check it out.

    Great list, by the way!

  • Cheryl

    what…no High School the Musical?? It’s been a few years since I’ve been in high school and just figured that’s how things are these days…Hah!

  • I disagree with Superbad. That was more about awkward friendship than anything. Well, that and off-color humor.

  • lc

    No american graffiti?

  • Anthony Ross

    no Porky’s huh?

  • bud the chud

    Only the Strong…

    Just kidding, anyone remember 3 o’clock high.

  • I would second that American Graffiti is your biggest omission. I also really love “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.” I personally think it is the better of LiLo’s 2 highschool movies but know I am in the minority on that one.
    Can’t say I agree on Grease, but I think that comes more from my dislike of the movie compared to the stage show, where they actually let people other then Danny Zuko sing songs. (Greased Lighting is Kinikie’s song in the stage show as it should be. Guess which part I’ve played.)

  • I think Superbad got snubbed, but I do see your point. Seth cursing up a storm at his teacher isn’t ‘realistic,’ but trying to get laid is in high school is.

  • uhexed

    I know everyone can’t see every movie… but no Molly Ringwald represented? You could easily include; Pretty in Pink here.

    Maybe one of those movies that never took off but; Some Kind of Wonderful hit quite a few marks on teenage life.

  • C

    Seconding 10 Things and Mean Girls!

  • facerip

    Breakfast Club had to be here. Sixteen Candles would have been a good choice also. Love Ferris Bueller. However, if you had to put a Slater movie on the list, I think Pump Up the Volume would have been a better choice than Heathers.
    @uhexed, Molly Ringwald was in Breakfast Club.

  • Padidas

    i gotta say, Clueless was a good one for the 90s.

    and superbad was definitely the most realistic.

  • Monica C.

    Mean Girls! How can you not include Mean Girls? =O

  • psychosurfer

    I just discovered your website and I like it, on this list you omitted the great movie Rushmore