Whether you’re still in high school, just graduated, observing your 10-year anniversary (ack!) or supporting your kids through the ordeal, you have to admit it: high school life was pretty epic. Who could forget Saturday morning detention? Student council elections? Spontaneous love serenades from the football field? Or that time you played hookie and your principal broke into your house (until your crazy sister chased him away with her mad kung fu skills)?
It also makes for great movies. As the most exciting and most ridiculous time of our lives, good film directors have enjoyed celebrating (or mocking) it for decades. So, in honor of back-to-school time – and all you jocks, nerds and mean girls – we’ve compiled a list of our favorite high school movies since the 1950s. (Synopses from our catalog).
1. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Five teenagers with nothing in common spend a Saturday detention in the school library, and by 4 P.M. they’ve bared their souls to each other and become good friends.
2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
A hilarious portrayal of a group of Southern California high school students and their most important subjects: sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
3. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Jim Stark, the teenage son of a well-to-do family, is overcome by loneliness, frustration and anger, which leads to violence when he seeks approval of a gang of high-school hoodlums.
4. Clueless (1995)
Still as smart and charming as ever, Clueless gets a fresh, sassy makeover for this new ‘Whatever!’ Collector’s Edition. Alicia Silverstone sparkles as Cher, the matchmaking 15-year-old Beverly Hills High schooler who has shopping and boys on her mind.
5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
A high school student is determined to get a day off with his friends by outwitting his principal.
6. Mean Girls (2004)
When a young girl who has lived in Africa and been homeschooled moves to New York, she must enter a public high school. Survival of the fittest takes on a whole new meaning when she falls for the ex-boyfriend of the most popular girl in school.
7. Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
A prep school English teacher inspires his students with poetry and encourages them to seize the day and embrace life
8. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Cameron is the new kid in school who becomes smitten with the beautiful Bianca. But Bianca’s overprotective and domineering father forbids Bianca to date unless her older sister Kat, a surly and hostile senior, does.
9. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
When two new friends enter Napolean’s life – shy Deb and mustachioed Pedro – the trio launches a campaing to elect Pedro for class president and make the student body’s wildest dreams come true. But if Pedro is to beat stuck-up Summer, Napoleon will have to unleash his own secret weapon.
10. Rushmore (1998)
A gifted, rebellious teenager finds himself in competition with a wealthy older man for a favorite teacher’s affections.