The 13 Best High School Movies of All Time

In honor of all the schools that are currently on break, we at Zikoko rounded up our favorite and most diverse high school movies of all time. Depending on where you lie on the social ladder, these films will either have you itching to return to school or  seriously dreading it.

1. The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club is the high school film all other high school films aspire to be. Created by the coming-of-age king, John Hughes, it stars Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall as the five youthful stereotypes brought together for a Saturday morning detention that changes their lives.

2. Mean Girls (2004)

It features a pre-meltdown Lindsay Lohan and a star-making turn from Rachel McAdams. An updated version of the high school clique movie, Lohan stars as Cady, a well-adjusted teenager who vows to take down the Queen B at her new school.

3. Clueless (1995)

Based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless uses biting satire to explore the notion of popularity in high school and its consequences. Alicia Silverstone plays the shallow Cher, as she tries to do something ‘selfless’ by transforming new pupil Tai (Brittany Murphy) into one of the coolest girls in school. This cult classic was reenacted by Iggy Azealia and Charli XCX in the music video for Fancy.

4. Election (1999)

Election, one of the best films of the late Nineties, uses comedy to explore the politics of high school. Reese Witherspoon, in the best role of her career, stars as ambitious Tracy Flick, a determined schoolgirl who wants to use the post of class president to further her future aspirations.

5. Heathers (1988)

Another film on this list exploring the notions of cliques and popularity in school, Christian Slater (J.D.) and Winona Ryder (Veronica) team up to destroy Westerberg High School’s social equilibrium. The comedy is pitch back and the message is surprisingly deep.

6. Easy A (2010)

Easy A has to be the best coming-of-age movie of the past decade, plus it stars Emma Stone as Olive, and we all know Emma Stone can do no wrong. In an effort to get out of a camping trip, with her best friend, Olive tells a lie that spirals out of control and ends up hurting everyone in its path.

7. Grease (1978)

Probably the most original movie on this list, Grease is filled to the brim with catchy songs, fast cars, and young love. It also stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton John at the peak of their respective talents. It is a must-watch.

8. Dazed and Confused (1993)

The director of last year’s epic, Boyhood, blessed us with this high school film that should speak to everyone who has ever passed through gates of school. The film basically covers the last, epic day of school for some bored kids in Texas, who choose to cause mayhem and party once night falls.

9. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Almost every John Hughes movie could easily make this list, which says a lot about his talents. In this epic outing, Matthew Broderick delivers an unforgettable turn as Ferris Bueller, a young man just struggling to take it easy in high school.

10. Superbad (2007)

Losing (or saving) one’s virginity is clearly one of the major obsessions of anyone’s school days, and that is the theme of Superbad. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera play best friends about to graduate from high school and still retain their friendship in the face of sexual anxiety and some intense partying.

11. American  Pie (1999)

American Pie created a ton of movies around high school students and their obsession with sex, but none of the movies in the franchise ever came close to recreating the humour and sheer excellence of the first American Pie.

12. Carrie (1976)

Based on the Stephen King novel with the same name, Carrie is one of the best horror movies ever made, giving us a horrifying look at high school brutality and teen torment, with Sissy Spacek delivering a truly frightening performance. Ignore the unnecessary 2013 reboot.

13. Back To the Future (1985)

This movie brilliantly combines high school insecurities with science fiction. Michael J. Fox delivers the best performance of his career as he plays a kid that goes back in time and accidentally stops his parents from getting together, thereby hindering his own birth.


Do you agree with this list? Do you think we missed any epic high school movie? Please, sound off in the comments section.