30 Teen Movies Everyone Should Watch Before Turning 20
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Films offer a fun way to forget about the stress of everyday life by bringing you into another world, especially for teens who just want to take their mind off things and binge some iconic movies. Teens will find some of these characters relatable and others not, but will have a good time nonetheless.
From the typical popular guy and nerdy girl tropes to the nostalgia-ridden 80s films, you can expect a little bit of everything. So put on some comfy pajamas, pop some popcorn, and cuddle up with your favorite blanket because you’re going to have a blast with these teen movies.
A Cinderella Story is one of my favorite adaptations of the classic tale of Cinderella. Hilary Duff reprises the role of Sam (aka Cinderella) in this modern take of the well-known tale and her Prince Charming comes in the form of Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray), the most popular boy in school.
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves from the warm and sunny state of Arizona to the cold and dreary town of Forks, Washington to live with her dad. There she meets the allusive and mysterious Edward Cullen (Robert Pattison) who draws Bella in with his sparking personality. When she discovers Edward’s secret, Bella is thrust into a world where mythical creatures exist and vampires are out to get her.
From the bestselling novel by John Greene comes a beautiful coming-of-age romance about two teens, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort), who meet at a cancer support group and fall in love.
Anne Hathaway stars as Mia Thermopolis, an introverted teenager whose entire world is tipped off its axis when she learns she is the heir to the throne in the small country of Genovia. The road to becoming a princess is not easy however, especially when her no-nonsense grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews), shows up to teach Mia how to be a princess.
A coming-of-age film that launched the iconic quote, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” During one summer in the 60’s at a resort in the Catskills, Baby (Jennifer Grey) finds herself falling for the resort’s dance instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze) after he recruits her to become his new dance partner. When her father finds out though, all hell breaks loose.
Banned from joining the boys’ soccer team, Viola (Amanda Bynes) poses as her twin brother Sebastian at his new boarding school so she can play soccer. Things become complicated when she falls for her roommate Duke (Channing Tatum), especially when her brother returns sooner than expected only to find his sister pretending to be him.
Lana Condor and Noah Centineo star in this 2018 rom-com about Lara Jean, a teenage girl whose five top-secret love letters get mailed to her crushes. When Lara Jean realizes she’s been exposed, her entire world implodes. After all, one of the letters went to her best friend/sister’s boyfriend Josh (Israel Broussard). In the process of avoiding him, Lara Jean becomes closer with one of her past crushes, the popular and seemingly unattainable Peter Kavinsky. What more can you ask for in a teenage romance?
Going undercover as a student at her former high school should be easy for the fresh-faced Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore), but things quickly spin out of control when she falls for English teacher Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan).
Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson star in this tear-jerking romance about two 17-year-old cystic fibrosis patients who fall in love with each other despite having to stay six feet apart at all times. Heart-wrenching and tragic, this is definitely a must watch for anyone who wants to see a touching and emotional romance featuring some amazing stars.
A profound teen drama based off the 2017 bestseller from Angie Thomas. Amandla Stenberg stars as Starr Carter, a 16-year-old girl who grapples with finding justice for her childhood best friend Khalil after witnessing his death at the hands of a police officer.
Remakes can be a hit-or-miss. In the case of Freaky Friday, it was definitely a hit. Single mother Tess Coleman (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her teenage daughter Anna (Lindsay Lohan) are constantly at odds with each other. That all changes when they wake up to discover they have somehow switched bodies and are unable to switch back. Along the way, they see a different side of one another and learn that they both have their own set of challenges.
An honest and heartfelt take on a young and closeted gay teen’s difficult journey to coming out. When 17-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) falls for an anonymous classmate online, he hopes to figure out who the mystery guy is which proves to be hilarious, tender, and, ultimately, life-changing.
Grease is one of my personal favorite musicals, filled with killer songs and unforgettable performances. This 1978 blockbuster follows bad boy Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and good girl Sandy (Olivia Newton John) as they explore their differences and try to find love, but with the T-Birds and Pink Ladies giving their two-cents, it won’t be easy. The ending may be a bit dated depending on how you interpret it, but we’ll always be hopelessly devoted to this classic.
She’s All That (1999) is a classic teen romantic comedy that is sure to make you laugh out loud. Following the downfall of Zach Siler’s (Freddie Prinze Jr.) reputation, he crafts a plan to transform the nerdy loner Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) into the next prom queen. A light and predictable watch that doesn’t require much attention. best teen movies
Directed by John Hughes, Sixteen Candles offers all the 80’s nostalgia in this classic film starring Molly Ringwald who plays an angst-ridden Samantha, experiencing the worst sixteenth birthday when her entire family forgets. Add in her longtime crush Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) and you have yourself an entertaining movie with an A-list cast. Still, that doesn’t take away from the problematic and disturbing issues apparent within the film. best teen movies
The old adage saying be careful what you wish for is true for 13-year-old Jenna (Jennifer Garner) after a wish turns her into a 30-year-old woman. Skipping adolescence may sound glamorous as a teen, but Jenna soon learns that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. This heartwarming film is the perfect blend of romance, comedy, and a dash of fantasy. And you’ll probably want to try some razzles by the end. best teen movies
Saoirse Ronan delivers a powerful and convincing performance in this poignant, coming-of-age film about a high school senior who must navigate a loving, yet tumultuous relationship with her mom (Laurie Metcalf) which is made worse by Christine’s “Lady Bird’s” insistence on upholding her individuality. best teen movies
Kristin Dunst and Gabrielle Union face off in this iconic cheerleader movie. The Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School plan to bring home the national championship trophy for the sixth year in a row, but Torrance’s plans are put in jeopardy when she realizes the routines were stolen from Clover, their competition. If you’re looking for a fun and light sports comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Bring It On is the perfect option.
This coming-of-age film stars the highly opinionated and awkward teen Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) who feels more alone than ever when older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) starts dating her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). The Edge of Seventeen offers an open, candid, and oftentimes hilarious view on the trials and tribulations of high school. best teen movies
Juno tackles numerous topics, from teen pregnancy to adoption to confusing love, with a refreshing and comical take. This hilarious comedy follows Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), a pregnant teen who chooses a failed rock star (Jason Bateman) and his wife (Jennifer Garner) to adopt her baby. In the midst of this, Juno is forced to make tough decisions and do some soul-searching to find her identity.
For an entertaining retelling of The Scarlet Letter, Easy A has you covered. Deemed the school slut after allegedly sleeping with a fellow classmate, Olive (Emma Stone) is shunned by her peers and loses her best friend in the process. As her life falls apart, Olive decides to live up to her newfound title by dressing and acting the part. Filled with laughs, humor, and a brilliant cast, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy this satirical film.
Deliciously dark and wickedly cynical, this classic dark comedy was an exception to the typical 80s teen movies. Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school who all happen to share the same name. When she and her new boyfriend J.D. (Christian Slater) accidentally poisons one of the girls, they cover it up. Veronica thinks it’s over until she realizes J.D. has a penchant for killing people… intentionally.
“All right, all right, all right,” let’s discuss Dazed and Confused. This hilarious coming-of-age film launched the careers of several stars: Ben Afleck, Adam Goldberg, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey, and Parker Posey. Set in Austin, Texas, a group of teens celebrate their last day of high school in 1976 by hazing freshman, going to a local pool parlor, and throwing a keg party. Anyone who was a teen in the 70s will definitely be feeling nostalgia by the end.
The 1986 bonafied teen classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is about a sneaky teen named Ferris Bueller who persuades his best friend and girlfriend to embark on a one-day journey driving through the streets of Chicago. Of course some roadblocks pop up in the form of stolen cars and a certain principal determined to prove that Ferris is playing hooky.
Based on Stephen Chbosky’s novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower starrs introverted teen Charlie (Logan Lerman) who is praying to get through his next school year. His pleas are answered in the form of Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his step-sister Sam (Emma Watson) who take Charlie under their wings. This poignant coming-of-age film touches upon a range of sensitive topics including depression, death, suicide, and sexual abuse.
This hilariously raunchy and equally heartfelt film is a popular hit among teens and adults alike. An invitation to a gigantic high school party kickstarts this fantastic film when two best friends decide to take it upon themselves to buy alcohol for the party, but their plan goes awry in the most ridiculously hysterical ways. best teen movies
This modern adaption of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is the ultimate retelling featuring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. This retelling revolves around the sarcastic and critical high school senior Kat Stratford and the new dark and mysterious student Patrick Verona. Seeing Heath Ledger sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” is iconic and the moment when Kat reads her poem will move you beyond words.
This 1995 film revolves around the shallow and rich teen named Cher (Alicia Silverstone) who is at the top of the food chain at her Beverly Hills high school. After giving the helplessly klutzy new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) a makeover, she climbs the social ladder and becomes Queen B which leads Cher to realize that her ex-step-brother Josh (Paul Rudd) was right about her shallow outlook on life and you know what happens next (*wink wink*). “Ugh, as if.” best teen movies
The Breakfast Club is an 80s classic with quite the cult following. The infamous fist pump at the end accompanied by the hit song “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” was one of Judd Nelson’s best improvised moves and trust me, no one will be forgetting about this ragtag bunch for a long time. They’re unforgettable. best teen movies
“You go Glen Coco!” “On Wednesdays we wear pink.” “That’s so fetch.” “Get in loser, we’re going shopping.”Mean Girls is the ultimate cult-classic and with the number of iconic quotes, you cannot go wrong with this popular film. And you can’t say we didn’t learn anything; I mean, we will forever remember that the limit does not exist.
Legally Blonde (2001), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), A Walk to Remember (2002), Can’t Buy Me Love (1987), Cruel Intentions (1999), Stand By Me (1986), Booksmart (2019), Remember the Titans (2000), Almost Famous (2000), Hunger Games (2012), High School Musical (2006), Scream (1996), Dead Poets Society (1989), Napoleon Dynamite (2004), John Tucker Must Die (2006), Back to the Future (1985), Can’t Buy Me Love (1987), The Last Song (2010), The Craft (1996), Paper Towns (2015) and Eighth Grade (2018).