Ah, youth. Everybody remembers their teenage years with rose-colored glasses. They may not be as glamorous and perfect as the movies but they sure had moments we’d cherish forever.
Get ready to take a trip down memory lane and join us as we recall our wild teen years with this countdown of the top 10 best teen movies.
Let’s get started.
Top 10 Best Teen Movies of All Time
William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)
You may not have experienced a teenage love as intense as that of Shakespeare’s tragic young lovers but it sure is fun to pretend to while you watch 90s Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes live your fantasy on screen.
Baz Luhrmann gives this classic tale of tragic love his signature excessive and overblown treatment. Disliked by purists, this badass adaptation sets the young lovers’ warring families in 90’s America replacing swords with guns. The Capulets and Montagues are presented in the film opposing mafia families.
Aside from these changes, the film is faithful to the plot and poetry with Luhrmann retaining Shakespeare’s words for the script. Romeo + Juliet (1996) is one of the best teenage movies of all time.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
It’s rare to find a film adaptation that lives up to its original source material. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of these rare gems. Perhaps it’s because of the fact that the film was also directed by the same person who wrote the book (major props to Stephen Chbosky!).
The film follows Charlie, the titular wallflower, during his first year in high school. Despite telling the experience of an individual, the film is very relatable for anyone who went through high school. It talks about sensitive but important topics such as mental illnesses, sexual abuse, and homosexuality with such honesty and tenderness.
Pitch Perfect (2012)
Pitch Perfect (2012) is a fun comedy about an all-girl college a cappella group and their quest to redeem their reputation as one of the best singing groups in their state.
The film is a classic underdog story but with a very musical twist. People who love music, performing and singing would surely find themselves rooting for The Barden Bellas as they fight against the odds.
Those cool covers and mashups are also a great bonus. You’ll surely be humming these songs even after you’re done watching the film.
The Duff (2015)
The Duff became an instant teen movie classic upon its release in 2015. It perfectly captures the current generation without mocking or simplifying them into stereotypes. Some even went as far as calling the film the Mean Girls of this generation.
The film follows Bianca, the titular DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend), as she tries her best to shed her label with the help of her hunky childhood friend Wesley. The movie follows the usual teen movie tropes but also plays on them and even subverts some of them.
A classic story of a bad boy and a good girl falling in love, Grease (1978) is a fun musical/dance movie set in the summer of 1958.
It follows high school students Danny and Sandy who after sharing a life-changing summer together learn that they’re ‘incompatible’ with each other. Watch them reconcile their differences through the iconic song and dance numbers that made the film a classic.
Some scenes to watch out for include the film’s opening credits which featured the characters as cartoons and, of course, Sandy’s transformation from good girl to a leather-clad bad girl.
13 Going On 30 (2004)
A staple at sleepovers, 13 Going On 30 (2004) stars Jennifer Garner as Jenna, a 13-year old girl whose birthday wish to become “30 flirty and thriving” magically came through.
The film follows 13-year old Jenna in future 30-year old Jenna’s body as she tries to get used to the adult life she wished for. It’s a great take to the body switch trope in comedy films with an added romantic twist.
In the end, the film warns us about the oft-quoted saying, “be careful what you wish for”.
Never Been Kissed (1999)
Drew Barrymore stars as Josie Geller, a 25-year old copy editor who goes undercover as a high school student for her first assignment as a reporter. This opportunity gives her the chance to ‘redo’ her awful high school life and finally experience what it’s like to be one of the popular kids. But she relearns how popularity doesn’t come easily.
Never Been Kissed (1999), true to its nature as the 90s best teen movie, ends on an all is well note giving all of the unpopular kids hope that things do get better after high school.
She’s All That (1999)
She’s All That (1999) is the quintessential 90s one of the best teen movie.
It follows the story of the artsy outcast Laney and the popular guy whose mission is to woo her and turn her into the most popular girl in school to win a bet against his buddies.
While it may not promote anything new, the film is a great feel-good movie to watch when you’re feeling down. We’re betting every dorky girl out there were given hope by Laney’s famous makeover unfolded through the song Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
10 Things I Hate About You is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s comedic play The Taming of the Shrew which stars Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in her breakout role. It is one of the best teen romance movies of all time.
Like with She’s All That, the plot revolves around a bet to tame the ‘shrew’ which is Julia Stiles’ character. Hhhmmm… 90s teen movie writers sure loved this plot device.
But most importantly, the film features a dashing Heath Ledger wooing Julia Stiles by singing Can’t Take My Eyes Off You on a megaphone as he playfully dances down a set of bleachers.
Mean Girls (2004)
Every modern teenager and twenty-something have probably watched Mean Girls (2004) at least once in their lives.
The film has reached icon status over the years with famous lines from the film being constantly used as memes. We’re betting some of you can even quote the film word for word by now!
With such genius lines like,
“That is so fetch”.
“This is Damian. He’s almost too gay to function.”
“Is butter a carb?”
Mean Girls tops our list of the 10 best teen movies.
Enjoyed reading the best teen movies list? We’ve got more in store for you. Browse through our collection of top 10 movie lists.