December 09, 2013 via Pepsi
The 10 Best Teen Drama Films of All Time
The teen drama is a bona fide classic genre in 2013. At some point, everyone's had to deal with the trials and tribulations of adolescence. From the awkwardness of puberty, to the excitement and terror of falling in love--there's nothing quite like it. In honor of figuring out how long to wait before you text your crush back, navigating the high school cafeteria seating chart, and mastering the art of playing hookie, we’ve compiled a list of the best teen drama films of all time. The list spans several decades, but all selections carry the same hopeful message: high school has its ups and downs, but just get through it and you’ll be fine. Click through the thumbnails above and hit us on Twitter with your favorite Teen Drama film. Love this list? See more like it on Highsnobiety.com.
1. The Breakfast Club
It’s no surprise that The Breakfast Club kicks this list off. Hailed as one of the best teen films ever, this dramedy from John Hughes is totally relatable as well as being highly fantasized. When a jock, prom queen, nerd, drop-out, and loner all end up with Saturday detention in their school library, an unlikely friendship forms as the five get to know each other. Starring Molly Ringwald and a who’s who of popular actors of the time known as the “Brat Pack,” the film defined youth in the ‘80s and is still just as relevant nearly thirty years on. Watch the trailer here.
2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Written by director Cameron Crowe and based on his infamous stint as an undercover reporter in a San Diego high school, the film chronicles a year in the life of multiple students at Ridgemont High. Sean Penn’s turn as spaced-out-surfer Jeff Spicoli is eternalized in movie history forever and has kept the film a classic. Featuring the best (and worst) bits of high school, the cast goes through daily woes that only a teenager can truly understand. The film unofficially set off the ‘80s Valley teen comedy trend and remains one of the best examples to date. Check out the trailer here.
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Another John Hughes classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off shot Matthew Broderick to fame and was a hit with its off-kilter direct-to-camera delivery style. The film was hugely popular most likely due to its premise around one of the biggest plots of teenage-dom: how to successfully pull off a sick day. The film has Ferris skipping school only to borrow his best friend’s dad’s Ferrari, get his girlfriend out of school, head to downtown Chicago, and catch a baseball game — all while his principal tries to catch him in the act. Ferris manages to pull it all off and has since become a legend in the eyes of high-school kids the world over. Watch the trailer here.
4. Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused is one of those movies that you can watch over and over again, where you know the characters so well they feel like old friends. Set during the last day of school in summer 1976, a diverse group of teenagers look for something to do in Austin. The large ensemble cast worked to the film’s advantage, covering almost all high school stereotypes and allowing their interactions to be the basis of the film. Featuring a ton of actors before they hit the big time, including Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck, Dazed and Confused is a real legend in the high-school movie world.
5. Empire Records
Empire Records captured the ‘90s zeitgeist with a story about a group of teenagers working in the coolest record store in town. With their beloved record store threatened, the mixed group is brought together by their love of music and their desire to “damn the man, save the Empire.” By weaving each character’s personal dramas in amongst the main plot line, Empire Records teaches you to root for the underdog, in every sense of the phrase. Check out the trailer here.
6. 10 Things I Hate About You
Based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You was an unconventional teen drama that became a massive success due to its offbeat characters. Introducing Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in their breakout roles, the film praised individuality and being true to oneself, making it a standout in the world of teen movies. Heath Ledger’s memorable rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” doesn’t hurt either. Watch it above and check out the trailer here.
7. Ghost World
An adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ comic book of the same name, Ghost World tells the story of Enid and Rebecca, two teenage outsiders and their lives post-high school. The quirky and darkly humorous film provides a realistic look at being an outcast, whether in high school or later in life, and although wickedly funny has a strong message behind it all. Watch the trailer here.
8. Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko is a fantasized take on teenage life, as the story of a troubled teenager who has visions of a giant bunny and the end of the world. Catapulting Jake Gyllenhaal’s career and produced by Drew Barrymore’s production company, the dark sci-fi drama was a surprise success. Whether Donnie’s story is realistic or not, the feelings of being an outsider and the desperate ambition of teachers and parents around you is something every teenager can relate to.
Juno earned a cult following and high critical praise when it was released and for good reason. The unusual storyline of a young teenage girl dealing with a pregnancy was cast perfectly with Ellen Page in the titular role. The sharp, witty writing and highly-ironic humor earned Diablo Cody an Oscar for Best Screenplay and Page a nomination for Best Actress. Not entirely realistic in its portrayal of teenage-hood, Juno’s appeal was how it enacted exactly the way teenagers wished they could talk and act in moments of dire awkwardness.
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Based on the bestselling novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a success both on screen and off. Set during the early ‘90s, the film follows three teens as they go through high school and face the inescapable pains of growing up. Emma Watson and Ezra Miller both star and succeed in being genuine and relatable to a young audience, while the film being both funny and sad portrays a realistic look at high school life.