No matter your age, there’s always one high school movie that sticks out as a pivotal moment in movie viewing pleasure. High school movies reach cult status for various reasons, but beyond the coming-of-age story that they tell, they can relate to multiple facets of one’s life or can act as a nostalgic picture that reminds us just how much you grow up after those four defining years. There aren’t many high school movies that are being nominated for Academy Awards(though there are some) but that doesn’t mean their importance to us is unheard. Whether it be funny one-liners that catch our attention, a stellar acting performance that paves the way to further success, or just a relatable storyline that we can continually connect with, high school movies are some of the best examples of films that stand the test of time. Here’s our list of our favorite top high school movies of all time. These are the movies that we can always go back to and thankfully recall that those four years eventually do come to an end. Dead Poets Society https://www.youtube.com/watch?vgQU3EphIpMY While many of the best high school movies stick to the comedy genre, Dead Poets Society makes this list as the only true drama, but still a strong look into high school life nonetheless. We all wish we had as inspiring of a teacher as Robin Williams’ John Keating, but alas, we all can’t go to a fancy prep school like Welton Academy. Though the high school this film is set in may be far from typical, the students still fall into similar personality types as seen in many of the best high school movies. Dead Poets Society gave us a group of high school students that many could relate to. Each one was finding themselves, and especially in the constructs of a private school setting, it was a difficult feat. Though the story takes a dark turn, it was a high school movie with a deeper meaning, teaching us to follow your dreams and feel inspired. Unfortunately, like most high school movies, the young protagonists don’t come into their own until the final few scenes of the film, in this case costing the career of one person who helped them the most. Dazed and Confused https://www.youtube.com/watch?vANM7_NTFvE4 Even though the majority of Dazed and Confused doesn’t happen on high school grounds, it does capture the essence of high school life quite well. The 1993 Richard Linklater film that not only saw the start of some of the biggest names today from Matthew McConaughey to Ben Affleck rose to cult film status later in its life, but can still be recognized as one of the best high school movies of all time. Exploring both sides of the spectrum in a high school setting, the outgoing senior class and the incoming freshman class, Dazed and Confused gave us a peek into what it means to move forward and the trials and tribulations that come along with change. Including a pivotal keg party, as well as sharing many characters first times exposed to alcohol and marijuana, it explored risky behavior and difficult choices, but along the way a whole lotta love and friendship. With many different types of characters, and terrific acting to boot, Dazed and Confused showed us just how fun high school can be, but also how important it was to help us grow up. Heathers https://www.youtube.com/watch?vbDHQlw1ddx8 While we can’t claim most high school movies entirely realistic, Heathers falls far from the bunch. The dark comedy, massive killings and overall tragic tone drives the plot of the film, but it still gives us a decent look into a realistic essence of high school. Winona Ryder’s Veronica Sawyer was placed into the popular group that everyone desired. But in realizing just how evil the girls where, their nature rubs off on her, and accidentally ignites a mass killing spree. Though her character’s actions are brought to the extreme, the situations that bring out those actions are far too regular in a high school setting. Add a bad influence seen in Christian Slater’s J.D. and it’s a lethal mix. Though many of the deaths in the film are not quite suicides, the implications behind them are real situations that can cause teen depression. The film itself was a commercial failure, but later reached cult status, as well. And the creative take on a high school setting is enough to sit Heathers comfortably on this list. Fast Times at Ridgemont High https://www.youtube.com/watch?vtuENFR-9phU Admit it, you knew this one was coming. Fast Times at Ridgemont High is one of the more successful high films in capturing many different aspects of high school life. With an ensemble cast that ranges in age and character type, the movie successfully captured what it meant to be a high school student from different angles. The two subplots chronicle a full school year in the lives of the students. In exploring multiple worlds, the film dives into part-time employment, losing one’s virginity, break ups, teen pregnancy, and high school deadbeats. What makes the movie stick out even more is how it shows the distinction between different years of high school, and how the older students see themselves in comparison to their younger counterparts. But not only is it successful in humorously engaging teen promiscuity and the discomfort that follows, but it also has an equally hilarious subplot between Sean Penn’s Jeff Spicoli, a carefree stoner, and his uptight history teacher, Ray Walston’s Mr. Hand. The dual story lines allow the movie to encapsulate all different situations and realizations that come from living high school life. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off https://www.youtube.com/watch?vX2ttCXTD0Z8 Ferris Bueller himself spends no time on high school grounds during the adventure that is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But along with the school’s reaction to his absence, as well as the eventful day Bueller spends with his friends, the film perfectly dives into what it means to be a high school student. On the ultimate ‘sick day’ Ferris, his girlfriend Sloane and best friend Cameron go on the most epic of adventures showing off the excitement that goes along with skipping school for the day. By the end though, we learn an eventful day can lead to an unwanted final outcome. As a film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the best, and the only reason it doesn’t rank higher on this list is because of the main character’s lack of time spent in actual high school. We do get to explore many of the teen tropes though, including a bitter older sister, an annoyed teacher seeking to catch Ferris in the act, and the deeply profound friendship between three misfits. Click "Next" to read more. Mean Girls https://www.youtube.com/watch?vre5veV2F7eY Combine Tina Fey’s witty screenplay along with a Lindsay Lohan in her prime and a breakout performance by Rachel McAdams and what do you get-- Mean Girls. Filled to the brim with memorable one-liners, Mean Girls quickly reached cult success, and though it is the more modern of this top 10 bunch, there’s no doubt it will stand the test of time. Lohan’s Cady is an unsocialized teen who spent her first 16 years homeschooled when she is placed into the most dangerous jungle of them all-- high school. Though Cady may not have the social skills up to par with many of the students, her looks land her a position in the popular mean girl group, The Plastics. Cady had formed a meaningful relationship with a group of outcasts, who push her to take on her role in The Plastics and take the mean girls down. But like any good high school flick, sometimes the drama and politics in the social hierarchy can get to even the purest of heart. Mean Girls is packed with powerful comedic performances, with Tina Fey as the lead teacher in the mix. It’s hysterical but also touches deeply on how mean girls can be in high school, and where the line needs to be drawn. Clueless https://www.youtube.com/watch?vYf7MT1p1VNI Like many of the films that make the best high school movie list, Clueless centers on a group of wealthy, good-looking, and popular girls. Alicia Silverstone’s Cher has it all, all but a clue that is. High atop the social scene and easily securing anything she wants, Cher goes on the endeavor to try and make others happy, and curb her somewhat innocent selfishness. Clueless is a high school movie classic. Though the popular girl role is not an icon that is easy to relate to, Cher’s confusion and self-doubt are things every high school student experiences. Producers of the film had even sat in on Beverly Hills High School students, just to get a real feel for the culture. While obviously dramatized, the interactions between students of all different types makes this film even more endearing. Ending on a good-hearted note, and exposing to us what it means to be helpless and caring in a harsh and competitive environment was a fitting way to close a coming-of-age story. The cult following of this classic is well-deserved, especially thanks to the relatability and sincerity of Cher’s journey to finding a clue. The Breakfast Club https://www.youtube.com/watch?vtLF-cDa-lVg It wouldn’t be a best high school movies list without The Breakfast Club, and it wouldn’t be an accurately ranked one without the John Hughes movie taking the number one spot. Considered the greatest high school movie of all time by both critics and fans alike the storyline brings together five teenagers of all different high school cliques to spend one epic Saturday detention together. Each realizing they probably have more in common than they would have ever realized in their day-to-day high school lives it gives us a look into the struggles that every high school student goes through, no matter the group they associate with. Filled with top notch performances from actors such as Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson and John Kapelos, the story itself gives viewers an opportunity to break down walls that high school movies often stick within and bring a ragtag group of unusual friends together in their own defeat. Friendships and romantic relationships form all as one day progresses, and the story which shows the unheard voices of different social statuses in the school shows why high school cliques never last, and the importance of seeing someone for who they are, not just what they represent at surface level. The insightful and witty look into the inner workings of what it means to be a teenager is a story that can attract an endless audience, standing up to the test of time and generational differences. Grease https://www.youtube.com/watch?v-MQNNzaEt2s School is not about education, feeding the imagination or providing children with the skills necessary to succeed in life. No, it’s about music, fast cars, looking sharp and copping off with the opposite sex. And for this Hollywood truth, Grease is still very much the word. And as for Olivia Newton John in that leather suit… Carrie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v5odtIbTbDyA Has any film ever captured the agonising pain of being the scorned outsider whilst at school better than Carrie? The violent carnage that takes place at that most American of institutions – the school prom – is most definitely a case of the chickens coming home to roost. Sissy Spacek excels in this chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s memorable tale. Click "Next" to read more. Back To The Future https://www.youtube.com/watch?vpM32-DF-Vig The classic high school movie collides with the outlandish principles of the science fiction adventure flick in this superb 1985 film. Michael J. Fox bagged the role of a lifetime, as he goes back in time to ensure his parents actually do get together in school. While there he discovers the mechanics of school haven’t changed dramatically in 30 years. Something that still exists today no doubt. Pretty In Pink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v17dU___xcdA The final John Hughes pick, and while Pretty In Pink might not attract the plaudits as readily as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Breakfast Club it can certainly hold its weight in such vaunted company. Molly Ringwald stars as Andie, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks when it comes to stepping out with preppy Blane (Andrew McCarthy). Social prejudice is explored in this cracking film that also stars Harry Dean Stanton, James Spader and Jon Cryer. It also possesses one of the best Eighties soundtracks to boot. Donnie Darko https://www.youtube.com/watch?v9mstOk3u2KY This film happens to be one of my favorite films of all time. School years are a vexed time for kids and teenagers – this much is clear from the films dedicated to such an integral part of ones life. But it’s doubtful most kids are as troubled as Donnie Darko: his school is plagued with hypocritical teachers; boorish bullies and the usual moral vicissitudes. Thankfully, Donnie has a plan… The Last Picture Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?vFQunyqgIksc Another one of my favorites (that's two in a row)! The end of school can be an unsettling experience – what was once solid has now melted into air. It’s this emotion that Peter Bogdanovich captured memorably in his 1971 opus, The Last Picture Show. Starring Jeff Bridges and Cybil Shepherd, the film explores the end of an era through the closing down of a small town’s cinema. Can the friendships made at school endure beyond the gates? Rushmore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v5_jWsElEpn4 A suitably offbeat Wes Anderson film starring the oddball charms of Jason Schwartzman and that helped kick-start Bill Murray’s ‘second career’? What’s not to like? Schwartzman stars as intriguing student Max Fischer of the prestigious Rushmore Academy as he battles the institution’s traditional values – with a little assistance from bored industrialist Herman Blume (Murray). Click "Next" to read more. Napoleon Dynamite https://www.youtube.com/watch?vb58fAt0MdgI Quite possibly the high school outsider movie to end all high school outsider movies. Gangly, awkward, sullen and with a natural proclivity towards daydreaming, the titular Napoleon is something of an oddball. But he has a steely determination running through those peculiar veins – not least when he vows to guide his friend Pedro (the anti-Tracy Flick) to the post of class president, with the help of one memorable dance routine. To Sir With Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?vOh8VBBLNhRQ Watched through contemporary eyes this somewhat clichéd tale of a black teacher (Sidney Poitier) taming a bunch of rough and unruly East London school kids is overly sentimental. But in 1967 when the film was released the film must have ruffled a few feathers with its portrayal of a teacher attempting to engage with his students in a non-dictatorial fashion. School Of Rock https://www.youtube.com/watch?vyMvpJDbWX_c Because the three Rs should really mean Radiohead, the Rolling Stones and Run-D.M.C.. Jack Black shines, in his definitive performance, as the hapless musician who dreams of rock’n’roll stardom, yet by a twist of fate finds inculcating receptive students with rock mythology more fulfilling. Goodbye, Mr. Chips https://www.youtube.com/watch?v-GZEsFx5vWc Goodbye, Mr Chips might not be widely known today, but thanks to his lead performance actor Robert Donat beat the likes of Laurence Olivier, Clark Gable, Mickey Rooney and James Stewart to the Best Actor Oscar. Donat stars as the eponymous Chips, a retired teacher who recalls his long and distinguished career just before his death. A moving and gripping film that works to endorse teaching as a legitimate noble calling. The History Boys https://www.youtube.com/watch?vwFUZtG8CL3Q The late great Richard Griffiths is mesmeric as kindly teacher Hector in this superb adaptation of Alan Bennett’s acclaimed play. Starring Dominic Cooper, James Corden, Russell Tovey and Andrew Knott, among others, director Nicholas Hytner depicts the honour, pain and good times that encapsulate friendship at school. Friendships that, after all, can last a lifetime. Click "Next" to read more. If... https://www.youtube.com/watch?vBqoGcC4S5jk The manifold inadequacies of the British public school system – and, by extension British society as a whole – are laid bare in this iconic counterculture Sixties classic. Malcolm McDowell, in his first starring role, shines in Lindsay Anderson’s expertly observed satire of public school life. Blackboard Jungle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v2qfBjrHc7H4 Perhaps best known as the 1955 film that introduced the nascent form of rock’n’roll onto an unsuspecting populace (Bill Haley & His Comets’ Rock Around The Clock features heavily), Blackboard Jungle also comes recommended as a significant high school movie. Glenn Ford stars as the teacher trying to reach out to a class of juvenile delinquents including, ironically enough, Sidney Poitier. The Belles Of St. Trinian’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?vp3j2HngnCts Comedy capers galore in the first of the St Trinian’s films, dating from 1954. Alastair Sim stars (in two roles) in this riotous tale of the anarchic all-girls school St Trinian’s. George Cole pops up as the classic spiv who is just one of many thwarted by the headstrong girls. The less said about the recent ‘reboot’ the better – apart from Sarah Harding’s appearance natch. Superbad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v1EnGKC9Lk_Y Popping your cherry is clearly one of the major themes of anyone’s school days (see American Pie) and such an obsession is the stuff of Superbad. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera pair up as best buddies about to graduate from high school and go to separate colleges. Can they retain their friendship in the face of sexual anxiety and some much needed partying? The last on our list is a television show but it might as well be a film. Freaks And Geeks https://www.youtube.com/watch?vY7-0uoR0pTo Growing up circa 1980, a misfit high-school student and his pals are probably destined to become new media millionaires, but right now they're stuck in school, where all the girls are a foot taller and bullies terrorize the gym class. Meanwhile, his older sister is flirting with the dope-smoking bad boys, cutting classes and questioning the point of getting good grades.