16 Films About Teenagers Which are Not Just for Kids

Because you're never too old for a good movie.

Donnie Darko
I had to watch this a couple of times before I was sure I knew what was happening - it's one odd movie. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a troubled teenagered who believes he only has days to live... because an invisible man in a rabbit suit tells him so. The film explores time travel, family ties, guilt, love, fate and so much more.

The Virgin Suicides
An oddly dreamy film for such a dark subject matter. A group of boys become fascinated by a family of girls who have been closeted away by their devout, protective parents following their sister's suicide.

Teenager, Tracy Turnblad is determined to become a dance sensation despite her plus size figure. Along the way, Tracy and her friends bring into question a lot of the stereotypes and prejudices held by the people around them. Plus, John Travolta's her mother...

Pretty in Prink
There were a whole bunch of pretty formulaic teen movies churned out in the 80s and I could have picked any one of them. Pretty in Pink made the list because I remember how much I loved Molly Ringwald's frocks. The usual rich/poor love triangle plays out to a fab retro soundtrack.

Winona Ryder and Christian Slater team up against the cool kids in this dark and devious high school movie. It's like Mean Girls without the morals. Speaking of which...

Mean Girls
Written and featuring Tina Fey, you know this one's going to be good. Lindsay Lohan stars as a good kid infiltrating the bitch clique with the intention of unmasking them. Her plans go awry when she starts to fall for the lead mean girl's man.

This looked a bit puerile to me, but some guy friends made me watch it... and it turned out to be hilarious. A group of teenage boys try desperately hard to get some alcohol and get laid, whilst avoiding the subject of what's going to happen next year when they have to find their way in the world without each other.

An otherworldly classic. Jennifer Connelly plays the fifteen year old girl who accidentally gives her baby brother to the goblin king (David Bowie in far too tight leggings). Will she have the courage to find her way through the labyrinth and win him back?

Ghost World
Enid and Rebecca didn't fit in at high school, and Enid sees no reason for that to change after graduation. Ghost World is a bizarrely touching film about growing up, growing apart and finding your own way in the adult world.

Finding herself unexpectedly pregnant, determinedly self-assured teenager Juno decides to give up her baby for adoption. Things don't turn out to be as easy as she imagines, though, and she has to face up to some tough realities about the imperfections of other people along the way.
Wild Child
This is an incredibly silly film about a rebellious Californian girl who is sent to a British boarding school in an attempt to mend her ways. There's not a single plot point which will take you by surprise but it's very good fun to watch.

Chalet Girl
And while we're on the subject of teenage feelgoodery, Chalet Girl is the story of a penniless skateboarder who takes on a housekeeping job at a rich family's chalet. Utterly predictable, but with both Bill Nighy and Bill Bailey in the cast. Perfectly enjoyable. 
10 Things I Hate About You
I love this film. It's a modern day reinterpretation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, but you don't need to be an English lit fan to enjoy it. Pretty, popular Bianca isn't allowed to go on dates with boys until her stroppy, opinionated older sister Kat does. Cue a cunning plan to make Kat fall in love...

This time, a reinvention of Jane Austen's Emma, with Alicia Silverstone playing the meddling matchmaker who just can't seem to find love for herself. 

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
This one really is aimed at teenage girls but I still love it. It's my I-don't-feel-well cheer up movie. Georgia shares everything she learns about boys, friends, family and snogging in the run up to her fifteenth birthday.

Matthew Broderick stars as a high school teacher whose life is falling apart, no thanks to the various teenagers who are standing in the school elections.

I'm not saying these are the sixteen best teen movies out there - this is just my list! If you, like, so can't believe I've missed out your top fave film, leave me a comment below!


  1. Clueless is one of my favourite films! What about some of the films from that 80's season, like Back to the Future and Ferris Bueller's Day off? Personally I'd have to include Grease too because I love it. The teens are such a weird, exciting and important part of life there must be loads of films about them...

  2. Masses! It was hard to pick sixteen!

  3. I have to admit, I didn't understand Donnie Darko and had to watch it THREE times before I understood the time travel bit! Physics has never been my subject, hahaha.

  4. 16 and no Sixteen Candles?! ;-) Some very good choices, a few I have yet to see. Heathers was so completely my era, mildly embarassed to admit there was a bit of croquet and plaid squirt wearing that went on after it in a very obvious ploy to attract any local Christian Slaters (sadly, there were none).

  5. p.s. I am up for MM (code name;) this week if you still are? I also have box set of age inappropriate teenage dance films that are vaguely related to said outing to loan if you are interested :-).

  6. I was totally confused the first time!

  7. D'oh!

    Ha ha ha! At least croquet is a valuable skill...

  8. Yes, but I think I'm busy on Wednesday... Are we prepared to pay full price?!

  9. Good list :) I love Juno...very unrealistic but still awesome in a lot of ways.  Donnie Darko also scared the crap out of me as a kid/teen.

  10. I can never remember why I like Juno until I'm made to sit down and watch it... and then I remember it's awesome.

  11. Agree!  Except Chalet Girl, the day I had to watch that was very tiresome indeed...  Plus you forgot Breakfast Club... but guess I'll let you off ;) (btw butterflies creep me out so I may avoid your previous post...)

  12. So many of my favourite films are about teenagers and high school. 10 Things... is a great favourite, and another film very loosely based on a Shakespeare play, She's The Man, is my guilty pleasure- so cheesy but fun.

  13. 10 Things is an absolute favourite.

  14. Ah, good list!! I still love Clueless and rewatched it recently as i discovered it's on Netflix! I love a lot of high school movies from the 80s too, Breakfast Club et al. I also quite enjoy watching series from when i was younger, like My So-Called Life and Dawson's Creek!

  15. My So Called Life! I have the box set! I need to watch it again!


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