10 Great Movies for Teenagers

These famous teen movies marked generations and continue to be films that deserve to be seen. Just pick your favorite and enjoy!
10 Great Movies for Teenagers
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 24 December, 2023

Youth and the passage from childhood to adolescence have been themes frequently explored on the silver screen over the years. Great movies for teenagers evoke the common themes explored during the stage of immaturity and self-discovery, where the characters are still finding themselves and discovering their innermost desires.

Cinema is, on many occasions, a reflection of a reality that seeks to show viewers the everyday life and dilemmas of daily life. Thus, every era has its cult teen movies that portray what life was like in those years and the joys and difficulties young people had to face.

Adventures with friends, sexual awakenings, and the existentialism typical of adolescence have been an inevitable attraction for young moviegoers who seek to identify with the characters, or adults who want to recall the nostalgia of their younger years. With this in mind, we’d like to share a compilation of 10 great movies for teenagers.

10 great movies for teenagers

10 películas ideales para adolescentes
Take advantage of the weekend to enjoy these 10 great movies for teenagers.

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On this list you will find from cult classics of the 80s to more current romantic comedies where technology plays the role of Celestina. Just pick your favorite tapes and let the movie marathon begin!

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky, 2012)

This 2012 film is the film adaptation of the novel of the same name written in 1999. This youth film, written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, pays tribute to all those introverted and weird teenagers who struggle to find their place in the world, but try to make the path more enjoyable hand in hand with their true friends.

The film, set in the 90s, focuses on the life of Charlie, a shy and lonely young man who, along with two of his best friends, faces the adversities of being a teenager. The film, like the book, narrates unpretentiously and uncensored unavoidable realities, such as love relationships, sex, drugs, identity, friendship, and family problems.

2. The Fault in Our Stars (Josh Boone, 2014)

If what you want is a bit of romantic drama, The Faults in Our Stars is sure to bring a tear to your eye. This film, adapted from John Green’s best-seller of the same name, tells the adventure of a teenage couple who must stay strong to continue living their lives as they fight cancer together. Love, internal grief, and how difficult life can be are the main themes.

3. Mean Girls (Tina Fey, 2004)

This pop culture and teen comedy classic was written and directed by Tina Fey, and starred Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams. Despite being released in 2004, it remains a favorite comedy for young and old alike thanks to its masterful portrayal of high school clichés.

The film follows the life of Cady, a naive young girl who goes from being home-schooled to studying at a large high school, with hundreds of students and their unique personalities. Along the way, she befriends different people and discovers the advantages and all that being a “mean girl” represents in school.

4. Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007)

This American teen comedy is one of the most remembered roles of its protagonists: Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. It tells the story of Seth and Evan, a pair of immature young men in the midst of discovering sex and partying, who decide to lose their virginity at all costs days before graduating from high school. The film turned out to be a box office hit and eventually became a cult comedy.

5. Boys Don’t Cry (Kimberly Pierce, 1999)

This independent film stars Hilary Swank and Chloë Sevigny. It tells the true story of Brandon Teena, a transgender man who as a young man adopts his male identity and tries to find himself and love, before becoming the victim of a hate crime at the hands of two ex-convicts.

Because of its plot, it became one of the pioneering films to address the issue of male transsexuality and one of the most remembered LGBT+-themed films. It was rated by critics as one of the best films of the year, to the point of bringing an Oscar nomination for Best Actress to Hilary Swank, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama.

10 películas ideales para adolescentes
Scream was one of the most popular films of the 1990s.

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6. Scream (Wes Craven, 1996)

Director Wes Craven revived teen horror and suspense with this film and its sequels (including a TV series). Its plot centers on young Sidney, a young student who is targeted by a masked serial killer known as Ghostface.

This fearsome killer, wearing a curious white mask, is responsible for the death of her mother and promises to make her life a nightmare. It’s one of the most famous and blockbuster horror films of its time.

7. Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978)

One of the pioneers of the teen musical is this film set in the 1950s and starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. It’s an adaptation of a hit Broadway musical and quickly became a cult film, both for its soundtrack and its catchy choreography.

The popular film centers on the romance between the handsome and rebellious Danny Zuko and the young innocent Sandy Olsson, just when they thought fate would inevitably separate them.

8. The Craft (Andrew Fleming, 1996)

A group of four outcast girls meet in high school and begin to practice witchcraft for their own benefit, unaware of the consequences of their actions. One of the protagonists, Sarah Bailey, begins to become aware of her supernatural powers and moves to a new school after the death of her mother. Once there, she meets three young witches and the drama begins.

As a result, Sarah becomes the key piece to be the “fourth” and, thus, completes the necessary power to invoke the four cardinal points in a special ritual. But every action has its reaction and these teenage witches will find out in the worst way.

9. High School Musical (Kenny Ortega, 2006)

Undoubtedly, this is one of the most famous teen musicals of recent times. It catapulted its stars to worldwide fame and became one of Disney’s most popular original films. Its enormous success among teenagers led to two more sequels, released in 2007 and 2008.

It tells the story of a group of high school students fascinated by singing, dancing, and sports, who begin to discover love, rivalries, and friendship among their classmates. It’s easy to identify with the characters, as there are teens of all types: from the shy scholar to the outgoing performer to the handsome jock to a sensitive singer.

10. Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995)

Clueless is one of the most famous teen comedies of all time and became a style benchmark of the 1990s. This film, starring Alicia Silverstone, follows the day-to-day life of a wealthy Beverly Hills schoolgirl and presents a satire of the upper-middle-class American lifestyle.

Due to pioneers like this 90s film, the famous and typical “dumb blonde” character, exploited in later films such as Legally Blonde (2001), Mean Girls (2004), or The House Bunny (2008) would not have existed. Therefore, it’s considered the mother of many contemporary teen films.

Honorable Mentions

It’s clear that each decade has its flagship films to represent the adolescence and rebelliousness of the time. Films that stayed in the memory of all the young people who saw them and bring back nostalgia for the golden days of immaturity. These are some of the best teen movies that deserve honorable mention:

  • To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved (Susan Johnson, 2018).
  • Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017).
  • The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola, 2014)
  • The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985)
  • Heathers ( Michael Lehmann, 1988)

Now, you have a good selection of films to relive those years of your youth and reminisce about that time of first times without adult worries. Just choose your favorite movies, grab a bowl of popcorn, and sit down to enjoy an incredible movie marathon with these great movies for teenagers.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.