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Best High School Movies of All Time

50 Shows & Movies | by Rotten Tomatoes

See what made the honor roll in Rotten Tomatoes' list of the 50 best American high school movies, ranked by adjusted Tomatometer with at least 20 reviews each!

Grease

Grease

Romance

Australian good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they're now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance despite their eccentric friends?

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Comedy, Drama

Based on the real-life adventures chronicled by Cameron Crowe, Fast Times follows a group of high school students growing up in Southern California. Stacy Hamilton and Mark Ratner are looking for a love interest, and are helped along by their older classmates, Linda Barrett and Mike Damone, respectively. At the center of the film is Jeff Spicoli, a perpetually stoned surfer who faces-off with the resolute Mr. Hand—a man convinced that everyone is on dope.

Better Luck Tomorrow

Better Luck Tomorrow

Crime, Drama

A group of over-achieving Asian-American high school seniors enjoy a power trip when they dip into extra-curricular criminal activities.

Brick

Brick

Drama, Mystery

A teenage loner pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend.

Clueless

Clueless

Comedy, Romance

Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale. Seeing herself as a matchmaker, Cher first coaxes two teachers into dating each other. Emboldened by her success, she decides to give hopelessly klutzy new student Tai a makeover. When Tai becomes more popular than she is, Cher realizes that her disapproving ex-stepbrother was right about how misguided she was -- and falls for him.

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

Drama

A small, turbulent town in Texas obsesses over their high school football team to an unhealthy degree. When the star tailback, Boobie Miles, is seriously injured during the first game of the season, all hope is lost, and the town's dormant social problems begin to flare up. It is left to the inspiring abilities of new coach Gary Gaines to instill in the other team members -- and, by proxy, the town itself -- a sense of self-respect and honor.

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea

Animation, Comedy

Dash and his best friend Assaf are preparing for another year at Tides High School muckraking on behalf of their widely-distributed but little-read school newspaper, edited by their friend Verti. But just when a blossoming relationship between Assaf and Verti threatens to destroy the boys' friendship, Dash learns of a cover-up by the administration that puts the entire student body in danger.

Rocket Science

Rocket Science

Comedy, Drama

Hal is a 15-year-old high-school student with a minor yet socially alienating (and painful) disability: he stutters uncontrollably. Determined to work through the problem, Hal opts for an extreme route – he joins the school debating team, which sends him on a headfirst plunge into breakneck speech competitions and offers a much-needed boost toward correcting the problem.

My Bodyguard

My Bodyguard

Drama, Family

Clifford Peach, an easygoing teenager, is finding less than easy to fit in at his new high school, where a tough-talking bully terrorizes his classmates and extorts their lunch money. Refusing to pay up, Clifford enlist the aid of an overgrown misfit whose mere presence intimidates students and teachers alike. But their "business relationship" soon turns personal as Clifford and the troubled loner forge a winning alliance against their intimidators - and a very special friendship with each other.

Mean Girls

Mean Girls

Comedy

Cady Heron is a hit with The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school, until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Comedy, Drama

Greg is coasting through senior year of high school as anonymously as possible, avoiding social interactions like the plague while secretly making spirited, bizarre films with Earl, his only friend. But both his anonymity and friendship threaten to unravel when his mother forces him to befriend a classmate with leukemia.

Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

Fantasy, Drama

After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.

Chronicle

Chronicle

Science Fiction, Drama

Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over.

Hoosiers

Hoosiers

Drama, Family

High school basketball is king in small-town Indiana, and the 1954 Hickory Huskers are all hope and no talent. But their new coach -- abrasive, unlikable Norman Dale -- whips the team into shape ... while also inciting controversy.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club

Comedy, Drama

Five high school students from different walks of life endure a Saturday detention under a power-hungry principal. The disparate group includes rebel John, princess Claire, outcast Allison, brainy Brian and Andrew, the jock. Each has a chance to tell his or her story, making the others see them a little differently -- and when the day ends, they question whether school will ever be the same.

Superbad

Superbad

Comedy

Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.

Election

Election

Comedy

Jim McAllister, a well-liked high school government teacher, can't help but notice that successful student Tracy Flick uses less than ethical tactics to get what she wants. When Tracy runs for school president, Jim feels that she will be a poor influence on the student body and convinces Paul, a dim-witted but popular student athlete, to run against Tracy. When she becomes aware of Jim's secret involvement in the race, a bitter feud is sparked.

House Party

House Party

Comedy, Drama

Young Kid has been invited to a party at his friend Play's house. But after a fight at school, Kid's father grounds him. None the less, Kid sneaks out when his father falls asleep. But Kid doesn't know that three of the thugs at school have decided to give him a lesson in behavior.

Hairspray

Hairspray

Comedy, Romance

Pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad auditions to be on Baltimore's most popular dance show - The Corny Collins Show - and lands a prime spot. Through her newfound fame, she becomes determined to help her friends and end the racial segregation that has been a staple of the show.

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now

Comedy, Drama

Sutter, a popular party animal, unexpectedly meets the introverted Aimee after waking up on a stranger's lawn. As Sutter deals with the problems in his life and Aimee plans for her future beyond school, an unexpected romance blossoms between them.

American Graffiti

American Graffiti

Comedy, Drama

A couple of high school graduates spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.

Juno

Juno

Comedy, Drama

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

The Edge of Seventeen

The Edge of Seventeen

Comedy, Drama

Two high school girls are best friends until one dates the other's older brother, who is totally his sister's nemesis.

Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams

Documentary

Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, a predominately white suburban school well-known for the excellence of its basketball program. Gates and Agee dream of NBA stardom, and with the support of their close-knit families, they battle the social and physical obstacles that stand in their way. This acclaimed documentary was shot over the course of five years.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Adventure, Comedy

Eighties teenager Marty McFly is accidentally sent back in time to 1955, inadvertently disrupting his parents' first meeting and attracting his mother's romantic interest. Marty must repair the damage to history by rekindling his parents' romance and - with the help of his eccentric inventor friend Doc Brown - return to 1985.

Some Kind of Wonderful

Some Kind of Wonderful

Drama, Romance

A young tomboy, Watts, finds her feelings for her best friend, Keith, run deeper than just friendship when he gets a date with the most popular girl in school.

Better Off Dead...

Better Off Dead...

Comedy

High school student Lane Meyer sinks into suicidal depression when his girlfriend dumps him for jock Roy Stalin, the high school ski racing champion. Meanwhile, he has to deal with his eccentric family, a tenacious paperboy and an obnoxious neighbor whose mother is hosting a beautiful French exchange student named Monique.

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

Comedy, Romance

Andie is an outcast, hanging out either with her older boss, who owns the record store where she works, or her quirky high school classmate Duckie, who has a crush on her. When one of the rich and popular kids at school, Blane, asks Andie out, it seems too good to be true. As Andie starts falling for Blane, she begins to realize that dating someone from a different social sphere is not easy.

Love & Basketball

Love & Basketball

Action, Comedy

Quincy McCall and Monica Wright grew up in the same neighborhood and have known each other since childhood. As they grow into adulthood, they fall in love, but they also share another all-consuming passion: basketball. As Quincy and Monica struggle to make their relationship work, they follow separate career paths though high school and college basketball and, they hope, into stardom in big-league professional ball.

Fame

Fame

Drama, Music

A chronicle of the lives of several teenagers who attend a New York high school for students gifted in the performing arts.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Comedy

After high school slacker Ferris Bueller successfully fakes an illness in order to skip school for the day, he goes on a series of adventures throughout Chicago with his girlfriend Sloane and best friend Cameron, all the while trying to outwit his wily school principal and fed-up sister.

Peggy Sue Got Married

Peggy Sue Got Married

Comedy, Drama

Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school.

Bully

Bully

Documentary, Drama

This year, over 5 million American kids will be bullied at school, online, on the bus, at home, through their cell phones and on the streets of their towns, making it the most common form of violence young people in this country experience. The Bully Project is the first feature documentary film to show how we've all been affected by bullying, whether we've been victims, perpetrators or stood silent witness. The world we inhabit as adults begins on the playground. The Bully Project opens on the first day of school. For the more than 5 million kids who'll be bullied this year in the United States, it's a day filled with more anxiety and foreboding than excitement. As the sun rises and school busses across the country overflow with backpacks, brass instruments and the rambunctious sounds of raging hormones, this is a ride into the unknown.

Sixteen Candles

Sixteen Candles

Comedy, Romance

A teenage girl deals with her parents forgetting her birthday and a crush on her high school's heartthrob.

River's Edge

River's Edge

Crime, Drama

A group of high school friends discover that they are in the presence of a killer. One of them, Samson, has murdered his girlfriend Jamie. He brags to his friends about killing her, and when they discover he is telling the truth, their reactions vary.

Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society

Drama

At an elite, old-fashioned boarding school in New England, a passionate English teacher inspires his students to rebel against convention and seize the potential of every day, courting the disdain of the stern headmaster.

Easy A

Easy A

Comedy

Olive, an average high school student, sees her below-the-radar existence turn around overnight once she decides to use the school's gossip grapevine to advance her social standing. Now her classmates are turning against her and the school board is becoming concerned, including her favorite teacher and the distracted guidance counselor. With the support of her hilariously idiosyncratic parents and a little help from a long-time crush, Olive attempts to take on her notorious new identity and crush the rumor mill once and for all.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Drama

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1991. High school freshman Charlie is a wallflower, always watching life from the sidelines, until two senior students, Sam and her stepbrother Patrick, become his mentors, helping him discover the joys of friendship, music and love.

21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street

Action, Comedy

In high school, Schmidt was a dork and Jenko was the popular jock. After graduation, both of them joined the police force and ended up as partners riding bicycles in the city park. Since they are young and look like high school students, they are assigned to an undercover unit to infiltrate a drug ring that is supplying high school students synthetic drugs.

Dope

Dope

Crime, Drama

Malcolm is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself.

Rushmore

Rushmore

Comedy, Drama

When a beautiful first-grade teacher arrives at a prep school, she soon attracts the attention of an ambitious teenager named Max, who quickly falls in love with her. Max turns to the father of two of his schoolmates for advice on how to woo the teacher. However, the situation soon gets complicated when Max's new friend becomes involved with her, setting the two pals against one another in a war for her attention.

Ghost World

Ghost World

Comedy, Drama

Two quirky, cynical teenaged girls try to figure out what to do with their lives after high school graduation. After they play a prank on an eccentric, middle aged record collector, one of them befriends him, which causes a rift in the girls' friendship.

Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused

Comedy, Drama

The adventures of a group of Texas teens on their last day of school in 1976, centering on student Randall Floyd, who moves easily among stoners, jocks and geeks. Floyd is a star athlete, but he also likes smoking weed, which presents a conundrum when his football coach demands he sign a "no drugs" pledge.

Heathers

Heathers

Thriller, Comedy

A girl who halfheartedly tries to be part of the "in crowd" of her school meets a rebel who teaches her a more devious way to play social politics: by killing the popular kids.

Carrie

Carrie

Horror, Thriller

Carrie White, a shy and troubled teenage girl who is tormented by her high school peers and her fanatically religious mother, begins to use her powers of telekinesis to exact revenge upon them.

Risky Business

Risky Business

Comedy, Romance

Meet Joel Goodson, an industrious, college-bound 17-year-old and a responsible, trustworthy son. However, when his parents go away and leave him home alone in the wealthy Chicago suburbs with the Porsche at his disposal he quickly decides he has been good for too long and it is time to enjoy himself. After an unfortunate incident with the Porsche Joel must raise some cash, in a risky way.

Hairspray

Hairspray

Comedy, Family

'Pleasantly plump' teenager Tracy Turnblad achieves her dream of becoming a regular on the Corny Collins Dance Show. Now a teen hero, she starts using her fame to speak out for the causes she believes in, most of all integration. In doing so, she earns the wrath of the show's former star, Amber Von Tussle, as well as Amber's manipulative, pro-segregation parents. The rivalry comes to a head as Amber and Tracy vie for the title of Miss Auto Show 1963.

Say Anything...

Say Anything...

Comedy, Drama

A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause

Drama

After moving to a new town, troublemaking teen Jim Stark is supposed to have a clean slate, although being the new kid in town brings its own problems. While searching for some stability, Stark forms a bond with a disturbed classmate, Plato, and falls for local girl Judy. However, Judy is the girlfriend of neighborhood tough, Buzz. When Buzz violently confronts Jim and challenges him to a drag race, the new kid's real troubles begin.

The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show

Drama

High school seniors and best friends, Sonny and Duane, live in a dying Texas town. The handsome Duane is dating a local beauty, while Sonny is having an affair with the coach's wife. As graduation nears and both boys contemplate their futures. Duane eyes the army and Sonny takes over a local business. Each struggles to figure out if he can escape this dead-end town and build a better life somewhere else.

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