10. Kids (1995)
Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine wrote Kids when he was in his teens. It's likely his own youthful approach to life as an NYC youngster that makes the movie feel so real. Through the experiences of a group of New York mid-’90s teenagers (among them Chloe Sevigny, Leo Fitzpatrick, and Rosario Dawson) it takes an unflinching look at gender politics, sexuality, race discrimination, and the outbreak of HIV. The group get high, drunk, and have sex. Lots and lots of sex. The whole point of that explicit content is to make a bold statement on contemporary teen culture. And it definitely does that in spades. Be careful as hell is probably the biggest takeaway here.
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9. The Outsiders (1983)
One of the best teen gang movies has an absolutely stacked cast of A-listers who were baby-faced newbies at the time. It kickstarted a trend of S.E. Hinton adaptations, which were all penned by the scribe while she was still in high school - adding that extra touch of truth to the story. Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, and Patrick Swayze star as the Greasers, a gang of working-class teens whose rivalry with another gang the Socs gets out of control. When one of their gang is accidentally killed, the guys go into hiding, kicking off a chain reaction of events in which things get worse and worse for the Greasers. With its superb cast and their portrayal of realistically-flawed young teens, this was an ‘80s triumph for Francis Ford Coppola.
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8. The Breakfast Club (1985)
One of John Hughes' finest coming-of-age tales, The Breakfast Club is set almost entirely in a high school where five dramatically different teenagers endure Saturday detention together. It's a simple idea that works so well because of its cast of rising stars; Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, and Anthony Michael Hall play a mixed bunch from varying cliques. While they push against each other, the film's all about rebelling against authority, too, as the kids attempt to have fun despite the school principal. Though its all-white, all-middle-class characters have dated the film somewhat (much like the fashion), Hughes' central message of overcoming differences still rings true.
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7. Heathers (1988)
"Dear diary, my teen angst bullshit has a body count," says Veronica (Winona Ryder) during her nightly confessionals. That's just one of many, MANY superb one-liners that makes Heathers such a quotable piece of cult cinema. Part of an elite clique known as the Heathers - yep, the other girls are all named Heather - Veronica pulls away from the gang as their despicable behavior becomes too much. This is a scathing teen satire, that soon turns into a bitter, black comedy when Veronica and new beau JD (Christian Slater) wind up killing teenagers they hate. Rarely has high school been so accurately portrayed as a melting pot of rampant melodrama. Sure, the murder aspect's way out there, but Heathers is still emotionally truthful. And brilliantly bitchy.
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6. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
It's heartbreaking that James Dean never soaked up the glory that came from starring in one of the most recognisably-radical teen flicks ever. The actor died before the movie hit theaters, making his final performance all the more powerful. He stars as a rebellious teenager who enrols at a new high school and quickly makes life difficult for both the students and the staff. It sounds pretty standard stuff now for a teen movie, but at the time, no-one had seen anything quite like it. And, because it's set in the ‘50s, Dean's bad boy goes up against authority figures, taking down teachers and parents alike - all while sporting one of the most amazing quiffs you’ve ever seen. Every scene positively throbs with cool.
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