5. The Fault in our Stars (2014)
No list of teen movies would be complete without mentioning a John Green adaptation: aka tearjerker bait. This is the one that started the craze. Despite its rather sombre subject matter it was a massive hit at the box office, making over $300 million on a tiny $12 million budget. Shailene Woodley plays 16-year-old cancer patient Hazel, who attends a support group where she meets, and eventually falls in love with, Augustus (Ansel Elgort). Falling in love is hard enough already without having to deal with life-destroying illness and disability; but hey, I did say this was a tearjerker. The film received tons of critical acclaim and rightly so. The way it handles the realities of cancer is heartbreaking.
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4. Mean Girls (2004)
The best compliment you can pay Mean Girls is that it's a perfect mix of Heathers and Clueless. That's as damn near a perfect teen flick as you can get. Tina Fey wrote the script based on the book Queen Bees & Wannabes, and in the process, turned Lindsay Lohan into a bona fide star. Home schooled for years, Cady (Lohan) is recruited into the 'mean girls' clique run by Rachel McAdams' Regina George. It's all part of a ploy to help Cady's real friends, the cool geeky outsiders. Or is it? Fey blends drama with comedy to perfection. The Burn Book is deliciously evil and Lohan's transformation from innocent newcomer to total bitch is brilliantly handled by the emerging A-lister. While she's great, some of the best quips are from McAdams and her two nice-but-dim pals, played by Amanda Seyfried and Lacey Chabert.
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3. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Over a decade before she gave us Clueless, Amy Heckerling directed this fable following the final year of a group of high-schoolers, including Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Mark Ratner (Brian Backer). While it's the odyssey of Stacy and Mark that gives the film most of its story, easily the most memorable moment is down to Phoebe Cates. She'd later go on to tell the saddest Christmas story ever in Gremlins, but here she raunches things up considerably by getting her breasts out in that feels like a celluloid wet dream brought to life. Then there's Jeff Spicoli played by Sean Penn. Even though his role isn't that big, his slacker outlook gave the world a new teen hero.
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2. Clueless (1995)
Upping sticks from Ridgemont High, Amy Heckerling delivers a wickedly sharp teen satire that's remained a teen classic to this day. It's loosely based on a Jane Austen novel, and follows Beverly Hills teen Cher (Alicia Silverstone). After she sets up her two teachers, she gets all warm and fuzzy "doing stuff for other people" (her words). Clueless is a brilliant comedy that's even funnier because none of the characters have any idea how ridiculous they really are. Cher trying to help out with a disaster relief effort, her best pal Dionne attempting to drive on the freeway... the list of memorable moments goes on and on. Along with its '90s fashion, quotable dialogue ("That's way harsh, Tai", "I hope not sporadically!") and hip cast, it's the best in class and the benchmark for all other teen flicks.
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1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1985)
As this list shows, a lot of the best teen movies seem to have female leads, but Ferris Bueller ensures the guys get their moment in the spotlight too. Matthew Broderick plays the teen scamp, who decides to skip high school for the day and head into Chicago to live it up a little with his best pal Cameron (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara). Their adventures form some of the best YOLO moments (stealing Cam's dad's car, for instance) and Ferris' clever little gadgets for helping him skip school are a ton of fun. But the adults get their time to shine too. His principal, Ed Rooney, desperately tries to catch Ferris in a lie and is taken for a fool over and over while being constantly reminded of his shortcomings by his (opens in new tab).
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