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Top 10 Greatest Teen Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Mariam Esseghaier Love triangles, bad hair and getting laid – teenagers have a lot of their minds! Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 greatest teen movies. For this list, we’re focusing on movies that are for teens and about teens, with all the angst and acne that brings with it. Thanks to our users Erik Zarins, Diana Pupola, BDenum100, MultiPearl007, BDenum100, Tony Brown, Rob Welch, TheDisneyNerd, Nichelle Phoenix Perez, Dwain9695, Camila Castilhos, mizzGrimm18, Nichelle Phoenix Perez and Topaz Hermon for submitting the idea through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest

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Written by Mariam Esseghaier

Top 10 Greatest Teen Movies

Love triangles, bad hair and getting laid – teenagers have a lot of their minds! Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest teen movies.

For this list, we’re focusing on movies that are for teens and about teens, with all the angst and acne that brings with it.

#10: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982)

It’s no surprise that this film appeals to the teenage demographic; Cameron Crowe wrote the book on which the screenplay was based after spending a year in high school at the age of 22 pretending to be a teenager. He took notes on his classmates’ experiences in love and life, and turned that insight into this enduring and detailed teen classic. But, that kinda makes you wonder who could’ve possibly inspired Sean Penn’s character, and how did he feel when he saw the film?

#9: “Juno” (2007)

With its adorably awkward characters and witty and almost too smart dialogue, “Juno” is full of laughs. That’s why it’s sometimes difficult to believe it’s actually dealing with a topic as serious as teenage pregnancy. But the allure of this Diablo Cody-penned film for teen audiences is that it doesn’t talk down to them, but instead navigates the issues of growing up, dealing with parents and making life-changing decisions, placing them alongside offbeat and unexpected moments, like Juno on her hamburger phone!

#8: “Grease” (1978)

Who would’ve thought that over 30-years after its release, this film from the 1970s but about the 1950s would keep making audiences nostalgic enough to get up and sing? Although none of the actors in the film were actually teenagers at the time, “Grease” isn’t all that concerned with being realistic. Remember when the car flies at the end? Yeah, that was super-lifelike. But even so, it’s a picture of what teen life in the era of greasers and poodle skirts, and for that we’ll always love it.

#7: “Sixteen Candles” (1984)

What’s it like to turn 16 and have everyone forget cause they’re preoccupied with more important events? That’s probably a story some teens have experienced, and this is where John Hughes shines. He deals with everyday experiences of being a teenager in, at times, extraordinary and ridiculous situations, and his teen dialogue is always spot-on. This film was followed by “Pretty in Pink, again starring Hughes’ muse and 1980s every-girl Molly Ringwald, as an unpopular girl who falls for the popular rich guy. Another familiar story!

#6: “Superbad” (2007)

In Roger Ebert’s review of this film, he called it “a four-letter raunch-a-rama with a heart, and an inordinate interest in other key organs.” That pretty much says it all. The script speaks so well to its audience because it was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg when they were teenagers; but there are also many improvised moments as well, which give “Superbad” a level of authenticity with the demanding teen demo. It also doesn’t hurt that the plot revolves around teenage horniness, getting drunk and partying like there’s no tomorrow.

#5: “Dazed and Confused” (1993)

Featuring a slew of future stars like Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey in early roles, this one follows the varied groups of students as they converge on the last day of school. And, this Richard Linklater movie captures the teenage spirit in its loose structure – which basically means “Dazed” doesn’t seem to have a strong plot; but that gives the film a sense of genuineness that isn’t usually captured in more glamorized portrayals of teenage life. Plus, it’s also quotable as hell [montage of famous quotes?].

#4: “Mean Girls” (2004)

Written by “Saturday Night Live” alum Tina Fey and based on the nonfiction book “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” “Mean Girls is a more critical and satirical look at the high school experience. It follows a girl who goes to high school after years of being homeschooled by her parents, and traces her rise and fall on the social ladder. While the film is hilarious, it gives its audience a lot to think about. And maybe, it will help teenagers see their own world for what it is: a ridiculous social minefield.

#3: “American Pie” (1999)

This is the film that made “Superbad” possible. Maybe not the first, but certainly the first super successful film of its genre in a long while, “American Pie” was made with a first-time director, producer, and screenwriter at the helm. While the humor is certainly unrefined, to say the least, the characters are still compelling enough that the audience cheers them on as they try to get laid on prom night. The film’s success spawned several sequels, and it remains a landmark of the genre.

#2: “The Breakfast Club” (1985)

The initial plot to this movie sounds pretty boring. Five different students, from different high school cliques, serve detention together on a Saturday. Another John Hughes coming-of-age classic along the lines of his later effort “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” it’s a story about teenaged angst that continues to be relevant decades later. “The Breakfast Club” doesn’t have any particularly shocking or exciting moments, but the honesty of the students’ dialogue is what makes it a quintessential teen film and an unmissible ‘80s benchmark.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “American Graffiti” (1973)
- “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012)
- “10 Things I Hate About You” (1999)
- “Footloose” (1984)
- “Bring It On” (2000)
- “Clueless” (1995)

#1: “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955)

James Dean will forever be considered the quintessential symbol of teenage angst, and it’s largely due to this film. Dean is often remembered for being cool and romantic, and “Rebel Without a Cause” is known for also looking at the chaos, confusion, and loneliness that comes with being a teenager. While people are still trying to emulate Dean’s cool persona, it’s the theme of teenagers wanting to bond and find their place in a society that shuns them that makes this our number one teen film!

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite teen movie and why? For more angst-filled Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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