The 50 greatest high school movies of all time

by apaperkins9 | created - 05 Jan 2012 | updated - 05 Jan 2012 | Public
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1. The Breakfast Club (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
62 Metascore

Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy

Votes: 288,247 | Gross: $45.88M

2. Dazed and Confused (1993)

R | 102 min | Comedy

7.7
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78 Metascore

The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochrane

Votes: 135,226 | Gross: $7.99M

3. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

PG-13 | 111 min | Drama

7.8
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A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus

Votes: 69,927

4. Sixteen Candles (1984)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
61 Metascore

A girl's "sweet" sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Justin Henry, Michael Schoeffling

Votes: 83,655 | Gross: $23.69M

5. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

8.5
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86 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 828,685 | Gross: $210.61M

6. Grease (1978)

PG-13 | 110 min | Musical, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
70 Metascore

Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. When they unexpectedly discover they're now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance?

Director: Randal Kleiser | Stars: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway

Votes: 187,863 | Gross: $188.76M

7. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
74 Metascore

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

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks

Votes: 28,758 | Gross: $41.38M

8. Superbad (2007)

R | 113 min | Comedy

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

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

Director: Greg Mottola | Stars: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader

Votes: 454,291 | Gross: $121.46M

9. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama

7.2
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67 Metascore

A group of Southern California high school students are enjoying their most important subjects: sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Director: Amy Heckerling | Stars: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Robert Romanus

Votes: 78,409 | Gross: $27.09M

10. Porky's (1981)

R | 94 min | Comedy

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
40 Metascore

In 1954, a group of Florida high schoolers seek out to help their buddy lose his virginity, which leads them to seek revenge on a sleazy nightclub owner and his redneck sheriff brother for harassing them.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Dan Monahan, Mark Herrier, Wyatt Knight, Roger Wilson

Votes: 33,239 | Gross: $111.29M

11. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2
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70 Metascore

A pretty, popular teenager can't go out on a date until her ill-tempered older sister does.

Director: Gil Junger | Stars: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik

Votes: 246,892 | Gross: $38.18M

12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

PG-13 | 157 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

7.7
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81 Metascore

A young wizard finds himself competing in a hazardous tournament between rival schools of magic, but he is distracted by recurring nightmares.

Director: Mike Newell | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Eric Sykes

Votes: 435,364 | Gross: $290.01M

The perfect harry potter movie about high school it s about Sports,relationships,jealousy,Fights.

13. Lean on Me (1989)

PG-13 | 108 min | Drama

7.4
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The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school and he is determined to improve by any and all means.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, Robert Guillaume, Alan North

Votes: 15,557 | Gross: $31.91M

14. Stand and Deliver (1988)

PG | 103 min | Drama

7.3
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The story of Jaime Escalante, a high school teacher who successfully inspired his dropout prone students to learn calculus.

Director: Ramón Menéndez | Stars: Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan, Virginia Paris

Votes: 13,387 | Gross: $13.99M

15. The Outsiders (1983)

PG | 91 min | Crime, Drama

7.2
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38 Metascore

The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze

Votes: 62,458 | Gross: $25.60M

16. Weird Science (1985)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi

6.6
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46 Metascore

Two high school nerds attempt to create the perfect woman, but she turns out to be more than that.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock, Bill Paxton

Votes: 66,109 | Gross: $23.83M

17. American Graffiti (1973)

PG | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

7.5
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97 Metascore

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

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith

Votes: 68,895 | Gross: $115.00M

18. Never Been Kissed (1999)

PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.0
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60 Metascore

A newspaper reporter enrolls in high school as part of research for a story.

Director: Raja Gosnell | Stars: Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, Molly Shannon

Votes: 72,973 | Gross: $55.47M

19. Just One of the Guys (1985)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

6.5
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Terry Griffith has got it all -- looks, popularity, the perfect college boyfriend, and an article that's a shoo-in to win her a summer internship at the local newspaper... or so she thinks.... See full summary »

Director: Lisa Gottlieb | Stars: Joyce Hyser, Clayton Rohner, Billy Jayne, Toni Hudson

Votes: 10,967 | Gross: $11.50M

20. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

PG | 96 min | Comedy

6.9
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64 Metascore

A listless and alienated teenager decides to help his new friend win the class presidency in their small western high school, while he must deal with his bizarre family life back home.

Director: Jared Hess | Stars: Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell

Votes: 172,495 | Gross: $44.54M

21. My Bodyguard (1980)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

7.1
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67 Metascore

When a boy comes to a new school and gets harassed by a bully, he acquires the services of the school's most feared kid as a bodyguard.

Director: Tony Bill | Stars: Chris Makepeace, Adam Baldwin, Matt Dillon, Paul Quandt

Votes: 7,503 | Gross: $22.48M

22. The Karate Kid (1984)

PG | 126 min | Action, Drama, Family

7.2
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59 Metascore

A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, Martin Kove

Votes: 142,910 | Gross: $90.82M

23. Pretty in Pink (1986)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.8
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57 Metascore

A poor girl must choose between the affections of her doting childhood sweetheart and a rich but sensitive playboy.

Director: Howard Deutch | Stars: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts

Votes: 61,316 | Gross: $40.47M

24. Can't Hardly Wait (1998)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Romance

6.5
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52 Metascore

Multicharacter teenage comedy about high school graduates with different agenda of life on graduation night.

Directors: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan | Stars: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose

Votes: 39,891 | Gross: $25.34M

25. Can't Buy Me Love (1987)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.7
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36 Metascore

A nerdy outcast secretly pays the most popular girl in school one thousand dollars to be his girlfriend.

Director: Steve Rash | Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson, Courtney Gains, Tina Caspary

Votes: 26,677 | Gross: $31.62M

26. Risky Business (1983)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

6.8
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75 Metascore

A Chicago teenager is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand.

Director: Paul Brickman | Stars: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Masur

Votes: 67,213 | Gross: $63.50M

27. Friday Night Lights (2004)

PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Drama, Sport

7.3
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70 Metascore

Based on H.G. Bissinger's book, which profiled the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas and their heroic high school football team, The Permian High Panthers.

Director: Peter Berg | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Hernandez, Derek Luke, Lucas Black

Votes: 50,856 | Gross: $61.19M

28. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy

7.8
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61 Metascore

A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the Principal thinks of that.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones

Votes: 267,545 | Gross: $70.14M

29. Scream (1996)

R | 111 min | Horror, Mystery

7.2
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65 Metascore

A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich

Votes: 241,962 | Gross: $103.05M

30. Bring It On (2000)

PG-13 | 98 min | Comedy, Romance, Sport

6.0
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52 Metascore

A champion high school cheerleading squad discovers its previous captain stole all their best routines from an inner-city school and must scramble to compete at this year's championships.

Director: Peyton Reed | Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford, Gabrielle Union

Votes: 75,244 | Gross: $68.38M

31. Mean Girls (2004)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy

7.0
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66 Metascore

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.

Director: Mark Waters | Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Jonathan Bennett, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey

Votes: 273,911 | Gross: $86.06M

32. To Sir, with Love (1967)

Unrated | 105 min | Drama

7.7
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Idealistic engineer-trainee and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high school students from the slums of London's East End.

Director: James Clavell | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson, Christian Roberts, Suzy Kendall

Votes: 13,065 | Gross: $42.43M

33. Carrie (1976)

R | 98 min | Horror

7.4
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85 Metascore

Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, John Travolta

Votes: 138,889 | Gross: $33.80M

34. Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

PG | 143 min | Drama, Music

7.3
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59 Metascore

A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas, Olympia Dukakis

Votes: 31,808 | Gross: $82.57M

35. Dead Poets Society (1989)

PG | 128 min | Comedy, Drama

8.0
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79 Metascore

English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles

Votes: 310,297 | Gross: $95.86M

36. Rushmore (1998)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama

7.7
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86 Metascore

The extracurricular king of Rushmore preparatory school is put on academic probation.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Seymour Cassel

Votes: 146,364 | Gross: $17.11M

37. Say Anything... (1989)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.4
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85 Metascore

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

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor

Votes: 71,435 | Gross: $20.78M

38. Clueless (1995)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

6.8
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68 Metascore

A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil's popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way.

Director: Amy Heckerling | Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd

Votes: 139,152 | Gross: $56.63M

39. Boyz n the Hood (1991)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama

7.8
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76 Metascore

Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir, Lloyd Avery II

Votes: 103,457 | Gross: $57.50M

40. Hoosiers (1986)

PG | 114 min | Drama, Sport

7.6
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76 Metascore

A coach with a checkered past and a local drunk train a small town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship.

Director: David Anspaugh | Stars: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper, Sheb Wooley

Votes: 36,928 | Gross: $28.61M

41. Election (1999)

R | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.3
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83 Metascore

A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell

Votes: 78,271 | Gross: $14.88M

42. Heathers (1988)

R | 103 min | Comedy

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
73 Metascore

In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.

Director: Michael Lehmann | Stars: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk

Votes: 68,352 | Gross: $1.11M

43. American Pie (1999)

R | 95 min | Comedy

7.0
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58 Metascore

Four teenage boys enter a pact to lose their virginity by prom night.

Directors: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz | Stars: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Alyson Hannigan

Votes: 334,612 | Gross: $102.56M

44. Lucas (1986)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.8
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A socially inept fourteen year old experiences heartbreak for the first time when his two best friends -- Cappie, an older-brother figure, and Maggie, the new girl with whom he is in love -- fall for each other.

Director: David Seltzer | Stars: Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, Courtney Thorne-Smith

Votes: 12,442 | Gross: $8.20M

45. The Lost Boys (1987)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror

7.3
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63 Metascore

After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes

Votes: 101,948 | Gross: $32.22M

46. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

PG | 153 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

7.5
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78 Metascore

As Harry Potter begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, he discovers an old book marked as "the property of the Half-Blood Prince" and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort's dark past.

Director: David Yates | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon

Votes: 367,933 | Gross: $301.96M

The perfect harry potter movie about high school next to goblet of fire if you ask me i mean Sports,relationships,jealousy,Fights.

47. Footloose (1984)

PG | 107 min | Drama, Music, Romance

6.5
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42 Metascore

A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.

Director: Herbert Ross | Stars: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest

Votes: 57,901 | Gross: $80.04M

48. Fame (1980)

R | 134 min | Drama, Music, Musical

6.6
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58 Metascore

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

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Eddie Barth, Irene Cara, Lee Curreri, Laura Dean

Votes: 17,567 | Gross: $0.00M

49. Brick (2005)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.4
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72 Metascore

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

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas, Emilie de Ravin, Meagan Good

Votes: 90,146 | Gross: $2.06M

50. Cooley High (1975)

PG | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.3
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In 1964, a group of high school friends who live on the Near North Side of Chicago enjoy life to the fullest...parties, hanging out, meeting new friends. Then life changes for two of the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz | Stars: Glynn Turman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Garrett Morris, Cynthia Davis

Votes: 2,358