50 Greatest Coming of Age Movies

by jordanhores | created - 16 Aug 2018 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

These coming of age movies are rated by how much focus among children and teenagers, adolescent storyline, situations and issues surrounding the struggle between youth and adulthood. Excluding animated films and film franchises. No specific ranking.

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1. The Breakfast Club (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

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: 328,528 | Gross: $45.88M

2. American Graffiti (1973)

PG | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

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: 77,079 | Gross: $115.00M

3. Pretty in Pink (1986)

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

57 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 69,968 | Gross: $40.47M

4. Sixteen Candles (1984)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance

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: 97,757 | Gross: $23.69M

5. Stand by Me (1986)

R | 89 min | Adventure, Drama

75 Metascore

After the death of one of his friends, a writer recounts a boyhood journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell

Votes: 343,961 | Gross: $52.29M

6. River's Edge (1986)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama

73 Metascore

A high school slacker commits a shocking act and proceeds to let his friends in on the secret. However, the friends' reaction is almost as ambiguous and perplexing as the crime itself.

Director: Tim Hunter | Stars: Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye, Daniel Roebuck

Votes: 14,858 | Gross: $4.60M

7. Mermaids (1990)

PG-13 | 110 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

56 Metascore

An unconventional single mother relocates with her two daughters to a small Massachusetts town in 1963, where a number of events and relationships both challenge and strengthen their familial bonds.

Director: Richard Benjamin | Stars: Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder, Michael Schoeffling

Votes: 27,085 | Gross: $35.42M

8. Heavenly Creatures (1994)

R | 99 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Two teenage girls share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent

Votes: 56,976 | Gross: $3.05M

9. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Action, Drama, History

62 Metascore

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers

Votes: 109,001 | Gross: $22.24M

10. The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)

PG | 101 min | Adventure, Family

66 Metascore

In the 1930s, a tomboy runs away from her guardian to join her single father who is 2,000 miles away, where he has found work.

Director: Jeremy Kagan | Stars: Meredith Salenger, John Cusack, Ray Wise, Lainie Kazan

Votes: 4,827 | Gross: $2.14M

11. Tex (1982)

PG | 103 min | Drama

78 Metascore

After their mother dies and their father leaves them, teenage brothers Tex and Mason McCormick struggle to make it on their own.

Director: Tim Hunter | Stars: Matt Dillon, Jim Metzler, Meg Tilly, Bill McKinney

Votes: 1,859 | Gross: $7.00M

12. Holes (2003)

PG | 117 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

71 Metascore

A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason.

Director: Andrew Davis | Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson

Votes: 72,545 | Gross: $67.41M

13. Dazed and Confused (1993)

R | 102 min | Comedy

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: 152,284 | Gross: $7.99M

14. Where the Day Takes You (1992)

R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A group of teen-age runaways try to survive in the streets of Los Angeles. Drugs, prostitution, violence and bureaucratic indifference all pose threats to the kids, who nevertheless prefer ... See full summary »

Director: Marc Rocco | Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Robert Knepper, Laura San Giacomo, Sean Astin

Votes: 3,033 | Gross: $0.39M

15. Almost Famous (2000)

R | 122 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

90 Metascore

A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them on their concert tour.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: Billy Crudup, Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand

Votes: 240,418 | Gross: $32.53M

16. The Last Picture Show (1971)

R | 118 min | Drama, Romance

93 Metascore

In 1951, a group of high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both culturally and economically.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich | Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson

Votes: 39,146 | Gross: $29.13M

17. Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976)

R | 111 min | Comedy, Drama

The ups and downs of life as experienced by a group of aspiring young artists in the early Fifties New York.

Director: Paul Mazursky | Stars: Lenny Baker, Shelley Winters, Ellen Greene, Lois Smith

Votes: 1,831

18. Summer of '42 (1971)

PG | 104 min | Drama, Romance

During his summer vacation on Nantucket Island in 1942, a youth eagerly awaiting his first sexual encounter finds himself developing an innocent love for a young woman awaiting news on her soldier husband's fate in WWII.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser, Oliver Conant

Votes: 6,768

19. Dead Poets Society (1989)

PG | 128 min | Comedy, Drama

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: 389,068 | Gross: $95.86M

20. The Karate Kid (1984)

PG | 126 min | Action, Drama, Family

60 Metascore

A boy and his mother move to California for a new job. He struggles to fit in, as a group of karate students starts to bully him for dating a rich girl from their clique. It's up to the Japanese landlord, Miyagi, to teach him karate.

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

Votes: 163,370 | Gross: $90.82M

21. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama

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: 87,817 | Gross: $27.09M

22. Say Anything... (1989)

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

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: 78,455 | Gross: $20.78M

23. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy

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: 299,329 | Gross: $70.14M

24. Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

PG | 96 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

74 Metascore

A preteen's life turns upside down when he befriends the new girl in school and they imagine a whole new fantasy world to escape reality.

Director: Gabor Csupo | Stars: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick

Votes: 135,718 | Gross: $82.27M

25. Superbad (2007)

R | 113 min | Comedy

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: 497,363 | Gross: $121.46M

26. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

PG | 119 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

Four best girlfriends hatch a plan to stay connected with one another as their lives start off in different directions: they pass around a pair of secondhand jeans that fits each of their bodies perfectly.

Director: Ken Kwapis | Stars: Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively

Votes: 51,969 | Gross: $39.01M

27. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

PG-13 | 111 min | Drama

87 Metascore

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: 78,622

28. East of Eden (1955)

PG | 118 min | Drama

72 Metascore

A wilful young man contends against his brother for the attention of their religious father while reconnecting with his estranged mother and falling for his brother's girlfriend.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: James Dean, Raymond Massey, Julie Harris, Burl Ives

Votes: 37,992

29. Mean Girls (2004)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy

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: 312,122 | Gross: $86.06M

30. The Yearling (1946)

Approved | 128 min | Drama, Family, Western

89 Metascore

A boy persuades his parents to allow him to adopt a young deer, but what will happen if the deer misbehaves?

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Claude Jarman Jr., Chill Wills

Votes: 5,058 | Gross: $5.20M

31. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

Approved | 95 min | Comedy, Romance

A high school girl falls for a playboy artist, with screwball results.

Director: Irving Reis | Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee

Votes: 7,391

32. The Secret Garden (1949)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, Family

A girl is sent to live with her uncle on his estate when her parents die. There she discovers much intrigue, family history and secrets and personal baggage. In particular, a screaming child and...a secret garden.

Director: Fred M. Wilcox | Stars: Margaret O'Brien, Herbert Marshall, Dean Stockwell, Gladys Cooper

Votes: 2,444

33. Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945)

Passed | 105 min | Drama, Family

A Norwegian farmer lovingly raises his daughter in rural World War II-era Benson Junction, Wisconsin.

Director: Roy Rowland | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Margaret O'Brien, James Craig, Frances Gifford

Votes: 1,558

34. Tenth Avenue Angel (1948)

Approved | 74 min | Drama

Flavia Mills (Margaret O'Brien) has been told that her Aunt Susan Bratten's (Dame Angela Lansbury's) fiancĂ©, Steve Abbott (George Murphy), has been on a trip around the world, but in truth,... See full summary »

Director: Roy Rowland | Stars: Margaret O'Brien, Angela Lansbury, George Murphy, Phyllis Thaxter

Votes: 508

35. Bright Eyes (1934)

Approved | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

An orphaned girl is taken in by a snobbish family at the insistence of their rich, crotchety uncle, even as her devoted aviator godfather fights for custody.

Director: David Butler | Stars: Shirley Temple, James Dunn, Jane Darwell, Judith Allen

Votes: 1,920

36. West Side Story (1961)

Not Rated | 153 min | Crime, Drama, Musical

86 Metascore

Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.

Directors: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise | Stars: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 90,864 | Gross: $43.66M

37. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Director: Charles Laughton | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason

Votes: 77,274 | Gross: $0.65M

38. National Velvet (1944)

Passed | 123 min | Drama, Family, Sport

A jaded former jockey helps a young girl prepare a wild but gifted horse for England's Grand National Sweepstakes.

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor, Donald Crisp, Anne Revere

Votes: 6,086

39. Crime in the Streets (1956)

Passed | 91 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Social worker tries to befriend local slum gang.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: John Cassavetes, Sal Mineo, James Whitmore, Mark Rydell

Votes: 970

40. Wild Boys of the Road (1933)

Approved | 68 min | Adventure, Drama

In the depths of the Depression, two teenage boys strike out on their own in order to help their struggling parents and find life on the road tougher than expected.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Frankie Darro, Rochelle Hudson, Edwin Phillips, Dorothy Coonan Wellman

Votes: 1,709

41. My Brother Talks to Horses (1947)

Approved | 92 min | Comedy

A classic film featuring a boy who is able to hear what the racehorses at the track are thinking. Using his knowledge of their moods, he figures out how well they will run, and tells his ... See full summary »

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins, Peter Lawford, Beverly Tyler, Edward Arnold

Votes: 219

42. Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)

Approved | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling trip to teach him core life values while First Mate Dan Lunceford is tasked with tutoring Jed.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: Richard Widmark, Lionel Barrymore, Dean Stockwell, Cecil Kellaway

Votes: 767

43. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

PG | 129 min | Drama, Romance

Encouraged by her idealistic if luckless father, a bright and imaginative young woman comes of age in a Brooklyn tenement during the early 1900s.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, James Dunn, Lloyd Nolan

Votes: 6,694

44. Home, Sweet Homicide (1946)

Passed | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

Mystery writer Marian Carstairs is hard at work trying to finish her latest novel. Her three children meanwhile are entertaining themselves trying to solve a murder in their own ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon | Stars: Peggy Ann Garner, Randolph Scott, Lynn Bari, Dean Stockwell

Votes: 202

45. The Jungle Book (1942)

Approved | 108 min | Action, Adventure, Family