The excitement of school life has long been fodder for Hollywood. Why? Because high school and college life is full of drama. School is where we make friends and enemies. It’s where we fall in and out of love. It’s even where some of us learn to play the guitar! So rock on and check these movies out (we’ve even included their trailers!):
15. Mean Girls
Lindsay Lohan at her very best reminds us why this teen comedy still matters: not only is it hilarious, but it’s smartly written. You even get a lesson in karma! The cool kids always get what they deserve.
14. Harry Potter
Hogwarts may not be a real school (that we know of!), but it’s still the coolest school around. Who doesn’t want to learn divination, charms, potions, and the dark arts? Or take to the sky in a match of quidditch?
13. School of Rock
Jack Black’s music class is never boring. Go on a hilarious musical journey through rock and roll history. Maybe even learn how to play an instrument. Although, probably not.
12. Waiting for ‘Superman’
The only documentary on the list, Waiting for ‘Superman’ is an “exhaustive review” of public education. But more than that, it’s a humanizing story of what happens to bright kids when they get stuck in a system of education that actually inhibits their learning. A heartbreaking story.
11. Freedom Writers
Hilary Swank, playing a teacher in a racially divided school, helps her students find their voice. Based on a true story.
In theory, modernizing Jane Austen’s Emma seems like a terrible idea. In practice? This coming-of-age story is hilarious.
9. Lean On Me
Who doesn’t love Morgan Freeman? More still, who doesn’t love Morgan Freeman as the principal of an inner city New Jersey high school?
8. Dazed and Confused
Ever wonder what high school was like in the ‘70’s? Us too, which is why we love this movie. Especially good for those who love hippies. Or Matthew McConaughey. Or Ben Affleck.
7. Revenge of the Nerds
If you haven’t seen this movie, you’re missing out. It’s a classic comedy that tells the story of nerds from Lambda Lambda Lambda outwitting the more popular Alpha Betas. If you love underdogs, then you’ll love this movie. Long live the nerds!
6. American Pie
The quintessential high school comedy. Remember Stifler? Remember Stifler’s mom?
5. Billy Madison
If Adam Sandler wants his father’s fortune, he has to repeat his education: from the first grade all the way through high school. There’s nothing funnier than watching an immature man attempt to grow up.
4. Goodwill Hunting
The movie that made Ben Affleck and Matt Damon really famous—about a young blue-collar janitor at M.I.T. who turns out to be a math genius. He’s less good at maintaining functional relationships.
3. Dead Poets Society
Robin Williams’ greatest performance. Plus, a young Ethan Hawke as an awkward teenager! More still, an ode to inspiring teachers. Not just for literature geeks.
2. The Breakfast Club
An instant classic and proof that detention doesn’t have to be boring. You’ll even get a young, dashing Emilio Estevez—long before his Mighty Ducks fame.
1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
With the perfect antihero, and hilarious cast, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the best class-skipping tutorial known to man. Avoiding a cantankerous principal has never been so much fun.
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