We all watch movies, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 high school movies of all time. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. Mean Girls (2004) 83% at Rotten Tomatoes
Cady Heron was home-schooled most of her life, so entering high school for the first time is difficult. She’s eventually taken under the wing of Regina George and her group of friends, known as the Plastics. She becomes as superficial as they are and assimilates well until Regina takes issue with her and a rivalry begins.
Director: Mark Waters
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey
9. Easy A (2010) 85% at Rotten Tomatoes
After a lie about losing her virginity gets out, clean-cut Olive decides to use it to her advantage to start climbing the social ladder. Being a charitable person, she also helps a bunch of guys by pretending to have sex with all of them. Eventually the lies start to pile up and cause problems, so she’s forced to come clean.
Director: Will Gluck
Starring: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley
8. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998) 40% at Rotten Tomatoes
Preston Meyers has been in love with Amanda Beckett since the day she arrived at school. At graduation, he learns she broke up with her popular boyfriend and sets out on a quest to tell her his true feelings. Meanwhile, the entire senior class is ready to party, and hi-jinx ensue at every corner.
Director: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Lauren Ambrose
7. Love Don’t Cost a Thing (2003) 13% at Rotten Tomatoes
In this remake of the classic Can’t Buy Me Love, loser Alvin Johnson pays cheerleader Paris Morgan to pose as his girlfriend. He’s hoping this will make him look cooler, and she’s just trying to cover up the accident she got in with her mom’s expensive SUV. The transformation makes Johnson more confident, and despite an initial falling out, he even helps his nerdy friends be cool.
Director: Troy Byer
Starring: Nick Cannon, Christina Milian, Jordan Burg
6. Superbad (2007) 87% at Rotten Tomatoes
Three outcast friends are finally invited to a party by the popular kids with the condition that they supply some alcohol. They’re desperate to get laid and will do anything to obtain the booze. Things aren’t made easy when two cops start getting in the way.
Director: Greg Mottola
Starring: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
5. Friday Night Lights (2004) 81% at Rotten Tomatoes
High school football is everything to the small town of Odessa, Texas. Every Friday night, they townspeople gather to watch the Permian Panthers play. When star tailback Boobie Miles is injured, all hope is lost. But coach Gary Gaines is determined to inspire and motivate his team to comeback against all odds.
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Hernandez, Derek Luke
4. American Pie (1999) 60% at Rotten Tomatoes
Four friends make a pact to lose their virginity before they graduate high school. This proves more difficult than they thought, despite the help of a secret book, the Internet, and Jim’s sexually open father. It’s a coming-of-age movie that still delivers laughs 20 years after its release.
Director: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz
Starring: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Alyson Hannigan
3. Project X (2012) 28% at Rotten Tomatoes
Filmed on handheld cameras in a documentary style, Thomas Kub and his friends are trying to raise their social status by throwing a party. It gets out of hand fast when a marketing push on local radio stations tips everyone off to the bash of the year.
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Starring: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown
2. American Graffiti (1973) 95% at Rotten Tomatoes
It’s the end of the summer, and kids are driving back and forth across the main strip in town looking for something to do. High school graduates are pondering what to do with their lives moving forward, while also doing what kids do when they have nothing but time on their hands.
Director: George Lucas
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford
1. Dazed and Confused (1993) 94% at Rotten Tomatoes
Set in a small Texas town in 1976, incoming freshman are doing everything they can to dodge hazing from the incoming senior class. It’s going to be a long summer, but thankfully, there’s plenty of partying to keep everyone’s minds off the battle at hand.
Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich