Movies Every Teen Should Watch Before Graduating


Isabella Montoya and Caitlin Bailey

As almost every teen knows, high school is nothing like the movies. The high expectations set by Hollywood Film companies leads to a whole lot of disappointment. However, many of these films help students understand important life lessons and prepare them for bigger challenges down the line. Here are some of our favorite picks for movies you’ve got to watch before leaving Mountain Ridge.


1.Dead Poets Society. This 1989 movie is a classic with a little bit of everything. Comedy, romance, and a bit of heartbreak. It follows the story of a group of teenage boys attending a private school, when they get a new English teacher that inspires them to ‘Carpe Diem’. The boys start the “Dead Poets Society” to express themselves through poetry and deal with the hardships of being a teenage boy.

2.Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”. This famous quote is from arguably the best movie created. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off follows the story of Ferris, a high school senior, his best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane as they ditch school and have a wild day. It also has a great soundtrack and very memorable quotes. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you weren’t raised right.

3.Breakfast Club. If you are a total sucker for high school stereotypes, this movie has it all. The story follows a group of teens: a jock, a rebel, a nerd, a diva, and a social outcast. On a Saturday, all 5 of them are stuck in detention together. Directed by John Hughes, you already know it’s going to be amazing. It has a good storyline and has a good moral of the story. No matter how people perceive you, no one gets to tell you who you truly are.

4.Clueless. From Olivia Rodrigo to Cher from Clueless, teens everywhere have one thing in common: we can’t drive. This little tidbit isn’t what the entire movie is about, but it is one of the most relatable factors of the entire film. The movie is a rom-com, and while that may not be your favorite genre, there are aspects of it that everyone can love–namely, Paul “never ages” Rudd (imagine not liking Paul Rudd, ugh, as if!). While the main character, Cher, appears to be the stereotypical ditsy blonde, she is actually very intelligent, like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, and quickly gets the audience to root for her. 

5.Legally Blonde. You’re breaking up with me because I’m too . . . blonde? Elle Woods takes the Dumb Blonde stereotype and turns it on its head. What, like it’s hard? She has the duality of caring about her appearance while simultaneously taking her education seriously, which isn’t an option female characters are often given in Hollywood films; usually, it’s either one or the other. After her boyfriend breaks up with her, Elle Woods takes his criticism of her lack of seriousness to heart and vows to prove herself. Though the sorority girl with a fashion major never intended to go to law school, Elle makes it her goal to get in, and is eventually accepted into Harvard Law. Despite the premise of the film being about Elle trying to prove herself to her ex, Elle begins to want to learn for herself and not just someone else. Overall, Legally Blonde isn’t just a story about revenge, it also contains good advice: don’t do something for other people, do it for yourself—something that becomes increasingly relevant for graduating seniors who aren’t sure what they want to do with their lives. 

6.Mean Girls. This film is so fetch! If you don’t get the reference, it’s time for you to watch Mean Girls, a classic about the highs and lows of petty high school drama. While the film has a moral of the story, it also has a plethora of iconic quotes that can be used in virtually every situation. Don’t see what I mean? Then get in loser, we’re going to watch Mean Girls

7.10 Things I Hate About You. Personally, this is one of my all-time favorite films. Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles are perfect for Patrick and Kat, respectively. Their chemistry is undeniable, and both actors get the audience to truly care about their characters within the span of an hour and a half. Not to mention, the film also contains one of the best executions of the enemies-to-lovers trope in Hollywood. Patrick and Kat go from arguing in every scene to growing closer and developing an understanding of each other. The reason their relationship is so well-done and fleshed-out, is because they challenge each other and don’t let the other get away with taking the easy way out. Even if you don’t watch any of the other films we’ve talked about so far, this is one you definitely need to check out. 

8.Grease   She looks too pure to be pink. Olivia Newton-John’s character, Sandy, falls in love during the summer with “Bad boy heartthrob” John Travolta’s character, Danny (Personally not my type). Sandy transfers to Danny’s school from Australia, not knowing he attends there. The 1960’s music, set design, and wardrobe throws you into a bright and happy feeling. Even if you aren’t a fan of musicals, You have to make an exception for this one film. It is one of the most memorable films throughout history and will live on forever.

9.Sixteen Candles  I can’t believe they forgot my birthday! What a lame birthday, but a totally tubular movie. Sixteen Candles follows the story of freshly sixteen-year-old Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald, who is also in Breakfast Club) and how she celebrates one of the most important days of her life. It was directed by John Hughes, who has directed many classic movies, and if you already watched Breakfast Club (#3 on our list) you know it’s going to be outstanding! The soundtrack will also blast you right back into the 80’s for some nostalgia fix. The storyline is also spectacular, keeping you invested in the story throughout the 93 minutes. So go home and sit down to enjoy the true beauty of this must-see movie.

10.The Goonies “Goonies never say die” is one of the most iconic quotes of the film industry. This classic 80’s movie is a must see! It follows the story of a group of kids trying to find hidden treasure to save their house. The dialogue is hilarious and very memorable. You will be quoting movie lines for months! The set location will inspire you to move to a cold and wet seaside town and go exploring.  So sit down with some popcorn and a Baby Ruth chocolate bar, and enjoy this cult classic film.