Last week we got you primed for the Fall semester with some last-minute television binge recommendations. This week we present our Top 10 Back to School Movies. Whether you’re already adjusting to the daily grind of classes and homework or still pining for summer, the Media Library has you covered. Even better, all of the movies listed below are not currently available to stream on Netflix!
Many of these movies may have been made before your time (the oldest one is from 1982!), but their themes are classic and influenced coming of age comedies of the next 3 decades. So sit back and watch (and cringe) as the masters of teen comedy give you an education in growing up, fitting in, and falling in love.
Back to School (1986)
“He’s not just the biggest man on campus…he’s the wildest man on campus!” In one of the more absurd plots from this list, wisecracking Rodney Dangerfield plays a millionaire who tries to prevent his son from dropping out of college in the best way he knows how…by joining him. Naturally, hilarity ensues. Look out for a fabulously 1980s pre-super hero Robert Downey, Jr. as well as a cameo from author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Sixteen Candles (1984), the Breakfast Club (1985), Weird Science (1985), Pretty in Pink (1986), Some Kind of Wonderful (1986)
Filmmaker John Hughes and members of the Brat Pack like Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall ruled the 1980’s in these authentically awkward and cringe-worthy tributes to growing up and not quite fitting in. We can’t endorse the library terrorizing of the Breakfast Club crew, but it’s truly a must-see. Also, look out for the strange appearance of Harry Dean Stanton as Molly Ringwald’s father in Pretty in Pink.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
This might be the oldest movie on the list, but it’s still totally relevant. The movie was written by director Cameron Crowe (Jeremy McGuire, Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous) who went undercover at a California high school while working for Rolling Stone magazine. The movie gave many future stars their start including Sean Penn as the infamous stoner surfer Jeff Spicoli, Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicolas Cage, and Forest Whitaker.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
If you’re not ready to accept that school has started, no movie better romanticizes summer than Richard Linklater’s (Boyhood, Before Midnight, Bernie, Before Sunset) 1993 masterpiece Dazed and Confused. Set in 1976 Texas, the film features a number of up-and-coming actors including Matthew McConaughey in his second and most quotable movie appearance.
10 Things I hate About You (1999)
All you really need to know about this movie is that it features the late great Heath Ledger as one of the best male romantic comedy leads, a perfectly angsty feminist Julia Stiles, as well as a young horrible Joseph Gordon Levitt. And most importantly, it features one of my favorite 90’s Nickeloden television characters Alex Mack!
The Faculty (1998)
Despite being directed by Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Til Dawn), written by Kevin Williamson (Scream) and featuring an all-star cast that includes Josh Hartnett, Elija Wood, Jordana Brewster, Usher, and John Stewart, this movie is kind of terrible. But terrible in a you-must-watch kind of way.