Love is so much more pure when you’re a teenager, right? Think about the butterflies in your stomach, combining your crush’s last name with yours, and anticipating the next time you’ll speak (or not) in the halls.
Everyone’s been there and so have Hollywood screenwriters. Teen romance movies never get old, so it’s safe to say this list has something for the crush and the crushed.
Whether you’re starting to like someone or you’re just feeling nostalgic, here are 16 of the best teen romance films.
Known as one of the most popular movie musicals of all time, “Grease” is the flick you’ll never stop singing along to. Set in the ’50s, soft-spoken exchange student Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) is in for a surprise when she learns that Danny (John Travolta), a well-mannered boy she fell for over the summer, is actually a leather-clad rebel at their school. As she navigates throughout the year, Sandy soon learns if it’s better to fit into his clique or make her own rules.
“Sixteen Candles” (1984)
For many, turning 16 is supposed to be one of the most important birthdays before you reach adulthood. But when Samantha’s (Molly Ringwald) birthday is overshadowed by her sister’s wedding, she realizes the milestone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. What she wants so badly is for popular senior Jake (Michael Schoeffling) to finally notice her but is afraid her lack of experience (and the fact that she’s constantly followed by a nerdy freshman) makes dating him nearly impossible.
“Pretty in Pink” (1986)
Molly Ringwald secured her spot as the queen of ’80s teen movies in “Pretty in Pink.” Ringwald plays Andie, an outcast attending a very affluent high school when she meets Blane (Andrew McCarthy), a rich kid she’s always had a crush on. As the two date, she quickly realizes that money isn’t only thing they don’t have in common. Meanwhile, her childhood friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) struggles to find the right time to reveal his feelings for her in hopes she feels the same. In the end, Andie must decide who has her best interest at heart.
“Clueless” is the 1995 classic following Cher (Alicia Silverstone), a popular Beverly Hills teen who loves love almost as much as she enjoys a good trip to the mall. After successfully matchmaking her teachers, Cher uses her newfound skillset to set up her friend Tai (Brittany Murphy). Although things don’t go as planned, Cher realizes that what she wants more than helping others (and getting her license) is to have a boyfriend of her own. Through several attempts and a personal makeover, she realizes that her love was right there all along.
“She's All That” (1999)
After being publicly dumped by his girlfriend for a reality TV star, Zach’s (Freddie Prinze Jr.) popularity is on a quick decline. That is until he agrees to a near-impossible bet: turn the school’s nerd (Rachel Leigh Cook) into the next prom queen. The only catch is … he’s got six weeks and she can’t know what’s going on.
“Never Been Kissed” (1999)
Although she’s not technically a teen, 25-year-old copy editor Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) gets a chance to re-do her high school days after receiving an assignment to go undercover at work. Growing up, she was “Josie Grossie,” the brace-faced nerd who never got to go to prom or let alone experience her first kiss. Now, with help from her charismatic (and also undercover) older brother (David Arquette), Josie gets a chance to relive her teenage years and finds love from an unexpected source.
“10 Things I Hate About You” (1999)
Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) isn’t like most teens at her school — she’s quick witted and focused on her studies, which means boys are the last thing on her mind. Unfortunately for her younger sister, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), she’s forbidden from dating until Kat gets a boyfriend. With prom approaching, Bianca’s potential date (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) bribes mysterious bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger) in hopes the two spark a romance — but in true Kat-fashion, she proves that wooing her isn’t as easy as he thought. Fun fact: The 1999 hit is a modern revamp of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.”
“Save the Last Dance” (2001)
Following the untimely death of her mother, Sara (Julia Stiles) was on the cusp of making it big in the dance world until she was uprooted to her father’s house in the South Side of Chicago. Struggling to fit in, she meets Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), a classmate who wants to make it out of Chicago but comes from a troubled past. When Derek offers Sarah hip-hop lessons after school in order to keep up with her new friends, he helps her regain her love for dance and the two quickly spark romance despite their differences.
“Love Don't Cost a Thing” (2003)
Engineering nerd Alvin Johnson (Nick Cannon) knows just about everything … except when it comes to girls. When popular cheerleader Paris (Christina Milian) comes into his auto shop after crashing her mom’s car, Alvin makes a deal she can’t refuse: He’ll fix the car in exchange for two weeks of dating.
“A Cinderella Story” (2004)
In this modern spin on “Cinderella,” Hilary Duff plays a Los Angeles teenager stuck living with her Botox-obsessed stepmom and not-so-bright stepsisters after her dad passes. To deal with the woes of home and high school, Sam confides in an anonymous pen pal. When they finally decide to meet at their school dance, Sam quickly disguises herself once she discovers her Prince Charming is none other than popular quarterback Austin (Chad Michael Murray). Will her identity be revealed? Will Sam and her Prince Charming live happily ever after? Will her stepmom stop getting Botox?
“The Notebook” (2004)
There would be no list without mentioning Nicholas Sparks’ book-turned movie, “The Notebook.” Set in the 1940s, Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) meet one night at a carnival and instantly fall in love. When Allie’s parents disapprove of Noah’s upbringing, they move her away forcing them to separate. Several years later, Noah discovers Allie is set to be married to someone else, and when the two reunite, Allie is left to decide if their love is as strong as it was the summer they met.
Team Edward or Team Jacob? “Twilight,” based on Stephenie Meyer’s book series, follows teen Bella (Kristen Stewart) as she sets her eyes on a mysterious (and very handsome) boy named Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). When her childhood friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) warns her to stay away from Edward, Bella finds herself intrigued to learn more about him and his past. As the she discovers Edward’s secret, she finds a new meaning to the term soulmates.
“The Last Song” (2010)
When rebellious teen Ronnie Miller (Miley Cyrus) learns she and her brother are staying with their estranged father (Greg Kinnear) for the summer, she makes it clear she has no intentions on being friendly … to anyone. That is until she meets a handsome boy named Will (Liam Hemsworth) who changes her mind and helps her rediscover her love for music, something she shared with her dad. As Ronnie’s feelings for Will grow, so does her relationship with her family.
“The Fault in Our Stars” (2014)
If you look up “tearjerker” in the dictionary, you might find a picture of this movie under its definition.
“The Fault in Our Stars” follows the story of Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort), two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group and decide to enjoy with life before it’s too late. As their friendship grows, the two fall in love regardless of the chance of heartbreak.
“To All the Boys I've Loved Before” (2018)
For many, writing love letters are a great way to express your feelings, even if the person never has a chance to read it. But what happens when those letters get out? In “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” Lara Jean (Lana Condor) found comfort in keeping her love letters both past and present in a safe place without ever having acted on those emotions. Until one day all the letters are sent out and she’s left to confront her crushes one by one.
“The Kissing Booth” (2018)
Elle (Joey King) and Lee (Joel Courtney) have been best friends for as long as they can remember. To protect their friendship, they created a list of friendship rules they swore to follow. However, when Elle decides to run the kissing booth at her school’s annual carnival, she unexpectedly finds herself locking lips with her secret crush: her best friend’s brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi). When Noah reveals he also has feelings for Elle, the two decide to pursue a relationship behind Lee’s back. Breaking rule No. 9 in their friendship pact, Elle realizes she must make a choice to either follow the rules or follow her heart.