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The best back to school movies

These are the best back to school movies.


'Rebel Without a Cause'

James Dean holds Natalie Wood close in a scene from "Rebel Without A Cause," directed by Nicholas Ray. With it's story of disillusioned youth, the story struck a chord with 1955 audiences. Dean died before the film's release.

TEACHER'S PET, Clark Gable, Doris Day, 1958, blackboard

'Teacher's Pet'

In the 1958 comedy "Teacher's Pet," journalism teacher Erica Stone (Doris Day) enlists journalist James Gannon (Clark Gable) to speak to her night-school class, and romantic sparks fly like chalk dust.

Courtesy Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection

'To Sir, With Love'

Sidney Poitier starred in 1967's "To Sir, with Love," directed by James Clavell. In the film, Poitier plays an idealistic black teacher who find himself teaching in an all-white London school. With unorthodox teaching techniques, he eventually wins the hearts and minds of the students. Pop singer Lulu eventually serenades him with the title track.


'Animal House'

In 1978's "National Lampoon's Animal House," John Belushi starred as Bluto a member of Faber College's Delta fraternity, a group that treasures partying, drinking and the pursuit of women over all else. After realizing that Dean Wormer has a plan to revoke their charter, they decide that, instead of whining about it, they'll have a toga party.

SNAP/REX/Shutterstock / SNAP/REX/Shutterstock
Image: 'Grease' the movie musical


Olivia Newton John and John Travolta starred in 1978's "Grease," based on the Broadway musical. The plot revolves around a sweet girl who gets involved with a T-Bird. They both realize if they're going to be together, they need to make some changes.

Fotos International / Getty Images Contributor
FAME, Antonia Franceschi, 1980, (c) MGM/courtesy Everett Collection


The 1980 musical "Fame" introduced many Americans to the dramatic life of students at the New York High School of Performing Arts. A reality show was eventually based on the movie.

(C)MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)MGM/Courtesy Everett Collectio
'Fast Times'

'Fast Times'

Sean Penn played surfer Jeff Spicoli in Amy Heckerling's 1982 film, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," a look at the year in the life of a Southern California high school (based on Cameron Crowe's experiences going undercover for his book). Spicoli just wanted to enjoy a little food in history class, but Mr. Hand (Ray Walston) was less than amused.

Everett Collection


The 1984 movie "Footloose" stars Kevin Bacon, who plays a new kid in a rural high school who discovers his town doesn't allow dancing, and fights to get the ban overturned for prom.

Rights Managed / Ronald Grant Archive / Mary Evan
REVENGE OF THE NERDS, Ted McGinley, Michelle Meyrink, Robert Carradine, 1984.

'Revenge of the Nerds'

In the now-iconic 1984 comedy "Revenge of the Nerds," the college war between nerds and jocks goes full-on nuclear.

(C)20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett C
In 1985's \"The Breakfast Club,\" a princess (Molly Ringwald), a geek (Anthony Michael Hall), a jock (Emilio Estevez), a basket case (Ally Sheedy) and a delinquent (Judd Nelson) are all forced to share a Saturday in detention. After pushing each other's buttons all day long, they finally learn to understand each other in spite of their differences.

'The Breakfast Club'

In 1985's "The Breakfast Club," a princess (Molly Ringwald), a geek (Anthony Michael Hall), a jock (Emilio Estevez), a basket case (Ally Sheedy) and a delinquent (Judd Nelson) are all forced to share a Saturday in detention. After pushing each other's buttons all day long, they finally learn to understand each other in spite of their differences.

Everett Collection

'Dead Poets Society'

In 1989's "Dead Poets Society," English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) tries to inspire boys at an exclusive prep school in 1959.

HEATHERS, from left: Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, 1988, (C) New World/courtesy Everett Collection


In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen (Winona Ryder) teams up with a dark sociopath (Christian Slater) in a plot to kill the cool kids. This 1988 movie also stars Shannen Doherty.

(C)New World Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)New World Pictures/Courtesy Ev
FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, Mia Sara, Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, 1986, (c) Paramount/courtesy Evere

'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a tricky but harmless fast-talker. But he knows how to have fun, which is exactly what he sets out to do when he feigns illness and talks his parents into letting him stay home from school. The perpetually lucky Ferris enlists his hypochondriac best friend, Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), into springing Ferris' girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara), from class, and the three embark on a raucous downtown Chicago adventure in 1986's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

(C)Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Paramount/Courtesy Everett Col
DAZED AND CONFUSED, Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochrane, Deena Martin, Joey Lauren Adams, 1993, (c) G

'Dazed and Confused'

Richard Linklater's classic "Dazed and Confused," from 1993, takes place on the last day of school at Lee High School near Austin, Texas.

(C)GramercyPictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)GramercyPictures/Courtesy Ever
CLUELESS, Stacey Dash, Alicia Silverstone, 1995, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection


If anyone in Beverly Hills is clued in, it's Cher (Alicia Silverstone). She's almost 16, she's rich, she's way popular, and she loves letting the world benefit from her expertise in all of life's important issues -- like dating, fashions and looking good. But she's going to discover that, when it comes to matters of the heart, she's ... clueless. Luckily, pal Dionne (Stacy Dash) is always there to give her advice in 1995's "Clueless."

(C)Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Paramount/Courtesy Everett Col
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, Julia Stiles (with book), Daryl Mitchell (pointing), 1999, (C) Buena Vista

'10 Things I Hate About You'

The 1999 film "10 Things I Hate About You" is a modern take on of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew."

(C)Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy
GOOD WILL HUNTING, Matt Damon, Robin Williams, 1997, (c) Miramax/courtesy Everett Collection

'Good Will Hunting'

Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Ben Affleck (not shown) star in the 1997 drama "Good Will Hunting," about an unrecognized genius.

(C)Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Miramax/Courtesy Everett Colle
BRING IT ON, Kirsten Dunst, Huntley Ritter, Eliza Dushku, 2000, (c)Universal/courtesy Everett Collec

'Bring It On'

As captain of her school's championship-winning cheerleading squad, Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) is faced with stiff competition for the national title from the inner-city, hip-hop squad the Clovers, led by Isis (Gabrielle Union). Torrance's mission is further complicated when she learns that her predecessor stole cheer routines from the Clovers. Can she come up with a new routine that will help the Toros beat the Clovers? 2000's "Bring It On" reveals the answer.

(C)Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Universal/Courtesy Everett Col

'Legally Blonde'

In 2001's "Legally Blonde," Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) applies to Harvard Law School and gets in just so she can win back a boyfriend. She doesn't quite fit in with the other students, but realizes that her way of doing things just might have its place in the legal world after all.

CRUEL INTENTIONS, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, 1999, (C)Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everet

'Cruel Intentions'

Yes, that's a young Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar in prep-school uniforms in this scene from 1999's "Cruel Intentions."

(C)Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Eve

'American Pie'

In 1999's "American Pie," Jim (Jason Biggs) is your average healthy red-blooded virgin -- he's desperate and has no idea how to act around women, especially foreign-exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth). But what he doesn't realize is that his more experienced pals (Thomas Ian Nicholas, Chris Klein, and Eddie Kaye Thomas) are having just as much trouble with women as he is.

SCHOOL OF ROCK, Jack Black, 2003, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

'School of Rock'

In 2003's "School of Rock," Jack Black stars as Dewey, a failed rocker who poses as a substitute teacher in an exclusive private school in order to earn some money. But instead of teaching the kids about math and English, he teaches them how to rock, forming a band for the local Battle of the Bands contest.

(C)Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Paramount/Courtesy Everett Col

'Mona Lisa Smile'

Julia Roberts plays Katherine Watson, a feminist art-history teacher who feels just a bit out of place at an uptight 1953 women's college, where the girls seem to be preparing for marriage rather than careers, in 2003's "Mona Lisa Smile." Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal play the women Roberts inspires.

'Not Another Teen Movie'

2001's "Not Another Teen Movie" spoofs many films in the genre, including "Never Been Kissed," "The Breakfast Club" and "10 Things I Hate About You."

'Mean Girls'

Written by Tina Fey, 2004's "Mean Girls" stars Lindsay Lohan as Cady, a new girl in school who finds herself drawn into the popular clique she's secretly trying to bring down. Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams and Lacey Chabert co-star.

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, Efren Ramirez, Jon Heder, 2004, (c) Fox Searchlight/courtesy Everett Collection

'Napoleon Dynamite'

2004's Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) isn't your average kid. He loves tater tots, his favorite animal is the liger and he has dance moves that would put those "Dancing with the Stars" contestants to shame. He's determined to get pal Pedro (Efren Ramirez) elected school president. 

(C)Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Evere
THE PERFECT SCORE, Chris Evans, 2004, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

'The Perfect Score'

In the 2004 drama "The Perfect Score," Chris Evans leads a group of high-schoolers who steal the answers to the SAT.

(C)Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Paramount/Courtesy Everett Col

'Akeelah and the Bee'

In the 2006 film, "Akeelah and the Bee," spelling words helped Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) connect with her father, who died when she was 6 years old. Akeelah, a lackluster student in south Los Angeles, is persuaded to enter the school's spelling bee, and when she wins, she is selected to compete in the state contest. Her principal enlists Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne). a professor and former spelling bee winner, to coach Akeelah -- boot camp-style.

'Old School'

In Frat Pack classic "Old School" (2006), Mitch (Luke Wilson) is dumped by his girlfriend, so he decides to rent a house near a college, much to the delight of pals Frank (Will Ferrell) and Beanie (Vince Vaughn). But when their exploits get too rowdy, the college threatens to take the house away, so the boys start a frat that will accept anyone as a member.

'High School Musical'

High School Musical (2006) is considered to be loosely based on "Romeo and Juliet." Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hudgens star in this Disney Channel Original Movie as popular basketball team captain Troy and smart, stunning academic Gabriella. Both shock the members of the social cliques to which they belong when they each decide to audition for the high school's musical.

Amanda Bynes as Viola, James Snyder as Malcolm and Laura Ramsey as Olivia in DreamWorks' teen romance \"She's the Man\" (2006)

'She's the Man'

In the 2006 romantic comedy "She's the Man," Amanda Bynes plays a female high-school student who pretends to be male in order to play on the boys' soccer team.

ACCEPTED, 2006, (c) Universal/courtesy Everett Collection


In the 2006 comedy "Accepted," a group of high schoolers create their own college after being rejected from real ones.

(C)Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection / (C)Universal/Courtesy Everett Col


In 2007's "Juno," 16-year-old, smart aleck Juno (Ellen Page) discovers she is pregnant with classmate Paulie Bleeker's (Michael Cera) child and she is prematurely pushed into the adult world. She decides to give her baby up for adoption and searches for a couple in the local newspaper, settling on Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner). The film was nominated for four Oscars, and won in the category of Best Original Screenplay.


In the 2007 film "Superbad," Fogell (Christopher Mitz-Plasse), Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are high school seniors who are determined to stop being labeled "losers" and find a way to get some action from the fairer sex. They concoct a plan to score alcohol for the next hot party, hoping that this will make them heroes. Fogell starts the adventure off by procuring a fake ID bearing just one name: "McLovin."

'Charlie Bartlett'

In 2008's "Charlie Bartlett," a rich kid (Anton Yelchin) becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school.

'Freedom Writers'

Based on the nonfiction book "The Freedom Writers Diary," the 2007 film "Freedom Writers" is set in a school torn by racial divisions and poverty. Hilary Swank (left) plays a teacher in violence-beseiged Los Angeles who uses writing to help her students voice their struggles -- from seeing their friends die to being abused -- eventually helping them trust her.

'Diary of a Wimpy Kid'

Based on the popular book series, 2010's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" follows the travails of wise-cracking middle school student Greg Heffley over the course of an academic year.

'Easy A'

Emma Stone plays Olive Penderghast in 2010's "Easy A," about a high school girl whose life begins to parallel that of Hester Prynne in "The Scarlet Letter."

'I Love You, Beth Cooper'

2010's "I Love You, Beth Cooper" starts with a bang, as valedictorian Denis Cooverman tells the whole class he has a crush on cheerleader Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere, center, with Lauren London and Lauren Storm).

'17 Again'

Zac Efron plays a man who gets a chance to go back to high school and do things right this time in 2010's "17 Again." Matthew Perry plays the grown-up version of Efron's character.

'Bad Teacher'

Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth, a foul-mouthed, gold-digging seventh-grade teacher, who, after being dumped by her current boyfriend, sets her sights on a colleague.

Hana Mae Lee, Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick in Universal Pictures' Pitch Perfect (2012)

'Pitch Perfect'

2012's "Pitch Perfect" follows a college acapella singing group as they compete at nationals. A sequel is planned for 2015.

Universal Pictures

'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield star in this 2012 film portraying Spider Man's origin and his development into a superhero while still a high school student.

Mae Whitman, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller and Erin Wilhelmi in Summit Entertainment's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'

Mae Whitman, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller and Erin Wilhelmi star in the 2012 coming-of-age comedy "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," based on the 1999 novel.

Summit Entertainment
Channing Tatum, left center, and Jonah Hill in Columbia Pictures' \"21 Jump Street.\"

'21 Jump Street'

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star in this 2012 comedy -- based on the Johnny Depp TV series -- as a pair of policemen who go undercover at a local high school to bring down a drug ring. A sequel where they go undercover in college, "22 Jump Street," was released in 2014.

Scott Garfield
Aubrey Plaza stars as Brandy and Rachel Bilson stars as Amber in CBS Films' The To Do List (2013)

'The To Do List'

In the 2013 movie "The To Do List," a valedictorian, played by Aubrey Plaza, makes a “to do list” of all the sexual activities she missed out on in high school. 

CBS Films