| Lists |

The Five Best High School Movies Ever

Sure, high school's over and all of its drama has been replaced by workplace gossip, holiday parties, and the Monday blues. (That's right, high school friends, the bitchy cliques and whiny angst long outlive the consequences of breaking curfew and bombing the SAT.)

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Perhaps it's why we like to jump back in time to when our  biggest worries were daily outfits and whether or not food was stuck in our braces. In the spirit of the school year just getting started and our love of retrospection, we bring you a list of the five best high school movies. 

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Rundown: A group of Southern California high school students enjoy the perks (and consequences) of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll in the 80s.  
Why it's the best: It was one of the first movies to paint teens in all their glory (i.e. masturbation, abortion, and recreational drug use). Also, Sean Penn.
Memorable quote: "You're a wuss. Part wimp, part pussy."

Heathers (1988)

Rundown: Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she hates her friends (three evil girls named Heather). When a mysterious new love interest comes around, the girls start dropping like flies, as does the rest of the student body. 
Why it's the best: This movie paved the way for Mean Girls. It's a dark and witty spin on the evils of teen cliques and their influence in high school. It also stars 90s It Girl Winona Ryder.  
Memorable quote: "My teen angst bullshit has a body count."

Clueless (1995)

Rundown: (Very) Loosely based on Jane Austen's Emma, Clueless stars Alicia Silverstone as Cher, the most popular girl in her Beverly Hills high school. Watch Cher go from "just a ditz with a credit card" to a matchmaking environmentalist, and continue to laugh about it every time you hear "Kid's in America." 
Why it's the best: The movie did hip lingo before the likes of Juno, making "WHATEVER!" and "AS IF!" part of the mainstream teenage lingo in the 90s. It's escapism at its best, and it also gave us Paul Rudd.
Memorable quote: "Why should I listen to you? You're a virgin who can't drive."

American Pie (1999)

What it's about: Four friends make a pact to lose their virginity before prom night. Hilarity ensues.
Why it's the best: There must be something special about a movie that launched a franchise that includes "American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile" and "American Pie Presents: Band Camp." 
Memorable quote: "You realize we're all going to college as virgins. They probably have special dorms for people like us." 

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Rundown: Five completely different high school students are stuck in detention on a Saturday morning. The jock, the popular girl, the goth, the nerd and the rebel start out as strangers, and, naturally, find out they have a few things in common.
Why it's the best: It's a John Hughes. Also: Molly Ringwald, Michael Anthony Hall, and Emilio Estevez.
Memorable quote: "When you grow up, your heart dies."

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.