Mandatory Staff Picks: The Best Back-to-School Movies
The weather has cooled. The leaves are changing color. It’s back-to-school time! Some of us have already graduated into the real world (and desperately wish we hadn’t). Others are still students, but coronavirus has ruined this nostalgic season with hybrid or distance learning. Gone are the days when we got all excited to purchase actual school supplies (Trapper Keepers FTW), don a new school outfit, and board the bus with trepidation. Since we can’t turn back the clock (or fast-forward to when COVID-19 is no longer a thing), we’ll have to rely on Hollywood to stoke that back-to-school excitement. These are the best back-to-school movies. Watch ’em and learn.
Cover Photo: Universal Pictures
'Fast Times at Ridgemont High'
Love triangles. Stoners. Slackers. A lot of laughs. And a cast that just won't quit. This coming-of-age dramedy has it all.
'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'
If you're too cool for school (or just wish you were), you'll enjoy this tale of a few friends living dangerously in lieu of attending high school classes.
Summer lovin' can't last forever...but if you're lucky, your crush will migrate to your high school in the fall. Watch out for those rival cliques, though.
'The Breakfast Club'
Going back to school means a return to detention for some. If only yours were as transformative as the one depicted in this John Hughes classic.
'Dead Poets Society'
A good teacher can make or break the school year. We should all be so lucky to have someone like John Keating (Robin Williams) leading us in the study of English literature and showing us how to seize the day.
Popularity isn't everything. So learns California high school student Cher (Alicia Silverstone) when her older and wiser ex-stepbrother (Paul Rudd) comes back into her life and inspires her to grow up.
For those bold enough to attempt grad school, you'll find a kindred spirit in Elle (Reese Witherspoon), a young woman whom everyone dismisses as a blonde ditz...until she rises to the top of the class at Harvard.
Peers can be brutal. For those who felt like the odd man out in high school, you'll appreciate the journey of Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) who attempts to navigate the social hierarchy of secondary education.
The one you want doesn't even know you exist. Meanwhile, the one you can't stand won't leave you alone. Who hasn't experienced that dynamic? Take heart as Samantha (Molly Ringwald) grapples with high school romance (and the pitfalls of virginity) in this iconic John Hughes flick.
'10 Things I Hate About You'
The new kid in town (Heath Ledger) tries to woo an abrasive high school girl (Julia Stiles) in this '90s movie that charms even the staunchest rom-com hater.
Mandatory Staff Picks: 10 Hysterical Comedies to Watch After a Rough Day
Visit the Mandatory Shop for great deals on your very own Mandatory merch.