15 Teen Movies On Netflix To Stream If You Want To Experience Some Major High School Nostalgia
High school can be a heady swirl of emotions and events high and low — the thrill of crushes, the cruelty of bullying, scene drama, and figuring out who you are. Netflix's 13 Reasons Why amplifies all of these feelings to maximum effect, with narrator Hannah Baker trying to have the last word from beyond the grave, using tapes aimed at her friends and enemies. It's such a rich vein that it shouldn't come as a surprise that many other pieces of pop culture deeply delve into the themes surrounding high school drama as well, including the 15 movies in the list below that are all streaming on Netflix now.
Like 13 Reasons Why and other teen-centric pieces of pop culture, these films all dip into the complicated emotions of high school — from love to betrayal to angst of all. Though the movies, which range from Heathers to Moonrise Kingdom, span different genres and portray vastly different outcomes, each of the 15 films will bring you back to those intense four years in the hallways, for better or for worse. So next time you're in need of a movie marathon, check out a few of the below picks on Netflix. Just prepare to feel some major nostalgia, as well as a wave of relief that you're out of that period of your life.
1. 'Reality High'
After getting rubbed the wrong way by her reality star-smitten classmates, nerdy, do-gooder Dani actually catches the attention of her crush — who happens to be said reality star's boyfriend. Lots of painful frenemy behavior ensues, especially when she's befriended by the reality star.
This classic 1980s tale of high school bullying is iconic for a reason — it's vicious, whip-smart, and filled with murderous villainy. Veronica (a.k.a. Winona Ryder) is one of the school's three queen bees, but she's sick of her friends' cruel behavior. When she and her boyfriend, J.D. (a.k.a. Christian Slater) accidentally kill the group's leader, things get pretty messy.
3. 'High School Musical'
OK, maybe this one isn't quite so traumatic as it is catchy, but it's still about the struggle to find your place and figure out who you are. Plus singing. When Troy (a.k.a. Zac Efron) falls for perfectionist, A+ student Gabriella (a.k.a. Vanessa Hudgens) at a holiday party, he doesn't expect that they'll be thrown together back on campus as they audition for the lead parts in the upcoming school musical.
Popular teacher Dan Dunne, played by Ryan Gosling, has so far successfully hidden his addiction from his students. But when one of them catches him high in the bathroom, the two of their lives become more and more deeply entangled, and each tries to help the other out of their rough situations.
5. 'Battle Royale'
This Japanese film takes high school drama and amplifies it to the max by making it really life-or-death. Battle Royale takes place in a near-future where unruly teens are kept in line in an unusual fashion: Each year, a random class is chosen to participate in mortal combat on an island, fighting to the death until only one classmate remains. And you thought prom was brutal. (Yes, there is definitely some major Hunger Games vibes going on in this one.)
6. 'Let Me In'
This quiet story of a bullied boy making friends with a young vampire is concise and devastating. It's definitely not the same kind of vampire story as Twilight, but rather a poignant (and fairly horrifying) exploration of friendship and loneliness. If you want more after watching the film, try the book it's based on, Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
7. 'The Wolfpack'
The Angelo brothers grew up isolated from the world in their East Side NYC apartment. Their only access points to the bustling metropolis just outside their window were the movies their father let them watch. When one of the brothers escapes, their world is turned upside down. If it sounds stranger than fiction, that's because it is: This one is a documentary.
8. '13 Going On 30'
This gender-inverted Big is just as charming as the original. In 13 Going On 30, 13-year-old outsider Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) wishes to be 30, so she can be popular, beautiful, and successful. When her wish comes true, she learns that being an adult comes with extra baggage — and without her favorite person, Matt.
9. 'Dead Poets Society'
A baby-faced Ethan Hawke is one of the students influenced by Robin Williams' unorthodox teaching style in this classic, ultra-quotable boarding school-set movie that won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
10. 'Donnie Darko'
High school is wildly difficult. But throw in some omniscient hallucinations and time travel, and you've significantly upped the ante. In Donnie Darko, a young protagonist played by Jake Gyllenhaal attempts to figure out the root of his frightening visions.
Ethan Hawke appears in this movie, too, but as the dad, not the student. Filmed over the course of 12 years, Boyhood follows a young man's literal and emotional growth over time. It's a fascinating piece of fiction that is very much rooted in the real world.
12. 'Super Dark Times'
In this 1996 high school thriller, two best buds are thrown into chaos after they're forced to cover up a terrible accident. Over the course of the movie, the boys attempt to reckon with the event, plus their own paranoia, panic, and instability. Oh, and high school.
13. 'The Lost Boys'
Another classic vampire movie. In The Lost Boys, two brothers move to Santa Clara, California with their father and quickly stumble upon a gang of young vampires who don't have the best of intentions for them.
14. 'Friend Request'
Social media's done more to expedite teen drama since the invention of the car, so it's no surprise it's both cause of and vector for terrible intentions. This is a horror movie that begins with a friend request — and yeah, it's basically every millennial's worst nightmare.
In Adventureland, financial problems force a recent college grad to give up his plans to travel the world and take a job at a local amusement park. There, he meets a girl who changes everything and learns a thing or two about what he actually wants out of life.
Whether you're just out of high school or years past that time of your life, you don't need any reason to dip into these films for a take on teen and early adulthood drama.