Ethan: Iconic School Movies to Help You Get Through the Semester

Hey, everyone. It’s time to go back to school! You may not be excited as me, and that’s okay. I compiled a little list of school-related films that I love to help get you in the mood.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times is an iconic film (to most of your parents (probably)). It’s an essential ‘80s film, and it has inspired many other movies primarily with a great stoner-esque performance from Sean Penn and the infamous pool scene with Phoebe Cates. The way the film portrays high school and life around it aims to be realistic while humorous, and it ended up as a classic.

Dazed and Confused

Dazed is the first of three Richard Linklater films on this list. It takes place on the last day of school one year in the ‘70s, and it focuses on a slew of main characters as they navigate the beginning of their summer vacation – for better or worse. Linklater’s films are almost always character-driven, and it made out to be a favorite for a lot of people just trying to get through high school.

Everybody Wants Some!!

Everybody Wants Some!! is the “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused. Linklater’s followup to the previous addition to this list established its own brand and style while keeping the charm from Dazed. This film centers around a college baseball team in the ‘80s as some of them begin college and others torment the newcomers. The film only contains about a minute of screen time in an actual class, but as far as capturing a college lifestyle outside of school itself, Linklater proves his worth.


Grease has been my favorite musical movie since I first saw it. My mother grew up loving the film, and she could not wait to show me. I fell in love with some of the songs and the characters and the overall charm of the film. The late ‘50s feel of the film is “electrifying,” and it made for an easy addition to this list.

Napoleon Dynamite

Is there a movie every elementary/middle school kid quoted more than Napoleon Dynamite? Doubt it. Jon Heder’s portrayal of the iconic character inspired a plethora of Halloween costumes over the years, and the well-timed, super dry comedy in the film has solidified its inclusion in any school-themed movie list.

School of Rock

This has been and always will be one of my favorite films. School of Rock is one of the very few movies I keep on my laptop because I can watch it anytime and as many times as I want. Jack Black is a hero, and Richard Linklater can do no wrong as a director. Though almost no schooling actually takes place throughout the film, it almost entirely takes place in a school… and it’s in the title… good enough for me.

The Social Network

The Social Network, with writing by Aaron Sorkin, directing by David Fincher, and acting by a stellar cast, is one of the smartest and well-crafted films I’ve ever seen. Feel free to fight me on this. I love this film, and I think I quote it at least once every few days – it’s okay that they insult BU at one point.

Animal House

Animal House was a movie that my dad kept saying he had to wait until I was older for him to show me, and it hurt him because he loves it so much. I later found out that it was good that I waited to watch it, and also I love it too. In fact, it’s my third favorite film. It’s a quintessential college film (and party film), so please watch it if you haven’t.

Recess: School’s Out

Recess: School’s Out technically takes place during the last day of school and the following summer, but it’s too important to not have on this list. I would watch this film every time I visit my grandparents growing up, and it’s a tradition I’ve continued to this day. It has an incredible soundtrack, a fun story, and an overwhelming wave of nostalgia.

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