DVD Release DateBest 11 Intelligent Teen Films of 2023: Must-Watch Collection

Best 11 Intelligent Teen Films of 2023: Must-Watch Collection

Best 11 Intelligent Teen Films of 2023: Must-Watch Collection

In everyday life, teenagers are often underestimated and misunderstood, and this misperception is sometimes reflected in movies. While some films do showcase smart and savvy teens, they don’t always offer intriguing and mind-bending storylines. Instead, they tend to focus on typical teenage issues like love troubles, school drama, and rebellious antics. However, there’s a whole world of teen movies out there that break this mold and offer captivating plots, brilliant dialogue, and a deep understanding of the teenage experience.

One outstanding example of an intelligent teen movie is Mean Girls. Sure, it’s a hilarious comedy, but it also explores the impact of social cliques, bullying, and other common challenges faced by young adults. It goes beyond the surface and provides valuable insight into the complex lives and minds of teenagers. It’s worth noting that intelligent teen films aren’t limited to the high school setting. There are many other fantastic movies that make you ponder, whether they’re stories of self-discovery or gripping family dramas.

Check out the list below and join the fun by sharing your favorite intelligent teen movies – the ones that you find clever, insightful, or thought-provoking.

1. 10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You
Welcome to 10 Things I Hate About You, a modern-day twist on Shakespeare that perfectly balances teen romance and biting comedy. The story unfolds in an American high school, focusing on the lives of two sisters: the rebellious Kat, played by Julia Stiles, and her popular younger sister, Bianca, portrayed by Larisa Oleynik. Things take an interesting turn when Cameron, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, falls head over heels for Bianca, only to discover their father’s strict dating rule. Determined to win her over, Cameron devises a plan involving the enigmatic bad boy, Patrick Verona, played by Heath Ledger. What follows is a delightful mix of clever banter, unexpected romances, and the rollercoaster ride of teenage emotions. This film, renowned for its memorable performances and sharp wit, takes viewers on a charming journey of young love and personal growth.

Released: 1999
Directed by: Gil Junger
Actors: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

2. Stand by Me

Stand by Me
The film Stand by Me is an engaging and unforgettable journey that follows four young boys on a quest. These boys, Gordie Lachance, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp, and Vern Tessio, set out to find the body of a missing teenager in the Oregon woods. Directed by Rob Reiner, this coming-of-age drama is based on Stephen King’s novella The Body. It tells a gripping story about friendship, adventure, and the challenges of growing up. When it was released in 1986, the film received critical acclaim for its poignant performances and captivating storyline.

Released: 1986
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Actors: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman

3. Clueless

Set in the heart of Beverly Hills, the protagonist of “Clueless” is Cher Horowitz, a high schooler who proudly declares herself a fashionista and matchmaker. Directed by Amy Heckerling, this comedy-drama film follows Cher as she navigates the challenges of adolescence, juggling love interests and striving to maintain her social status. Cher’s partner in crime is her best friend Dionne Davenport, who joins her in their various adventures. Drawing inspiration from Jane Austen’s Emma, “Clueless” skillfully captures the turmoil of teenage years and the complexities of young romance. Despite its light-hearted nature, the movie subtly addresses important social issues, ensuring its status as a timeless classic.

Released: 1995
Directed by: Amy Heckerling
Actors: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy

4. Mean Girls

Mean Girls
In the teen comedy Mean Girls, Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan) is a newcomer to public school after being homeschooled in Africa. As she enters the chaotic world of high school politics and cliques, she quickly encounters Regina George (Rachel McAdams), the popular queen bee of North Shore High School’s infamous group, The Plastics. Cady finds herself caught up in the manipulative games played by The Plastics as she tries to navigate this new social landscape.

Tina Fey, who not only wrote the screenplay but also stars in the movie, portrays Ms. Norbury, a teacher who offers guidance and support to Cady. Mean Girls received numerous award nominations and even won a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Comedy.

Released: 2004
Directed by: Mark Waters
Actors: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey

5. The Princess Diaries

The Princess Diaries
The Princess Diaries is a fun teenage comedy that tells the story of Mia Thermopolis, a regular high school girl. Little does she know, she’s actually a princess, a surprising revelation made by her elegant grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi. The journey from awkward teenager to graceful princess is far from easy, filled with hilarious mishaps. Caught between two worlds, Mia must decide which path to take. Directed by Garry Marshall, this delightful film is a perfect blend of comedy and romance that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Released: 2001
Directed by: Garry Marshall
Actors: Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, Héctor Elizondo

6. The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride is a charming mix of adventure, romance, and comedy. It tells the story of Westley, a simple farmhand-turned-pirate, who embarks on a grand mission to rescue his beloved Buttercup from the clutches of the villainous Prince Humperdinck. Alongside a motley crew of characters including the revenge-seeking Inigo Montoya and the cunning strategist Vizzini, Westley must navigate dangerous terrain and outsmart deadly enemies. This timeless tale is filled with memorable lines and unforgettable characters, and it even won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture in 1988. It’s a film that surpasses genres and has become a true classic in popular culture.

Released: 1987
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Actors: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin

7. The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club is a film that brings together five high school students from different social groups during detention. You’ve got the brainy one, Brian Johnson, played by Anthony Michael Hall. Emilio Estevez portrays the athletic Andrew Clark, while Judd Nelson takes on the role of the rebel, John Bender. Molly Ringwald plays the princess, Claire Standish, and Ally Sheedy is the outcast, Allison Reynolds.

These characters, under the watchful eye of the strict assistant principal Richard Vernon, spend a Saturday together and slowly start to open up to each other. They reveal their true selves, going beyond the stereotypes they are known for. Directed by John Hughes in 1985, this coming-of-age comedy-drama delves into themes of identity, peer pressure, and the challenges of adolescence. And despite being almost 100 minutes long, it remains a timeless classic in the world of teen cinema.

Released: 1985
Directed by: John Hughes
Actors: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson

8. Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions
In the captivating drama, Cruel Intentions, we witness a seductive game unfolding among the elite teenagers of Manhattan. Kathryn Merteuil (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (played by Ryan Phillippe), step-siblings notorious for their manipulative ways, direct their attention towards the unsuspecting Annette Hargrove (played by Reese Witherspoon). As the story progresses, Sebastian, initially treating Annette as just another conquest, finds himself caught up in unexpected emotions he never anticipated. This film, a contemporary adaptation of the timeless French novel ‘Les Liaisons dangereuses’, explores themes of deceit, love, and the high stakes of teenage power plays. It offers an exhilarating exploration of manipulation concealed beneath the facade of youthful innocence and wealth.

Released: 1999
Directed by: Roger Kumble
Actors: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon

9. The Outsiders

The Outsiders
In the heartland of 1960s Oklahoma, The Outsiders takes us into the lives of a group of underprivileged teenagers known as the Greasers. We follow Ponyboy Curtis, an introspective young man, as he and his friends Johnny Cade and Dallas Winston navigate the challenges of social inequalities and personal hardships. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this coming-of-age drama delves into themes of friendship, societal expectations, and the harsh realities of socio-economic divisions. It has received acclaim for its genuine portrayal of teenage angst in the face of class conflicts.

Released: 1983
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Actors: Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio

10. Easy A

Easy A
In the hilarious film Easy A, Emma Stone takes on the role of Olive Penderghast, a high school student who gets caught up in a crazy mix of rumors and half-truths. It all starts with a little white lie about losing her virginity that somehow manages to spread like wildfire. Suddenly, Olive finds herself drawing parallels to Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter, a book they’re studying in school. But instead of letting it ruin her life, she decides to manipulate the rumor mill to her advantage, both socially and financially. And she’s not alone in this wild ride, as Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, and Thomas Haden Church join in on the fun. Together, they bring us a captivating story that sheds light on the importance of reputation and the fast-paced nature of gossip in our digital age.

Released: 2010
Directed by: Will Gluck
Actors: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes

11. Bring It On

Bring It On
Bring It On, a comedy-drama, is all about the energetic world of high school cheerleading. The story follows Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst), the captain of the cheerleading squad at Rancho Carne High School. She soon finds out that her team’s routines were actually stolen from the East Compton Clovers, led by Isis (Gabrielle Union). And that’s when the rivalry between the two squads takes center stage. Directed by Peyton Reed, this film brings to light important themes such as integrity, competition, and friendship. It’s no surprise that Bring It On received nominations for multiple Teen Choice Awards, proving its popularity among young audiences.

Released: 2000
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Actors: Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford