DVD Release DateDiscover the Best Picks: Top 11 Prep School Movies of 2023

Discover the Best Picks: Top 11 Prep School Movies of 2023

Discover the Best Picks: Top 11 Prep School Movies of 2023

Discover the most captivating movies that center around the enchanting world of prep, boarding, and private schools. We’ve meticulously ranked the top private school movies for your enjoyment. While many individuals complete high school and venture to college or university, a select few are fortunate enough to attend a unique school prior to college, providing further preparation for their future careers. This intriguing concept has served as an inspiration for numerous films depicting life in a prep or boarding school. Which movies reign supreme in this genre? Join us on a thrilling journey through the finest tales!

Prepare to be immersed in a diverse collection of prep school films, each offering its own unique flavor and appeal. This list boasts an impressive selection that caters to all tastes and interests, with no boundaries on genre.

Embark on a cinematic adventure with exceptional movies set in boarding schools and prep schools, such as the thought-provoking Dead Poets Society, the captivating tale of The Emperor’s Club, the empowering Mona Lisa Smile, the delightful Prep School, the haunting Never Let Me Go, and the enchanting A Little Princess. Don’t hesitate to voice your admiration for the films already on the list or suggest another preppy masterpiece that deserves a spot among the greats.

1. Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society is an amazing and influential film that tells the story of John Keating, an English teacher played by the legendary Robin Williams. Keating teaches at the conservative Welton Academy and he’s all about seizing the day. He shakes things up by bringing a fresh approach to teaching, inspiring his students to fall in love with poetry. This leads to the formation of a secret society that becomes quite notorious. This Academy Award-winning masterpiece explores the struggles of self-expression and the importance of questioning established beliefs within the confines of a prestigious boarding school.

Released: 1989
Directed by: Peter Weir
Actors: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke

2. School Ties

School Ties
School Ties is a movie that captures the intense atmosphere of an elite 1950s boarding school. It introduces us to David Greene, portrayed by the charismatic Brendan Fraser, who is a working-class Jewish teenager awarded a football scholarship. Throughout the film, Greene faces prejudice and betrayal, which forces him to confront the barriers created by social and religious stigmas that are hidden beneath the guise of camaraderie. This highly praised movie shines a light on the courage it takes to stand up against bigotry and defy expectations in a high-pressure environment.

Released: 1992
Directed by: Robert Mandel
Actors: Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell

3. Wild Child

Wild Child
Wild Child is a fun and lively movie that dives into the world of British boarding schools. The story revolves around Poppy Moore, a Malibu socialite played by Emma Roberts, who is sent off to the prestigious Abbey Mount School. As Poppy navigates the school’s strict rules, fierce competition, and cultural differences, she undergoes a transformation from a rebellious teenager to a more mature and compassionate person. This coming-of-age film delivers both unabashed humor and valuable life lessons, leaving a lasting impact on its audience.

Released: 2008
Directed by: Nick Moore
Actors: Emma Roberts, Natasha Richardson, Shirley Henderson

4. Au revoir, les enfants

Au revoir, les enfants
Au revoir, les enfants is a thought-provoking film that was inspired by director Louis Malle’s personal experiences in Nazi-occupied France. It tells the story of a Catholic boarding school that becomes a safe haven for Jewish students. The main character, Julien, is a reserved individual who forms an unexpected friendship with a mysterious new student named Jean Bonnet. This film has received numerous awards and is praised for its portrayal of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of challenging circumstances within an elite school setting.

Released: 1987
Directed by: Louis Malle
Actors: Irène Jacob, François Berléand, Philippe Morier-Genoud

5. The Craft

The Craft
The Craft is an absolutely captivating supernatural thriller that takes us into the lives of four teenagers who are considered outcasts. Nancy, played by the enigmatic Fairuza Balk, leads this group as they find solace in the practice of witchcraft at their preparatory school. However, things start to get intense when their newly discovered powers start spiraling out of control. The movie takes us on a journey to explore the consequences of giving in to our deepest and darkest desires. With the prestigious boarding school as its backdrop, The Craft offers an exhilarating exploration of morality, identity, and the price of abusing power.

Released: 1996
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
Actors: Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell

6. Scent of a Woman

Scent of a Woman
Scent of a Woman takes us on a gripping and transformative journey over a weekend, where we witness the powerful bond formed between Lt. Frank Slade, a retired Army officer who is blind, brilliantly portrayed by the legendary Al Pacino, and Charlie Simms, a prep school student played by the talented Chris O’Donnell. This encounter exposes Charlie to a world beyond the comforts of his privileged school life, revealing the complexities, passions, and harsh realities that exist outside his sheltered bubble.

At the heart of the film lies Pacino’s mesmerizing and award-winning performance, which earned him the well-deserved Academy Award for Best Actor. Through his portrayal, we witness the immense power of empathy and human connection in breaking down the barriers of class and status. It serves as a poignant reminder of the universal need for understanding and compassion, regardless of our backgrounds or social standing.

This movie invites us to reflect on the transformative impact that a single weekend can have on our lives. It teaches us that stepping outside our comfort zones and embracing different perspectives can open our eyes to the beauty and complexity of the world. Scent of a Woman is a masterful exploration of the human experience, leaving a lasting impression on all who watch it.

Released: 1992
Directed by: Martin Brest
Actors: Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, James Rebhorn

7. The Riot Club

The Riot Club
The Riot Club is a gripping and provocative British drama that exposes the dark and sordid underbelly of Oxford University’s elite secret society. It centers around two first-year students, Alistair and Miles, as they navigate a treacherous fraternal realm filled with decadence, arrogance, and moral decay. The film serves as a social commentary, cleverly wrapped in opulence and privilege, shedding light on the gory consequences of unchecked ambition and entitlement within a prestigious institution.

Released: 2014
Directed by: Lone Scherfig
Actors: Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth

8. Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy
Vampire Academy, based on the popular book series by Richelle Mead, takes us deep into the mystical world of St. Vladimir’s Academy. It’s a place where Dhampir guardians, who are half-human-half-vampire, protect the Moroi vampire royalty. The film centers around Rose Hathaway, played by Zoey Deutch, and her best friend Lissa Dragomir, portrayed by Lucy Fry. Together, they uncover dark secrets, maneuver through vampire politics, and navigate the complexities of forbidden love within the school’s sacred walls. This enchanting film weaves an enthralling tale that combines vampire legends, thrilling action, and the undeniable allure of a magical boarding school.

Released: 2014
Directed by: Mark Waters
Actors: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky

9. The Emperor’s Club

The Emperor's Club
Set in the prestigious St. Benedict’s Academy, The Emperor’s Club tells the story of William Hundert, a passionate teacher of classics, brilliantly portrayed by Kevin Kline. Hundert’s mission is to teach his students valuable lessons on moral integrity and ambition. Years later, Hundert unexpectedly reconnects with one of his most intriguing and complicated pupils, Sedgewick Bell, played by Emile Hirsch. Their reunion sparks a debate rematch, stirring up unresolved emotions and delving into the complexities of mentorship, ethics, and the profound impact of formative relationships in the esteemed world of a boarding school.

Released: 2002
Directed by: Michael Hoffman
Actors: Kevin Kline, Patrick Dempsey, Jesse Eisenberg

10. She’s the Man

She's the Man
She’s the Man” is a hilarious and modern take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The story revolves around Viola Hastings, portrayed by Amanda Bynes, a teenager who decides to disguise herself as her brother and attend Illyria Prep School, just so she can join the boys’ soccer team. Brace yourself for a whirlwind of comedy, unexpected romance, and some seriously impressive soccer skills. Along the way, Viola bravely challenges gender stereotypes and faces off with Olivia Lennox, played by Laura Ramsey, a student from Cambridge University. Get ready for some heartfelt emotions as this entertaining teen flick explores the absurdities and complexities of prep school life, while also shedding light on the norms and expectations surrounding gender

Released: 2006
Directed by: Andy Fickman
Actors: Amanda Bynes, James Kirk, Channing Tatum

11. Handsome Devil

Handsome Devil
Handsome Devil is all about an unexpected and heartwarming friendship that blossoms between two very different guys. There’s Ned, played by Fionn O’Shea, who’s a bit of a loner and a big music fan. Then there’s Conor, portrayed by Nicholas Galitzine, who’s a total rugby prodigy. These two end up as roommates in a boarding school that’s absolutely obsessed with rugby.

But here’s the thing: Ned and Conor aren’t exactly the typical rugby-loving types. They’re not afraid to challenge the school’s old-fashioned ways. And in doing so, they both come face-to-face with the power of genuine friendship and allyship. They learn how important it is to break free from toxic masculinity and all the constraints that come with it.

This coming-of-age story has been praised for its celebration of individuality, understanding, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship. It takes place in a strict and transformative educational environment, where these young men find their own paths and learn some valuable life lessons along the way.

Directed by: John Butler
Actors: Nicholas Galitzine, Fionn O’Shea