26 Back-to-School Movies to Watch You Haven't Already Seen a Zillion Times
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You go through a whirlwind of emotions when it's back to school time: excited, nervous, annoyed, and everything in between. Because while going back to school means getting to see all your friends again and joining fun clubs and sports, it also means having to do homework and study every night. Plus, if you're starting at a new school, odds are you're feeling somewhat anxious about it.
Luckily, there are back-to-school movies to watch to help calm your nerves and get you pumped for the big day. Instead of including movies you've probably-maybe-definitely seen way too many times to count — looking at you, Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You, and High School Musical — we've compiled a list of somewhat more underrated movies for you to check out. From comedies like Senior Year and College Road Trip to thrillers like Dismissed and Detention, there's something for everyone to enjoy as we prepare for summer to wind down.
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (2023)
This cute coming-of-age movie is currently in theaters. It's based on the classic Judy Blume book about a young girl who moves from NYC to New Jersey and adjusts to her new life while also dealing with the struggles of puberty.
If you've ever moved from one location to another where the environments were super different from each other, then you'll totally relate to Margaret.
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The School for Good and Evil (2022)
Sure, Hogwarts is an awesome school and all, but don't sleep on School for Good and Evil, a place for fairy tale heroes and villains. If you love the magic of Harry Potter, then you need to check out this fantasy movie ASAP.
Senior Year (2022)
Rebel Wilson stars in this Netflix movie about a girl who spends senior year — and the next two decades — in a coma. When she finally wakes up, now 37 years old, she decides to finish school and try to become prom queen.
The Prom (2020)
Prom is one of *the* best times in high school, so we had to include a prom-themed movie on this list!
Based on the hit Broadway musical, The Prom is about a group of self-centered theater stars who travel to a conservative Indiana town to help a high school student be allowed to take her girlfriend to prom.
After studying super hard all throughout high school, two soon-to-be graduates decide to cut loose and cram four years' worth of partying into one night before the next chapter in their lives starts.
Night School (2018)
There's no "right" or "wrong" way to get your education, and that includes working during the day and attending classes in the evenings.
Kevin Hart stars as a high school dropout who begins attending night school with some fellow misfits with the hope of getting a GED and, ultimately, a job. Tiffany Haddish plays his unconventional teacher.
Worlds collide in this musical DCOM when the students from Zombietown are allowed to attend the human high school, Seabrook High.
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Dylan Sprouse is unlike anything you've ever seen him in before in this thriller movie about an honors student who will do anything — and we mean anything — to get an A.
Speech & Debate (2017)
School clubs can be fun: You meet new friends with a shared interest, learn new skills, and it looks good on your college applications. However, for three students in this movie, they join a club for a different reason. Together, they revive the debate club at their school and use it to point out the hypocrisy they're seeing in both their parents and faculty.
Miss Stevens (2016)
In the mood to see a baby Timothée Chalamet and Lili Reinhart? Then Miss Stevens has you covered.
A small group of high school drama kids are driven to their state competition and chaperoned by their teacher in this comedy drama movie.
Bad Teacher (2011)
We've all had a teacher we didn't like, but that also means teachers have students they don't like. For one teacher, everyone she comes into contact with at school is on her "I don't like you" list.
Dumped by her rich fiancé, Elizabeth returns to teaching so she can earn enough money to get breast implants.
Going back to school after having a great summer may feel like a nightmare, but for the kids in Detention, they're going through an actual nightmare.
A group of kids serving detention are forced to take on a killer who is stalking the student body in this horror comedy starring Josh Hutcherson.
College Road Trip (2008)
Deciding where to go to college can be a super stressful decision, but for Melanie, it's a whole cross-country process. Along for the ride is her father, an overprotective cop who joins his daughter to make sure she doesn't get into any shenanigans. Of course, you can image how well that goes.
Freedom Writers (2007)
Based on a true story, an English teacher with at-risk students in the early '90s ultimately inspires them to become the best versions of themselves and to achieve things they never thought possible.
It's adapted from The Freedom Writers Diary, a collection of actual diary entries about students' daily lives for teacher Erin Gruwell's English class.
Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
The Spelling Bee is a staple of school and this movie starring a young Keke Palmer will make you fall in love with words immediately.
Keke plays Akeelah, a young girl living in South L.A. who works with a mentor to try and win the National Spelling Bee.
If you've ever wondered what life is like for teens living in other parts of the world besides the U.S., check out this movie about high school students growing up in West London.
After a tragedy happens, three teens must take a long, hard look at themselves and accept responsibility for their actions.
School of Rock (2003)
If Jack Black shows up to your class one day, you know you're about to have the best time ever.
He plays Dewey, a down-on-his-luck musician who is kicked out of his band and assumes the identity of his roommate to get a job teaching at a prep school. While there, he learns the kids in his class are talented musicians, and forms a band with them to compete in a battle of the bands event.
If you've ever done band in school, you know it is no joke. Nick Cannon stars in this drama about a street drummer from Harlem who is recruited to play drums for a university. Unfortunately, he and the band's drum leader quickly butt heads.
Max Keeble's Big Move (2001)
Max's first few days of middle school aren't going so great. Besides getting bullied and harassed by students and teachers alike, he learns his family is moving away soon. Upset he will have to leave his friends, Max soon realizes he can get revenge on everyone who's tortured him before he moves to a different city. The problem? He then learns he's not moving after all, and now has to deal with the repercussions of his actions.
An Extremely Goofy Movie (2000)
You're never too old for animated Disney movies!
In this sequel to A Goofy Movie, extreme sports enthusiast Max Goof heads off to college. His dad, unable to cope with being an empty nester, gets fired from his job and decides to re-enroll in college to finish his degree. Unfortunately for Max, Goofy is now his classmate at school.
Love & Basketball (2000)
In this beloved rom-com from the Y2K era, two childhood friends come of age together as they grow from kids to young adults, both trying to become professional basketball players.
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Remember the Titans (2000)
Based on a true story, Remember the Titans shows what can happen when we don't let hate win.
In the early 1970s, the football team at a Virginia high school that's recently integrated struggles to find itself, as Black and white teammates deal with racial tensions both on and off the field.
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The Faculty (1998)
High school is tough enough without having to fight off your teachers whose bodies have recently been taken over by aliens. An eclectic group of teens, all from different social circles, must work together to stop an alien invasion from overtaking the entire student body.
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Back to School (1986)
Stand-up comedian Rodney Dangerfield stars in this '80s flick about an outgoing dad who decides to enroll in his son's college. While there, he catches feelings for a teacher.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Everyone could use a day off now and then, and that's exactly what Ferris Bueller decides to do, no matter what. Playing hooky, Ferris has a wild day with his friends in Chicago, all while running from the school principal, who is onto Ferris's tricks.
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Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
A group of wild teens from a Southern California high school get into trouble, hook up, and experiment with drugs in this classic '80s movie.
Fun fact: The music video for "Stacy's Mom" actually recreated a scene from this movie.
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