Friday's Top Five: School movies
August 12th, 2011
09:32 AM ET

Friday's Top Five: School movies

School's already back in session for many, and it’s only a matter of time until summer is officially over for the rest of the country.

For some, this means loading up on new supplies and finishing summer reading. But for others, the reality of bus stops, bullies and a new locker combination is an anxiety attack waiting to happen.

Movies about school capture the best and worst aspects of our cumulative experience.  They also remind us that life moves pretty fast, to take a day off every once in a while, and that pain is temporary but film is forever.

To cope with the end of summer, consider the following cinematic remedies.  Take as prescribed, have a good laugh, and share your favorites.

1. "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" (1986): “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

2. "The Breakfast Club" (1985): “Could you describe the ruckus, sir?” – Brian Johnson

3. "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982):

4. "Better off Dead" (1985): “Two dollars!” – Paperboy

5. "Back to School" (1986): “I’ve not a fighter, I’m a lover.” – Thornton Mellon

Honorable Mention:

"Sixteen Candles" (1984): “What's happenin' hot stuff?” – Long Duk Dong

"Three 0’Clock High" (1987): “You and me, we're gonna have a fight. Today. After school. Three o'clock. In the parking lot.” – Buddy Revell

"Election" (1999): “Reading, Writing, Revenge.” – movie tagline

"Teen Wolf" (1985):  “Give me a keg of beer…and these.” – Scott Howard

"Lean On Me" (1989): “They used to call me Crazy Joe. Well now they can call me Batman!” – Joe Clark

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Filed under: Friday Top Five • movies

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Gleek

    What about License to Drive?

    September 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gleek

    Real Genius?

    September 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    I can't believe that Sixteen Candles is honorable mention. That movie is superior to Breakfast club. Where's Meatballs or Porkies? How about Grease? Dazed and Confused?

    September 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Melis

    What about PRETTY IN PINK???

    September 4, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    Stand & Deliver, how can that movie not be mentioned?
    Dead Poets Society! What the?!
    Blackboard Jungle
    My Bodyguard
    To Sir With Love
    Harry Potter series...

    September 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. shoneisa

    i love the breakfast club its the best move ever

    September 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. T

    Just saw "Better off Dead", very funny and VERY bizarre !
    "Two Dollars !" phrase from a very creepy kid, a kid genius who can build his own ray gun and spaceship, a completely ditzy mom who does the wackiest things when she cooks or shops for Christmas gifts, a odd duo of Asians who likes to drag race and dress and talk like Howard Cosell, an icky mom and fat son across the street....with the exchange student from France .................... who thinks up this stuff ?!

    I'm surprised that a sequel didn't come out of this little gem !

    August 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. z


    August 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. demetri

    The Trouble with Angels
    Cooley High
    The Prime of Ms. Jean Brodie
    To Sir with Love
    Class of 42
    School Daze
    Animal House
    The Breakfast Club
    Ferris Bueller
    Sixteen Candles
    My Bodyguard

    August 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jj

    To Sir With Love.
    And all the Harry Potter movies!

    August 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lawrance

    "Up the Down Staircase" for H.S.
    "The Paper Chase" for college

    August 22, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. classof1975

    More school movies/teen movies from the Seventies:

    Class of '44
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    Animal House - I can't believe y'all forgot THAT one!
    Come Onna My House (this one is a made for TV movie, circa 1972)

    August 18, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Class of 1988

      When I think of the year 1975, the only thing that always come to mind is that tv show "Welcome Back Kotter"!

      August 19, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. PlanetDrew80

    I am not going to judge on who has the best list of top high schoola and collage films here.
    So I decide to put my top 5 high school and collage or any school films by decades. Because there is one for evryone no matter which decade you went to high school or collage or grade school in

    1. Animal House
    2. Grease
    3. Rock n Roll High Scool
    4. Class of 42 ( Its one of those great collage movies from the decade that was forgotten)
    5. Love Story ( How about a movie that take place at Harverd)

    1) The Breakfast Club
    2) Fast Time at Ridgemont High
    3) Real Genius
    4) Vally Girl
    5) Risky Business

    1) American Pie
    2) Rudy
    3) PCU
    4) Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Not the TV show) ( Before Twlight 16 years later. There was)
    5) Patch Adams ( Not a high school or collage movie. But a med school movie)

    2000 to 2009
    1) Juno
    2) Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone
    3) Old School
    4) Friday Night lights ( This is the Billy Bob Thornton verson. Not the TV show)
    5) Saved. ( We need one that take place in a cathloc school)

    August 18, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ummm

      Saved takes place in a Conservative Private School not a Catholic School.

      September 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rey

    A few of the older movies, like Rebel without a cause and Too sir with love. As far as '80s no Pretty in pink?

    August 17, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bro

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    August 16, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  16. Randa

    Sixteen Candles should have been in top 5 definately...
    What about the movie Dazed and Confused and Pump up the Volume?? Those were Great as Well!!

    August 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  17. jujubeans

    Phoebe Cates! ( o )( o )

    August 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  18. beenz

    Has anyone mentioned "Heathers"?

    August 15, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  19. JCO

    dazed and confused hands down

    August 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Elwood

    Good list. Might add Carrie to mix it up a bit.

    August 13, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Tatiana

    Although I've never been able to finish the movie!

    August 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  22. TexWad

    HELLO!!! Dazed and Confused...c' of the best

    August 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Ed

    Good list, much much better than the pathetic 4th of July list. Just don't forget Summer School or Dead Poet's Society.

    August 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Kenny c

    No "Rock 'N' Roll High School"???? Sheesh!

    August 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Kenny c

    No "Rock 'N' Roll High School???? Sheesh!

    August 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Joshua Banks

    "Lean On Me " hands down is my favorite movie.

    August 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  27. LL

    Great list!

    August 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Lefty Wright

    My favorite movies are (like totally 80's! and a few 90's):

    High School:
    1. WarGames
    2. Risky Business
    3. The Karate Kid (the original version)
    4. Valley Girls
    5. House Party

    1. Animal House
    2. Good Will Hunting
    3. Rudy
    4. I Know What You Did Last Summer
    5. Scream

    August 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Hmmmm....

    The BEST high school films:
    1. Porky's
    2. Porky's II: The Next Day!
    3. Porky's Revenge!
    4. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
    5. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey

    August 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  30. mat

    August 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Rick

    I'd add in Clueless, Dead Poet's Society, Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, Dangerous Minds, The Principal and How I got Into College.

    August 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Sarah

    Dead Poet's Society

    August 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  33. booboo

    forgot summer school. classic!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  34. David

    TOO MANY 80'S MOVIES!!!! But they are the best ones; Ferris Bueler and the Breakfast Club are all-time school classics, but there are some other good ones. Here's my list:

    1. Dead Poet's Society "Oh Captain! My Captain!"
    2. Lean on Me...Morgan Freeman really is "the HNIC"
    3. Stand and Deliver "It's easy, anybody can do it." Good call, Clay!
    4. Napolean Dynamite "What are you gonna do today Napolean? WHATEVER I FEEL LIKE, GOSH!!!"
    5. Revenge of the Nerds " 'scuse please, but why do they call you Booger?"

    Honorable Mention:
    Just One of the Guys...mainly for the part at the end of the prom when Terry proves that she's a girl.
    To Sir With Love...whatever Sidney Poitier touches turns to gold.
    Rushmore...this movie is worth watching, if not just for Bill Murray

    August 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Awf

    No mention of "Heathers"?

    August 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • RK

      I 2nd "Heathers" should be on the list.

      August 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sek

      not mention of "Pump Up The Volume." A classic high school rebellion flick. and as cheesy as it was "Jawbreaker" could slide in this catagory for an honorable mention. also like to throw out there "School Ties" for all those prep school students.

      College: Higher Learning, With Honors

      September 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Claire Wanewright

    Splender In The Grass. To Sir With Love. The Lord Of The Flies (the original)

    August 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  37. lastlap

    My sentimental favorite is Gregory's Girl.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  38. @Keke

    Do u? U do know that jobs have computers and ppl have phones, etc. Please get with the times.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Top5Fan

    Love the list!! Yes, St. Elmo's Fire should be up there but great picks. Man, LOVE Better Off Dead! "$ tip!!"

    August 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Dexter Dawson

    10 Things I Hate About You should have totally made it on here. <3

    August 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  41. manwithaplan

    Great list...
    a couple of others:
    Inspirational.... Stand and Deliver
    Scary.... Less than Zero

    August 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  42. L

    I havent heard of half those... but then again I was just born when most of them came out. my fave 6 whould be 1. dazed and confused 2. jaw breaker 3. Ten things i hate about you 4. clueless 5. mean girls 6. never been kissed

    August 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  43. keke

    Does anyone have a day job!

    August 12, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  44. PaulineBlack

    I love "Better Off Dead" because they filmed it at my junior high school, Clark Jr. High in beautiful La Crescenta, CA!

    August 12, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • JayMo

      Better Off Dead is a GREAT movie but not really about school. I like most of the movies that have been mentioned but what about Summer School? That movie was awesome!

      August 12, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  45. T

    Oh, yeah and rounding out at number 10 – the classic film "AMERICAN GRAFITTI".
    with "MEAN GIRLS" for honorable mention.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • T

      Now that I've seen "Better off Dead", I like to knock "Mean Girls" off the list of honorable mention and put the Cusack flick in it's place.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  46. T

    Top high school / college movies ? Here's my top 9.
    1. Ferris Bueller – Tops the list totally and beats all the other films in this category.
    2. Not Another Teen Movie – LMAO & ROTFL kind of film, a must have in one's home film library.
    3. Animal House – Belushi was a star !
    4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High – this was showing when I was in high school (yeah, I'm old !)
    5. American Pie (the sequels all sucked big time !)
    6. Three O' Clock High – a better than average film.
    7. Election – Matt Broderick is great in this film.
    8. Back to School – It's rappin' Rodney !
    9. Can't hardly Wait

    August 12, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  47. Whet Beaver

    My top five... Back to "COLLEGE" films:
    1. Animal House (1978)
    2. School Daze (1988)
    3. Back to School (1986)
    4. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
    5. St. Elmo's Fire (1984)

    Back to "High School" films:
    1. Fast Times at Ridgemount High (1982)
    2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1987)
    3. Grease (1974)
    4. American Graffiti (1974)
    5. Dead Poets Society (1988)

    August 12, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  48. Gr8ful Dude

    Dead Poet's Society

    August 12, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |

    If I could do school like Ferris did, I would take this old body and re-enroll in a heartbeat. Great list!!

    August 12, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  50. Meg

    C'mon, Mean Girls, Clueless, and some others should have def been on this list! I do love the movies you mentioned but you essentially only used 80's movies, and while those are classics, some newer movies should have been included!

    August 12, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiffany

      @ Meg:
      Clueless? MEAN GIRLS?!
      Seriously... those "films" would be nothing (they virtually are anyways) without directors like John Hughes who really caught the essence of what is high school *cringe*.

      Dazed and Confused = YES.

      August 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Ron31

    Here are my top 5:
    1.Dangerous Minds
    2.1 8 7
    3.Higher Learning
    4.Billy Madison
    5.Coach Carter

    August 12, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  52. maykat18

    I think 10 things I hate about you should be on this list. I LOVE the movie Lean on me. It is hard for me to belive that it is based upon a true story. I will never get tired of that movie. I also love the movie Stand and deliver that is also incredibly impactful and inspiring.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  53. The Måd Råp3r


    August 12, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  54. xdougx

    Mostly 80's movies. I think we can tell the age of the author of this article. The teens today dont want to watch those movies.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Roxanne

      I disagree, my daughter (17) and her friends all love those 80's movies.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Dixie

      I teach highschool and these are dead on. The kids are big into 'retro' and know these by heart.

      August 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      All three of us kids (sister, 21; brother, 17 and me, 25) grew up watching these kinds of movies. We always watch "Fast Times" with our dad 🙂

      August 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Kelly

    Sixteen Candles should have made the top 5!

    August 12, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  56. tom

    Can't Hardly Wait

    August 12, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  57. Maurice

    Cooley High

    August 12, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |

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