These 23 Graduation Movies Will Teach You More Than The SATs

Graduation ceremonies are likely to be a bit abnormal again in 2021—but at least we have decades of Hollywood films about prom, exams, post-graduate life, and all things cap and gown. Whether you need to put together some graduation-themed stories for movie night to get psyched for your own last day of classes or are just feeling nostalgic, here are some great picks.

Not all coming-of-age movies are set in senior year of either high school or college, but it’s pretty much always better when they are. The stakes are so much higher! It’s almost like graduation itself is a perfect metaphor for leaving adolescence behind and facing adulthood? We may never know…

Booksmart

Stream it

Do you ever think about how Booksmart came out in 2019 and it’s already the best graduation film of all time? Sorry for being hyperbolic, but there just aren’t a lot of “one crazy night” movies about two geeky girls. The graduation scene at the end is, as the kids say, very baller. (I am aware that kids don’t say that, please don’t email me.)

Lady Bird

Stream it

Another recent instant classic! Saoirse Ronan stars as a girl who can’t stop swerving into fights with her mother while preparing to graduate in 2003. There’s also a surprising amount of musical theatre, and we love that!

The Graduate

Stream it

The title alone earns itself a place on this list, and there has to be at least one critically acclaimed film of yesterday to keep us classy and cultured. I don’t know how relatable being seduced by your crush’s mother is, but go off, Dustin Hoffman.

10 Things I Hate About You

Stream it

There are a lot of “high school seniors meet classic literature” movies out there. They really had a moment. This one, based on The Taming of the Shrew, is a particular fave. Just ignore the fact that the entire cast looks like they graduated ten years ago.

Reality Bites

Stream it

Before YouTube and social media, documenting used to be the job of one friend in a group. Now we pretty much all do it. This is also a pretty great romantic comedy about the liminal space post-graduation.

St. Elmo’s Fire

Stream it

The brat pack graduates from college, and they’re freaking out. Between this and Reality Bites, maybe watching will help shed some light on Gen X’s whole… deal. (Just kidding, nobody cares about Gen X right now.)

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Stream it

It’s the perfect end to a perfect trilogy and when those Wildcats graduate I cry every time. Even though it’s part of a play? Don’t question it.

Ferris Beuller’s Day Off

Stream it

There are too many John Hughes coming-of-age movies to pick from. If Pretty in Pink is more your speed, I totally understand. But Ferris is the patron saint of senioritis, and we have to respect that.

Legally Blonde

Stream it

If Elle Woods’ standing at a podium at Harvard isn’t the first person you picture when someone says the word “graduation,” GTFO!

She’s All That

Stream it

Okay, this one holds up better than you think. It’s about so much more than a makeover and a f*cking bet… and the graduation scene? If you know, you know. Chef’s kiss.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Stream it

Quite simply? Anna Kendrick’s graduation speech should go down in history. One of the best.

Can’t Hardly Wait

Stream it

This raunchy romantic comedy takes place at a graduation party and absolutely does not hold up—however, if you know that before you press play, you can make fun of the sexist and homophobic jokes instead of laughing with them.

Crossroads

Stream it

Repeat after me: this is a masterpiece that Shonda Rhimes gifted us because she loves us.

Blockers

Stream it

So this is more of a prom movie than a graduation movie, but it’s so good!! May everyone’s senior year be as sex-positive as this film (eventually) is.

American Graffiti

Stream it

Before Star Wars, George Lucas made a romp about teenagers trying to have one last night of adventures before they all graduate and leave town. It also low-key invented the concept of the soundtrack.

Dazed and Confused

Stream it

Much like how American Graffiti came out in the ’70s and was set in the ’60s, this ’90s movie is set in the ’70s and also centers on a group of teenagers about to graduate and split forever. It’s also the origin of Matthew McConaughey’s catchphrase “alright, alright, alright.”

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Stream it

There aren’t a lot of coming-of-age stories where the protagonist isn’t the one who graduates in the film. If you have older or younger friends and experienced that awkward stage where one of you feels left behind, this is a good one to watch.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Stream it

This counts! The very first flashback shows Donna at her graduation and her summer of love takes place immediately after, as Donna is trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. It’s absolutely a graduation movie.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Stream it

In her groundbreaking interview with Oprah, Meghan Markle “revealed” that there aren’t really princess classes like the ones Mia Thermopolis receives in The Princess Diaries. (At least, not for her.) Hopefully, nobody will burst my bubble and reveal that you don’t actually get to fall in love with Chris Pine after you graduate.

The Edge of Seventeen

Stream it

Hailee Steinfeld spirals out of control in a way that’s pretty dang relatable for a coming-of-age film. While there isn’t a graduation scene, making it out of high school alive is basically the protagonist’s whole goal. So it’s, at the very least, implied.

The History Boys

Stream it

A group of British nerds who vary in popularity and confidence study for their prestigious Oxford and Cambridge entrance exams. Some dark skeletons are revealed throughout, but it’s mostly sad boys learning and yearning. If you used to love school but are now existentially done with standardized tests, this one’s for you.

Ghost World

Stream it

Two alternative girls spend the summer after they graduate together in a cult movie based on a cult comic book. Pour one out to the 2000s when Scarlett Johansson used to pretty much exclusively play weird girls.

The Perfect Score

Stream it

Speaking of the goth Scarlett Johansson cinematic universe, let’s finish out this list by living vicariously through a group of misfits that plan a heist to steal the answers to the SAT. Everyone secretly wishes they could pull that off, I’m convinced.

Source: Read Full Article