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50 iconic coming-of-age movies to spark parent-teen conversations

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Having a loving, growing, healthy relationship with your teen means getting to know him as a person. A fun, yet effective, way to help your teen open up is by watching movies together and talking about them. Here are 50 iconic coming-of-age movies that are family-friendly and rich with teen-related topics to get your conversation started.

1. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

  • Rating: PG-13 (mild sexual content, slapstick violence, course language. Details)
  • Genre: Romantic comedy
  • Stars your teens may recognize: Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • What it’s about: A new kid must find a guy to date the meanest girl in school, the older sister of the girl he has a crush on, who cannot date until her older sister does (IMDB).
  • Teen themes: cliques, dating, drug use, family conflict, first love, friendship, high school, self identity, sexuality, single parenting, teen angst, teen rebellion, trust, underage drinking
  • Watch 10 Things I Hate About You

2. American Graffiti (1973)

  • Rating: PG (brief nudity, frank sexual discussion, moderate profanity, mild violence. Details)
  • Genre: Comedy, drama
  • Actors your teens may recognize: Ron Howard, Harrison Ford
  • What it’s about: A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college (IMDB).
  • Teen themes to talk about: cliques, driving, first love, friendship, graduation, high school, peer pressure, respect, sexuality, teen angst, teen rebellion, underage drinking
  • Watch American Graffiti

3. Angus (1995)

  • Rating: PG-13 (mild sexual content, mild violence, moderate profanity. Details)
  • Genre: Comedy, drama
  • Stars your teen may recognize: Kevin Connolly
  • What it’s about: A miserable fat teenager secretly has a crush on the class beauty, ends up becoming the surprising participant to dance with her at a high school dance, meaning he's got to get his act together with the help of his best friend (IMDB).
  • Teen themes to talk about: bullying, cliques, friendship, high school, overcoming the odds, popularity, self identity, underdog, unrequited love
  • Watch Angus

4. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)

  • Rating: PG-13 (moderate sexual content, mild violence, mild profanity. Details)
  • Genre: Comedy, drama
  • Stars your teen may recognize: Georgia Groome, Kimberley Nixon
  • Teen themes to talk about: The story centers on a 14-year-old girl who keeps a diary about the ups and downs of being a teenager, including the things she learns about kissing (IMDB). Think Bridget Jones meets 16 Candles.
  • Teen themes: body image, cultural differences, dating, family, family conflict, first kiss, first love, friendship, middle school, popularity, self esteem, self identity, sexuality, teen angst
  • Watch Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

5. Back to the Future (1985)

  • Rating: PG (mild sexual content, mild profanity, mild violence. Details)
  • Genre: Adventure, comedy, sci-fi
  • Actors your teens may recognize: Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd
  • What it’s about: A teenager is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown, and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence (IMDB).
  • Teen themes to talk about: bullying, family, family conflict, first love, high school, mentorship, prom, racial discrimination, sexuality, underage drinking
  • Watch Back to the Future

6. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

  • Rating: PG-13 (No sexual content, moderate profanity, minor violence. Details)
  • Genre: Comedy, drama, romance
  • Stars your teens may recognize: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
  • Teen themes to talk about: The daughter of orthodox Sikh rebels against her parents' traditionalism by running off to Germany with a football team (IMDB).
  • Teen themes: applying for college, cultural differences, cultural identity, dating, family, family, conflict, first love, friendship, gender differences, high school, homosexuality, parental pressure, racial discrimination, respect, self identity, team sports, teen angst, trust
  • Watch Bend It Like Beckham

7. Better Off Dead (1985)

  • Rating: PG (mild sexual content, moderate profanity, slapstick violence. Details)
  • Genre: Romantic comedy
  • Actors your teens may recognize: John Cusack, Diane Franklin
  • What it’s about: A teenager has to deal with his girlfriend dumping him among family crises, homicidal paper boys, and a rival skier (IMDB).
  • Teen themes to talk about: cliques, dating, family conflict, first love, high school, self esteem, self identity, teen angst
  • Watch Better Off Dead

8. Blackboard Jungle (1955)

  • Rating: PG-13 (mild sexual content, moderate violence, mild profanity. Details)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Stars your teen may recognize: Sidney Poitier
  • What it’s about: A new English teacher at a violent, unruly inner-city school is determined to do his job, despite resistance from both students and faculty (IMDB).
  • Teen themes to talk about: high school, juvenile delinquency, mentorship, overcoming the odds, racial discrimination, social class differences, teen angst, teen rebellion
  • Watch Blackboard Jungle

9. Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

  • Rating: G
  • Genre: Musical
  • Stars your teen my recognize: Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margaret, Janet Leigh
  • What it’s about: A rock singer travels to a small Ohio town to make his "farewell" television performance and kiss his biggest fan before he is drafted (IMDB).
  • Teen themes to talk about: family, family conflict, first kiss, first love, high school, military draft, teen idols
  • Watch Bye Bye Birdie

10. Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)

  • Rating: PG-13 (mild sexual content, no violence, moderate profanity. Details)
  • Genre: Romantic comedy
  • Stars your teen may recognize: Patrick Dempsey, Seth Green,
  • What it’s about: A nerdy outcast secretly pays the most popular girl in school one thousand dollars to be his girlfriend (IMDB).
  • Teen themes to talk about: cliques, dating, first love, friendship, overcoming the odds, popularity, self esteem, self identity, teen angst, underdog, unrequited love
  • Watch Can’t Buy Me Love

< Return to main article | Continue to movies 11-20 >

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