Whether it’s starting as a new kid in a new town, beginning at the bottom of the barrel or just heading back to mundanity and hoping for the extraordinary, school marks a momentous occasion in everyone’s life. In spirit of the back-to-school season, here are five of the most iconic school movies ever made.
Starting off the list is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The famous ‘80s movie has everything from a crashed Ferrari to breaking the fourth wall. The quotable movie has influenced many other films that have followed it, most recently “Deadpool” with its closing credit scene. This film is not only entertaining, but it also teaches its audience many valuable lessons about going into a new school year — living life to the fullest and embracing one’s uniqueness.
Next, Kevin Bacon’s rise to fame with the movie “Footloose.” Similar to the previous film, “Footloose” plays off the theme of teenage rebellion and love for pop culture. After moving from urban Chicago to a small Midwestern town where music and dancing are banned, the protagonist takes it upon himself to reform the town just in time for prom. Along with its iconic soundtrack, the film shows that anyone can make a change if they have the strength and determination to, regardless of how insurmountable this may seem.
A more modern option is the forever-quotable “Mean Girls.” Sticking to the new kid in town motif from “Footloose,” Cady starts her school year feeling out of place in her clique-filled high school. Struggling to find a group to call her own, she pretends to be someone different and turns her back on real friendships, only to be betrayed and burned. Soon, however, Cady realizes she should have always shown her true self, never let someone degrade and control her and remained loyal to the friends that were always by her side.
“Dead Poets Society” is next on the list, perhaps the most dramatic and touching movie on this list. While many characters are heavily pressured by their parents and teachers to do as they dictate, Robin Williams comes along and becomes their so-called “captain,” showing each student that they are capable of doing more with their lives if they do what they are passionate about. Through one of Robin Williams’ most heartwarming performances, “Dead Poets Society” teaches its viewers the importance of sticking up for oneself, being a free-thinker and forging one’s own path.
Closing out the list is perhaps the most iconic ‘80s movie of them all: “The Breakfast Club.” While most of Molly Ringwald’s movies from this decade have a spot on this list, nothing is as recognizable and memorable as “a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal” in detention. While perhaps not as dramatic as the previous films, perhaps the movie’s merit is its simplicity. The plot itself is uncomplicated: five kids gathered for a day of Saturday detention. However, it teaches its audience the importance of listening to different perspectives and backgrounds while being vulnerable and open enough to share one’s own story.
While entering college can be intimidating, it is important to cherish the invaluable experiences and friendships that come from it. After all, just as Ferris Bueller stated, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”