Back To School Special: The Most Iconic High School Movies

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Back to School
Universal Pictures

Back to school season is in full swing ladies and gentlemen! While yearbook photos and new classes can be fun, the back to school blues can catch us all. The best way to beat them? Popping in a classic high school flick! We’ve hand-picked four iconic movies that shaped the conception of the all-American high school. Lets get right to it, before the bell rings.

Warning: spoilers for these classics lie ahead!

The Breakfast Club (1985)

High School Movies
Universal Pictures

Cast: Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall

Iconic Quote: “Being bad feels pretty good, huh?” – John Bender

Iconic Scene: The closing scene with Bender (Judd Nelson) when he throws up his fist in the air in victory. In the background, Simple Mind’s “Don’t You Forget About Me” is playing, which was written especially for the movie. However, there are so many iconic scenes from the film: the dance scene, the escape, and, of course, Brian’s confession. It’s hard to pick just one!

Fun Fact: Much of the movie’s dialogue was improvised! To make the characters and the situations seem as realistic as possible, the actors were encouraged to improvise. This worked incredibly well, especially in the iconic scene where they all told their own detention stories and the walls between the characters started breaking down.

Carrie (1976)

High School Films
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Cast: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta, Amy Irving.

Iconic Quote: “Everyone isn’t bad, Mama! Everything isn’t a sin!” – Carrie White

Iconic Scene: The prom scene to end all prom scenes! When they announce Carrie is the prom queen, she walks on stage, starry-eyed. Moments later, a bucket of pig blood is dumped on her, covering her head-to-toe. Definitely one of the most horrifying, yet iconic, moments in American film history. Furthermore, its unlikely anyone will want to go back to school after watching this one!

Fun Fact: Brian De Palma, the director of Carrie, was good friends with director George Lucas. Incidentally, De Palma was casting Carrie at the same time Lucas was casting his next film: a little picture called Star Wars. To save time and money, they held joint auditions. Amy Irving was even in consideration for Princess Leia, but ended up taking on the role of Sue Snell, lead bully and tormentor in Carrie.

Grease (1978)

Back to School Movies
Paramount Pictures

Cast: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Didi Conn.

Iconic Quote: “Why, this car is auto-matic. It’s system-matic. Its hyyyyydro-matic. Why, it’s greased lightning!” – Danny Zuko

Iconic Scene: While many fans may find this debatable, we think the ending scene takes the cake. Sandy gets a makeover (“Tell me about it, stud.”), Danny is star-struck, and “You’re The One That I Want” is still, forty years later, an incredibly fun hit to dance to. And everyone knows its’ lyrics, don’t lie to yourself!

Fun Fact: None other than Elvis Presley was offered a role in the movie, it’s rumored it was the Guardian Angel role, but he refused. Imagine having the King of Rock n’ Roll added into this great mixture!

Clueless (1995)

Back to School Films
Paramount Pictures

Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash.

Iconic Quote: “Ugh, as if!” – Cher Horowitz

Iconic Scene: Cher walking around Rodeo Drive after she’s lost her queen bee status, failed her driving test, and is still boyfriend-less. Meanwhile, “All By Myself” is playing in the background, Cher’s narration sadly contemplates her life and comes to the conclusion that she is “clueless.” Then she walks by a store, sees a dress on a mannequin, stops, and says, “I wonder if they make that in my size?”

Fun Fact: Both Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Geller auditioned for the iconic role of Cher Horowitz. However, the director picked Alicia Silverstone because in his opinion, she had that “sweet American blonde” aura to her. Silverstone previously starred in The Crush and Aerosmith’s video for Cryin‘” (and later on appeared in “Amazing” and “Crazy”).