Friday, May 25, 2012

Top 28 Classic Graduation Movies

Graduation Movies
Recently graduated high school or college? There's nothing like the feeling of finishing that senior year of high school and heading off into the world with all the promise and hope the imagination can hold; that's probably why graduation movies are so deeply felt by people of all ages. Below are top 28 graduation movies I collect, they don't all contain an actual graduation scene but all are based on that final year of high school and the thoughts and feelings that come with it. (graduation backgrounds, graduation songs)
  • Say Anything(1989)*****
  • The movie focuses on Diane Court, a high-school valedictorian on the verge of heading to England on a prestigious scholarship. Particularly close with her father, Diane disappoints him when she starts dating Lloyd Dobler, an irresponsible army brat who falls in love with her.

  • Into the Wild***
  • The adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s novel “Into the Wild,“ is a nonfiction story about a young man from Virginia who, after graduating college, decides to cut himself off from his friends, family and “civilization” in order to find greater spiritual knowledge. He gives away his life savings and rechristens himself “Alexander Supertramp,” before setting off to Alaska. Along the way, he experiences the country, its people, a kayak trip down dangerous rapids, a gig working in a grain mill, and enough cold, hunger, and exhaustion to leave him emotionally defeated more than once.

  • Can’t Hardly Wait***
  • The night after graduation is the most epic night ever for a bunch of teens played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, Seth Green and Peter Facinelli, among others. Their high school problems become less important (but not easier to deal with) as the night goes on and the burgeoning question of, "What am I going to do with the rest of my life?" becomes more relevant.

  • Dazed and Confused(1993)***
  • Dazed and Confused was the must see high school movie of my generation. A comedic look at the last day of school for this particular graduating class of 1976, and its brutal hazing and torment of the incoming freshman class. Dazed and Confused stars just about everyone who was big in the early 90's, it's a sort of modern day American Graffiti in that respect. Dazed and Confused is a good choice for a laid back humorous take on graduation, a good way for a new or soon-to-be graduate to relax for a bit and let go of the stress.

  • Adventureland(2009)***
  • Jessie Eisenberg plays James Brennan, a recent high school grad whose educational plan blows up in his face after counting on both his friend and family to support him through summer and college life. With nowhere else to go, James gets a dead-end up at a local amusement park, and although he lost his initial college dreams, he won…in life!

  • Reality Bites**
  • The protagonist of the story is Lelaina, a recent college graduate who is out on her own and independent from her supportive but out-of-touch parents. She has an internship under a local TV personality she can’t stand and is forced to decide between two guys who are complete opposites. As she faces the realities of careers and relationships, she creates a documentary called “Reality Bites,” which documents the everyday lives of her friends.

  • American Graffiti **
  • It's 1962 and time to leave the nest. As teens in Modesto, California grapple with their plans to attend college, trials of love, drag racing and life rock their suburban world.

  • The Graduate **
  • The summer after graduating from college, Benjamin Braddock would rather spend hours in his parents’ pool than listen to their advice about his future. But when a family friend, Mrs. Robinson, poses an unexpected question to Ben, his life begins to change.

  • Kicking and Screaming **
  • This is both a drama and a comedy — a film depicting characters in their early twenties who have an abundance of education, no career direction, stunted romantic aspirations and an obsession with popular culture. The plot interweaves the lives of a group of friends, each struggling with his own crisis.

  • HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: Senior Year **
  • Teens played by Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, come to terms with their senior year and graduation at East High School. The thought of moving away from their friends to attend college, seems sad and maybe a little scary. Find out how these friends work it out and enjoy their last year of school as they get ready to move on.

  • Dead Poets Society (1989) **
  • "O' Captain, my Captain...," who can say they weren't deeply moved by that seen in which all of John Keating's (played by Robin Williams) student stood on top of their desks and said this for him. There's something truly special about the innocence and honesty of this high school film which follows a class of prep school boys as they delve, for the first time, into English Literature beyond what is written in the school books. The movie covers the unreal demands and expectations of parents and what it can do to their kids, the lack of real education in schools, and the inability of some teachers to really understand and get to know their students.

  • Ferris bueller's day off **
  • Rebellious high school senior Ferris Bueller is dangerously close to not graduating, but that doesn't stop him from feigning illness and skipping school for an epic day with his best friend and girlfriend.
    Graduation is quickly approaching. Up until now, Ferris Bueller's (Matthew Broderick) knack for cutting class and getting away with it, has become legendary at his school. As he skips out one more day, borrowing a friend's Ferrari and getting into various hijinks, high-school principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) is close on his tale ready to catch him and prevent him from graduating.

  • A cinderella story **
  • When smart and cute Samantha Martin (Hilary Duff) loses her father and is forced to be raised by her step-mom and live with her two step-sisters, life changes and she essentially becomes a modern-day Cinderella. And who knew she could find her true love at prom? Find out if she gets the guy on her way to following her dreams for college.

  • 10 things i hate about you **
  • All Kat (Julie Stiles) wants to do is attend Sarah Lawrence College, but her overprotective father has other plans for her post-grad life. It doesn't help matters that she starts dating a bad boy, played by a young Heath Ledger.
    It's senior year for the independent and strong-willed, Cat Stratford (Julia Stiles), the older sister in to Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik), a gushy sophomore who wants to date the most popular guy in school. Unfortunately, Bianca cannot date until Cat does. Luckily, an admirer, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, sets Cat up so he can date Bianca, unknowing of her own intentions. Find out how Cat and her love interest, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) work it all out in time for graduation.

  • Three friends who promised to dig up a time capsule they buried as kids, get together on graduation night to find out what was inside, despite the fact that they are no longer friends and live completely different lives. Opening the time capsule inspires a trip across the country the three girls played by Zoe Saldana, Britney Spears and Taryn Manning find that they needed each others' friendship more than they could have imagined as they embark on their future goals.

  • I love you, beth cooper **
  • On graduation day, a valedictorian confesses his love for the head cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere, of course) during his commencement speech. His proclamation leads to a crazy night of seduction and debauchery.
    A classic coming of age comedy where a teen reveals his love for a cheerleader named Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere), in his valedictory speech. Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust) invites Beth to his place for a party they will never forget.

  • Pretty in Pink (1986) *
  • John Hughes explores class struggles and the classic teen issue of fittingin in the 80's cult classic, Pretty in Pink. Andie, the poor girl thinks she has officially landed the rich guy of her dreams until Mr. Dreamboat's best friend steps in and ruins it. Andie ends up with no date on prom night and when her dad (played by Harry Dean Stanton) asks her what she's going to do, she says that she's going to go anyway without him. When he questions if she really wants to go alone, Andie says, "I just want to let them know that they didn't break me." Yes, incredibly cheesy, but that has to be one of my all-time favorite film lines.

  • Never Been Kissed (1999) *
  • What's great about Never Been Kissed is that you get to see a senior class dealing with graduation but you also get to see two adults (Drew Barrymore and David Arquette) go back and re-live high school in an attempt to fix what went wrong the first time around. Again, you won't get a graduation scene in this movie, but you'll get something even better -- the baseball field scene in which Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) anxiously waits to see if Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan) will accept her apology, and if he does indeed love her.

  • Lean on Me (1989)  *
  • Lean on Me is the quintessential 80's graduation movie. Not only does this film have a graduation scene, but it features a principal (Morgan Freeman), who gets locked up in jail for his extreme methods of handling the criminals who threaten the safety of the other students at Eastside High. This is one hell of an inspiring film and I would recommend it for any high school graduate who is dealing with fears of not making it at his or her chosen college/university.

  • Cruel Intentions (1999)  *
  • You will most definitely get a graduation scene in this modern day re-make of the 1988 film, Dangerous Liaisons, and one heck of a show-stopping one, I might add. Duplicity abounds in Cruel Intentions, you'll see one backstabbing, conniving plot after another here, and you'll probably thank your lucky stars that your son or daughter isn't a member of this high school. But in the end, good triumphs over evil as the sinister Kathryn Merteuil is ousted from her place as high school queen during the senior graduation ceremony.

  • The Breakfast Club (1985)  *
  • Who needs a graduation scene when you've got a three hour Saturday detention class? In the course of this lengthy Saturday detention class, the all-star 80's cast grapple with peer pressure, sex, fitting in, class differences, parental pressure and abuse, and a few even find love. This film can be appreciated for its dark wit and intelligent take on the teen mind. As I said earlier, you won't get a graduation scene or speech, but the detention essay read out loud in a voice-over narrative at the end of the film reads like a graduation day speech, and certainly serves to evoke all of the same emotions.

  • Superbad (2007)  *
  • As best friends Seth and Evan near the end of their senior year, they are faced with many high school concerns. The one that sneaks up on them, though, is the realization that they won’t be best friends forever as they prepare themselves to attend very different schools. Separation anxiety strikes a lot of high school students (myself included) when they near high school graduation. It’s just one of those things that you choose to shut yourself off from right up until that last day of summer when you part ways. Sure, you’ll probably keep in touch, but things just will never be the same.

  • Ghost World (2001)  *
  • Ghost World is a high school graduation movie for all of those teens out there that are still struggling to figure out who they are (which should be almost all of them). High school grads Enid and Rebecca are struggling to find themselves in the real world, which for them mostly just means working remedial jobs. Although similar to the life lessons learned in Adventureland, Ghost World is more for those grads who don’t necessarily have an expansive collegiate path lined up in front of them. This movie is all about “social outsiders” trying to find their lot in life, and it doesn’t have a cozy ending on it like so many other high school movies. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that there are others out there who are struggling with the same issues that you are. Your future doesn’t always come so easily, so make sure that you do your best to figure out what you want to do with it by the time you reach high school graduation.

  • Legally Blonde  *
  • Elle Woods proudly tells her graduating class, "Well no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard, I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law—and life." Always trust a girl who wears hot pink.

  • The twilight saga: eclipse  *
  • Though Edward racked up enough graduation caps over the years to display them as wall art, finishing high school with his sweetie, Bella, is certainly a special moment. Over-achieving Jessica gives the graduation speech, of course.

  • She's all that  *
  • This teen comedy revolves around a bet on if popular jock Zach (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) can turn any girl into Prom Queen within six weeks. The terms? He must appear nude on stage at his graduation ceremony if he fails.

  • Fame  *
  • Fame! These talented teens know their dreams and dance, sing and act their way to the top in this movie remake set in a performing arts school in New York City.

  • GREASE  *
  • Have you heard? Grease is the word. Join in the fun of this classic musical comedy about senior year at Rodale High School. Meet Danny Zuko (John Travolta), the leader of the T-Birds and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John), a new girl in school. Both spend an amazing summer together before senior year, only to find they are in opposite cliques at school.


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