21 Top Coming-Of-Age Films

Natalie Rayworth
Dec 12, 2023 By Natalie Rayworth
Originally Published on May 05, 2020
kids watching a movie

Coming-of-age movies are a rite of passage for teenagers, and they invoke a sense of nostalgia for grown-ups too, this makes it one of the most popular genres of film but also one of the most diverse.

We've compiled a list of all the best coming of age movies for you and your family to enjoy. From the classics, to the staples, to the more recent gems of the genre there are many different varieties of coming of age films for you and your family to enjoy.

If these aren't your fancy, try out 17 best kids films on Netflix by age or fifteen of the all time best movies for teens to enjoy in lockdown.

Love, Simon (2018)

This film is adapted from the book 'Simon VS The Homo-sapiens Agenda'. Follow Simon Spier as he falls in love with a boy he's never met, and struggles to keep the secret that he's not ready to tell.

Love, Simon is one of the best coming-of-age movies for teenagers who want a sweet, funny story about romance and a heartwarming exploration of some of what it's like to grow up as LGBTQ+.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

When Cameron Post is found in the backseat of her car with another girl, she's shipped off to conversion therapy camp to be 'cured' of her same-sex attraction. Despite the dark topics the film talks about, the subtle but strong depiction of unwavering friendship makes this one of the best coming-of-age movies in the last decade.

Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet, follows a rebellious teenage girl through her last years in Catholic School. This coming-of-age movie is one of the best, and it has quickly become a modern classic for many people. If you're gonna watch this one, get your tissues at the ready.

Boyhood (2014)

Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Boyhood follows the rocky childhood of Mason, and continues as he makes his transition into young adulthood. The ambition and dedication of the director and cast is enough to make this one of the best coming-of-age movies in recent years.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

An adaptation of the novel by Steven Chbosky, this film follows 15-year-old Charlie as he learns to cope with loss, trauma and first love.

This film has a lot of dark themes, but this combined with the way it invokes the exact feeling of being young and wanting to feel free makes it one of the best coming-of-age movies that will stand the test of time.

Easy A (2010)

When a nasty rumour about Olive starts to spread, she decides to use this to own advantage to gain money and infamy. But, it doesn't work out the way she expects. Easy A is the hilarious story of a young woman who decides to reclaim her sexuality, in the setting of a Christian high school.

Juno (2007)

Following an encounter with her classmate Bleeker, Juno finds herself in a spot of trouble. Pregnant. Luckily, with the support of her parents, Juno explores all the options and sets out on a mission to find her baby the 'perfect parents'. This coming-of-age film has become a cult classic amongst film lovers.

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

Leslie is the best (and only) friend that Jesse has ever had, and in the woods behind their houses, they create an imaginary world called Terabithia. After a tragic accident, Jesse - and Terabithia - starts to fall apart. A childhood classic for many, this movie will always be considered as one of the best coming-of-age movies out there.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

Facing their first summer apart since they became met, these four best friends find the perfect way to keep in touch - a pair of magic trousers that fit every single one of them perfectly. This fun, throwback movie shows their friendship as they explore their new world away from each other.

Holes (2003)

When a young Stanley Yelnats is falsely convicted of stealing, he is sent to Camp Green Lake where he is made to dig holes with the other young people who were sent to the camp for rehabilitation. This comedy-drama is one of the best coming-of-age movies for young people to watch.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Jess only has one dream - become a footballer. But that isn't the life her family have planned for her. This film shows the struggles of Jess as she battles between her families traditions to be able to enjoy her freedom in the modern world.

Boyz N the Hood (1991)

This film set in Crenshaw Heights, Los Angeles follows the lives of three young boys as they try and figure out questions about their life, race, relationships and violence. Boyz n the Hood is a piece of history, and one of the best coming-of-age movies to come out of the 90s.

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Through his teachings of poetry, an English teacher in a Vermont boarding school inspires every single one of his students to live an authentic life and get to know their feelings. Dead Poets Society is a beautiful film starring Robin Williams, and will give you a fresh perspective on the world.

Stand By Me (1986)

Shocked by the death of his friend, Gordie takes a trip down memory lane back to the summer of 1959 - the summer he spent searching for a dead body with his three best friends. This is a beautiful movie, with some thriller elements that make it a unique coming-of-age story.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Five high school students from all walks of life find themselves bonding over shared experiences and emotions when they all land in Saturday detention. John Hughes is the pinnacle of 80s coming-of-age movies and The Breakfast Club is arguably one of his best.

The Outsiders (1983)

The Outsiders is an adaptation of the 1967 novel by S.E. Hinton, a story about a gang rivalry that escalates when someone ends up killed. The lives of these young boys are forever changed because of one decision, and this gut-wrenching movie is a must-watch.

American Graffiti (1973)

This nostalgic look back at the 60s follows four teenagers on their last night before going to college. A movie packed full of drag racing, drive-ins and rock n roll has never captured the innocence of youth quite like American Graffiti.

To Sir, With Love (1967)

To reach his rebellious students, a teacher endeavours to throw away his textbooks and teach them as human beings. To Sir, With Love is a movie that has inspired countless of other movies across the world, and still remains as one of the best coming-of-age films.

West Side Story (1961)

Adapted from the musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and shows the rivalry between two gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. This is definitely a movie that everyone should watch.

The 400 Blows (1959)

This is one of the most iconic films from the French new wave, and definitely one of the coming-of-age movies that has inspired many other directors and movies that everyone loves. Fed up with his family life, Antoine decides to run away from home. But, his series of adventures don't stop there as he continues to up the ante.

Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Focused on new student Jim Stark (James Dean), Rebel Without A Cause follows the lives of emotional suburban teenagers who are learning how to grow into adulthood. This coming of age movie was groundbreaking in its attempt to portray the decay of American youth and critique the parents that put them in that position

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Written by Natalie Rayworth

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Creative Writing and Film

Natalie Rayworth picture

Natalie RayworthBachelor of Arts specializing in Creative Writing and Film

Born and raised in London, this writer and editor has a deep passion for creative expression. With a Bachelor's in Creative Writing and Film, Natalie has experience crafting both factual and imaginative pieces. When not writing or editing, she can often be found immersed in a good book or exploring the city's many secondhand bookstores. A lover of music and art, Natalie brings a creative flair to her work, inspired by her lifelong fascination with the Natural History Museum and her childhood days spent pretending to be Peter Pan in the Diana Memorial Playground.

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