American Graffiti Movie Poster Image
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The music! The clothes! The cars! Unknown director George Lucas set a standard for teen movies in 1962. Most of the young actors are famous now -- Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus, Suzanne Sommers, Mackenzie Phillips -- and the soundtrack is a virtual greatest-hits collection from the era.

Billy Elliot Movie Poster Image
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In 1984 England, the police come to the small mining town of Durham to keep order during a strike. Amid the tension, 11-year-old Billy, whose main sport is boxing, is pulled into a ballet lesson. His father is furious and tells him to quit -- but Billy has to dance. Tender, funny, and touching.

Dead Poets Society Movie Poster Image
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The boys at a prestigious prep school aren't prepared for the new English teacher, Mr. Keating (Robin Williams), who encourages them to think for themselves and "seize the day!" Older kids fall hard for this coming-of-age drama, which belongs to the ensemble cast of young male actors. 

Hoop Dreams Movie Poster Image
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This documentary follows two basketball standouts from Chicago from the eighth through the 12th grades as they aspire to the NBA. A searing portrait of inner-city life in America and the extraordinary, downright unfair expectations placed on the shoulders of many young black athletes.

Lucas Movie Poster Image
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This quirky coming-of-age story centers on an "accelerated" 14-year-old boy who befriends newcomer Maggie. Viewers may cringe and even laugh at his antics, but they'll sympathize, too: No matter how clever Lucas is at covering the pain of being rejected, he's still an outsider who wants to fit in.

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Common Sense Tips

Common Sense Tips

  • Are the popular girls in Mean Girls good role models? What about Juno? Or the kids in The Breakfast Club.
  • Are these teens' stories simple or complex? Can you relate to their issues with school, friends, and parents?