The Best Teen Movies on Netflix Right Now
From classics to recent favorites.
Ah, the teenage years, those glorious days when everyone is an immature, hormone-addled ball of energy trying to figure out how to be a person in the world, and also how to get to that party literally everyone will attend after homecoming. While many movies chronicling this period of human development are fun and lighthearted, even the bounciest offer a darkly comforting reminder: You survived. Put on your varsity jacket, grab your Trapper Keeper, and stream these essential teen movies on Netflix.
All the Bright Places (2020)
Based on the international bestselling young adult fiction novel by Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places tells the story of high school students, Violet (Elle Fanning) and Theodore, who likes to go by his last name, Finch (Justice Smith), both of whom are suffering from mental illness caused by trauma in their pasts. It's a tender love story, growing from two broken people who, together, begin the process of healing. The film is both gentle and heartbreaking, and a rare entry in the excess of teen Netflix originals that truly tries to handle mental health with care.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Coming just five years after Sam Raimi's beloved Spider-Man trilogy ended and right before the MCU launched its own mega-budget version of the superhero, the Andrew Garfield-starring Spidey movies directed by Marc Webb never really established their own clear identity. If you saw 2021's No Way Home, though, you may have found yourself caught up in the charming web that is Garfield's take on Peter Parker and realized it's about time you looked back on the now-major movie star's performance. What this lacks in intriguing villains, it makes up for in Garfield's charisma and his chemistry with then-real-life girlfriend Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Tracy. It's coming-of-age, rom-com take on this comic-book favorite will swing right across the Manhattan skyline and into your heart if you let it.
The Babysitter (2017) & The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)
One pre-teen boy's (Judah Lewis) fantasy about his babysitter (Samara Weaving) turns into a nightmare when it's revealed she and her hot friends (which includes Bella Thorne as a cheerleader, Upload's Robbie Amell as a buff sociopath, and Vine star-turned-actor King Bach) dabble in human sacrifices. Director McG's self-aware spin on the babysitter slasher is more comedy than horror, delivering a bloody fun time in a stylish and dumb manner. Archetypes get turned on their heads, laugh lines punctuate almost every scene, and reality mostly ceases to exist while our hero tries to learn some sort of lesson. It's goofy mayhem in all the right ways, and finds its voice in the 2020 follow-up. If you hit play, please don't ruin a good thing by taking it too seriously.
Brahman Naman (2016)
Truly, nothing can spice up a school quiz tournament like the quest to lose your virginity. This '80s-set Netflix original sends a Bangalore trio of high school horndogs to Calcutta to win on both counts. Directed by Qaushiq Mukherjee and starring Shashank Arora as our protagonist, Brahman Naman is a hilarious, international festival hit of a teen film.
Carrie Pilby (2016)
At first, it's not so easy to like the titular character (played by Diary of a Teenaged Girl's Bel Powley) in this quaint indie. She's only 19 and highly intelligent, having already graduated from Harvard at her age and is privileged enough to already live alone in NYC. She's also quite scared to leave her apartment, though, doesn't know how to socialize with others, and is rather lonely, even if she doesn't know it. Based on a to-do list that her therapist (Nathan Lane) gives her, the movie adapted from Caren Lissner's novel follows her assignment to become as socially intelligent as she is brainy, and in turn, a much happier person. It's a sweet rom-com helmed by To All the Boys I've Loved Before director Susan Johnson with its strength lying in subtly being a more somber coming-of-age film than it makes itself out to be.
Dear John (2010)
First things first, Dear John is named for a Dear John letter, or what you would send a man to dump his ass, so you can guess that this is one of most treacly of Nicholas Sparks' oeuvre. The drama hits all of the marks of a stereotypical romance movie, starring Channing Tatum as a solider living with his reclusive father (Richard Jenkins) while he's home from war and Amanda Seyfried as the do-gooder college student he falls for under the warm South Carolina sun, but there are enough passionate kisses in the rain to make all the melodrama worth it.
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
As the title suggests, this slapstick '90s favorite is incredibly stupid. BUT, it's also the comedy that officially turned Jim Carrey into a comedy mega-star. The buddy movie about idiotic pals Lloyd (Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) on a cross-country adventure remains a classic for its childish bits and oft-quoted lines, so it's always worth a re-watch if you need to feel like a dumb teenager again.
Edge of Seventeen (1998)
A suburban '80s nostalgia trip, Edge of Seventeen is like a John Hughes movie if a John Hughes movie were to have ever focused on one of the gay kids hidden in the background of those teen classics. The coming-of-age story set in 1984 Ohio focuses on the teenaged Eric Hunter, who's obsessed with androgynous stars like Annie Lennox and Boy George and still figuring out his identity. A bit racier than your average teen dramedy as it delves into how easy it is to confuse sex with true feelings, it's an essential film about coming out and the dizzying feeling of sexual firsts.
The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
As romanticized as adolescence can be, it’s hard being young. Following the high school experience of troubled, overdramatic Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), The Edge of Seventeen portrays the woes of adolescence with a tender, yet appropriately cheeky tone. As if junior year isn’t hellish enough, the universe essentially bursts into flames when Nadine finds out her best friend is dating her brother; their friendship begins to dissolve, and she finds the only return on young love is embarrassment and pain. That may all sound like a miserable premise for a young-adult movie, except it’s all painfully accurate, making it endearingly hilarious—and there’s so much to love about Steinfeld’s self-aware performance.
Fear Street trilogy (2021)
Netflix's ambitious series of three interconnected movies based on the classic R.L. Stine books are a gory good time. All are directed by Leigh Janiak and Part One: 1994, introduces audiences to the cursed town of Shadyside and the teens who have been afflicted. The second jumps back in time to 1978 where a killer is stalking a camp, and the third, set in 1666, explains how this all started. Drawing from horror classics like Scream, the Fear Street movies mix gruesome kills with tongue-in-cheek laughs, and feature a refreshingly queer point of view.
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
People love Paul Rudd! That belief alone probably motivated this paint-by-numbers mid-2000s indie ripoff, which stars Rudd as a retired writer (hah!) searching for his next chapter (get it?). After deciding to become a caregiver (yes, this plot is shaping up nicely), he gets a job from a woman whose teenage son, Trevor, has muscular dystrophy, but also a sarcastic sense of humor. When Rudd and the kid go on a road trip to see famous roadside attractions (it's one of Trevor's adorable character quirks that he's obsessed with roadside attractions), they learn plenty about each other, but—spoiler—just as much about themselves. Selena Gomez shows up as a love interest for good measure, so if you're in the mood for an undemanding, treacly teen road-trip flick, The Fundamentals of Caring is your Rudd-approved best bet.
The Girl Next Door (2004)
What happens when you find out the girl next door, on whom you've developed an irrepressible crush, is a former porn actress? Lots of misunderstandings, drama, comedy, and hijinks, of course! Elisha Cuthbert stars as the titular neighbor, who's struggling to escape her past and manage her feelings for her neighbor (played by a young Emile Hirsch). It hits a lot of the expected notes of a mid-2000s romantic comedy, but the adult film world backdrop gives it more of an edge than, say, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
The Half of It (2020)
"This is not a love story," the heroine, Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), says at the outset of The Half of It, Alice Wu’s coming-of-age film. It's one of those witty lines that the lead in teen movies tends to say, but this Netflix original is a lot smarter than that opening line—and it's more endearing for it. The film follows Ellie, the only person of Chinese descent in a tiny town called Squahamish who writes her high school classmates' papers for money. One of those offers comes from a boy named Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) who wants her help to write a love letter for a girl named Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire). A conflicted Ellie, who also has a crush on Aster, at first declines but ultimately succumbs to help her family get by with her side hustle. It sounds like the making of a classic rom-com, but The Half of It is truly not a love story as it plays out, which makes it one of Netflix's more mature teen originals.
It Follows (2015)
The villain of this retro-thriller doesn't need to creep. "It"—a demon? An embodiment of fear? A walking STI?—can come from any direction at any time and can't be stopped. All its target can do is run, or damn someone new by transmitting the possession through intercourse. A relentless chase set against a picturesque suburban dreamworld, It Follows builds scares from pure suspense, a welcome alternative to the screeching, skittish horror movies that frequent theaters.
Based on a novel by Jennifer Mathieu, Moxie follows Vivian (Hadley Robinson), a quiet teen, who, upon seeing the gender-based injustices going on at her school, decides to start a zine after learning about her mom's (Amy Poehler, who also directed the film) riot grrrl past. After surreptitiously placing her photocopied creation in the girls' bathroom, she starts a movement aimed at stopping the rampant harassment on campus led by a football star (Patrick Schwarzenegger). Moxie is definitely flawed with its perfunctory nods to intersectionality—that especially can't be ignored considering the underused supporting cast. But, hey, it is an admirable, stirring film with a great Bikini Kill-infused soundtrack—so if it gets a generation of casual Netflix viewers into riot grrrl, that's a net positive.
My Girl (1991)
It's been 30 years since My Girl, and if you don't already know what happens: Our sincerest apologies, your heart is about to be destroyed. The movie about a girl (Anna Chlumsky) growing up in a funeral home with her widowed father (Dan Aykroyd) is as sweet as a popsicle on a hot summer day, and a compelling story about the throes of adolescence. Chlumsky and a teeny, tiny Macaulay Culkin are adorable as Vada Sultenfuss and Thomas J., and their chemistry as best friends from down the block only makes the inevitable tragedy that much more painful. (Unless you're heartless, it's impossible not to cry when Vada shouts, "He can’t see without his glasses!") My Girl will bring you back to those raw, 12-year-old feelings.
Not Another Teen Movie (2000)
When it comes to parody movies, Not Another Teen Movie is not at the Scary Movie levels of excellence, but it's better than most, largely thanks to its great cast, including a pre-Captain America Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, and Ron Lester essentially reprising his role from Varsity Blues to... make fun of Varsity Blues. Evans really is the all-star here as the smarmy jock, and it's the gender-flipped whipped cream sequence that will keep you rewatching again and again.
Project X (2012)
There's party movies, and then there's Project X. Nima Nourizadeh's Animal House of the 2010s exists on a sliding scale of the absolute freaking sickest party ever and a nightmare that's no short of hell unleashed—all dependent on what hour of the night it is, how tolerant of heinous behavior you are, and whether you have any pyrophobia. The movie is definitely a time capsule of early 2010s Tumblr aesthetics and sleaziness, but it remains an experience as it pieces together footage from phones and camcorders to document one teenager's houseparty as it gets out of hand.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
The beloved storybooks of our preteen years were finally been transported to the big screen with this 2019 film, and the result is a good deal of low-key, old-fashioned, family-friendly, and appreciably creepy fun. Rather than an anthology format, several of the tales found in Alvin Schwartz's frightening source material find themselves sprinkled into traditional framework about three adventurous teenagers and one haunted book. It's a teen scream that actually manages to give you the heebie-jeebies, largely due to its cool creature effects.
Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018)
In this Netflix original movie, titular loser Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser, AKA Barb from Stranger Things) enlists her high school's most popular girl Veronica (Kristine Froseth) after semi-accidentally falling into catfishing the hot jock Jamey (Noah Centineo, aka Peter Kavinsky from To All the Boys I've Loved Before) who mixed up his phone numbers. The Netflix rom-com is creepy-sweet in the way only awkward high school tales can get away with.
Stand By Me (1986)
Although you may not have been aware that Stand By Me is based on Stephen King's novella The Body, it's undeniably the best King film there is. Decades after its release, it remains every bit as affecting, heartbreaking, and entertaining. A writer recalls a time from his childhood involving his best friends and the rumor of a dead body down by the railroad tracks, and while the film's about the art of writing and the importance of memory, director Rob Reiner brings the characters so perfectly to life that it becomes a beautiful reminder of our own triumphs and tragedies from our youth. There's a very good chance you'll see yourself or someone you knew in this movie, and the memories it dislodges can be unexpected gifts.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
What if your private letters to your crushes weren't private, but wound up in the hands of aforementioned crushes? It's a teen's nightmare! But maybe—just maybe!—this story, which is based on Jenny Han's best-selling YA novel of the same name, will turn out to have a happy ending. With strong performances from young leads Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, To All the Boys I've Loved Before is the rare Netflix original movie with enough heart and sincerity to overcome its flaws.
The Blair Witch Project popularized the found-footage genre, and Unfriended was the first to tap into the even more niche subset of the horror style—social media/computer screen found-footage. The first of its kind, the movie from Blumhouse isn't always a master of its craft and can feel more like being forced into peering at a screen from over someone's shoulder like you're waiting for your sibling's allotted screen time to wrap up, and is sometimes flat-out silly, but since we're addicted to being online, it is hard to look away. It follows a group of teenagers whose chatroom appears to be haunted by their friend who was recently bullied and died by suicide. Even when the scares are cheap, it's an interesting experiment that's worth logging into.
Yes, God, Yes (2020)
Yes, God, Yes is a hysterical, humble indie of divine intervention. The film from Karen Maine is a teen raunch comedy that's totally unlike other teen raunch comedies, following a high school girl (Stranger Things' Natalia Dyer) as she wrestles with newfound sexual urges while on a repressive, conservative church retreat. Dyer is utterly charming in the role as a naive but defiant young woman turned off by her peers' holier than thou attitudes, and the film's setting in the early '00s featuring flip phones and scandalous AIM chat rooms makes it all the more laughable. It's a rare sex comedy that has as much to say about the embarrassments of coming-of-age as it does about self-righteousness, and for that it feels like a teen movie sent down from the heavens.