The 9 best back-to-school movies ever

YP Team

From Napoleon Dynamite to High School Musical, these films are sure to get you pumped for the new academic year

YP Team |

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The Breakfast Club is the oldest film on this list, but it's as watchable now as it was back then.

From running through brick walls at platform 9 3/4, to the tale of a child prodigy who read Dickens aged four and defeats a bully using only her smarts, here are nine movies that will make you glad the new term is underway.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

This film is technically set in a school, so I suppose it counts, even if it isn’t exactly about going back to school. It’s a classic coming-of-age film that’s still as watchable in 2019 as it was when it first came out in the 80s – and remains an inspiring story about making friends where you might not have thought possible.

Ginny Wong, Production Editor

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

This modern-day version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew checks all the boxes of a high school film: new kid in town, teenage, bittersweet romance, peer pressure, friendship issues, overprotective parents, and, of course, prom night woes. Also, who can forget Kat’s hilariously snarky comments and the chemistry between her and Patrick.

Doris Wai, Multimedia Producer

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Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

This movie came out while I was in secondary school and everyone quoted it for the next two or three years. “Vote for Pedro” and “I caught you a delicious bass” were normal to hear around campus. It was such a weird movie but I like a good film about being yourself, where the underdog comes out on top.

Dannie Higginbotham, Web Editor

School of Rock (2003)

As you ease into the new school year, there’s nothing like a little bit of music to get you in the mood to achieve great things. And it doesn’t get any better than the soundtrack to School of Rock, in which Jack Black plays a failed a rocker who gets a job in a posh primary school.

Finn may not be the world’s greatest music teacher but as he turns his class into a rock group so they can enter into the Battle of the Bands, he begins to truly care about them. The overall message is enjoy school life and believe you can overcome any obstacles in your way!

M. J. Premaratne, Sub-editor

High School Musical (2006)

High School Musical is one of the most iconic teen movies of the 2000s. It paints a picture of the everyday struggles faced by teenagers at school, from adapting to a new environment as a transfer student, to stepping out of your comfort zone to pursue a passion you didn’t know you had. The film is also a reminder you that everyone – even the most popular student in school – has issues to deal with, but there is always a way to get through them.

Kelly Ho, Reporter

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Wonder (2017)

Auggie was born with a facial defect which makes it difficult for him to fit in with the other kids in his school. This heart-warming story reminds us that friendship can help us power through the most difficult of times; and also that we should learn to appreciate differences, as they makes people special.

Kelly Fung, Editorial Assistant

Harry Potter series (2001-2011)

Any Harry Potter movie. They’re all about going back to school, right? And what better school than Hogwarts and all its magic. To be honest, I don’t like school movies from the US. They’re just too much of, well, the US teen experience, as if the only teens in the world are American ones. So hooray for the Brits and Harry.

Susan Ramsay, Editor

Matilda (1996)

Matilda’s love for reading and learning would always get me excited to go back to school and hit the books. And though I’d miss the holidays, my school didn’t seem like such a bad place to be compared to Crunchem Hall. And it also helped that my teachers were more like Miss Honey than Miss Trunchbull.

Nicole Moraleda, Sub-editor

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High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2009)

Aside from the singing and dancing, which I obviously loved, the HSM trilogy gave me a million reasons to look forward to high school. In the third instalment, Troy, Gabriella, and the rest of the Wildcat gang are in their final year. From budding romances and friendships that are stronger than steel, the film is a reminder that for all its downsides, school is pretty awesome.

Veronica Lin, Reporter