Ah, prom. Simultaneously the most talked-about and disappointing event of our high school careers. For many of us, attending prom was a rite of passage, a clear demarcation between high school naivete and collegiate young adulthood.
With all the mystique and anticipation surrounding prom, it’s only natural that the event acts as a centerpiece of most teen movies. And nobody does prom better than Hollywood. Here are 10 movies (plus one honorable mention) that perfectly capture the magic, awkwardness, excitement, and let-downs of our first high school proms.
1. Pretty In Pink
No list about prom movies could be complete without this ultimate classic. What’s prom without a declaration of love and making out in the rain?
2. Never Been Kissed
Oh to be young and in love with Michael Vartan. This movie was a little suspect from the high-school-teacher-falls-in-love-with-a-perceived-high-school student perspective, but it’s Drew Barrymore! Let us live!
More like an anti-prom movie, Carrie changed the game in teen horror. We’ll never get over Sissy Spacek’s creepy, glassy-eyed stare as pig blood dripped from her face.
4. American Pie
Grotesque, irreverent, and scarily accurate, American Pie is, well, legendary. Even after all these years, the pie scene is still etched in our minds. And Stifler’s mom is still…Stifler’s mom.
Even though this is a dark comedy, this movie’s prom scene tackles homophobia displayed against same-sex prom couples. And, unfortunately, it’s still all too real.
Footloose’s final dance sequence is an absolute triumph, and we have never looked at Kevin Bacon the same way since.
7. Not Another Teen Movie
Wazzaaaaap? This parody of teen rom-coms gathers all of our favorite (and least favorite) rom-com trope and boils them into a high school movie soup. And you know what? It’s pretty freaking perceptive and awesome.
8. She’s All That
Freddie Prinze Jr. was once the KING of teen rom coms. This movie is safely iconic; the Laney Boggs transformation has been parodied and imitated in various rom coms that came after. Plus, bonus baby Paul Walker!
9. 10 Things I Hate About You
It’s still hard to listen to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” without imitating Heath Ledger’s famous bleacher-side dance sequence. This movie is pure magic, full of dry witticisms and a healthy dose of 90s feminism.
No other movie captured the weirdness, hormones, and perversion of high school than Grease. Even though this movie is more than 30 years old, it still manages to feels relevant. Were you more of a Kenickie girl or a Zuco fanatic?
Honorable Mention: Mean Girls
Okay, so this movie is more about “Spring Fling” than prom. But if you haven’t stood on a stage and broken off pieces of the coveted queen’s crown, then you haven’t lived.