The 101 Most Influential Coming-of-Age Movies

By Ryan Uytdewilligen | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION: COMING OF AGE

Growing up is the hardest, most important, and in some cases best time of our lives. It shapes our interests, who we’ll become as an adult, and what we hope to achieve. Thing is, people never stop growing. You can still be coming of age and learning something new well into your eighties. It just depends on your personality and the circumstances you find yourself in. For most of us, though, when we think of “coming of age” we look back and remember pep rallies, cramming for tests, getting our driving license, and falling madly in love for the first time.

This period in life is simply too fascinating to put in words. The most important things to an adolescent are usually friends, fitting in, and finding love. As we develop and try to define who we are, we often find ourselves in embarrassing situations. It’s not our fault… kind of. We are experiencing many new feelings, so naturally we explore them and need some time getting the hang of things. After the cruel social experiment known as high school, we think everything will change, but college and life always seem to have other plans for us.

We go through our experiences trying our best, but it’s often the embarrassing memories we hold on to. As awkward as they were at the time, they may seem trivial when we’re older — although in hindsight they also may be highly amusing. It’s no surprise people like John Hughes and Cameron Crowe have made their living exploiting and capturing these periods of our lives on film. The teen movie, high school movie, adolescent movie, or what have you has seen its ups and downs through the history of cinema. But it has always played an important role to showcase and reflect youth in the world in a certain time and place. From war to sex, drugs, and rock and roll, the world has thrown abundant complications and changes in the path of those who are growing up. It’s up to those people to figure out what to do with it all, and it’s up to all the filmmakers to capture it.

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