The 20 Best Teen Romance Movies to Make You Nostalgic for Young Love
These films will make you feel the pangs of puppy love.
Whether it’s only been a few years since you first laid eyes on your high school crush or a few decades since you last felt the pangs of puppy love, we can all enjoy reliving our romantic awakenings via sweet Hollywood stories. And thanks to classic films and modern movies that span the range of amorous experiences, there’s the perfect kind of story for everyone, whether you want to enjoy a fun fictional flirtation or a heartwarming happily-ever-after. If you’re in the mood to indulge your sentimental side, then be sure to check out these best teen romance movies that will make you nostalgic for young love.
The Kissing Booth (2018)
As they say, all is fair in love and war. But that’s not exactly true, especially in 2018’s The Kissing Booth. In the Netflix film, there’s only one romantic rule that teenager Elle Evans (Megan du Plessis) must follow—and that is to keep her hands off her best friend’s handsome older brother (Michael Miccoli). But that might be a rule she ends up breaking, especially when she’s tasked with setting up a kissing booth for a school carnival that offers a peck from a certain sizzling someone.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
A modern twist on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Julia Stiles took on the role of the firey Katarina Stratford opposite the late Heath Ledger, who played charming bad-boy, Patrick Verona. While the film also offers fun performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, David Krumholtz, Andrew Keegan, Gabrielle Union, and Allison Janney, it’s Ledger’s grand soccer stadium rendition of “You’re Just Too Good to Be True” that will leave you swooning.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Netflix released the unofficial teen-romance Film of the Year in 2018 with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Based on Jenny Han’s 2014 novel of the same name, the movie stars Lana Condor as Lara Jean, a teen whose life is turned upside-down when her private love letters make their way out into the world. Although she’s obviously mortified by the situation, which would clearly be a nightmare for most of us, one of the boys she has a crush on has an unexpected reaction to her letter—and an irresistible offer—that creates an unanticipated (and adorable) outcome for them both.
Love, Simon (2018)
Another flick based on a popular novel, Love, Simon was inspired by 2015’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Featuring Nick Robinson as the title character, Simon is a teen who’s fallen in love with someone he’s met online. However, his happiness is threatened when an unknown person tries to blackmail him over the secret that he’s been keeping from his family and classmates: He’s gay.
High School Musical (2006)
If you like your romances with a side of music, then you’ll adore High School Musical, which sees a young Zac Efron as Troy, a popular athlete, and Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella, a diligent student. When the teens both score roles in their school’s musical, they find themselves totally in tune in more ways than one. And if you enjoy every karaoke-worthy moment of this upbeat movie, then be sure to check out 2007’s High School Musical 2 and 2008’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Super cute fact: Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens not only fell in love onscreen, but they also found real-life romance while filming HSM and dated for around four years.
In the film that made her a star, Alicia Silverstone plays Cher Horowitz, a rich Beverly Hills high-school student who finds romance after realizing that she’s been shallow, selfish, and generally clueless. Watch this beloved movie for the quirky love-story, iconic lines, fabulous ’90s fashion, and proof that Paul Rudd truly never ages.
American Pie (1999)
We may first and foremost think of American Pie as the movie which features that infamous dessert-related scene, but underneath all of the cringe-worthy moments are multiple stories of romance. There’s Jim (Jason Biggs) and his crush Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) as well as band-camp Michelle (Alyson Hannigan); there’s lacrosse player Oz (Chris Klein) and his new love with choir-girl Heather (Mena Suvari); and there’s the evolving long-term relationship between Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Vicky (Tara Reid). And although there’s also that thing with Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge), we just won’t get into that.
Cruel Intentions (1999)
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Reese Witherspoon star in the 1999 modern-teen version of 1988’s Dangerous Liaisons. A pair of rich step-siblings (Gellar and Phillipe) use their power and influence to manipulate those around them, but find themselves in a situation they may not be able to control when one of them falls in love with an innocent player in their games (Witherspoon).
The Last Song (2010)
Allow yourself to be swept up in Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s real-life romance by watching the movie that first brought them together. The two truly fell in love during the filming of 2010’s The Last Song while playing teens who fall for each other during a summer in a sunny Southern beach town. Cyrus’ character struggles with the strained relationship she has with her father (Greg Kinnear), the man who shares her musical talents. Nearly a decade later, Cyrus and Hemsworth were married and continue their own happy ending. It’s one of the best teen romance movies that led to lasting love.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
You might not expect to find romance while spending a Saturday at school for detention, but that’s what happens in 1985’s The Breakfast Club. Five teen students who span the social spectrum—the popular “princess” Claire (Molly Ringwald), star athlete Andrew (Emilio Estevez), criminal John (Judd Nelson), brainy Brian (Anthony Michael Hall), and outcast Allison (Ally Sheedy)—connect over their differences and similarities, seeing each other in a totally new light, including two pairs who end up seeing something even more, like possible romance.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
If you’ve ever bonded with someone over music or remember a time when you made your crush a mixtape to let them know how you felt about them, then you’ll definitely appreciate Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Nick (Michael Cera) is still hung up on his ex-girlfriend when he finds himself caught up in a night that includes saving a drunk friend that’s gone M.I.A., pretending to be dating his ex’s friend Norah (Kat Dennings), and trying to figure out what (and who) will make him truly happy—all set to a stellar soundtrack that features bands like Vampire Weekend, The Submarines, and We Are Scientists.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Get your tissues ready and prepare to cry while watching 2014’s The Fault in Our Stars. In the heartwarming yet heartbreaking film, Shailene Woodley plays Hazel, a 16-year-old cancer patient who falls in love with Gus (Ansel Elgort), another teen with the disease from her support group. Although the two enjoy an inspiring romance, they also find out that not all happily-ever-afters include a fairy tale ending.
Step Up (2006)
Step Up is another film that resulted in a real-life romance. In the 2006 story that will make you want to take a few hip-hop dance classes with your partner, Jenna Dewan plays a talented ballet student who runs into troublemaker Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum), who has a few sweet moves of his own. And while Dewan and Tatum are no longer together in real-life, you can still relive the beginnings of their love story over and over again thanks to Step Up.
Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
Preston (Ethan Embry) has had a crush on Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) ever since she transferred to his high school. And now that it’s the last day of school and she’s newly single, he thinks that the big graduation party is the perfect time to profess his love. However, thanks to classmates who are ready to make it a night to remember—including a drunk nerd, a yearbook-obsessed graduate, and Amanda’s icky ex—things don’t exactly go as planned.
A Walk to Remember (2002)
See Mandy Moore years before she made us cry on her NBC series This Is Us in A Walk to Remember as a reserved teen who charms a popular yet troubled student at her school (Shane West). When their worlds meet and they fall in love, they both have to take a risk in order to be together.
Save The Last Dance (2001)
Julia Stiles starred in another of the best teen romance movies two years after 10 Things I Hate About You when she took to the screen for 2001’s Save The Last Dance. Stiles plays a teen from the Midwest who moves to the south side of Chicago after her mother’s death. She soon meets a guy at her new high school (Sean Patrick Thomas) who shares her love of dance, but the fact that they come from very different worlds threatens their newfound romance.
A Cinderella Story (2004)
A young Hilary Duff stepped into the role of the classic fairy tale character for 2004’s A Cinderella Story, a modern retelling which saw the star play Sam, a teen girl who’s forced to work as a dishwasher in her stepmother’s diner. However, things start to look up when she begins texting a guy (Chad Michael Murray) who turns out to be rather dreamy. In order to find true love with her Prince Charming, Sam must first face the daunting dilemma of meeting him at the big school dance.
While you might think of Twilight as a vampire movie, it’s actually one of the best teen romance movies and vampire movie. Watch as Bella (Kristen Stewart), a teenage human, falls in love with Edward (Robert Pattinson), a really old sparkly vampire who thankfully still looks like a handsome (if pale) teen. And if their romance pulls at your heartstrings, then you can see the rest of their love story in 2009’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon, 2010’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 2011’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, and Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 which ended the franchise in 2012.
Watch what happens when opposites attract in Grease, which may have been made in 1978 but takes us back to the ‘50s and follows a teen romance between a “good girl” named Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and a “greaser” named Danny (John Travolta). Just try not to fall in love with the pair—and the movie—as the stars sing “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” and, of course, “You’re the One That I Want,” which accompanied one of the best cheeky movie dance scenes of all time. It’s one of the best teen romance movies that’s stood the test of time.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Romeo and Juliet may not be the happiest teen romance story that’s ever been told, but it is a classic and Baz Luhrmann’s stylized 1996 version is a must-see movie for anyone who wants to indulge in the ultimately tragic tale of young love. But remember, as you watch the adolescent duo enjoy the spoils of their innocent romance, prepare for the infamous end that will undoubtedly shake you, because as the story itself says, “Never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
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