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Best 90s Teen Movies, Ranked: Throwbacks Sure To Make You Laugh, Cry and Swoon!

Even Kat Stratford wouldn't hate these top picks!


Trying to land on a movie to watch that is nostalgic and can make you laugh, cry and cheer for the main character can be a daunting task. There are millions of movies that you can choose from, dozens of streaming platforms to search through, and too many genres to count. Romance, comedy, thriller and horror are just a fraction of the options to choose from. But the one unique genre that always gives us a dose of whimsy, nostalgia and fun: 90s teen movies.

There was something special about the 90s — we got classics like Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and Edward Scissorhands (1990), as well as romances like You’ve Got Mail (1998) and Pretty Woman (1990). But the movies in the 90s teen category — even if you weren’t a teen yourself that decade — can make you laugh, cry and swoon.

You’ll even find some recurring celebs in these 90s teen movies, including Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar (who also made a cameo in She’s All That) and Ryan Phillipe.

Here is a list of our favorite 90s teen movies, ranked.

10. She’s All That (1999)

Starring Rachael Leigh Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr., this 90s classic romantic comedy hits the mark. After Zack’s (Prinze Jr.) cheerleader girlfriend breaks up with him, he makes a bet that he can turn any girl, attractive or not, into the school’s next prom queen.

Related: Rachael Leigh Cook Movies and TV Shows: From ’90s Teen Queen to Hallmark Star

When his friends choose the uncool Laney Boggs (Cook) for the bet, Zack has six weeks to transform her into a popular teenager. But after Zack gets to know Laney, he finds himself unsure about the bet and vying for his popularity status.

Watch She’s All That on Netflix now!

9. Varsity Blues (1999)

Two boys at a football game ; 90s teen movies
James Van Der Beek and Paul Walker in ‘Varsity Blues’ (1999) Films

In Texas, high school football is all or nothing: either you win or… well that’s the only option. So after the star quarterback, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker), is too injured to lead the West Canaan Coyotes, benchwarmer Mox (James Van Der Beek) is called up to play.

Mox must lead his team to victory for a divisional title while also struggling to carry the hopes and dreams of his football-obsessed town on his back. If you are a fan of Friday Night Lights (2006), you might want to check this one out!

Watch Varsity Blues on Youtube TV now!

8. Cruel Intentions (1999)

This 90s cult classic revolves around step-siblings Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) who make a wager: Sebastian must woo the headmaster’s pure daughter, Annette (Reese Witherspoon), into his own bed. If Kathryn wins, she gets her step-brother’s car. If Sebastian wins, he gets Kathryn.

Related: Sarah Michelle Gellar Talks Unplugging, Knowing Your Worth and What She *Really* Thinks About the ’90s Fashion Comeback

This film, though it has a bit of an unconventional storyline, remains one of the most popular films of the 90s. It’s star-studded cast of Selma Blair, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar made this 90s teen movie a memorable one.

Watch Cruel Intentions on Amazon Prime now!

7. Never Been Kissed (1999)

Starring Drew Barrymore as a 25-year-old copy editor for the Chicago Sun Times, Josie Geller is assigned to go undercover as a high school student. Her assignment: cover the high school scene. Unfortunately for Josie, she was the opposite of a popular high school student.

While working on her story, Josie falls for teacher Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan). Josie must choose between following her heart or becoming the reporter she always dreamed of being.

Though it may not be a cinematic masterpiece, this sweet story is a classic and fulfills what 90s teen movies are all about — love, heartbreak and good ol’ 90s nostalgia!

Watch Never Been Kissed on Hulu now!

6. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Cast of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’
The cast of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ (1997) Entertainment

When four friends witness a tragic accident at the end of their senior year, they make the deadly mistake of dumping the body into the sea. Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is deeply affected by the tragedy, even a year later. But when the man seemingly returns from the dead with a killer hook and a vendetta, the friends find themselves fighting for their lives.

Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe, this horror-mystery still follows the 90s teen movie trope. With love and drama laced into this scary story, I Know What You Did Last Summer is still a classic — it even got a sequel, plus a TV series of the same name in 2021, starring Madison Iseman.

Fun Fact: Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar first met on the set of this film and later ended up marrying!

Watch I Know What You Did Last Summer on Youtube TV now!

5. October Sky (1999)

Slightly different from the usual 90s teen movie genre, October Sky follows the classic “It’s your dream, not mine” storyline to a T. Based on a true story, Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the son of a coal miner and is expected to follow in his footsteps. But the teen finds himself inspired by the first Sputnik launch and is determined to build his own rockets.

Despite disapproval from his father (Chris Cooper) and town, Homer and his friends try to build a rocket. Supported only by their teacher Miss Riley (Laura Dern), the students try to become contestants in the national science fair to win college scholarships.

This feel-good movie is a perfect pick for your next movie night — that is if you are looking to be moved by the aspirations and dreams of a young teen — and maybe shed a tear.

Watch October Sky on Amazon Prime now!

4. Drive Me Crazy (1999)

This film follows the classic enemies to lovers trope between Nicole (Melissa Joan Hart) and Chase (Adrian Grenier). While Nicole would rather have Chase ‘talk to the hand’, she realizes he might be the only person who can help her get what she wants — the perfect guy. Chase realizes that Nicole might be the only person to help him get back his ex-girlfriend. The neighbors and former best friends conspire to pretend to date each other to get back at the people they really want.

As the big school dance gets closer, so do Nicole and Chase. They find themselves wanting to be friends again, and maybe more? This classic 90s teen movie is archetypal for teen romance and frenemies falling for each other.

Watch Drive Me Crazy on Max now!

3. Scream (1996)

Woman screaming while on the phone
Drew Barrymore in ‘Scream’ (1996) Films

What’s your favorite scary movie?” Well, this 90s teen classic is a top contender. Sidney (Neve Campbell) is terrorized by a masked killer one year after the murder of her mother. She and her friends start getting strange phone calls from the murderer, who starts out by asking many questions. By the ends of the call, he up kills the person on the receiving end.

Starring Courteney Cox, Skeet Ulrich, and Drew Barrymore (even if only for a minute), this scary movie certainly lives up to the expectations in this 90s teen movie meets classic horror flick.

Watch Scream on Amazon Prime now!

2. Clueless (1995)

Woman holding shopping bags ; 90s teen movies
Alicia Silverstone in ‘Clueless’ (1995) Pictures

“Ugh, as if!” you don’t know this iconic film, starring Alicia Silverstone (and her yellow plaid outfit. Duh!) Rich, pretty and popular, Cher Horowitz (Silverstone) is at the top of the social pyramid. She goes to fun parties, has best friend Dionne (Stacey Dash), and can convince almost anyone of anything (i.e., getting her teachers to date so that they would be more careless with their grading). 

Plus, all the boys want her. Except it’s not the right boys that want her. Cher realizes, while helping her teacher and new friend, Tai (Brittany Murphy), find boyfriends, that she too wants a relationship.

With the playful banter between Cher and her ex-stepbrother, Josh (Paul Rudd), and Cher’s charm, this classic has become the epitome of a 90s teen movie.

Watch Clueless on Hulu now!

1. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Boy and girl looking at each other
Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in ’10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999) Pictures

And at number one on this list of 90s teen movies, the legendary 10 Things I Hate About You. New student, Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), finds himself enamored by sophomore Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik). The only problem: her father won’t let her date.

Cameron quickly finds out that Bianca can’t date until her strong-willed older sister, Kat (Julia Stiles) does. Cameron hires bad boy, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to woo Kat so that he can ask out Bianca. He agrees, but Patrick soon finds himself falling for Kat.

This lighthearted rom-com packs in all the emotions in its 97 minutes. Not only will Kat’s witty one-liners have you laughing out loud, but her emotional poem will probably have you ugly crying by the end.

Watch 10 Things I Hate About You on Disney+ now!

For more movie night ideas, keep reading!

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9 Feel-Good Movies for Women on Netflix, Ranked — Perfect for Curling Up on the Couch

The 12 Best Romance Movies Based on Books, Ranked — Sure To Make Your Heart Flutter

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