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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

5 Best Coming of Age Movies of All Time

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Entertainment avenues have changed considerably within the last few decades. Our children are growing up in a world that is unlike the world our grandparents, or even our own parents, lived in. We did not have social media or online games to entertain us the way we do today.

Photo by Alex Munsell on Unsplash

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Our entertainment options were limited to board games, television shows, some video games, and movies. Even with the changing landscape of entertainment, movies have stood the test of time. The way we consume them might have changed but we still can enjoy the same movies we watched as children.

One of the more popular genres of movies are coming of age movies. There are countless movies revolving around young characters changing and growing up. I have included in the rating for each move and also recommend checking out Common Sense Media to ensure each of these movies meets your family’s standards for viewing.

1. Little Women

This movie is best for fans of romantic comedies like Emma and Clueless.

Following the four March sister’s lives, Little Women is based classic book by Louisa May Alcott. Set in the 19th century, Little Women follows the lives of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy as they struggle to find themselves during and after the American Civil War. Each sister has a unique personality, and all share the desire to escape their problems. They often do escape their problems by performing in self-directed plays at home that Jo wrote. The sisters find themselves dealing with love, family, friends, and illness in this heart-warming film.

The 2019 film is rated PG and includes brief smoking. The 1994 film is rated PG and includes some mild language.

2. Rebel Without a Cause

This movie is best for fans of emotional action films like Star Wars and Spiderman.

Starring James Dean and Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause is a about a troubled teen named Jim Stark. Facing another move stemming from his brushes with trouble, Stark tries to find love and friendship while being the new kid in town. He frequently struggles to prove himself among his new friends and enemies. While this film is over 70 years old, it still holds life lessons that ring true today. The action scenes are sure to keep everyone’s attention throughout the film.

This 1955 film is rated PG-13 and includes moderate violence.

3. 13 Going on 30

This movie is best for fans of sci-fi comedies like Jumanji and Freaky Friday.

Sure to keep the attention of both children and adults, 13 Going on 30 is a unique look on life and the domino effect that one choice can bring. Following the character Jenna Rink, this film covers the topics of popularity, friendship, and romance. The movie begins at Jenna’s 13th birthday party in 1987. When she suffers a humiliating heartbreak, she makes a wish to be 30. She wakes the next day in 2004 at the age of 30 without any memory of her life for the last 17 years. While she’s at first happy to discover she’s grown up to achieve her goals, she struggles with the unexpected ramifications of the choices she’s made and the people she’s hurt.

This 2004 movie has a rating of PG-13 and includes brief sexual content and drug references.

4. Mean Girls

This movie is best for fans of teen comedies like She’s The Man and 10 Things I Hate About You.

High school cliques and trends are covered in this film. Bullies, rumors, complicated friends, and fashion are also touched on in this hilarious story. While most of the characters are dramatized stereotypes, Mean Girls carries several lessons about friendships, finding yourself, and the importance of fighting gossip. As a bonus, Mean Girls is full of catchy phrases and references to incorporate into your life. That is pretty fetch.

This 2004 movie has a rating of PG-13 and includes mature content such as crude humor, sexuality and drinking.

5. Dirty Dancing

This movie is best for fans of romantic dramas like Step Up and The Cutting Edge.

I never wanted to go on a vacation to a family camp more than the first time I watched Dirty Dancing. It is set at a family trip to a fictional family camp resort where the lead character “Baby” grows up over the summer. With one of the greatest soundtracks of all time, Dirty Dancing is full of romance, dancing, and the complications that come with becoming an adult. Staring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, this film showcases life in a different era but still has a way of relating to today’s youth.

This 1987 movie has a rating of PG-13 and includes mature themes and sexuality.

Family Movie Night

One fun thing about parenting is being able to introduce our children to the same things that entertained us when we were their age. Movies that we loved as teenagers are movies that our teens can love today. Parents and children can bond over a shared love of movies and inside jokes that spawn from them.

The best thing about movies in today’s age is that we have virtually every movie available at our fingertips with a click of a button. Pick one of these movies to watch with your children for your next family movie night. Pop some popcorn, grab a pizza, and have fun sharing your memories of being a teenager yourself with your kids.

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For more on fun with your kids, check out these other posts from A Wild Lass:

Fun Random Holidays to Celebrate with Your Kids

How to Teach Your Children to Love Adventures in 5 Steps

Giving Your Child's Room a Makeover: When and How

How to Work Out At Home with Kids

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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