10 Classic “Back to School” Movies for All Ages


August 14, 2012 marked the 30-year anniversary of the release for a classic "back to school" film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  The 1982 film, written by Cameron Crowe and directed by Amy Heckerling, takes its viewers on a topsy turvy ride into the antics of a Southern California high school’s student body. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, as well as other films from our collection, allow you to take a trip back to school without actually having to relive it. Our collection offers a number of the classic school comedies, such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Mean Girls, but you may be surprised at the variety of genres available to you to go “back to school.”  Take a look at a handful of what our library system has to offer:

Casi Casi [Almost, Almost] (2006) Rated PG
Emilio, a teenager who often finds himself being sent to the principle's office, has a crush on Jacklynne, the most popular girl in school. He decides to run for Student Council President to win her heart, but he later finds out that she's his opponent. (Puerto Rico; Comedy, Adventure)

Dead Poet’s Society (1989) Rated PG.
Robin Williams portrays English professor John Keating, who, in an age of crew cuts, sport coats and cheerless conformity, inspires his students to live life to the fullest, exclaiming "Carpe Diem, lads! Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary!" The charismatic teacher's emotionally charged challenge is met by his students with irrepressible enthusiasm--changing their lives forever. (Drama)

Election (1999) Rated R.
Civics teacher Jim McAllister is worried: obnoxious, perennial overachiever Tracy Flick looks likely to win the student body presidency--she is running unopposed. Seeking to inject some democracy into the process, he persuades nice but dim football hero Paul Metzler to stand against her. This merely makes Tracy even more determined to win, and when Paul's alienated younger sister Tammy joins the race, leads her to use extreme measures to guarantee success. Meanwhile, Mr. McAllister's life becomes increasingly complicated as he strays from the principles he teaches. Politics is rarely pretty, but the students and faculty at Carver High are about to find out just how ugly it can get. (Comedy, Drama)

Etre et Avoir [To Be and to Have] (2002) Not rated.
At the center of this intimate and touching story is Georges Lopez - a remarkably devoted teacher responsible for nurturing a dozen children ages 3-11 in all their school subjects and life's lessons. Demonstrates how a teacher, if well trained, dedicated and sensitive to a child's educational and emotional needs, can hugely influence a generation of children at their most critical time of development. (France; Documentary)

Grease (1978) Rated PG.
Musical concerning the romance between a teenage gang-leader and his naive girlfriend, set in the 1950's. (Musical, Romance)

The Great Debaters (2007) Rated PG-13.
Melvin B. Tolson is a professor at Wiley College in Texas. Wiley is a small African-American college. In 1935, Tolson inspired students to form the school's first debate team. Tolson turns a group of underdog students into a historically elite debate team which goes on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. Inspired by a true story. (Drama)

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) Rated R.
In 1962, Larry Kroger and Kent Dorfman are freshman in college. They want to join a fraternity. After visiting several, including the snobby Omega house, they come to a Delta house pledge party. Here they meet the handsome, but compulsive womanizer Otter, his best friend Boone, Boone's girlfriend Katy, the daring thrill-seeker D-Day, the ever responsible Hoover, and slacker Bluto. They are accepted into the fraternity and join in on the wild toga parties, road trips, and practical jokes. But Dean Wormer is determined to have Delta kicked off campus and its members expelled. He enlists the help of Omega house and its leaders Doug Neidermyer and Greg Marmalard and new pledge Chip Diller. Delta is not willing to go away quietly. (Comedy)

Rushmore (1998) Rated R.
A gifted, rebellious teenager finds himself in competition with a wealthy older man for a favorite teacher's affections. (Comedy, Drama)

School of Rock (2003) Rated PG-13
When his band votes him out due to his embarrassing musical antics, Dewey has to make the rent somehow. After intercepting a call for his substitute-teacher roomie Ned, Dewey finds himself in front of a class of elite elementary school students. Dewey decides to take on the music program and makes it his goal to teach them the gospel of rock and roll. His ulterior motive is to get them to compete against his former band for a cash prize. (Comedy)

Stand and Deliver (1988) Rated PG
Story of Jaime Escalante, a math teacher at East Los Angeles' Garfield High School, who pushes and inspires 18 inner-city Hispanic students who were struggling with math to become math whizzes. (Drama)

-- Anna, Hopewell Branch


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