Back to school: Our 25 favorite class comedies
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Back to school: Our 25 favorite class comedies

Everyone has high school memories -- good or bad. Schools have been the focal points of many a movie and TV show over the years. Some of them are serious, but the hallowed halls of academia often play host to comedies. Here are some of our favorite classroom-centric comedies out there.

 
1 of 25

"Heathers" (1989)

"Heathers" (1989)
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High school can feel like life and death to a teenager. In the world of “Heathers,” it can turn out to be actually life or death. The dark comedy, which reads as a horror film if you watch it the right way, stars Winona Ryder and Christian Slater at their peaks, and it inspired many a memorable line that you can’t repeat in polite company.

 
2 of 25

"Grease" (1978)

"Grease" (1978)
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“Grease” is cheesy. It’s goofy as can be. All that being said, it’s hard to not have fun watching it. The songs are infectious. Even if you are rolling your eyes, your toes will be tapping at the same time.

 
3 of 25

"The Breakfast Club" (1985)

"The Breakfast Club" (1985)
Universal Pictures

Detention can be a bummer. However, what if you and a bunch of disparate teens can come together to learn a little about each other and grow as people? Also, you get high and dance and scream so loud that you break a window. Doesn’t that sound fun? Well, watching “The Breakfast Club” is probably as close to that experience as you are going to get.

 
4 of 25

"Teen Wolf" (1985)

"Teen Wolf" (1985)
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“Teen Wolf” is the pinnacle of ridiculous ‘80s cinema. Michael J. Fox plays a teenager who turns into a werewolf…and being a werewolf makes him amazing at basketball. He has a best friend named Stiles. It was followed with a sequel, “Teen Wolf Too.” It stars Jason Bateman, takes place in college and focuses on boxing instead of basketball. You can skip it.

 
5 of 25

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982)

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982)
Universal Pictures

Sean Penn is a serious actor who has won multiple Oscars. Before all that, though, he stuck out to people as stoner Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” He was just one part of an ensemble that took a more “serious,” but still funny, approach to teenage life.

 
6 of 25

"Rock 'n' Roll High School" (1979)

"Rock 'n' Roll High School" (1979)
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Roger Corman wanted to make a cheap movie that would take advantage of the burgeoning rock and punk scene in the ‘70s. As such, we got “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” featuring the Ramones. Not everything holds up, but the film is a ton of fun and, naturally, has an amazing soundtrack.

 
7 of 25

"Clueless" (1995)

"Clueless" (1995)
Paramount

“Clueless” might be the most ‘90s movie ever made. The fashion, the music, it all screams a certain time period. It’s a delight to watch as a nostalgia piece, but it’s also a solid movie — funny and charming in equal measure. Paul Rudd looks like he hasn’t aged a day.

 
8 of 25

"Election" (1999)

"Election" (1999)
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What if you were a teacher, and there was a student you just couldn’t stand? That’s basically the instigating point of Alexander Payne’s dark comedy “Election.” Reese Witherspoon’s Tracy Flick is extremely Type A and is determined to be class president. Only Matthew Broderick’s teacher can stop her reign of terror. It’s not as funny as some other comedies, but it has bite.

 
9 of 25

"10 Things I Hate About You" (1999)

"10 Things I Hate About You" (1999)
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“The Taming of the Shrew” is not the most beloved of Shakespeare plays, but it got a nice update in “10 Things I Hate About You.” A young Heath Ledger is immensely charming, and he has great rapport with Julia Stiles as his eventual love interest. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is there as well. What more could you want?

 
10 of 25

"Say Anything..." (1989)

"Say Anything..." (1989)
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Technically, “Say Anything…” takes place in that time between the end of high school and the beginning of college. However, since it begins with the high school graduation of Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court, it still counts. Also, we wanted to include it on this list because it’s great —one of the best romantic comedies of all time, full stop. Cameron Crowe has never been better.

 
11 of 25

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986)

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986)
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Matthew Broderick is back but in much younger form. Before he played an embittered teacher in Election, he was the effervescent and titular Ferris Bueller. All he wanted to do was have a nice day off school with his friend Cameron. Thanks to his cunning, which taken to the extreme would make him a dangerous fellow, he manages to pull it off.

 
12 of 25

"She's All That" (1999)

"She's All That" (1999)
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Rachael Leigh Cook is the best. She was so incredibly charming when she burst onto the scene. She should have been a superstar. We should still be watching her carry romantic comedies. The fact her career wasn’t better is a tragedy. Anyway, she’s great in “She’s All That.”

 
13 of 25

"Mean Girls" (2004)

"Mean Girls" (2004)
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Remember when Lindsay Lohan was a huge star? “Mean Girls” is a great example of why. Tina Fey’s film was a great showcase for a lot of talented actresses and also her dear friend Amy Poehler. The movie has such a cult it still gets quoted constantly, and it also got a Broadway musical adaptation.

 
14 of 25

"Easy A" (2010)

"Easy A" (2010)
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From one young redhead to another, “Easy A” helped turn Emma Stone into a star. It’s not hard to see why. Like many of these movies, “Easy A” is an adaptation of a classic piece of literature, in this case “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. That gave the movie a nice structure to build its modern, comedic story on.

 
15 of 25

"The Edge of Seventeen" (2016)

"The Edge of Seventeen" (2016)
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You may have missed “The Edge of Seventeen.” It wasn’t a huge hit when it came out in 2016. That’s a shame because it’s a really good movie. It’s an R-rated high school film that doesn’t devolve into raunch. Hailee Steinfeld is fantastic. Do yourself a favor and check this one out if you haven’t seen it.

 
16 of 25

"21 Jump Street" (2012)

"21 Jump Street" (2012)
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As a TV show, “21 Jump Street” was a drama about cops posing as high school students. It was a bit silly. The movie recognized that and turned that premise into part of the joke. The movie version of “21 Jump Street,” which stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, is effectively a parody of the show as well as a parody of adaptations as a whole. And “22 Jump Street” took the meta commentary to the next level.

 
17 of 25

"Lady Bird" (2017)

"Lady Bird" (2017)
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“Lady Bird” is such a wonderful film in so many ways. A lot of that is because of the mother-daughter interaction between Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan’s characters, but Lady Bird’s school life is a big part of the story as well. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a treasure. 

 
18 of 25

"Our Miss Brooks" (1952-1956)

"Our Miss Brooks" (1952-1956)
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Let’s move from movies to the small screen, starting with one of the first school-based shows. “Our Miss Brooks” was at the forefront of television, as it came out in 1952. Eve Arden plays the titular Miss Brooks, a high school English teacher who’s always on the lookout for a man. For a show from the ‘50s, it actually holds up pretty well.

 
19 of 25

"Saved by the Bell" (1989-1993)

"Saved by the Bell" (1989-1993)
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“Saved by the Bell” is at the forefront of ‘90s nostalgia. Is “Saved by the Bell” good by traditional measures? It’s hard to say yes. However, there is an episode in which the kids come together to sell spaghetti sauce, which is amazing. What more can you want from a show?

 
20 of 25

"Daria" (1997-2002)

"Daria" (1997-2002)
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Daria Morgendorffer started life as a secondary character on “Beavis and Butt-Head.” Then, MTV gave her a show of her own and made it more of an actual show than an excuse for showing music videos. “Daria” is much better than its predecessor, and fans of morbid sarcasm still see themselves in the sardonic title character. If you are a teenager who feels like you are surrounded by idiots, you can still find a hero in Daria.

 
21 of 25

"Freaks and Geeks" (1999-2000)

"Freaks and Geeks" (1999-2000)
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Before Paul Feig and Judd Apatow took over movie comedy, they combined to make “Freaks and Geeks.” It lasted only one season, but its legacy lives on. There are many who think this hyper-realistic comedy about outcasts in a suburban high school is one of the best shows ever, despite its limited run.

 
22 of 25

"The Facts of Life" (1979-1988)

"The Facts of Life" (1979-1988)
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Boarding school is a good excuse to bring a bunch of different kinds of characters together. That’s how they got into the premise of “The Facts of Life,” a popular sitcom that ran more than 200 episodes over nine seasons. While the show had a lot of humor to it, since it was an ‘80s sitcom about teenagers, there was a ton of “very special episode” type deals. Lots of lessons were learned.

 
23 of 25

"Boy Meets World" (1993-2000)

"Boy Meets World" (1993-2000)
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Kids of the ‘90s, who seem to run the internet these days, surely remember “Boy Meets World.” They got themselves all involved in the adventures of Cory, Topanga and Shawn (as well as their teacher Mr. Feeny). When the show began, the kids were in sixth grade. By the time it ended, they were finishing college and Cory and Topanga were married. Somehow, Mr. Feeny was there every step of the way.

 
24 of 25

"Doug" (1991-1999)

"Doug" (1991-1999)
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Doug Funnie is an average kid with a big imagination. He’s an everyman — and not just because his friends are blue and green and orange and his dog is somewhere between a normal dog and a person in intelligence. “Doug” was a classic early Nicktoon before moving to Disney. Nobody wants to talk about the Disney years, though. It’s all about the Nickelodeon run when we were introduced to Honker Burger, Quailman and The Beets.

 
25 of 25

"Glee" (2009-2015)

"Glee" (2009-2015)
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For a moment, “Glee” was on top of the world. Jane Lynch became a TV star, and soundtracks were sold left and right. It was a clever premise and a great excuse for a weekly jukebox musical. Eventually, as with most TV shows, “Glee” started to wane a bit, and despite the protestations of the cast in Season 1, we stopped believin’.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.

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