50+ Life-Changing Movies to Watch With Teenagers

41 min read

Teenage years is the best time for parents to teach their growing kids some life lessons that they will bring towards their adult years.

And what better way to let them know what being an adult is like than by bonding with them — sharing them your own stories and experiences which helped you become the adult that you are now — or better yet, to make it more exciting, show them these lessons by way of watching movies!

So, here is a list of life-changing movies that you can watch with your teenager — movies that will not leave them red-faced discussing things with you that concerns them because these movies are sooo relatable and fun!

Admit it, you had fun watching these before, right? or even until now!

Parents, we highly recommend that you watch these movies with your teen children. Aside from being an activity where you can bond, you can also be sure that what they are watching is appropriate for their age.

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50+ Life-Changing Movies to Watch With Teenagers

1. Mean Girls (2012)

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Stars:  Lindsay LohanJonathan BennettRachel McAdams

Cady Heron is starting a new life out of the jungle in Africa where she has lived with her parents for 15 years. Now, as she goes to high school, Cady learns about the jungle that is high school. There, she meets her friends and get to know about the beautiful popular girls called the Plastics led by Regina.

Wanting to discover their secrets and laugh at them, Cady and her friends began a mission to make Cady become a Plastic. She quickly became a part of the group, but Cady began falling in love with Regina’s boyfriend, Aaron. As Cady and her friends try to bring Regina down, Cady soon finds herself becoming a “real” Plastic.

What does ‘Mean Girls’ teach your teeangers?

That popular kids are often the nastiest.

Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you. – Cady

More Reading Related to Life-changing Movies:  25 Best TV Shows for Little Kids

2. 10 Things I Hate About You (2000)

Stars: Heath LedgerJulia StilesJoseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik

Beautiful and popular Bianca Stratford has a dilemma: she can’t go on a date until her older sister, Katarina — an indie rock gal with feminist prose and largely unpopular — does have a date. The search began until mysterious Parick Verona is paid to date Kat. Will he win Kat’s heart? Or will things go south when Kat finds out?

One of the life-changing movies of all time.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That hate is a very strong word.

I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate it, I hate the way you’re always right. I hate it when you lie.

I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.” – Kat

3. Easy A (2011)

Stars:  Emma StoneAmanda BynesPenn Badgley

High school student Olive Penderghast becomes the subject of the school’s rumour mill when she lies about an affair with a non-existent college freshman. Soon, this rumour spreads across the school and she found a way to become popular. She then built lies upon lies of sleeping with a bullied friend, and more, but soon enough, students branded her as a slut, and she must find a way to save face before she gets expelled.

What does this teach your teenagers?

There are two sides to every story.

Relax. Jesus. What is with you gays? Are you really that repulsed by lady parts? What do you think I have down there? A gnome? – Olive

4. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Stars: Matthew BroderickAlan RuckMia Sara

Wise high school student Ferris Bueller wants to have a day off from school and eventually pulled it off, but the school principal is determined to catch him.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Enjoy your youth, and sometimes you need an adventure.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

5. Stand by Me (1986)

Stars: Wil WheatonRiver PhoenixCorey Feldman

Four friends began a quest to find the body of a missing local boy. As these 12-year-old boys set off into the woods to see it for themselves, they learn more about themselves and what friendship is all about.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That friends can become family.

It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant.

6. The Hunger Games Set (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Stars: Jennifer LawrenceJosh HutchersonLiam Hemsworth

The series began when Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place when she was chosen to play in the Hunger Games, a competition where two representatives from each of the 12 districts of Panem are chosen by lottery to fight to the death. She and another representative, Peeta Mellark, join other participants as they battle to survive the Hunger Games.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That you can change the world you live in, when you want it bad enough.

May the odds be ever in your favour.” – Katniss

7. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Stars: Shailene WoodleyAnsel ElgortNat Wolff

When 17-year-old Hazel Grace who has lung cancer joins a support group, she met 18-year-old Gus who lost part of his leg to cancer but was apparently cured. They fall in love and Hazel tells Gus about her favourite novel and her dreams of meeting its author, Van Houten in Amsterdam. Gus contacted Van Houten, who invites them to visit him. But arriving there, things are not what they seem to be.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That life is short, and to appreciate the people we have in our lives.

Hello. My name is Hazel Grace Lancaster. And Augustus Waters was the star-crossed love of my life. Ours is an epic love story and I probably won’t be able to get more than a sentence out without disappearing into a puddle of tears. Like all real love stories, ours will die with us, as it should. You know, I’d kind of hoped that he’d be the one eulogizing me, because there is really no one else… Yeah, no, um…

I’m not gonna talk about our love story, ’cause I can’t. So instead I’m gonna talk about math. I’m not a mathematician, but I do know this: There are infinite numbers between zero and one. There’s point one, point one two, point one one two, and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger set of infinite numbers between zero and two or between zero and a million.

Some infinities are simply bigger than other infinities. A writer that we used to like taught us that. You know, I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, do I want more days for Augustus Waters than what he got. But Gus, my love, I can not tell you how thankful I am, for our little infinity. You gave me a forever, within the numbered days. And for that I am… I am eternally grateful. I love you so much.” Hazel Grace

8. Holes (2003)

Stars: Shia LaBeoufSigourney WeaverJon Voight

Young boy Stanley Yelnats IV was wrongfully convicted of stealing and was sent to ‘Camp Green Lake’, a desert detention camp where he and all others were tasked to dig holes for a mysterious reason. Stanley decides to find out why.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Not all adults are good people.

Mr. Sir: Stanley Yelnats… the Fourth?

Stanley: Everyone in my family names their son Stanley, ’cause it’s Yelnats backwards. It’s this little… tradition.

9. The Theory of Everything (2015)

Stars: Eddie RedmayneFelicity JonesTom Prior

This is the love story of the most brilliant physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde, the arts student Stephen met and fell in love with when he was studying at Cambridge in the 1960s as a cosmology student. At 21 years old, Stephen was diagnosed with a fatal illness and was given just two years to live.

But his will and determination were solid and with Jane’s love for him, he soon became one of today’s brilliant minds, whilst being a husband and a father of three. However, Stephen’s body started to deteriorate. But despite this, his mind is in great shape than ever making him known as Einstein’s successor.

What does this teach your teenagers?

You are only limited by your imagination.

There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope. – Stephen Hawking

10. The Way Way Back (2013)

Stars: Steve CarellToni ColletteAllison Janney

When timid 14-year-old Duncan joins his mother, her boyfriends and her boyfriend’s daughter on a summer vacation, he thinks he’s off to nothing. But when he meets adult employees at the local water park, he discovers more about himself.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That parents are people too, and they also make mistakes, and that’s okay.

Don’t die wondering, man.” – Duncan

11. Maidentrip (2013)

Stars: Laura Dekker

Laura Dekker, 14, dreams of sailing around the world alone. At 13, she wasn’t allowed by Dutch authorities but after a year, she earned her right to sail. She then documented her two-year voyage in the different places she went such as the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, and South Africa.

What does this teach your teenagers?

The world is at your feet – and you can do anything!

Nobody said life was easy. But that’s a pretty annoying fact.” – Laura Dekker

12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Stars: Logan LermanEmma WatsonEzra Miller

Shy and introvert, 15-year-old Charlie has gone through so much in his young life — his best friend’s suicide, his mental illness, and coping with his first love. Now, as he joins high school, he is welcomed by two seniors who will lead him to the real world.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That parents forget what it’s like to be young.

I don’t know if I will have the time to write any more letters because I might be too busy trying to participate. So if this does end up being the last letter, I just want you to know that I was in a bad place before I started high school, and you helped me. Even if you didn’t know what I was talking about or know someone who’s gone through it, you made me not feel alone.

Because I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be 16 when they turn 17. I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. We’ll all become somebody’s mom or dad.

But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song and that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite. – Charlie

13. Paper Towns (2015)

Stars: Nat WolffCara DelevingneAustin Abrams

It was an all-night adventure that changed a teenage boy’s life when his lifelong crush, Margo, disappears and leaves him clues to follow. Along with his friends, he then searches for Margo in an adventure that would lead him to find the true meaning of friendship and love.

What does this teach your teenagers?

You have to get lost before you find yourself.” – Margo

14. Superbad (2008)

Stars: Michael CeraJonah HillChristopher Mintz-Plasse

Two high school best friends are on their last weeks of high school and would want to have a memorable summer before they go off to college, but when their plans to go to an alcohol-filled party went wrong, what will happen?

Sure, this has some ‘cringe filled’ moments for parents – but I watched this with my tween boys and they just loved it.  Seth Rogan wrote this story about his own experiences being at high school.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That fake id’s are a really bad idea.  Camaraderie and friends are forever.

You know when you hear girls say ‘Ah man, I was so sh*t-faced last night, I shouldn’t have f*cked that guy?’ We could be that mistake!” – Seth

15. All the Harry Potter Movies

Stars:  Daniel RadcliffeRupert Grint, Emma Watson

Take your teens to the magical life of Harry Potter and his friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as they embark on an adventure, meeting new friends and enemies alike at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, Harry’s struggle remains: getting away from the strongest dark wizard Lord Voldemort who wants all the power to himself and control everything.

What does this teach your teenagers?

It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends. – Dumbledore


16. Super Size Me (2004)

Stars: Morgan SpurlockDaryl IsaacsChemeeka Walker

Documentarist Morgan Spurlock is into an experiment finding about how the fast-food industry affects people’s health, and so he dares himself to eat only McDonald’s meals three times a day for 30 days, and would always agree if he was asked for the meal to be super-sized.

See, now’s the time of the meal when you start getting the McStomach ache. You start getting the McTummy. You get the McGurgles in there. You get the McBrick, then you get the McStomach ache.

Right now I’ve got some McGas that’s rockin’. My arms… I feel like I’ve got some McSweats goin’. My arms got the McTwitches going in here from all the sugar that’s going in my body right now. I’m feeling a little McCrazy. – Morgan Spurlock

17. 13 Going on 30 (2004)

Stars:  Jennifer GarnerMark RuffaloJudy Greer

A girl was so humiliated after her 13th birthday party that she wished to just hide until she’s 30. The next day, she wakes up as a 30-year-old woman.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Who are these women? Does anyone know? I don’t recognize any of them. I want to see my best friend’s big sister, the girls from the soccer team, my next-door neighbour, real women who are smart and pretty and happy to be who they are. These are the women to look up to. Let’s put life back into the magazine. And fun and laughter and silliness.

I think we all – I think all of us – want to feel something that we’ve forgotten or turned our backs on because maybe we didn’t realize how much we were leaving behind. We need to remember what used to be good. If we don’t, we won’t recognize it even if it hits us between the eyes.” – Jenna

18. Pitch Perfect (all of them!)

Stars: Anna KendrickRebel WilsonBrittany Snow

An aspiring DJ and a loner, Beca, who is a freshman at Barden University is enticed to join the school’s all-girls’ singing group, The Bellas, bringing energy into the group, but will it be enough to take home the trophy at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella?

What does this teach your teenagers?

That some friends can be really shit – and they will come and go.

Beca: Are you sure about this?

Fat Amy: Have I ever let you down?

Beca: All the time.

Fat Amy: What?

Beca: You’re very unreliable. It’s like one of the hallmarks of your personality.

Fat Amy: You’re not remembering all the times I’ve been awesome.


19. Forrest Gump (1994)

Stars:  Tom HanksRobin WrightGary Sinise

An innocent man with low IQ but with good intentions, Forrest Gump unknowingly won the hearts of people as he joins the army for service in Vietnam, win medals, being the first man to make the smiley, get people to jog, donates, and do everything good in the world. But for Forrest, there is only one person he ever cared about, his childhood sweetheart, Jennny Curan.

What does this teach your teenagers?

You don’t need to have brains to succeed in life – but you do have to get out of the house.

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. – Forrest Gump

20. Life is Beautiful (1997)

Stars: Roberto BenigniNicoletta BraschiGiorgio Cantarini

A heartbreaking movie about a Jewish librarian and his son who became victims of the Holocaust. In order to still paint a nice picture of the horrors of the Jewish Concentration Camp in the eyes of his son, he uses humour and imagination to make his son think of the Holocaust as a game and the grand prize for winning is a tank.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That parents will do anything to protect their kids from the horrors of the world.

The game starts now. You have to score one thousand points. If you do that, you take home a tank with a big gun. Each day we will announce the scores from that loudspeaker. The one who has the fewest points will have to wear a sign that says “Jackass” on his back.

There are three ways to lose points. One, turning into a big crybaby. Two, telling us you want to see your mommy. Three, saying you’re hungry and want something to eat.” – Guido

21. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Stars:  Hilary SwankClint EastwoodMorgan Freeman

An aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald is determined to achieve her dreams and wants an alienated boxing trainer, who isn’t interested in training a girl, to train her to eventually become a professional.

What does this teach your teenagers?

I’m 32, Mr. Dunn, and I’m here celebrating the fact that I spent another year scraping dishes and waitressing which is what I’ve been doing since 13, and according to you, I’ll be 37 before I can even throw a decent punch, which I have to admit, after working on this speed bag for a month getting nowhere may be the God’s simple truth.

Other truth is, my brother’s in prison, my sister cheats on welfare by pretending one of her babies is still alive, my daddy’s dead, and my momma weighs 312lbs. If I was thinking straight, I’d go back home, find a used trailer, buy a deep fryer and some oreos. Problem is, this the only thing I ever felt good doing. If I’m too old for this, then I got nothing. That enough truth to suit you?” – Maggie Fitzgerald


22. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Stars: Tim RobbinsMorgan FreemanBob Gunton

This narrates the story of a successful banker wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. After his sentence to life imprisonment at Shawshank prison, he was able to meet other inmates, two of whom he became friends with who will help him find solace and redemption.

What does this teach your teenagers?

If you will it to happen, you will find a way – eventually.

I don’t know; every man has his breaking point.” – Red

23. Groundhog Day (1993)

Stars: Bill MurrayAndie MacDowellChris Elliott

A frustrated weatherman finds himself living Groundhog Day over and over again, then realising he is doomed to spend forever seeing the same people and in the same situation every single day.

What does this teach your teenagers?

You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” – Phil


24. Stepmom (1998)

Stepmom (1998)

Stars: Julia RobertsSusan SarandonEd Harris

A divorced terminally ill mother has to learn to accept her former husband’s new lover, who is set to become their children’s stepmother.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Isabel: You know, I never wanted to be a mom. Sharing it with you… that’s one thing. It’s another to be looking over my shoulder for the next twenty years, knowing someone else would have done it better… someone else would have done it right.

Jackie Harrison: What do you have that I don’t?

Isabel: You’re Mother Earth, incarnate.

Jackie Harrison: You’re… hip, and fresh.

Isabel: You ride with Anna.

Jackie Harrison: You’ll learn.

Isabel: You know every story, every wound, every memory. Their whole life’s happiness is wrapped up in you… every single second. Don’t you get it? Look down the road to her wedding. I’m in a room alone with her, fixing her veil, fluffing her dress, telling her no woman has ever looked so beautiful. And my fear is she’ll be thinking, “I wish my mom was here.”

Jackie Harrison: And mine is… she won’t.

25. Catch Me if You Can (2002)

Stars:  Leonardo DiCaprioTom HanksChristopher Walken

Before turning 19, high schooler Frank Abagnale, Jr was able to forge millions of dollars in bad checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a paediatrician, and an attorney. Now, Carl Hanratty, a harsh FBI agent is coming to catch him…if he can.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Dear Dad, you always told me that an honest man has nothing to fear, so I’m trying my best not to be afraid.” – Frank Abagnale, Jr

26. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Stars: Dev PatelFreida PintoSaurabh Shukla

An 18-year-old orphan, Jamal Malik from the slums of Mumbai is only a question away from winning 20 million rupees on India’s version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. However, when the show was on break for the night, he was arrested for alleged cheating. To prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life that would reveal the answer to one of the game show’s questions.

What does this teach your teenagers?

When somebody asks me a question, I tell them the answer.” – Jamal Malik


27. The Green Mile (1999)

Stars: Tom HanksMichael Clarke DuncanDavid Morse

The lives of the death row guards at a penitentiary are going to change after they meet John Coffey who was convicted of child murder and rape, who has a special gift. They then learn that there is something more to kind-hearted John.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Paul Edgecomb: On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job? My job?

John Coffey: You tell God the Father it was a kindness you done. I know you hurtin’ and worryin’, I can feel it on you, but you oughta quit on it now. Because I want it over and done. I do. I’m tired, boss. Tired of bein’ on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. Tired of not ever having me a buddy to be with, or tell me where we’s coming from or going to, or why. Mostly I’m tired of people being ugly to each other. I’m tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There’s too much of it. It’s like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?

Paul Edgecomb: Yes, John. I think I can.

28. The Godfather Parts I and II

Stars: Marlon BrandoAl PacinoJames Caan

When the aging patriarch of an organised crime family bequeaths his empire to his unwilling son, unfortunate events begin happening to the family, that led to war, murder, revenge and finally ends with the successor being chosen.

What does this teach your teenagers?

My father taught me many things here – he taught me in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” – Michael Corleone

29. Erin Brockovich (2000)

Stars: Julia RobertsAlbert FinneyDavid Brisbin

Single mother Erin Brockovich who is desperate to find a job is given a job after her lawyer failed to defend her in a car accident she was in. She then begins to investigate a real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, which she found out was illegally dumping deadly toxic wastes that are poisoning the residents nearby. With her wit and charm, Erin was able to bring down the multi-billion dollar company in one of America’s biggest class action lawsuits.

What does this teach your teenagers?

George: How many numbers you got?

Erin Brockovich: Oh, I got numbers comin’ outta my ears. For instance: ten.

George: Ten?

Erin Brockovich: Yeah. That’s how many months old my baby girl is.

George: You got a little girl?

Erin Brockovich: Yeah. Yeah, sexy, huh? How ’bout this for a number? Six. That’s how old my other daughter is, eight is the age of my son, two is how many times I’ve been married – and divorced; sixteen is the number of dollars I have in my bank account. 850-3943. That’s my phone number, and with all the numbers I gave you, I’m guessing zero is the number of times you’re gonna call it.

30. Dances with Wolves (1990)

Stars: Kevin CostnerMary McDonnellGraham Greene

After Civil War soldier, Lt. John Dunbar, leads the Union troops to victory, he asks to be assigned to the deserted western frontier. There, he will meet a wolf and a band of Lakota Indians. He started to like the simplicity of their lifestyle that he chooses to leave his former life to be with them and falls in love with a woman raised by the tribe. However, things will turn for the worse when the Union soldiers arrive with a different plan for the land.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Many times I’d felt alone, but until this afternoon I’d never felt completely lonely.” – John Dunbar

31. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Stars: Gregory PeckJohn MegnaFrank Overton

In 1932 in small-town Alabama, lawyer Atticus Finch is defending Tom Robinson, a black man who was charged with raping a white woman, and his children against prejudice.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Atticus Finch: I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house; and that he’d rather I’d shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted – if I could hit ’em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Jem: Why?

Atticus Finch: Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don’t do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat people’s gardens, don’t nest in the corncrib, they don’t do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.

32. Jobs (2013)

Stars: Ashton KutcherDermot MulroneyJosh Gad

This is the life story of Steve Jobs, one of the most exceptional minds who shaped modern technology — from being a college dropout to being one of the most respected in his field.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things – they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

33. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Please note that this movie is rated R due to war violence and language so recommended for teens over 18 only.

Stars: Tom HanksMatt DamonTom Sizemore

After the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, a group of US soldiers led by Cpt. Miller from the 2nd Ranger Battalion of the 29th Infantry Division, try to find Private James Francis Ryan whose brothers have been killed in action to save him at the Nazi-occupied territory and bring him to his mother.

What does this teach your teenagers?

The horrors of war. That friendships can be family. That the will to live is stronger than the will to die.

Private Ryan: Hell, these guys deserve to go home as much as I do. They’ve fought just as hard.

Captain Miller: Is that what I’m supposed to tell your mother when she gets another folded American flag?

Private Ryan: You can tell her that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left. And that there was no way I was deserting them. I think she’d understand that.

34. Dead Poets Society (1989)

Stars: Robin WilliamsRobert Sean LeonardEthan Hawke

English teacher John Keating is new at an all-boys preparatory school. He is known for his unorthodox style of teaching and when he meets shy Todd Anderson and roommate, Neil Perry, he introduces them to the Dead Poets Society and tells them to go against the norm. With this, the two begin to go for their dreams and “seize the day.”

What does this teach your teenagers?

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” – John Keating

35. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Stars: Robin WilliamsMatt DamonBen Affleck

A gifted janitor at the MIT, Will Hunting, is excellent at mathematics, and when he was about to be sent to jail, a MIT professor helps him on one condition — that he works with him for maths and that he sees a psychologist, who will eventually change his life.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That no matter where you come from, no matter the circumstance, the right people will find you.

You’re not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you’ve met, she’s not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.” – Sean

36. Pay it Forward (2000)

Stars: Kevin SpaceyHaley Joel OsmentHelen Hunt

Troubled young boy Trevor McKinney is trying to do good deeds when his new social studies teacher gives him an assignment to help change the world. Trevor then thought of a plan to pay a favour forward, repaying good deeds by doing new good deeds to three strangers. Gradually, Trevor became the key to changing not only his life but all the other people around him.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That you really can change the world.

I think some people are too scared, or something. I guess it’s hard for people who are so used to things the way they are – even if they’re bad – to change. ‘Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.” – Trevor McKenney

37. Empire of the Sun (1987)

Stars: Christian BaleJohn MalkovichMiranda Richardson

This chronicles the life of a young English boy James Graham whose life was turned upside down during the Japanese occupation during World War II. He was separated from his parents and is being forced to live and in a confinement camp, suffering food shortages and illnesses. Despite this, James put up a positive attitude, hoping to reconstruct his former life.

What does this teach your teenagers?

The horrors of war, that a positive attitude can get you through anything.

Jim: I was dreaming about God.

Mother: What did he say?

Jim: Nothing.


Jim: He was playing tennis.

38. Crash (2004)

Stars: Don CheadleSandra BullockThandie Newton

Different complicated lives intertwine over a 36-hour period in Los Angeles in connecting stories of loss and redemption.

What does this teach your teenagers?

“It’s the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.” – Graham

39. The Descendants (2011)

Stars: George ClooneyShailene WoodleyAmara Miller

After his wife was seriously injured in a boating accident, land baron, Matt King, searches for his daughter and tries to bring her home and reconnect with her.

What does this teach your teenagers?

I don’t want my daughters growing up entitled and spoiled. And I agree with my father – you give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing. – Matt King

40. Into the Wild (2007)

Stars: Emile HirschVince VaughnCatherine Keener

Top student and athlete Christopher McCandless decides to leave his possessions and donate his entire savings to charity after graduating from Emory University. He then trekked his way to Alaska and live in the wilderness, and along the way, meets different characters that will eventually shape his life.

Based on the true story.

What Into the Wild teaches Teenagers?

That the world is a truly wonderful place, but you can still make mistakes that will kill you.

Happiness only real when shared.” – Christopher McCandless

41. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (2008)

Stars: Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend

Bruno sneaks into the woods, arriving at a barbed wire fence surrounding the camp. He befriends a boy named Shmuel, and their ignorance of the camp’s true nature is revealed: Bruno thinks the striped uniforms that Shmuel, Pavel, and the other prisoners wear are pyjamas, and Shmuel believes his grandparents died from an illness during their journey to the camp.

Bruno meets Shmuel regularly, sneaking him food and playing board games. He learns Shmuel is a Jew, brought to the camp with his father and mother.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, it’s what is on the inside that counts.

“We’re not supposed to be friends, you and me.  We’re meant to be enemies.  Did you know that?” – Bruno

42. The Help (2011)

Stars: Emma StoneViola DavisOctavia Spencer

Set during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, aspiring author Skeeter wants to write a book about the state of African American maids in Jackson, Mississippi, and what they view about the white families they work for. Along the way, Skeeter finds unlikely friendships and eventually showed the true face of Jackson’s high society.

What does this teach your teenagers?

That racism is horrific.  That Black Lives Matter and that some people may look pretty on the outside, but are horrible on the inside.

Constantine Jefferson: What you doin’ hiding out here, girl?

Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I just couldn’t tell mama I didn’t get invited to the dance.

Constantine Jefferson: That’s all right. Some things we just got to keep to ourselves.

Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: The boys say I’m ugly. Mama was the third runner-up in the Miss South Carolina pageant…

Constantine Jefferson: Now you quit feeling sorry for yourself. Now that’s ugly. Ugly is something that grows up from inside you. It’s mean and hurtful, like them boys. Now you not one of them, is you?

[Skeeter shakes her head]

Constantine Jefferson: I didn’t think so, honey. Every day you’re not dead in the ground, when you wake up in the morning, you’re gonna have to make some decisions. Got to ask yourself this question: “Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today?” You hear me? “Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today? You hear me today?” All right? As for your mama, she didn’t pick her life. It picked her. But you, you’re gonna do something big with yours. You wait and see.

43. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Stars: Russell CroweEd HarrisJennifer Connelly

This is the story of mathematics genius and Nobel Prize recipient John Forbes Nash, Jr. and his struggles with paranoia. The story revolves around how the government asks Nash’s help breaking Soviet codes. As he grows more paranoid, he soon discovers something that would turn his life around.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Nash: I’ve always believed in numbers, in equations, in logic and reason.But after a lifetime of such pursuits: I ask What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career – the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found. I am only here tonight because of you

Nash: [looking at and speaking to Alicia]

Nash: You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons. Thank you.

44. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Stars: Brad PittCate BlanchettTilda Swinton

This film recounts the extraordinary life of Benjamin Button, a man who was aging backwards, being born with different aging diseases, but surviving and getting younger as he ages. He then meets Daisy who he fell in love with but their bizarre situation makes it difficult for them as Daisy gets older, Benjamin gets younger.

What does this teach your teenagers?

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it.

And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” Benjamin Button

45. Fight Club (1999)

Stars: Brad PittEdward NortonMeat Loaf

When an insomniac office worker tries to relieve his insomnia by attending support groups, he thought he was on the right track. But when he meets Tyler, an impulsive soapmaker, he was dragged into an underground fight club.

Sure, you might think as a parent this would totally be unsuitable to watch with your kids – but this movie is epic – and a masterpiece.  And if your kids are old enough to understand it – it truly is a life-changing movie.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place.

We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” – Tyler Durden

46. Whiplash (2014)

Stars: Miles TellerJ.K. SimmonsMelissa Benoist

A 19-year-old drummer, Andrew Nieman, is dreaming of becoming the greatest jazz drummer in the world and goes to a music conservatory known for its ruthless methods. He then meets one of the most respected professors at the school who will do everything to push him to his potential.

What does this teach your teenagers?

There is no pleasing some people.

There are no two words in the English language more harmful than “good job”. – Terence Fletcher

47. The Book Thief (2013)

Stars: Sophie NélisseGeoffrey RushEmily Watson

Young Liesel Meminger finds comfort in stealing books and sharing them with others. But during World War II in Germany, when people are being forced to burn their books, Liesel recovers one book, but her adoptive parents must protect her in the basement of their home.

What does this teach your teenagers?

There once was a ghost of a boy who liked to live in the shadows, so he wouldn’t frighten people. His job was to wait for his sister, who was still alive. She wasn’t afraid of the dark, because she knew that’s where her brother was. At night, when darkness came to her room, she would tell her brother about the day.

She would remind him how the sun felt on his skin, and what the air felt like to breathe, or how snow felt on his tongue. And that reminded her that she was still alive.” – Liesel Meminger

48. 127 Hours (2010)

Stars: James FrancoAmber TamblynKate Mara

Based on the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston who was trapped under a boulder while canyoneering by himself near Moab, Utah and decides to take desperate measures to survive.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Shit can go wrong. Always let someone know where you are going. Never give up.

You know, I’ve been thinking. Everything is… just comes together. It’s me. I chose this. I chose all of this. This rock… this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. In its entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago up there In space.

It’s been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I’ve been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath I’ve taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the earth’s surface.” – Aron Ralston

49. The Blind Side (2009)

Stars:  Quinton AaronSandra BullockTim McGraw

This is the true story of American football player Michael Oher, who was a homeless 17-year-old boy, who was taken in by couple, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy. Leigh Anne made sure Michael goes to school and when he expressed his desire for football, she helps him and saw his skills. Michael was then discovered and soon he became the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft.

What does it teach your teenagers?

Good people are out there.

Courage is a hard thing to figure. You can have courage based on a dumb idea or mistake, but you’re not supposed to question adults, or your coach or your teacher, because they make the rules. Maybe they know best, but maybe they don’t. It all depends on who you are, where you come from. Didn’t at least one of the six hundred guys think about giving up, and joining with the other side? I mean, valley of death that’s pretty salty stuff. That’s why courage it’s tricky. Should you always do what others tell you to do?

Sometimes you might not even know why you’re doing something. I mean any fool can have courage. But honor, that’s the real reason for you either do something or you don’t. It’s who you are and maybe who you want to be. If you die trying for something important, then you have both honor and courage, and that’s pretty good. I think that’s what the writer was saying, that you should hope for courage and try for honor. And maybe even pray that the people telling you what to do have some, too.” – Michael Oher

50. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Stars: Michael MooreCharlton HestonMarilyn Manson

Activist filmmaker Michael Moore examines where America’s gun violence.

The movie focuses on the School Shooting at Columbine and the devastating effects that gun violence has on our youth.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Listen to people. Trust your gut, and if something doesn’t sit well – tell someone.

Michael Moore: If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine or the people in that community, what would you say to them if they were here right now?

Marilyn Manson: I wouldn’t say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say, and that’s what no one did.

51. Five Feet Apart (2019)

Stars: Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moisés Arias

Stella Grant lived almost all her life inside the hospital, doing the same things every day, because of her illness called cystic fibrosis. But one day, she meets Will Newman, a guy who also suffers from the same condition. As days go by, their relationship becomes deeper and deeper, but they discover they can never be together.

What does this teach your teenagers?

Sometimes you don’t get everything you want, but that’s okay.

“Don’t think about what you’ve lost. Think of how much you have to gain. Live, Stella.”

More Reading:

Which of these life-changing movies have you watched yourself?Life-Changing Movies | Stay at Home Mum

Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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