MOVIES LIFE

The Classics: 50 Best ‘Coming of Age’ Movies & TV Shows

23 min read
The Classics: 50 Best ‘Coming of Age’ Movies & TV Shows

Do you remember your coming of age? Your rite of passage?

The awkwardness and the raging hormones?

Or have you blacked it out… no worries, we shall make you remember!

Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no moving on from our youth and the embarrassing moments that came with it for we are giving you the ultimate list of the best Coming of Age movies and TV shows!

1. Stand By Me

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Starring the late River Phoenix, Stand By Me is about four 12-year-old boys who set off on a journey to find the body of a local missing boy. Along the way, they learn much about themselves and their friendship.

The movie had four boys who all went on to be huge stars, River Phoenix (RIP), Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell and Wil Wheaten.

Trivia:  Kiefer Sutherland claimed in an interview that in one of the locations of the film, a Renaissance Fair was being held and the cast and crew attended and bought some cookies. Unfortunately, the cookies turned out to be pot cookies and two hours later, the crew found Jerry O’Connell crying and high on the cookies somewhere in the park. (Source: IMDB)

Best Quote: ” Gordie: Suck my fat one, you cheap dime store hood.”

2. The Inbetweeners

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Anyone who wants to relive the awkwardness of their adolescence needs to watch this movie about 18-year-old kids who are not awkward enough to belong to the outcasts but not cool enough to belong to the cool kids.

The TV Series is fantastic and so cringeworthy.  The movie is good too (don’t bother with the sequal though….)

Trivia: In an interview by Stephen King in the special features of the DVD, he reveals that the scene with the leeches actually did happen to him, when he was a child. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote:  “Morning benders, jump in the minge mobile!”

3. That 70s Show

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Set in 1970s Wisconsin, this iconic comedy revolves around a group of teenage friends and chronicles the struggles and excitements of being an adolescent.

Trivia:  Mila Kunis was only 14 when she auditioned for the show.  When producers asked her ask, she mislet them by saying ‘Well, I’ll be 18 on my birthday’ and neglected to say when.

Best Quote: “Red Forman: What have I said about comparing your sister to the Devil? (Source: IMBD)

Eric: That it’s offensive to the Devil?”

4. The Wonder Years

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This TV show follows the life of the main character, Kevin Arnold, as he recalls his good and bad experiences from childhood to adolescence and adulthood.

Trivia: In nearly every dinner table scene, one of the Arnold family members (usually Norma) mentions a potato dish. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Kevin Arnold – The Narrator: When you’re a little kid you’re a bit of everything; Scientist, Philosopher, Artist. Sometimes it seems like growing up is giving these things up one at a time.”

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Adapted from a best-selling book by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about 15-year-old freshman Charlie who, while coping with different issues, is taken under the wings of two seniors, Sam and Patrick.

Trivia: Ezra Miller did his initial audition for the film over Skype, and he was so charismatic in the interview, that they cast him within five hours of the audition. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Patrick: What?

Charlie: I feel infinite.”

6. The Way Way Back

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This 2013 movie features the unexpected friendship that happens between a 14-year-old boy who doesn’t fit in with his new family and the manager of a nearby water park.

Trivia: Saoirse Ronan (Irena) celebrated her 16th birthday on the set of this shoot. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Duncan: Don’t die wondering, man.”

7. The Lost Boys

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A mother and her two sons move into a town where a lot of mysterious deaths have been happening. The older boy joins the biker gang after being enamoured by a beautiful girl while the younger boy gets involved with people who claim to be vampire hunters.

Trivia: The movie was filmed in only three weeks. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Grandpa: One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach; all the damn vampires.”

8. Juno

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Juno follows the life of its titular character, 16-year-old Juno who accidentally gets pregnant. She then makes a series of decisions that will change her life forever.

Trivia: The hamburger phone in the movie is owned by the writer, Diablo Cody. (Source IMBD)

Best Quote: “Paulie Bleeker: You seem to be getting pregnanter these days.”

9. Almost Famous

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Like what its tagline says, “Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don’t fall for it.” The movie follows the experiences of 15-year-old William Miller who is hired by Rolling Stones to tour with and write about an up-and-coming band, Stillwater.

Trivia: To look like a real rock band, the four actors in Stillwater rehearsed for four hours a night, five nights a week, for six weeks. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Dennis Hope: If you think Mick Jagger will still be out there trying to be a rock star at age fifty, then you are sadly, sadly mistaken.”

10. My Girl

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Starring a young Macaulay Culkin, My Girl is about two friends, Vada and Thomas, who stick together despite their differences. Vada has a lot of hang-ups and the only person who can understand her is Thomas.

Trivia: Macaulay Culkin’s first on-screen kiss.(Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Vada Sultenfuss: [to Thomas J., after getting her first period] Get outta here! And don’t come back for five to seven days!”

11. Heathers

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Veronica tries to survive high school by sticking to a popular but snobby clique of three girls all named Heather. Upon meeting the sociopath JD, she begins to exact revenge on these three girls whom she had grown to resent.

Trivia: The film’s first scene was actually the last one to be shot. By that time, Lisanne Falk had cut her hair and had to wear a wig. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Heather Chandler: Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Teresa?”

12. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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A young (and more fun) Sean Penn stars in this 1982 movie about high school students whose lives revolve around these three very important things: sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.

Trivia: Nicolas Cage lied about his age so that he could get a bigger part, but the producers found out that he was only 17. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Desmond: That kid’s been stoned since the third grade”

13. The Spectacular Now

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Sutter Keely is the life of the party, an attractive confident guy, and a budding alcoholic who totally lives in the now. Everything changes when he meets good girl, Aimee Finecky.

Trivia: The film includes both Miles Teller‘s and Shailene Woodley‘s first sex scene. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Cassidy: You’ll always be my favorite ex-boyfriend.”

14. Adventureland

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Set in 1987, James Brennan, a college graduate, takes on a summer job in a local amusement park. While it initially felt like a setback to him, he discovers not only love but also life in the seemingly sad workplace.

Trivia: The film takes place in 1987. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Joel: [looking at fish bowls] A little more than 40% of these fish are dead.”

15. Superbad

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Two inseparable high school friends, Seth and Evan, who didn’t really belong with the cool kids crowd, lucked out and got invited to a party. But just as they were planning on cementing their cool status and kick-starting their sex lives, the party goes downhill.

Trivia: Writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg started this script when they were just 13 years old, because “we just wanted to see if we could write a movie.” (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: ” Officer Michaels: How old are you McLovin?

Fogell: Old enough.

Officer: Old enough for what?

Fogell: To party.”

16. How I Met Your Mother

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Set in 2030, Ted Mosby, in this immensely popular sitcom, relays to his children a very longwinded story about how he met their mother. Starting in 2005, his story includes the ups and downs of his life and his four best friends’.

Trivia: The clock in Marshall and Teds apartment is always set at 4:20. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote:” Barney: Challenge accepted!”

17. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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This incredibly classic movie revolves around witty high school student Ferris Bueller and the sophisticated plan he has come up with in order to take a day off from school — much to their principal’s chagrin.

Trivia: To produce the desired drugged-out effect for his role as the drug addict in the police station, Charlie Sheen stayed awake for more than 48 hours before the scene was shot. (Source: IMBD)

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

18. Pretty in Pink

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Pretty in Pink revolves around a classic love triangle: an unpopular girl torn between the affections of the best friend she has always known and a rich and popular but sensitive playboy.

Trivia: Molly Ringwald hated the pink prom dress she had to wear. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Duckie: It’s called a sense of humor – you should get one – they’re nice.”

19. Freaks & Geeks

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Two different groups of students thrive in McKinley High: the Freaks and the Geeks. After the death of their grandmother, math geek Lindsay Weir begins hanging out with the Freeks while her younger brother gravitates toward the Geeks.

Trivia: ‘James Franco’ and Busy Philipps were said to have hated each other in real life, in spite of the fact that they play a couple in the show. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Neal Schweiber: Friday night, always a good night for some Sabbath.

[Lindsay looks at him]

Neal Schweiber: … ’cause, you know, Friday? is the the Sabbath… for the Jews.”

20. Degrassi High

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Following the children’s TV show, The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi High revolves around the lives of these kids, all grown up, as they tackle the struggles and challenges of being a teenager.

Trivia: In the first episode as Ms. Avery is taking attendance, one of the twins, later known as Heather and Erica, is referred to as “Stacy”. (Source: IMBD)

21. Blossom

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Featuring a young Mayim Bialik, Blossom is a teenage girl who lives in a rather unconventional household who dreams of what her life would be like if she lived with a different family.

Trivia: Mayim Bialik now calls Blossom one big unending embarrassment. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote:” Joey Russo: Whoa!”

22. Saved By The Bell

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The ultimate teenage TV show of the early 90s, Saved By The Bell revolves around the lives of six high school friends who couldn’t be more different from each other but get along quite well.

Trivia: In every show the same classroom was used just rearranged for the subject being taught. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Zack: You know, I’ve finally found out the best thing about high school, once you graduate you don’t have to come back.”

23. The Breakfast Club

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Who doesn’t know The Breakfast Club? This classic movie from 1985 follows the lives of five different students who symbolise five different teenage stereotypes. The one thing they have in common is a nine-hour detention.

Trivia: The scene in which all characters sit in a circle on the floor in the library and tell stories about why they were in detention was not scripted. John Hughes told them all to ad-lib. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Andrew: We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”

24. The 100

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The 100 gives a new twist to the usual post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows. In this TV series, after a nuclear war almost completely wiped out Earth, the survivors, now living in The Ark, send back 100 juvenile delinquents to repopulate the planet.

Trivia: The series started filming before the first book was released. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Clarke: [v.o] I was born in space. I’ve never felt the sun on my face or breathed real air or floated in the water. None of us have.”

25. Beverly Hills 90210

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This long-running television show revolves around the lives of a group of friends living in the wealthy neighbourhood of Beverly Hills and follows their experiences from high school to adulthood.

Trivia: Gabrielle Carteris was 29 years old when the series began. (Source: IMBD) 

Best Quote: “Steve Sanders: Girls mature faster than guys.

Brandon Walsh: Not in my house they don’t.”

26. Glee

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Glee is about high school students who want to escape from the harshness of high school by joining the glee club. Unexpectedly, they find love, acceptance and their dreams in the club.

Trivia: On the day of her audition, Lea Michele was in a car accident right outside of the studio. She came in literally still pulling glass from her hair. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Sue Sylvester: Hey buddy.”

27. Gilmore Girls

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This drama highlights the close relationship between a single mother, Lorelai, and her teenage daughter, Rory, Lorelai’s troubles with her parents, Rory’s new school, and their romantic entanglements.

Trivia: Alexis Bledel hates coffee, but Rory, her character, loves it. Whenever you see her drinking “coffee” in the series, she is actually drinking Coca-Cola out of her cup. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: ” Rory: Why me?

Paris: Because people like you. You’re quiet. You say “excuse me”. You look like little birds help you get dressed in the morning.”

28. Clueless

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Cher, played by Alicia Silverstone, and her friends are sheltered high school students living in Beverly Hills. Cher and her life look superficial at first, but her wit, charm, and compassion are revealed as the story unfolds.

Trivia: The film’s writers sat in classes at Beverly Hills High to get the flavor of the students.(Source: IMBD) 

Best Quote: “Cher: Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good.”

29. Dawson’s Creek

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The immensely popular Dawson’s Creek follows the lives of best friends Dawson and Joey who begin to experiences new changes and challenges as they enter adolescence and adulthood.

Trivia: Every episode from season 1 starts in Dawson’s room. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Dawson: I’m mad at the world, Joey, I’m a teenager.”

30. Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion

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Romy and Michele have been inseparable since high school, made miserable by the popular crowd. When they learn about their high school reunion, they begin spinning a bogus success story to impress their classmates.

Trivia: When Sandy and Toby are naming the capitals of all the 50 states at the Prom, Sandy says Albuquerque which is not a capital of any of the 50 states. (Source: IMBD)

31. Dazed & Confused

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Set in May 1976 in Texas, everyone is making the most of their last day of school. Incoming freshmen are hazed, everyone wants to get drunk and stoned, and everyone is looking to get laid.

Trivia: In the scene where the kids are building the paddles the teacher in the shop (sleeping) is actually a real teacher at that school and still works there. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Wooderson: That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

32. Party of Five

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This TV series revolves around the lives of five siblings whose parents were killed in an accident. Left to cope with the world’s challenges on their own, they struggle to raise each other.

Trivia:Jennifer Love Hewitt was the only actor to actually be a teen playing a teen in the early seasons. (Source: IMBD)

33. The O.C.

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The OC is an American teen drama that follows the lives of a group of teenagers and their wealthy families but focuses on the life of a troubled teen, Ryan Atwood, who gets thrust into the wealthy community and is forced to cope.

Trivia: When Ben McKenzie was cast, he was working as a telemarketer. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Jimmy: Your mother has to wake up every morning and be Julie Cooper. That’s punishment enough.”

Watch The OC on Binge 

34. St Elmo’s Fire

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This 1985 movie is about seven friends trying to cope with the “real world,” which is life after graduation. The friends take on different paths and encounter different journeys but a local hangout, called St. Elmo’s Bar, keeps them together.

Trivia: Demi Moore had a drug problem, much like her character when she was cast in the film. One day, director Joel Schumacher actually demanded that she leave the set because she was really high. (Source: IMBD)

35. Malcolm in the Middle

Following the life of gifted teen, Malcolm, who needs to survive and thrive with his bizarrely dysfunctional family, Malcolm in the Middle is about a genius coping with challenges at home and in school.

Trivia: The show featured no laugh track, which was unusual for a live-action sitcom.(Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Yes, no, maybe, I don’t know, can you repeat the question?”

36. Insurgent

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Insurgent is part of the Divergent trilogy, based on books written by Veronica Roth. Second in the series, it follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior as she faces the consequences of her decisions and as she chooses to embrace her Divergence.

Trivia: According to Miles Teller, 90% of his scenes he is bleeding from Tris (Shanilene Woodley ) beating him up. (Source: IMBD) 

Best Quotes: “Peter: Hey, Tris, I really like your hair, by the way. Did you try to cut it all short and weird like that?”

37. Into the Wild

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After his graduation, top student Christopher McCandless leaves his possessions, gives his life savings to charity, and goes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Based on a true story, McCandless discovers a lot about life and himself.

Trivia: The watch Emile Hirsch wears in the movie is Christopher McCandless‘ real life watch, given to him as a present. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Christopher McCandless: When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.”

38. Grease

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Set in the 1950s, the ever iconic Grease is about a good girl, Sandy, and a greaser, Danny, who fell in love over summer. But when they go back to school, what they don’t know now is they are now attending the same school.

Trivia:The film takes place in 1958. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Danny: [singing] I got chills / They’re multiplyin’ / And I’m losing control / Cause the power you’re supplying / It’s electrifyin’.”

39. Dirty Dancing

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Yet another iconic movie from the 80s, Dirty Dancing follows the life of privileged Baby who spends her summer in an upscale resort but unexpectedly falls in love with a dancing instructor.

Trivia: Patrick Swayze had to convince Jennifer Grey to be in this film, because she had disliked him so much while filming Red Dawn (1984). (Source: IMBD) 

Best Quote: “Johnny: Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

40. Good Will Hunting

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The award-winning movie, Good Will Hunting, revolves around the life of Will Hunting, a janitor at the MIT who is gifted in mathematics, and Sean Maguire, a therapist who successfully challenges Will’s defence mechanisms.

Trivia: According to Matt Damon, Robin Williams‘ best addition is the last line of the film. (Source: IMBD) 

Best Quote: “Sean: [to Will] You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

41. Donnie Darko

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Donnie Darko, the titular character of this suspense film, is an outsider who doesn’t get along well with other people. Then he is haunted by a rabbit-like creature, Frank, who manipulates him into committing a series of crimes.

Trivia: At the wrap party for the film, Seth Rogen and Jake Gyllenhaal agreed that they had no idea what the movie was about. (source: IMBD)

Best Quotes: “Elizabeth: I’m voting for Dukakis.”

42. Footloose

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Ren McCormack just moves into a Midwestern town where rock music and dancing have been made illegal. Senior prom is coming and only Ren has the courage to question the absurd ban.

Trivia: Chris Penn could not dance, so they had to teach him in terms of what he already knew: wrestling. (Source: IMBD) 

Best Quote: “Ren: Hey, hey! What’s this I see? I thought this was a party. LET’S DANCE!”

43. Gossip Girl

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Gossip Girl is a popular TV series that revolves around a group of privileged teenagers living in the Upper East Side of New York. Gossip Girl is a ruthless anonymous blogger who exposes the lives of the young elite.

Trivia: In the show, Chuck gets a dog and names him “Monkey.” In the “Gossip Girl” books, Chuck actually has a pet monkey. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Chuck Bass: I’m Chuck Bass.”

Watch Gossip Girl on Binge 

44. Veronica Mars

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Veronica Mars is a popular girl, but when another high school student gets murdered and her dad gets removed as county sheriff, she and her father decide to work together as private investigators.

Trivia: The theme song is “We Used to be Friends” by the The Dandy Warhols. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Veronica: Look at you, all helpful.”

45. Dead Poets Society

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Dead Poets Society is about an English teacher, John Keating, and his students who are facing different struggles. Professor Keating teaches his students to love poetry and go against the status quo.

Trivia: To help his young leads bond, director Peter Weir had them all room together. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Neil Perry: But, that’s ten more years! Father, that’s a *lifetime*!”

46. Boyhood

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Boyhood is a groundbreaking movie, filmed over 12 years with the same cast, and shows us the actual life of a growing boy. The movie features the primary character’s entire life from childhood to entering college.

Trivia: Ellar Coltrane, who plays the boy of the title, was 7 years old when the movie started filming and 19 when it finished. (Source : IMBD)

Best Quote: “Mom: [Mason is leaving for college] This is the worst day of my life.”

47. Silicon Valley

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This ongoing TV series, inspired by creator Mike Judge’s experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer, is a comedy about programmers and engineers coping with challenges inside and outside Silicon Valley.

Trivia: During the first and second season opening credits, a hot air balloon with the Napster logo inflates, rises, then deflates. (Source: IMBD) 

Best Quotes: “Gavin Belson: I don’t want to live in a world where someone else is making the world a better place better than we are.”

Watch Sillicon Valley on Binge 

48. Empire of the Sun

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Set during the First World War, this award-winning film follows the life of its protagonist, James Graham, struggling with life under the Japanese occupation. Taken away from his parents and captured, he attempts to reclaim his old life.

Trivia: “The film received six Oscar nominations but failed to win in all categories, losing all of them to The Last Emperor (1987)”. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Jim: I can’t remember what my parents look like.”

49. Girl, Interrupted

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Based on an autobiography by Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted is about Susanna who is taken to a private mental hospital after confessing to several issues. In the hospital, she makes friends with the institutionalised.

Trivia: Angelina Jolie avoided any communication with Winona Ryder when making this movie claiming that if she saw anything human about Winona Ryder, she wouldn’t have been able to act out the sociopath character of Lisa Rowe as effectively. (Source: IMBD)

Best Quote:” Susanna: [narrating] Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy.”

50. Married with Children

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This long-running sitcom revolves around the lives of the dysfunctional Bundy family: Al thinks he’s miserable, Peggy, his wife, is lazy and a spender, their daughter Kelly is superficial while their son Bud is self-absorbed.

Trivia: Ed O’Neill‘s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is in front of a shoe store.(Source: IMBD)

Best Quote: “Al: Women should have three breasts – two in front and one in the back for dancing.”

Which is your favourite coming of age movie or TV show?

The Classics: 50 Best 'Coming of Age' Movies & TV Shows | Stay at Home Mum

About Author

Jody Allen

Jody is the founder and essence of Stay at Home Mum. An insatiable appetite for reading from a very young age had Jody harbouring dreams of being a pu...Read Moreblished author since primary school. That deep-seeded need to write found its way to the public eye in 2011 with the launch of SAHM. Fast forward 4 years and a few thousand articles Jody has fulfilled her dream of being published in print. With the 2014 launch of Once a Month Cooking and 2015's Live Well on Less, thanks to Penguin Random House, Jody shows no signs of slowing down. The master of true native content, Jody lives and experiences first hand every word of advertorial she pens. Mum to two magnificent boys and wife to her beloved Brendan; Jody's voice is a sure fire winner when you need to talk to Mums. Read Less

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