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Top 5 Coming of Age Films Pt. 1 – Classic Films

This summer has seen the release of many great coming of age films, including Mud, The Kings of Summer, and most recently The Way, Way Back. In honor of these films and the great sub-genre that is coming of age films, we decided to take a look back at the best coming of age films of all time. In the first of a two part list, here we take a look at the best classic films in this genre, meaning anything before the year 1990.

5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
If anything can be said about classic coming of age films it’s that John Hughes ruled all of them. He’s on this list 3/5 times, and rightfully so. With Ferris Bueller Hughes took something that every high school student wishes for every day, a day off, and elevated it to new heights. Again taking the “entire movie in one day” vibe that made Hughes’ other coming of age films so classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off packs so much humour, sentimentality, and raw truth into it’s running time that it’s almost impossible to believe that John Hughes also wrote and directed even better movies than this and didn’t run out of things to say.


4. Sixteen Candles
Another Hughes classic, another bunch of awkward teenagers, another great coming of age movie. Though Sixteen Candles is often thought of as a chick flick, it’s so far from that that it’s unfair. Don’t let the title fool you, Sixteen Candles is amongst the most honest and realistic films portraying high school life, crushes, dances, and embarrassment of all time.


3. Big
Who says a movie starring a 32 year old Tom Hanks can’t be a coming of age film? In Big, Hanks plays Josh Baskin, a kid who makes a wish to grow up and wakes up the next day as Tom Hanks… well, he doesn’t wake up as Tom Hanks the actor but you get the picture. Big proved that coming of age films can come in all shapes and sizes and surprisingly, John Hughes doesn’t have to write or direct them. Filled with an incredible performance by Tom Hanks, some incredibly memorable scenes, and a story that isn’t about high school, Big received critical and commercial acclaim as well as the biggest honour of all, a spot on this list.


2. Breakfast Club
John Hughes. Takes place in one day. Teenagers in high school. The Athlete. The Brain. The Basket Case. The Princess. The Criminal. Classic movie. Detention. You get it.


1. Stand By Me
Stand By Me is the most classic of all classic coming of age films. If there was a spot higher than number one on this list that’s where it would be. Stand By Me arguably set the stage for all coming of age films that have followed it and most are still being compared to this 1986 classic to this day (including The Kings of Summer). Stand By Me is everything that a film should be and more, and it’s one of the only films that can literally never get old no matter how many times you see it. Everything about it, right down to the music, is absolutely perfect and without it one would imagine there wouldn’t even be a coming of age genre. Or at the very least it would look completely different than it does now. And since the coming of age genre consistently produces some of the best movies of all time, that would be a very bad thing.


Jake Horowitz

Easily the most sarcastic, snarky, and opinionated writer on Scene Creek, Jake has been a staff writer with us since 2011 where he has entertained readers with his semi-weekly segment, "All Questions Answered." After writing for Collider.com and other outlets around the web, Jake has found his home at Scene Creek where he has spawned numerous features, reviews, and recurring segments that serve to enlighten, confuse, and infuriate readers. Most of Jake's time is spent writing for television or watching television, but in his spare time he will interact with readers and fans and post witty one-liners on his Twitter account. Favorite Movies: Rain Man, Social Network, Toy Story 3