Movie Cycles: Youth Culture–Teenpics and High-School Movies

We have come a long way since Judge Hardy told his son Any (Mickey Rooney) in the popular Andy Hardy film series: “We taught you how to think, your mother and I, and if you make a mistake, it’s our mistake too.”

Back in the late 1980s, when I was asked to teach a course dealing with Youth Culture and Hollywood, I read some influential books on the subject.

Brake,Mike. The Sociology of Youth Culture and Youth Suculture,1980.

Davis, Fred. On Youth Subcultures: The Hippie Variant, 1971.

Doherty, Thomas. Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950s, 1988. (The most insightful book on the subject).

Goldstein, Ruth M. and Edith Zarnow. The Screen Image of Youth: Movies about Children and Adolescents, 1980.

McGee, Mark Thomas and R.J. Robertson: The J.D. Films: Juvenile Delinquency in the Movies, 1982.

High-School Movies (in chronological order):

Blackboard Jungle, 1955

Rebel Without a Cause, 1955

The Violent Years, 1956

Rock Rock Rock, 1956

Splendor in the Grass, 1961

Bye Bye Birdie, 1963

To Sir with Love, 1967

High School (documentary), 1968

The Last Picture Show, 1971

American Graffiti, 1973

The Lords of Flatbush, 1974

Cooley High, 1975

Carrie, 1976

Grease, 1978

Over the Edge, 1979

Rock Roll High School, 1979

Fame, 1980

My Bodyguard, 1980

Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982

Gregory’s Girl, 1982

Tex, 1982

Bad Boys, 1983

The Outsiders, 1983

Spring Break, 1983

Lords of Discipline, 1983

Return of the Black Stallion, 1983

Risky Business, 1983

The Karate Kid (and its sequels), 1984

Reckless, 1984

Sixteen Candles, 1984

The Breakfast Club, 1985

Back to the Future, 1985

Flamingo Kid, 1985

Mischief, 1985

Seeventeen (docu), 1985

Turf Turf, 1985

Vision Quest, 1985

Ferris  Buellers Day Off, 1986

Hoosiers, 1986

Lucas, 1986

Pretty in Pink, 1986

Peggy Sue Got Married, 1986

Stand and Deliver, 1988

Dead Poets Society, 1989

Heathers, 1989

Say Anything, 1989

Flirting, 1992

Hoop Dreams (documentary), 1994

Scream 1996

Clueless, 1995

Can’t Hardly Wait, 1998 

Rushmore, 1998

American Pie, 1999

Get Real, 1999

Election, 1999

The Virgin Suicides, 1999

Bring It On, 2000

Donnie Darko, 2001

Brick, 2006

Napoleon Dynamite, 2004