John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything
John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything

Top 15 Teen Movie Music Moments

Teen movies, in general, have great music. I don't know how that is, but when you think about it, teenagers take music more seriously than any other demographic I can think of, so if you're making a movie by/for them, it's gotta have a great soundtrack. Some of the choices may be silly, but, then again, most teen movies are too.

15. Clueless, General Public "Tenderness", Radiohead "Fake Plastic Trees, Coolio "Rollin With The Homies", Jill Sobule "Supermodel"

A fitting introduction to all modern teen movies. Writer/Producer/Director Amy Heckerling, a veteran of the Brat Pack era herself, re-imagines Jane Austin's Emma as a match-making high school gal cavorting around to a killer soundtrack that featuring a number of re-made 80s songs. The flick revived the late Teen Movie Factory which began churning out a ton high school comedies, as well as plenty of classicd-turned-teen drama... like She's All That (My Fair Lady), Cruel Intentions (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), O (Othello), and 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Schrew).

14. Weird Science, Oingo Boingo, "Weird Science" & General Public "Tenderness"

13. Risky Business - Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight"

12. Rushmore - "Making Time"

Wes Anderson's much-copied montage of Max Fisher's busy extracurricular schedule set to Brit-invasion fuzz.

11. Romeo + Juliet, Garbage "#1 Crush" or Radiohead "Talk Show Host" or Des'eree(?) "Kissing you"

10. Pretty in Pink, Psychedlic Furrs "Pretty in Pink"

9. Sixteen Candles (A: Altered Images ..happy birthday, my favorite bday track ever!)

8. Valley Girl, Eddy Grant, "Electric Avenue"

Awww, Nick Cage used to be cute! This soundtrack kills, and has both Modern English's "Melt With You" and Men at Work's "Who Can it be Now?"

7. Some Kind of Wonderful, Lick The Tins, "Can't Help Falling in Love"

This, for many, is a favorite John Hughes moment. I'd never seen the movie but, oh man, it IS a great song. Love the tin whistle. Skinny Eric Stoltz and a tin whistle is all you need.

6. Dazed and Confused, "Free Ride"

Honestly there are TONS of songs to choose from on this one... a great classic rock soundtrack. "Free Ride" narrowly beat out the pool hall entrance scene to Bob Dylan's "Hurricane".

5. Fast Times at Ridgemont High: The Cars, "Moving in Stereo"

Hilariously, the actual scene isn't on YouTube (probably because of the nudity), but the scene has obviously reached legendary status, as you get the idea here.

4. Donnie Darko, Tears for Fears "Head Over Heels"

Donnie Darko is either adored or maligned depending on the crowds you sit with at lunch. In this clip we're introduced to nearly all the characters in the film while touching on some major plot points and motifs in the process. Richard Kelly's film style seems to give a nod to John Hughes, Baz Lurhman and David Lynch -- all of whom have a healthy fascination with teen drama. Did you catch Phantom Planet singer Alex Greenwald doing a line of coke with a young Seth Rogan? Gotta love it.

3. The Breakfast Club: Simple Minds, "Don't You Forget about Me"

Because some dope has disabled embedding, you can check out the ending here. Simple Minds were the centerpiece of this teenage testament to high school cliques -- the song made the Judd Nelson still-frame ending iconic (and lovably cheezy), but it's also bookended by an instrumental version that opened up the movie with Anthony Michael Hall's voice over.

2. American Graffiti - "Rock Around The Clock"

1. Say Anything, Peter Gabriel "Your Eyes"

As I've been hunting for all these clips on Youtube, I've realized two things. 1: The more popular a scene is the LESS likely the actual clip will be on YouTube, and 2: Because it is popular, there are going to be TONS of crap tributes, iMovie photo clips, and terribly unimpressive/unfunny/poorly-executed re-creations. All in all... posters of YouTube, you're terrible. Go to hell....


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >