From Dirty Dancing (1987) to West Side Story (1961), these are the best teen romance movies of all time.
The awkward smile. The lustful gaze. The mortified “Why did I just say that?” moment. Let’s give the movie subgenre of “teen romance” a big old casual “Yup.” Teen romance is most definitely a rite of passage for many of us. In fact, some of the greatest romances of all time are between young adults or teenagers. There’s no arguing that the sweet and sour experiences of young love will forever be exploited for dramatic narratives. And cinema is great at dragging out into the light our most embarrassing, rapturous, transformative, romantic episodes. Yikes. But on a serious note, this isn’t always a bad thing. After all, important issues including identity, infatuation, sexuality, abuse, trauma, and self-care are brilliantly covered within the subgenre.
Now sometimes teen romances are a way for us to escape into a love story, where every feeling and conflict are neatly packaged in the form of a narrative. These teen romance movies sometimes set erroneous expectations of love. At their worst, they can romanticize bad relationships by making light of harmful behavior.
Yet, at the same time, there are plenty of teen romance movies that closely capture the different phases of young love. From the often awkward courtship to navigating the complex emotional and sexual dynamics, teen romance films can help the audience come to terms with their own feelings. In fact, such films convey their core message in the most endearing, entertaining manner. Cue the below list! And note, the social, economic, and cultural backdrop in these films might differ. But all paint a moving portrait of teen love.
Best Teenage Romance Movies, Ranked
35. Dirty Dancing (1987)
“Partner dance” in various forms went through a revival phase in Western countries in the 1980s. Emile Ardolino’s cheesy love story hit the theaters in 1987, and it’s an entertaining look into such a world of dancing and partying. The narrative is set in the summer of 1963 and revolves around teenager Baby Houseman (Jennifer Grey). She goes on a family holiday to upstate New York, and falls in love with a rebellious and charismatic dance instructor, Johnny Castle (Swayze).
Dirty Dancing is a pretty formulaic romance drama. But the reason why it holds such reverence? Call it “sexual awakening.” It unveils Baby’s sexual awakening in a poignantly magical way. The incredible dancing abilities of the lead stars, accompanying their dynamite sexual chemistry, give it an enduring appeal.
34. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
Peter Sollett’s teen rom-com is based on Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s 2006 novel of the same name. It revolves around jilted and geeky high school senior Nick (Michael Cera). Nick is also the only heterosexual bass player of an otherwise all-gay indie band. After getting dumped by his girlfriend Tris, Nick is obsessed with burning mix discs of Tris’ favorite songs. However, Nick’s mix discs garner the attention of the perpetually single and rich teenager Norah (Kat Dennings).
Despite a familiar and slight plot, Sollett’s film largely works due to the charismatic performances of Cera and Dennings. Alongside Lorene Scafaria’s solid script, the actors make the target adolescent audience relate with their characters’ angst and loneliness.
33. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Baz Luhrmann’s exuberant and ambitious modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet features Leonardo Di Caprio in one of his earlier lead roles. It’s an epic tale of love and loss that’s familiar to young and old across the globe. Luhrmann brings in his own unique, offbeat style to adapt this classic story. He employs flamboyant visuals, impressive sets but directly borrows Shakespeare’s dialogues. The result is an interesting experiment as the Bard’s words are intertwined to an urban setting.
Though the novelty of mixing different styles wears off after a while, Di Caprio and Claire Danes’ central performances and their remarkable chemistry light up the screen.
32. Grease (1978)
Randal Kleiser’s Grease takes us to the dazzling and nostalgic 1950s lively rock musical scene. It is based on the popular musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. The film was a huge box-office hit and was highly memorable for its exuberant dance-and-song routines. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, who played the lead teen couples, became instant stars. The thin plot follows the summer romance between greaser Danny (Travolta) and the innocent Sandy (Newton-John).
The high school seniors’ bumpy relationship isn’t explored effectively, although the narrative takes up weighty issues like teen pregnancy. Nevertheless, the terrific musical numbers keep us thoroughly captivated. You’ll have great fun if you don’t take the film too seriously. Sing along to classics like “You’re the One That I Want” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
31. Love, Simon (2018)
Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon employs a conventional high school romance arc. But it’s one of the first mainstream studio movies to feature a gay lead character. Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is a nice boy, who hails from a wealthy and close-knit family. He has good friends too. However, it’s still very hard for Simon to come out as gay. One day, he comes across an anonymous online confession from a male classmate that he is gay. Soon, Simon tries to track down this anonymous classmate, hoping to find a kindred spirit.
Though the direction and writing are predictable, Love, Simon need gets too preachy or bleak. Authentic performances bring much-needed nuance to one of the most underrated teen movies.
30. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Susan Johnson’s charming young adult rom-com is based on Jenny Han’s 2014 eponymous novel. The film follows the life of Korean-American high school student Lara Jean (Lana Condor). Lara spends most of her time daydreaming about romantic scenarios. She writes letters to her five crushes. But one day, the letters that were never supposed to be sent, accidentally find their way to the five people they were addressed to. Mortifying, most definitely.
While the mishap leads to a humiliating experience, director Susan doesn’t dwell too much on it. The film rather covers Lara Jean’s emotional journey as she gradually comes out of her shell and processes her feelings. Condor offers a sweet and earnest performance in the central role.
29. Sixteen Candles (1984)
The classic 80s teen rom-com marks the directorial debut of John Hughes. The film opens on Samantha Baker’s (Molly Ringwald) sixteenth birthday. Since it’s Samantha’s elder sister Ginny’s wedding the next day, everyone in the family seems to have forgotten her birthday. It’s also the day of school prom. But unfortunately, Jake, the guy Samantha pines for, is dating her class’s most popular blonde girl. In fact, the only person who vies for Samantha’s attention is the confused and nervous freshman named Geek (Anthony Michael Hall). Oh no.
John Hughes has a keen eye for capturing the foibles and embarrassments of adolescent life without being patronizing. The film gracefully balances hilarious slapstick moments and heart-warming drama. Bonus – this film boasts a truly memorable final scene.
28. The Notebook (2004)
Nick Cassavetes’ The Notebook is based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling romance novel of the same name. The lead teenage pair, Noah and Allie, is played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. Noah belongs to a working-class family, whereas Allie hails from the class of landed gentry. A casual affair gradually blooms into a serious relationship. But circumstances put an end to their love as Allie moves out of town after finishing school.
Despite its predictable nature, Notebook works due to immensely touching moments and excellent central performances. Veteran actors James Garner and Gena Rowlands, who play the older selves of Nick and Allie, bring great emotional depth to the tale.
27. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
The subject matter of teen romance and terminal illness has intersected in several young adult stories. While most seem emotionally manipulative, Josh Boone’s Fault in Our Stars is a truly heartbreaking tear-jerker that captures a burgeoning love affair between cancer-afflicted teens. It doesn’t exploit or sensationalize the material.
It is based on John Green’s best-selling book of the same name. Two Indianapolis teens Hazel and Gus meet at a cancer support group. They embark on a journey to Amsterdam to meet Hazel’s most favorite author. The film largely works due to the grounded and outstanding performances of Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.
26. Clueless (1995)
Amy Heckerling’s Clueless is a modern take on Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma. Like Michael Lehmann’s high school black comedy Heathers (1988), Heckerling’s movie revived and updated the “high school” film subgenre. The narrative revolves around Cher (Alicia Silverstone), a popular and rich spoilt girl. She understands that popular girls don’t have to be mean. But Cher is initially at a loss when it comes to figuring out where to begin with the good deeds.
First, she becomes a matchmaker between two teachers, and then takes an awkward newcomer Tai (Brittany Murphy) under her wings. However, things get messy when Cher acknowledges her own romantic aspirations. Overall, it’s a dramatic and fun teen romance that’s full of heart. Classic line – “As if!”
25. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
In Kelly Fremon Craig’s Edge of Seventeen, Hailee Steinfeld delivers a powerhouse performance as the moody and miserable Nadine. A family tragedy that occurred when Nadine was little has left her deeply scarred. She finds it hard to get along with people, except with her charming, outgoing friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). However, when Nadine feels betrayed by Krista, she embarks on a self-destructive streak. Soon though, Nadine finds hope in a new friendship with a nerdy boy.
Woody Harrelson offers a scene-stealing performance as Nadine’s teacher and confidant. Additionally, Kelly Craig’s writing and direction feels painfully real. Though things resolve in a very Hollywood way, Steinfeld’s captivating screen presence and Craig’s hopeful message speaks to our heart.
24. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Tim Burton’s delightful fairytale features a weird and innocent outsider as its protagonist. The eponymous character played by Johnny Depp is created by a reclusive inventor (Vincent Price). The man dies just before replacing Edward’s scissor hands with the real ones. Oh no! Then enter a suburban housewife named Peg (Dianne West) who takes pity on the artificially created youth and takes him to her home. Brace yourself, this truly unique dude ends up falling in love with Peg’s teenage daughter Kim (Winona Ryder).
Burton’s film provides pure quirky entertainment. The filmmaker inventively mixes the colorful visuals of suburbia with Gothic aesthetics. But what holds it together is Depp and Ryder’s magical romantic moments. Kim’s rebellion and love eventually determine Edward’s fate.
23. Gregory’s Girl (1981)
Bill Forsyth’s raw and affectionate British film portrays the awkwardness of young love. Gregory (John Gordon Sinclair) is a tall, gangly teenager who was once the star of the school’s football team. But now he is demoted to a goalie. However, Gregory perks up when his replacement as striker could be the beautiful Dorothy (Dee Hepburn). While his mates scoff at the idea of dating a girl who plays football, Gregory pursues her in an awkward manner.
Though Gregory’s Girl doesn’t offer much plot-wise, Forsyth’s film is worth remembering for the realistic portrayal of teenage infatuation. The witty one-liners, mellow atmosphere, and Sinclair’s charming screen presence are other strengths of the movie.
22. Baran (2001)
Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s Baran is an expressively staged drama of survival and love. The narrative is set in a construction site, where the majority of the workforce is illegal Afghani immigrants. One day, a hot-headed 17-year old Iranian boy Latif loses his job to a shy Afghan boy named Rahmat. Naturally, Latif channels his anger at the boy. But soon it turns into compassion, when he learns that Rahmat is actually a girl in disguise, whose real name is Baran.
Latif is a youngster of pure impulse and emotion, and actor Hossein Abedini brilliantly embodies this role. Director Majidi doesn’t use Latif’s selfless acts to neither preach nor sentimentalize the tale. The unspoken communication between Latif and Baran is sure to capture your heart.
21. Juno (2007)
Jason Reitman’s compelling tale of teen pregnancy breaks many of Hollywood’s romance genre conventions. Bolstered by the earnest script of Diablo Cody, Elliot Page (formerly known as Ellen Page) extraordinarily plays the titular character Juno MacGuff. Juno is a confident teenager with a cynical sense of humor. However, when Juno discovers that she is pregnant, she prepares herself to make big decisions and face lots of tribulations.
The film sensitively and honestly navigates its way through the adolescent characters’ emotions. Director Reitman doesn’t evoke laughs out of Juno’s predicament. On the contrary, the matter-of-factness with which Juno handles the situation will make you smile. The narrative also gently delves into the sexual desires of a girl.
20. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Moonrise Kingdom is a hugely entertaining tale of teen romance from this generation’s most distinctive filmmaker, Wes Anderson. It is set during the summer of 1965 in a scout encampment on the island of New Penzance. A socially awkward, 12-year old orphan Sam (Jared Gilman) leaves the camp and escapes into the woods. He wants to meet up with his crush Suzy (Kara Hayward). While the Scout Master, Police Captain, and rest of the troop search for the two, Suzy and Sam are swept away by feelings of love.
Wes Anderson keeps the relationship between the two pubescent individuals sweet and comforting. Anderson’s imaginative and intricately layered backdrops impart a suitably melancholic tone to the proceedings.
19. The Spectacular Now (2013)
One of the most underrated teen movies, James Ponsoldt’s portrait of a tenuous relationship between vulnerable teenagers was based on Tim Tharp’s 2008 novel. It was adapted by the writing team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who previously wrote the script for (500) Days of Summer. Miles Teller plays aimless high school senior Sutter Keely, who is recently dumped by his long-time girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson). The distressed Sutter goes to a party. He wakes up on a stranger’s lawn and meets the school’s unpopular girl Aimee (Shailene Woodley).
Though there’s nothing distinct plot-wise, Spectacular Now excels in the earnest and believable way it builds Sutter and Aimee’s meaningful connection. The film perfectly captures the heartache of teenagers moving on to adulthood.
18. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
In what’s considered to be a rare occasion, author Stephen Chboksy not only turned his novel into a script, but also directed it. The result is a realistic and sincere coming-of-age drama that wholly captures the nuances of the book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower revolves around three high school students with different temperaments. Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a talented yet painfully shy high school freshman with a dark past. He befriends high school seniors and half-siblings Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller).
Chbosky’s film offers an endearing snapshot of a socially awkward teenager’s life, while he is trying to figure out his place in the chaotic world. It remarkably captures the passion, insecurities, and desires of the adolescent phase.
17. Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Yoshifumi Kondo’s Whisper of the Heart is based on Aoi Hiiragi’s manga series of the same name, which was adapted into a script by Hayao Miyazaki. It revolves around young bibliophile Shizuku Tsukishima, who aspires to become an author. One day, the regular library visitor Shizuku notices the name Seiji that frequently appears in the library cards of the books she checks out. Subsequently, she decides to meet this boy Seiji, who aspires to become a violin craftsman.
The detailed characterizations and surprisingly realistic animation are the anime’s biggest strengths. While the premise sounds conventional, the mature writing provides vital messages to young adults on the values of companionship, perseverance, and hard work.
16. A Swedish Love Story (1970)
Swedish auteur Roy Andersson is best known for his surrealistic non-narrative works including the ‘Living’ Trilogy. But he made his directorial debut with a simple yet poignant tale of young love. The narrative unfolds in the form of poetic vignettes and details the lives of teenagers, Annika (Ann-Sofie Kylin) and Par (Rolf Sohlman). From the first glances to the fevered glimpses, and growing sense of intimacy, Andersson’s direction impresses us with little gestures and details.
The vulnerable pair break-up at a point, but soon go through reconciliation, and what follows is a gracefully implied sexual encounter. Andersson doesn’t bore us with superficial moral lessons or sentimentality. The film won the Jury Prize at the Cannes.
15. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Gil Junger’s 10 Things I Hate About You is a revamped adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Julia Stiles is the star of this energetic teen rom-com. She plays Kat Stratford, smart yet aloof high school student, brought up by an overprotective single-father. Unfortunately, Kat’s sister Bianca’s romantic life is impacted due to Kat’s aloofness. Hence, Bianca conceives an elaborate plan to get her sister a date with the school’s other oddball Patrick (Heath Ledger). Guess what happens?
Junger’s film is a brilliant ensemble piece, which still remains fresh and funny. Stiles’ fiery dialogue delivery particularly stands out. The chemistry between the lead pair is so tangible that we can easily believe in the tempestuous nature of their relationship. Sparks fly with this one, pun intended.
14. The Half of It (2020)
Alice Wu’s coming-of-age dramedy is a clever reworking of the evergreen Cyrano de Bergerac story. The protagonist is a bright 17-year old Chinese-American queer student, Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis). She lives in a predominantly white small-town of Squamish in Washington with her widowed dad. Money problems at home push Ellie to write school papers for her classmates. Subsequently, a football jock named Paul Munsky requests Ellie to write love letters to his crush, Aster Flores. But Ellie herself is secretly in love with Aster.
Alice Wu’s sharp observations about teen romance and life in a small town keep Half of It emotionally engaging. The film also offers a nuanced take on sexuality, immigrant experience, and friendship.
13. Easy A (2010)
Similar to Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You, Will Gluck’s Easy A smartly transplants classic literature to the high school setting. For Easy A, playwright and screenwriter Bert V. Royal chooses Nathiel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter as the source material. Emma Stone plays the attractive, sassy high school girl Olive Penderghast, who’s somewhat of a social outcast.
To avoid a camping trip with a friend, Olive lies that she has a date. The lie gradually snowballs when Olive pretends that she lost her virginity during the weekend date. While the lie initially improves Olive’s social standing, it eventually backfires. Emma Stone holds this film together with her charming, expressive performance.
12. Show Me Love (1998)
Swedish filmmaker Lukas Moodyson’s teen romance comedy is set in the small suburban town of Amal. It narrates the tale of unlikely romance between the school’s least popular girl and most popular girl. Agnes had moved to the town a year and a half before with her parents. She still has no friends. Restless and beautiful Elin is the center of attention everywhere. But she is frustrated with life in a dead-end town.
Elin and Agnes are brought together by chance, and while navigating the painful adolescent phase, come to terms with their sexual orientation. Show Me Love is a simple yet gritty and earnest look at angst-filled first love.
11. Submarine (2010)
Submarine is the feature-film directorial debut of British comedian and actor Richard Ayoade. The protagonist is a hyper-intelligent 15-year old loner Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), who reminds us a bit of the central characters in Harold and Maude and Gregory’s Girl. The film is based on Welsh author Joe Dunthorne’s novel, and it’s set in a small coastal town. Oliver is concerned with his parents’ unstable married life. Furthermore, he yearns for the affection of the rebellious girl, Jordana (Yasmin Paige).
The shy and introverted Oliver’s adolescent life complicates further when he’s unable to soothe the emotional baggage of Jordana. Submarine consistently enchants us with the complex psychological portrait of its teen as well as adult characters.
10. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Luca Guadignino’s splendid adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel revolves around 17-year old Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet). The narrative unfolds in Northern Italy during the summer of 1983. The Perlman family is spending the vacation at their villa. Soon, the sensitive Elio falls in love with a handsome American college graduate Oliver (Armie Hammer), who is hired as his archaeologist professor father’s research assistant. Apart from Chalamet and Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg’s performance as Elio’s father is a real stand-out.
Towards the end, Stuhlbarg delivers a magnificent speech to Chalamet’s Elio about romance, attraction, and parental love. The film promises warm moments while detailing the tranquil and agony of first love.
9. The Way He Looks (2014)
Brazilian filmmaker Daniel Ribeiro’s The Way He Looks explores the joys and pains of a teenager’s first love, who happens to be gay. What’s particularly interesting is that the homophobia-related social conflicts aren’t overtly exploited for melodrama. With none of the artificiality or glossiness of typical high school romance, Ribeiro delicately explores the teenagers’ gradual comprehension of their burgeoning sexuality.
Leo is a visually impaired student who strives to be independent despite his disability. He falls in love with his charming new classmate Gabriel. Leo’s best friend Giovana, however, feels displaced due to Leo’s relationship with Gabriel. The film ends on a beautiful note and the menace of bullies is dealt in a nuanced manner.
8. Say Anything (1989)
Cameron Crowe’s classic teen romance would inevitably be compared with John Hughes’ teen movies of the 1980s. While Mr. Hughes dealt with adolescent issues through entertaining raucous comedy, Crowe’s approach is more melancholic and subtle. Say Anything revolves around recent high school graduate and kickboxing lover Lloyd Dobler (the brilliant John Cusack). He yearns to date the attractive and smart Diane Court (Ione Skye). Diane accepts Lloyd’s request to go out. But their budding relationship is tested by Diane’s overprotective single father, James.
Crowe gets right the anxiety, hopes, and fears of a teenager. Say Anything consists of quite a few iconic romantic moments, and iconic dialogues, that will stand the test of time. No spoilers, but think “boom box.”
7. Let the Right One In (2008)
Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish horror romance is based on John Ajvide Lindqvist novel of the same name. The story unfolds in the winter of 1981 in a quaint neighborhood of Stockholm. The protagonist is 12-year old Oskar, a quiet and withdrawn outcast. The lonely Oskar is drawn to his new apartment neighbor his age, Eli. Oskar befriends Eli, but soon he learns that she is a vampire.
Let the Right One In offers a mature take on vampirism, love and friendship unlike the tepid romance fantasy series, Twilight. The central roles are superbly and subtly played by Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson, and the affinity that develops between their characters reaches a gratifying conclusion.
6. Loves of a Blonde (1965)
Milos Forman was best known for his Hollywood masterpieces One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and Amadeus (1984). But long before his exile to Hollywood, the Czech-born filmmaker made three brilliant comedies in his homeland. Moreover, Milos Forman was one of the pioneers of Czech New Wave Cinema. His second film Loves of a Blonde has a relatively simple plot. It follows the ordinary life of 18-year old Andula, who has relocated to a small Czechoslovakian town to work in a shoe factory.
Andula’s desire to love and be loved is repeatedly thwarted by various external and internal factors. Loves of a Blonde is an amusing and honest depiction of life and love in the repressive Communist-era Czechoslovakia.
5. Courier (1986)
One of the underexplored aspects of Soviet cinema is the rom-com and romance dramas made between the 1960s and 1980s. Karen Shakhnazarov’s teen romance and coming-of-age drama was made during the Soviet glasnost era – a brief period of transparency and openness under Mikhail Gorbachev’s rule. Many Russian filmmakers of the time intimately portrayed the quandaries of the younger generation. Courier’s goofy yet melancholic protagonist Ivan finely represents the Russian youth’s insecurities and fears.
Ivan hails from an unstable middle-class household and starts dating an upper-class teenager Katya. Director Shakhnazarov brilliantly observes, with a touch of humor, the tension and restlessness that afflicts their dating life. The possibilities of romance are often threatened by the strict codes of the conformist society.
4. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
Jacques Demy’s lush and elegant film pays hefty tribute to classic Hollywood musicals. It tells the story of two young lovers in the French port town Cherbourg. The 17-year old Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) works as a sales-girl and her mother Emery runs a small umbrella shop. Genevieve falls in love with 20-year old Guy (Nino). Their plans to get married are thwarted when Guy receives a draft notice to serve in the Algerian war.
Tough luck and unfortunate coincidences come in the way. Although Umbrellas of Cherbourg has an ordinary story, its highly memorable for the brilliant use of songs, light, colors, and music. Michel Legrand’s score is remarkably, emotionally charged.
3. Harold and Maude (1971)
Hal Ashby’s film – based on Carol Higgins’ witty and austere script – details an odd love affair between 19-year old Harold (Bud Cort) and 79-year old Maude (Ruth Gordon). Harold is a gloomy youngster obsessed with death. Maude is a vivacious, free-spirited woman, who is also a Holocaust survivor. The nature of their central relationship can be off-putting to many people. But Ashby offers a darkly funny portrait of lost souls.
The film speaks of following one’s heart and learning to embrace our true selves. Moreover, Ashby and Higgins through the imperfect central relationship gracefully bring out the anti-establishment and counter-culture themes. Though a critical and box-office flop, it’s gained cult status over the years.
2. Your Name (2016)
Anime filmmaker Makoto Shinkai is a master when it comes to capturing the intense and overwhelming feelings of young love. Almost all of his visceral and emotional journeys track down teenage love that transcends time and space. However, Shinkai’s most awe-inspiring work was the supernatural romance Your Name. The anime revolves around two likable teen protagonists, Mitsuha and Taki. Mitsuha is bored by her life in the beautiful countryside, whereas Taki feels alienated by the city life.
One day, for inexplicable reasons, Taki wakes up and finds himself in Mitsuha’s body and vice-versa. Your Name is a playful, stunningly imaginative anime which perfectly understands the joys, dilemmas and struggles of adolescence.
1. West Side Story (1961)
Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins’ musical extravaganza is a clever retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s set in the mid-1950s and follows two warring clans in the upper west side of Manhattan in New York City. Working-class boy Tony meets Maria, who belongs to a rival gang, and falls in love. Hatred and intolerance threaten to spoil their romance. West Side Story has a positively brilliant narrative structure. The strong central storyline allows the musical scenes to flow organically and nothing feels out of place. The result? We’re transported to the grit, and the passion, the dark streets, and the romantic danger.
Despite a 152-minute runtime, the iconic songs and moments keep us caught up in its spellbinding energy.
There you go! These are some of the best teen romance movies of all time. If you’re craving for more, check out Love and Lies (1981), Pretty in Pink (1986), She’s All That (1999), Save the Last Dance (2001), The Last Song (2010), Flipped (2010), If I Stay (2014), and Weathering With You (2019).