Teen film

Teen film is a film genre targeted at teenagers and young adults in which the plot is based upon the special interests of teenagers and young adults, such as coming of age, attempting to fit in, bullying, peer pressure, first love, teen rebellion, conflict with parents, teen angst or alienation.[1] Often these normally serious subject matters are presented in a glossy, stereotyped or trivialized way. For legal reasons, many teenage characters are portrayed by young adults. Some teen films appeal to young males while others appeal to young females.

Films in this genre are often set in high schools and colleges or contain characters that are of high school or college age.


As well as the classic teen film, which is similar to a romantic comedy, there are hybrid genres, including:

There are many more types of teen films, which can then be divided again into sub-categories. These can be found at list of teen films.

Beach films

Early examples of the genre in the United States include the "beach party films" of the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Gidget series.[2]

Codes and conventions

Codes and conventions of teen films vary depending on the cultural context of the film, but they can include proms, alcohol, illegal substances, high school, parties, losing one's virginity, teen pregnancy, social groups and cliques, interpersonal conflict with peers and/or the older generations, fitting in, peer pressure, and American pop culture.[3]

The classic codes and conventions of teen film come from American films, where one of the most widely used conventions is an emphasis on stereotypes and social groups. The stereotypes most commonly used include:

Apart from the characters, there are many other codes and conventions of teen film. These films are often set in or around high schools and places frequented by teens such as shopping malls and themed restaurants, as this allows for many different social cliques to be shown. This is different in hybrid teen films, but for the classic romantic comedy teen film, this is almost always the case.

Common archetypes

A good example of the use of archetypes in teen film was displayed in the 1980s film The Breakfast Club. These archetypes have since become a larger part of the culture. The jock, cheerleader, and social outcast, among others, become a familiar and pleasurable feature for the audience. However, genres are dynamic; they change and develop to meet the expectations of their target audience, teenagers.

Noteworthy writers and directors

Herman Raucher

Herman Raucher along with Robert Mulligan invented the genre with Summer of '42, and Raucher continued the trend by writing Class of '44.

George Lucas

George Lucas has been credited for perfecting the genre by writing and directing the 1973 film American Graffiti.

John Hughes

The genre gained more credibility during the 1980s with the appearance of writer and director John Hughes. His legacy of teen films, including The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and many more, proved to be popular not only with audiences but also with critics.[2]

Gregg Araki

One of the faces of the rise in independent film productions in the 1990s was Gregg Araki. His films, particularly the Teen Apocalypse Trilogy (consisting of Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, and Nowhere), are notable for capturing the disaffected attitudes of suburban teenagers of Generation X.

Éric Rohmer

Éric Rohmer, a pioneering director of the French New Wave, was notable for focusing on young adults or youth and their complications with love in a number of his films. Some of these works are La Collectionneuse, Claire's Knee, Pauline at the Beach, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, and A Summer's Tale.

Noteworthy actors

Popular actors in teen films have included Annette Funicello, Hayley Mills, and Sal Mineo in the 1960s and 1970s; John Cusack, Michael J. Fox, Robert Downey Jr., Matthew Broderick and members of the Brat Pack in the 1980s and early 1990s; and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Neve Campbell, Rose McGowan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Heath Ledger, Britney Spears, Kirsten Dunst, Shannon Elizabeth, Gina Ravera, Seth Green, Tobey Maguire, Alicia Silverstone, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, and Hayden Panettiere in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, who were either pre-teens or teens at the time of the movies themselves. Notable teen genre actors in the 2010s include Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Nick Robinson, Amandla Stenberg, Keiynan Lonsdale, Anna Kendrick, Evan Peters, KJ Apa, Ezra Miller, Lucy Hale, Noah Centineo, Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron, Shannon Purser, Cole Sprouse, Timothée Chalamet, Katherine Langford and Tom Holland.

See also


  1. ^ https://books.google.com.au/books?id=CB4NOZ2_NGQC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. ^ a b Kaveney, Roz (2006-07-11). Teen Dreams: Reading Teen Film and Television from 'Heathers' to 'Veronica Mars'. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781845111847.
  3. ^ Driscoll, Catherine (2011-06-15). Teen Film: A Critical Introduction. Berg. ISBN 9781847886866.

Further reading

  • Bernstein, J. 1997. Pretty in Pink: The Golden Age of Teenage Movies. St. Martin's Press.
  • Driscoll, Catherine. 2011. Teen Film: A Critical Introduction. Berg. ISBN 9781847886866.
  • Shary, Timothy. 2005. Teen Movies: American Youth on Screen. Wallflower Press.

External links

American Teen (film)

American Teen is a 2008 documentary film directed by Nanette Burstein (On the Ropes, The Kid Stays in the Picture) and produced by 57th & Irving. It competed in the Documentary Competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Directing Award: Documentary. Following the Sundance Film Festival, the movie was picked up by Paramount Vantage and was released to general cinema July 25, 2008.Much of the movie was filmed at Warsaw Community High School in Warsaw, Indiana. Director Nanette Burstein originally reviewed more than 100 different schools in the pre-production process, and ten schools replied, agreeing to participate. After she interviewed incoming seniors at all 10, she chose Warsaw.

Anh Vu

Anh Vu (born 15 March 1986) is a Norwegian singer and actress. She took part in the 2004 Norwegian version of Pop Idol. Since then she has also had a role in the 2005 teen film Tommys Inferno.She grew up in Stavanger and Sandnes, and is of Vietnamese descent. She is a Roman Catholic.

Bikini Beach

Bikini Beach is a 1964 American teen film directed by William Asher and starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. The film belongs to the beach party genre of movies, popular in the 1960s. This is the third in the series of seven films produced by American International Pictures (AIP).

Clueless (TV series)

Clueless is an American teen sitcom based on the 1995 teen film of the same name (which was inspired by the Jane Austen book Emma). The series originally premiered on ABC on September 20, 1996, as a part of the TGIF lineup during its first season. The show then spent its last two seasons on UPN ending on May 25, 1999.


Gippi is a 2013 Hindi teen film, directed by Sonam Nair and produced by Karan Johar. The film stars newcomer Riya Vij and Taaha Shah in lead roles. It released on 10 May 2013.


Idavela (Malayalam: ഇടവേള, English: Interval) is a 1982 Malayalam teen film written by Padmarajan and directed by Mohan. It stars Ashokan, Idavela Babu and Nalini in the lead roles. It was the debut film of Idavela Babu, who got his screenname through this film.

Kim Sung-su (director)

Kim Sung-su (Hangul: 김성수; born November 15, 1961) is a South Korean film director, known mainly for the teen film Beat, period epic Musa and the comedy Please Teach Me English.

Larry Clark

Lawrence Donald Clark (born January 19, 1943) is an American film director, photographer, writer and film producer who is best known for his controversial teen film Kids (1995) and his photography book Tulsa. His work focuses primarily on youth who casually engage in illegal drug use, underage sex, and violence, and who are part of a specific subculture, such as surfing, punk rock, or skateboarding.

Pattalam (2009 film)

Pattalam (English: Crew) is a Tamil language teen film released in 2009. It stars Nadiya Moidu who plays the role of a school correspondent and psychiatrist who is very close to 9 school going youngsters who are having a blast enjoying their teenage years without any commitments to burden them. Produced by Thirupathi Brothers company.


Porky's is a 1981 Canadian-American sex comedy film written and directed by Bob Clark about the escapades of teenagers in 1954 at the fictional Angel Beach High School in Florida. Released in the United States in 1982 with an R rating, the film influenced many writers in the teen film genre and spawned two sequels: Porky's II: The Next Day (1983) and Porky's Revenge! (1985) and a remake of the original titled Porky's Pimpin' Pee Wee (2009). Porky's was the fifth-highest grossing film of 1982.

River's Edge

River's Edge is a 1986 American independent crime film directed by Tim Hunter, written by Neal Jimenez, and starring Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye, Daniel Roebuck, and Dennis Hopper. It follows a group of teenagers in a Northern California town who are forced to deal with their friend's murder of his girlfriend, and the subsequent disposal of her body. Screenwriter Jimenez partially based the film's script on the 1981 murder of Marcy Renee Conrad in Milpitas, California.

Shot in Los Angeles in 1986, the film premiered that year at the Toronto International Film Festival before being purchased for distribution by Island Pictures, who gave the film a theatrical release in the United States in May 1987. Several critics praised the film's performances, and its subject matter resulted in it being classified by several critics as a contemporary-day horror film. It was awarded Best Picture at the 1986 Independent Spirit Awards.

Contemporary film scholars have noted River's Edge as an example of the "killer kid" film, as well as one of the most polarizing youth-oriented films of the 1980s. In a 2015 retrospective, Salon deemed it "the darkest teen film of all time." The film features an original score by Jürgen Knieper, as well as a soundtrack featuring songs from various punk and metal bands, including Slayer, Agent Orange, and the Wipers.

Seven Minutes in Heaven (film)

Seven Minutes in Heaven is a 1985 teen film directed by Linda Feferman and starring Jennifer Connelly in one of her first film roles.

Shredderman Rules

Shredderman Rules is a 2007 television teen film based on Wendelin Van Draanen's Shredderman book series. The film stars Devon Werkheiser, and was originally aired on Nickelodeon with the final episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, which also starred Werkheiser. It is the first film to be aired under the banner Nickelodeon Original Movie.

Sleepover (film)

Sleepover is a 2004 American comedy teen film directed by Joe Nussbaum and starring Alexa Vega, Sara Paxton, Mika Boorem, Scout Taylor-Compton, Kallie Flynn Childress, Sean Faris and Jane Lynch.

Student of the Year 2

Student of the Year 2 is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language teen film written by Arshad Sayed and directed by Punit Malhotra. It was produced by Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar and Apoorva Mehta under the banner Dharma Productions, and was distributed by Fox Star Studios. A sequel to the 2012 film Student of the Year, it stars Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday. The film follows Rohan, a college student who switches to a better university to rekindle his relationship with his childhood sweetheart who studies there. When Rohan is rusticated, he returns to his old college and vows to lead his new team to victory in an inter-college cup against his former college, thereby becoming Student of the Year.

Student of the Year 2 was announced in November 2017. Initially, Malhotra and Shroff were to collaborate for a different film; when they found the final script unsatisfactory, they tweaked it and planned to make it a sequel. It marks the debut of both Sutaria and Panday, and pursues a plot that is unrelated to its predecessor. Principal photography for the film began in April 2018 at Dehradun, and ended in September 2018. The film's soundtrack was composed by Vishal-Shekhar, with lyrics written by Anvita Dutt Guptan, Kumaar and Vayu, and released under the banner Zee Music Company.

Student of the Year 2 was theatrically released in India on 10 May 2019. The film received generally mixed reviews from critics, with the script and unreal situation receiving criticism; Shroff's action sequences were praised. As of 20 May 2019, it has earned ₹88.96 crore worldwide, against a production budget of ₹65–80 crore, to become the ninth highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2019.

Teenage Caveman (2002 film)

Teenage Caveman is a 2002 science fiction-horror film-teen film directed by controversial filmmaker Larry Clark. It was made as part of a series of low-budget made-for-television movies loosely inspired by B movies that Samuel Z. Arkoff had produced for AIP. The film reused the title and basic premise from the original 1958 film Teenage Caveman, but it is not a remake of the earlier film.

The Swap (2016 film)

The Swap is a 2016 American television teen film that premiered on Disney Channel as a part of the network's annual "Monstober" event on October 7, 2016. The film is based on the young adult novel of the same name written by Megan Shull and is written by Charlie Shahnaian and Shari Simpson and directed by Jay Karas. The movie stars Peyton List and Jacob Bertrand.

Twelve (2010 film)

Twelve is a 2010 American-French action drama teen film directed by Joel Schumacher. The film was written by Jordan Melamed, adapted from Nick McDonell's novel of the same name. The film, a story of drug addiction, violence, and sex among wealthy teenagers from Manhattan's Upper East Side, was released on August 6, 2010, after several delays, to both critical and commercial failure. It is rated R for violence, drug use, and nudity. The film was nominated for Choice Summer Movie Star (female) at the Teen Choice Awards.

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