The 15 Best Teen Romance Movies, Ranked

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The first date, prom night, the perfect dress, teen romances have so many particular elements to their movies that they create a loyal target audience. Different from the usual adult romance movies, these stories have a playfulness component that is intoxicating. There have been a few iconic teen romance movies throughout film history, like the impossibly dangerous T-birds and the gorgeous Pink Ladies in Grease. Then the 80s happened, bringing even more stories to fall in love with as teen romance movies surged. The secret dance lessons at the summer resort in Dirty Dancing, or the pressure of having your first kiss in John Hughes movies; these stories touched people so deeply that some even remember watching Patrick Swayze by the sound of ‘Time of My Life.’

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Then, there was the 90s mania, releasing so many movies belonging to the genre. Cher Horowitz’s iconic two-piece yellow suit is still one of the most popular Halloween costumes. Or the adaptation of the most famous unrequited love story, in Romeo+Juliet. Then there was the 2000s legacy of teen romance, which contained a bevy of Cinderella remakes following the success of Ever After (A Cinderella Story, Another Cinderella Story, Ella Enchanted).

Teen romance movies have a funny innocence that, for various people, is reminiscent of a joyful time in their lives. Having so many choices of what to watch can be hard, but whether you’re currently a teen or looking to relive some of those romantic memories, here is a list of the best teen romance movies ranked.

Update January 7, 2024: A new year means a chance for a new romance, so this article has been updated with even more great teen romances that are worth checking out, as well as what platform each title is streaming on.

15 The DUFF (2015)

the duff
the duff

Release Date
February 20, 2015

Director
Ari Sandel

Rating
PG-13

A movie that subverted various stereotypes found in the genre, The DUFF is a serious yet still comedic tale of dating in high school as a misfit. Adapting the story from the young adult novel of the same name, the narrative deals with being a teenager in the technology era and the anxiety it brings. Social pressures and norms are put into check when the protagonist, Bianca (Mae Whitman), is called a DUFF, which means “Designated Ugly Fat Friend.” After learning about her status in the social order of high school, Bianca decides that she wants to take the help of Wesley, a popular jock, to impress her crush and improve her status.

Related: Unconventional Romance: 5 Movie Couples That Were, Weren’t, and Shouldn’t Be

Why It’s Great

Mae Whitman is absolutely fantastic in this film, which sparks a lot of important discussions about what women are perceived and praised for. A movie where the protagonist doesn’t have to change who she is to get the guy at the end is something every teen (and everyone) should watch. It is a great coming-of-age comedy that centers around a teenage girl filled with insecurities who learns to accept herself and also the fact that the pecking order in high school based on people’s looks and popularity really does not matter that much in real life. Stream on Fubo TV, DirecTV, Paramount

14 She’s All That (1999)

She's All That
She’s All That

Release Date
January 29, 1999

Director
Robert Iscove

Rating
PG-13

The 1999 rom-com She’s All That stars Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook in the role of high schoolers Zack Siler and Laney Boggs. After Zack’s girlfriend cheats on him, Zack states that he can replace her with any girl in school, and can make a random girl prom queen. His friends then make a bet that they will believe him if Zack can turn the school’s unpopular nerd Laney into the prom queen within six weeks. Zack accepts the challenge, but things go a little awry when he starts to feel connected to Laney and falls in love with her.

Why It’s Great

The plot of the movie is wholly predictable, and so is the outcome, but that does not make the film any less of a teen romance classic. Based loosely on the George Bernard Shaw classic ‘Pygmalion’ and George Cukor’s movie My Fair Lady, the film is a 90s staple. Even though some parts of the film did not age very well, it still remains well-received and even had a spin-off He’s All That, on Netflix starring Addison Rae and Tanner Buchanan. Stream on Netflix

13 She’s the Man (2006)

She’s the Man tells the story of Viola (Amanda Bynes, now doing rap), who is the star player on her soccer team. When the female soccer program gets canceled due to budget problems at her university, and her brother pretends he is going to college (when in reality he is traveling to play with his band), Viola sees the solution to her problems. She decides to pretend to be her brother and enrolls in his school, since so many people say how much they look alike. Playing soccer and pretending to be her brother won’t be the only thing on her mind because her roommate Duke is not only handsome but a very nice guy (who happens to be Channing Tatum).

Why It’s Great

Inspired by Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, She’s the Man is as funny as it is entertaining. A narrative that tackles gender disparity, societal norms, and even male friendship is set on the soccer field. There are, however, a few scenes and dialogue that didn’t age very well, which is something you should keep in mind when watching this movie. There are some truly hilarious moments peppered throughout the entire movie, most of which are situational comedies involving Viola’s predicament. Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum also make a surprisingly sweet couple for whom we can’t help but root. Stream on Netflix

12 Crush (2022)

Crush film
3 Arts Entertainment/LD Entertainment

A new entry, Crush was a 2022 streaming original that followed Paige Evans (Rowan Blanchard), a teenage girl who joins her high-school track team to get closer to her crush, Gabriela (Isabella Ferreira), only to begin to develop feelings for Gabriela’s twin-sister AJ (Auliʻi Cravalho). Crush bucks conventions that instead of being a coming out story like a lot of queer teen romances are, the main character is already out regarding her sexuality, but the struggle comes from finding if her crush shares the same feelings.

What Makes It Great

Aside from featuring a slew of talented young performers who seem destined to become major stars in the future (Auliʻi Cravalho will next be seen in Mean Girls), Crush is a refreshing 21st-century inclusive romance. The film not only features a same-sex romance at the heart of its story but also does not treat it as a big deal. It is just a normal aspect of the world that is reflective of the changing cultural perspective. Young LGBTQ+ viewers should have romances that they can see themselves reflected in, and Crush shows how the classic teen romance formula can be energized with a simple yet much-needed change. Stream on Hulu.

11 A Walk to Remember (2002)

A young couple embrace as they sit under the night sky
Warner Bros. Pictures

One of the quintessential romantic staples of the 2000s, A Walk to Remember is an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel that follows star-crossed lovers Landon Carter (Shane West) and Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) as they fall for one another despite their vastly different backgrounds. The North Carolina teenagers reconnect during their senior year, having grown up with one another but rarely interacting due to their conflicting social standings; their blossoming romance is further complicated when it is revealed Jamie is battling against leukemia.

Why It’s Great

The tear-jerking chick-flick features a swoon-worthy performance by West and was a career-defining role for Moore, with fans of both Sparks and the movie deeply connecting with the heart-wrenching storyline and love. Few audiences had a dry eye when, at the end of A Walk to Remember, Landon profoundly professes, “I’ll always miss her. But our love is like the wind. I can’t see it, but I can feel it.” The film is not only a great tragic romance but also one of the best iterations of the terminal illness tropes in romance movies. Stream on Netflix

10 Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
Paramount Pictures

Another adaptation from a young adult novel, this is one of the funniest teen romances made in recent decades and helped introduce the world to a now very different Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Based on the books by Louise Rennison, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a very accurate representation of the awkward early teen years. The story follows Georgia and her group of friends, all of them embarrassing themselves at every chance they get and are deeply eager to be in love with boys — and, of course, kiss them.

Why It’s Great

The film is a great depiction of what it is like to be an awkward teenager trying to navigate the dreaded school life when everyone else seems cooler than you. A movie about friendship and being brave enough to be who we truly are, this narrative is a heartfelt watch, especially for those who remember not being ‘cool’ in those years. And rest assured, Georgia is the opposite of cool. This underrated gem is a must-watch for those who can relate to being a little too cringy in their teenage years. Stream on Hoopla

9 20th Century Girl (2022)

20th-century-girl
20th Century Girl Rotten Tomatoes

20th Century Girl is a Korean film set in 1999 that caused a lot of hearts to break when it came out in 2022. It tells the story of Na Bo-ra, a young and bubbly high school girl who promises her friend that she will try and set her up with the boy she likes so that she can go to the USA to get heart surgery. But due to a misunderstanding, Bo-ra falls in love with the boy that her friend actually likes. The movie is charming and lovely, but the bittersweet ending will definitely make you shed a few tears.

Why It’s Great

Set at the end of the last millennium, the movie makes great use of the mistaken identity trope. It is also heartwarming to see Bo-ra fall in love with Woon-ho but agree to give it all up to make her best friend happy. You can’t help but root for the main characters to end up together. An engaging and fresh narrative centering around first love and friendship will definitely make your heart ache a little for your own high school days. Stream on Netflix

8 The Half of It (2020)

the-half-of-it
The Half of It movie scene

The Half of It tells the story of Ellie Chu (Elemental‘s Leah Lewis) an unpopular high school student who lives in a small town and goes to a small school. She earns some extra money by writing papers for her fellow students. But her life changes drastically when Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer), an inarticulate jock, asks for her help to write a love letter to Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire), a girl from the school she likes. Ellie’s predicament grows when she finds herself slowly falling in love with Aster through their messages as her friendship with Paul also blossoms.

Why It’s Great

Set in a serene small town, the movie presents the high school experience in a pragmatic yet surprisingly sweet way. The coming-of-age part of the film is probably greater than the romance part of the film, as the narrative explores Ellie’s life and her attraction to Aster. Nonetheless, the movie balances the themes of friendship, love, and discovery in a tranquil and charming way that makes you fall in love with all the characters and their quirks. The Half of It hit Netflix during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and was a nice treat in a summer season that had no traditional blockbusters. Stream on Netflix

7 To All the Boys I Loved Before (2018)

To All The Boys I've Loved Before Lana Condor as Lara Jean declares her love for Noah Centineo as Peter
Netflix

Using one of the most beloved tropes in the genre, fake dating, To All the Boys I Loved Before is the sweet journey of a girl who believes in love and eventually finds it. This movie is the first adaptation of a trilogy of books, all of which were adapted by Netflix. After writing letters to all her crushes, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) hides them in her closet. However, she didn’t expect her little sister Kitty (who is getting a series of her own) to send the letters. Lara Jean sees no way out than pretending to date one of her crushes, Peter (Noah Centineo), to stop her sister’s boyfriend from confronting her about his letter.

Related: Best 80s Romance Movies, Ranked

Why It’s Great

A story about sisterhood and family that also deals with the heartbreak that can come from the loss of a loved one (whatever form that may come), this movie is a must-watch for hopeless romantics. The film also had two more sequels and a spin-off series, XO, Kitty which means it will keep you busy for a while. The film, even though cited by some as a bit corny, is unexpectedly charming and Lara-Jean’s character makes you want to fall in love all over again. A mess from beginning to end, it is impossible to watch this movie without grinning. Stream on Netflix

6 Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)

Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are sensational as the titular leads in the romantic dramedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which follows the teenagers as they embark on a thrilling and wild night in New York City and romantically connect while searching for Norah’s drunken best friend. When he is asked to pretend to be her boyfriend for five minutes, Nick begins to fall for Norah after having his heart broken by her friend and classmate. The music-loving duo quickly realize they have a lot in common and go on an adventure neither of them will ever forget.

Why It’s Great

With its stellar performances, a top-notch soundtrack, and quirky humor, the film is a slam-dunk romance flick that truly captures the uncertainty and excitement that comes with falling in love. The plot of following a romance blossom over a single night is charming and captures the youthful spirit of the lead characters. It also gives the audience a truly great view of the late 2000s New York City nightlife and music scene, making it a great time capsule. Rent on Vudu

5 A Silent Voice (2016)

A Silent Voice
Scene from A Silent Voice (2016)

Forgiveness and a fresh start are the main themes of the 2016 anime film A Silent Voice. The movie revolves around the character of Shoya Ishida, who used to bully his deaf middle school classmate Shoko Nishimiya with his friends. But he became a social outcast after he was forced to take the repercussions all on his own. As he reaches high school, Shoya is determined to right all the wrongs in his life, and he starts with Shoko. The two of them start to get along well and fall in love in this heartwarming tale.

Why It’s Great

A Silent Voice is probably one of the best ways the ‘bully turned lover’ trope is used in a romance movie, and it won’t make you squirm in discomfort. Instead, you will find yourself being charmed by the character development of Shoya, as he genuinely works hard to become a better person and earn forgiveness from and helps Shoko without asking for anything in return. The romance between the two is a little bittersweet and understated, but the hopeful ending makes the heartbreak worth it. Rent on Apple TV

4 Love, Simon (2018)

Love, Simon
Love, Simon

Release Date
February 16, 2018

Director
Greg Berlanti

Rating
PG-13

Love, Simon is based on a novel by Becky Albertalli called Simon X The Homo Sapiens Agenda. This movie is a wholehearted story

about a 17-year-old, Simon (Nick Robinson), who has a secret he keeps from everyone around him: he is gay. That gets more complicated once he starts exchanging emails with a boy in his class who is also gay and in the process of coming out of the closet, just like Simon. His journey is accompanied by his close friends and family.

What Makes It Great

The viewer ends the movie believing the world can be a better place when these stories are being produced and loved around the world. A necessary teen romance, Love, Simon opened doors for more LGBTQ+ stories for teens by having a spin-off series by Hulu called Love, Victor. The film also succeeds in realistically depicting the internal struggles of being a queer teenager in a heteronormative society and outlines the importance of having supportive friends and family who can all happily be a part of a person’s journey of self-discovery. Stream on Hulu

3 The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Based on John Green’s 2012 novel, The Fault in Our Stars is a beautiful movie about love and loss. A teen sensation when it came out, the story of two cancer patients, Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort), who fall in love under excruciating odds, will make you cry (a few times) during the movie. The two teenagers, who meet in a cancer support group, slowly start orbiting around each other despite knowing the slim chances of their love succeeding.

Why It’s Great

A story more about life rather than death, the love between these characters will inspire you to travel, fall in love, and search for your true self. With great performances and a soundtrack that will make you cry harder, this movie is a sad tale that nonetheless takes a positive look at unbearable things that happen in life. Cited as one of the greatest tragic romance films of all time, the movie will break your heart but also put a smile on your face. Stream on Disney+

2 Your Name (2016)

Your Name
Your Name

Release Date
April 7, 2017

Cast
Ryûnosuke Kamiki , Ryô Narita , Aoi Yuki , Mone Kamishiraishi

Rating
TV-PG

Not only is Your Name Makoto Shinkai’s best work, but it is also cited as one of the greatest anime films of all time. The film tells the story of rural high school student Mitsuha Miyamizu, who starts to switch bodies with a boy from Tokyo named Taki Tachibana after wishing to become a Tokyo boy in her next life. The two of them start helping improve each other’s lives when they wake up in each other’s body and slowly start to fall in love. Their body switching suddenly stops, and Taki has to find a way to contact Mitsuha as he realizes that she’s in great danger.

Why It’s Great

Makoto Shinkai’s genius really shines through in the movies, as there are not many other films that use the body swap trope as well as this one did. Your Name is a heartbreaking tale about a couple who are not only distanced by space but also time, and a twist of fate forces them to come into contact with each other, and the same fate takes it away from them. The skillfully woven plot is funny, emotional, and tender all at the same time. Though the ending of the film is bittersweet, the magic of the narrative resonates within your heart a long time after you have finished watching it. Stream on Crunchyroll

1 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

The ’90s classic had to be at the top of this list. Another movie inspired by the best playwright that ever lived, 10 Things I Hate About You, is a take on Shakespeare’s timeless play, The Taming of the Shrew. With an incredible cast including Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Larisa Oleynik, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this movie quickly became a phenomenon among teenagers at the time (equally impressive, it opened the same day as The Matrix). It tells the story of a teenage boy named Cameron (Levitt), who pays bad boy Patrick (Ledger) to go out on a date with an antisocial girl named Kat (Stiles), so that he can bypass Kat’s father’s strict rule and take Kat’s sister Bianca (Oleynik) on a date. But things start to get complicated when Bianca reveals that she likes someone else, and Patrick and Kat start falling for each other.

Why It is the Best

It is impossible to watch the movie and not root for the characters to be together and, at the same time, not lose who they are on the way (they don’t, don’t worry about it). But the film does keep you on your toes until the very last moment. This film popularized the trope of lying to someone about liking them, only to fall in love with them later. The film also has a fantastic soundtrack, and you will finish the movie rumbling “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and wishing Heath Ledger could sing it to you. Stream on Disney+

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