Top 10 Back-to-School Movies

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Over the years, the school yard has proven to be fertile ground for filmmakers. Here are some of our favorite movies and TV shows about the timeless struggle between students and teachers. They're all available on DVD.
Best Movies About School, Diary of a Wimpy Kid first movie
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
In this film based on the first book in The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, we learn that starting middle school is no walk in the park. Greg Heffley, the snarky main character, struggles with wedgie-loving bullies and the full cast of crazy middle school characters. He weighs what's more important: popularity or real good friends. (2010, PG)
Best Movies About School, High School Musical first movie
High School Musical
Tweens will fall for this peppy Disney Channel Original Movie starring heartthrobs Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. The catchy songs, cliquey characters, and hints at romance will remind you of another classic movie about high school, Grease — but a squeaky clean version that's appropriate for kids ages 6 to 10. Don't miss the two sequels. (2006, G)
Best Movies About School, Curious George Back to School DVD
Curious George: Back to School
Kids starting or returning to preschool or kindergarten can warm up to the idea with this cute series of eight Curious George shows from the hit PBS Kids series. As always, George encourages curiosity and creativity in this 118-minute DVD for the littlest learners. (2010, G)
Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society
Film critic Roger Ebert had this to say about Dead Poets Society: "At the end of a great teacher's course in poetry, the students would love poetry; at the end of this teacher's semester, all they really love is the teacher." He has a point, but then it's hard not to love Robin Williams as the kind of unconventional educator who inspires kids and confounds administrators. There's more to teaching than the curriculum. (1989, PG)
Best Movies About School, Grease the movie
Grease
Seeing Grease for the first time is practically a rite of passage for American teens. The box-office hit musical stars Olivia Newton John and John Travolta and portrays life at the fictional Rydell High in the 1950s. It has a few raunchy references and scenes, so it's not appropriate for younger audiences, but Grease is mostly lighthearted fun that older kids will love to sing along with. (1978, PG)
Best Movies About School, Freedom Writers
Freedom Writers
Several movies have tackled the theme of an inspiring teacher motivating a troubled urban classroom. This one, starring Academy Award winner Hillary Swank, stands out in the crowd due to strong acting and its basis on an uplifting true story, The Freedom Writers Diary, by Erin Gruwell (the California English teacher Swank plays). (2007, PG-13)
Best Movies About School, Easy A
Easy A
This witty high-school flick fits in the same class with films like Clueless and Mean Girls. Starring break-out actress Emma Stone as the nerdy but sassy heroine, Olive, Easy A addresses the age-old themes of popularity, cliques, and reputations in high school. Suggestive references make this movie inappropriate for younger kids. (2010, PG-13)
schoolofrock
School of Rock
Dewey Finn has one goal in life: to rock harder than anyone else ever has. When a twist of fate puts him in charge of a classroom full of prep students, he sees an opportunity to form the rock band of his dreams. School of Rock is packed with off-kilter humor and tasty guitar solos, and will leave you headbanging in approval. (2003, PG-13)
Yellow Skirt
Friday Night Lights
Lots of towns take high-school football seriously, but few live and die by their team like the folks in Odessa, Texas. With its emphasis on the town's barely-concealed racial and socioeconomic tensions, the true story of the Permian Panthers' 1988 season is by turns inspiring, poignant, and horrifying. The book is great, too. (2004, PG-13)
Messenger bag
Freaks and Geeks
Finally, a TV show that remembers what high school was really like. The geeks are comfortable with who they are, which is really the cardinal sin for a high-school student. The freaks are searching for any kind of identity at all, even if they have to cause trouble to get it. None of the characters is drawn from the stereotypes you've seen in other teen comedies. The result is a heartfelt show that deftly avoids sentimentality and generates more than its fair share of laughs. (1999, Not Rated)