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There are swaths of movies about the college experience. Most of them are satires aimed at exaggerated aspects of student life. Here are the top 10 of the best films about college to get your gears turning. They’re perfect for weekend binging or consuming between study sessions.
Lauded as the quintessential college film, this is the tale of utterly incompetent college freshmen who are members of a more than subpar fraternity. Through all kinds of disorderly hijinx, the band of boys survives probation, a vengeful dean, and a rival fraternity. This film was released in 1978 but remains the standard for all college-related movies.
The endless humor of Rodney Dangerfield makes this raucous romantic comedy sinfully delicious. Dangerfield plays a self-made man who never had to go to college to earn his millions and has reason to fear his son is considering following in his footsteps. To get his son to attend college, Dangerfield’s character, Thornton Melon, does what any nutty old dad would do: he signs up for classes! While he expects his son to attend school and do well on the diving team, Dangerfield has others take on his workload for him. Meanwhile, he falls for an attractive professor. This is an oldie but a goodie — nothing trumps Dangerfield in his prime!
It’s the last day of high school in mid-1970s Austin, Texas, and the senior class prepares to wield its power over the incoming freshman class. After doling out hazings, the seniors are forced to consider what life after high school will have to offer them. A hilarious coming of age film with an all-star cast that makes you laugh, but also questions what’s most important in life as a student on the precipice of adulthood.
The dramatic depiction of a secret genius who hides behind a custodian uniform is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the mathematical world. But while he may hold the scholarly key that astounds tenured professors around him, young Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) is more interested in deflecting what he and his tight circle of South Boston friends collectively struggle through. Assigned to therapy with an emotionally driven therapist, portrayed by Robin Williams, Will unravels just enough to think about his future. Should he hang on to his hopeful romantic interest and a shot at high acclaim in the world of academia, or go back to the blue-collar world he knows so well? There’s a reason this intense film was the recipient of two Academy Awards.
This hilarious comedy stars Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods, a happy-go-lucky sorority girl who has everything in life she could want. That is until her would-be fiancé dumps her. When Elle finds out he’s headed to Harvard Law, she stuns everyone by passing the LSAT with flying colors. From there, Elle goes on to prove to the world and herself that she does not need her ex. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also a pretty great lawyer – pink haute couture and all!
Long after their college glory days, three thirty-something men decide they’re fed up with adult life. They recruit rabble from the local college campus and transform the protagonist’s on-campus home into a frat house, complete with out of control parties, a cameo by Snoop Dogg, and all manner of wild shenanigans. Eventually, all three main characters must face real life in their ways, but the journey is a hilarious look into college life.
For the small band of four besties who just graduated college in Houston, life is getting very real. Rent is late, people are losing their jobs, coming out to their parents, and losing loved ones. Reality indeed bites for our heroine. Her first go at reality TV is twisted into something that looks more like Jersey Shore than the gripping reality she had caught on film. In the end, everyone finds their way to their truth. They didn’t realize college didn’t prepare them for all that unfolds in the adult world.
This 1967 blockbuster explores the story of young Benjamin Braddock, played by a young Dustin Hoffman. Braddock tries to uncover what his life is really about and what he wants to do now that he is a college graduate. He is seduced by an older woman, a family friend, Mrs. Robinson. While Braddock explores his own coming-of-age, he finds himself in a complex web much different than most young men his age. Nonetheless, real life will not wait, and Braddock’s affair with Mrs. Robinson must end. Though, not before upending the lives of those around them.
Before there was Facebook, there was a young undergrad at Harvard with a complicated kind of genius. His ideas eventually lead him to success, but not before it costs him some friends along the way. While this is not the story of your typical college student, it’s a critical biopic. It shows what college can be like for those black sheep who wind up changing the world – whether they mean to change it or not.
This story of a career student who plans never to graduate is crafted in perfect National Lampoon style. Van Wilder, played by Ryan Reynolds, would rather party and take empty classes than graduate and face the world. As Wilder begins to develop a love interest, the plot shifts. But not without a few bumps along the way. The classic coming-of-age story of a bad boy’s rite of passage is turned on its head in the funniest way possible. Van Wilder is an instant classic for those who love a great movie about the college experience.