Special Report

The 25 Best Coming-of-Age Films

Almost everyone can relate to coming-of-age stories, which examine the transition we’ve all undergone from child to adult. While countless books have told these tales, movies — whether humorous or serious or a mix of both — that depict the transition are particularly memorable. (These are the best movies you’ll remember if you grew up in the ‘60s.)

To identify the 25 best coming-of-age films, 24/7 Tempo constructed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. We considered all the coming-of-age movies in our database, using various IMDb lists focused on the category. Movies were ranked using the combined index score. (Information on cast and directors also comes from IMDb.)

Many of the films on this list were culturally and historically significant, and are still celebrated by cinephiles to this day — among them “The Breakfast Club” (1985), “Stand By Me” (1986), and “Almost Famous” (2000). 

“The Breakfast Club,” about the unlikely friendships that evolve among an eclectic group of high-schoolers during a Saturday morning detention session, is one of several films on this list selected for the U.S. National FIlm Registry by the Library of Congress. 

In “Stand By Me,” based on a Stephen King novella, four youngsters embark on a quest to find the body of a missing boy, meeting numerous challenges along the way. While it was nominated for an Academy Award and two Golden Globes, among other honors, it didn’t take home any major awards — but today it is considered one of the key youth films of its era and has even inspired an annual Stand By Me Day in Brownsville, Oregon, featured in the film.

“Almost Famous” tells the story of a teenager touring with a rock band as he pursues a music journalism career with Rolling Stone. Among many other awards, it won an Oscar and two Golden Globes — plus a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture. 

Other coming-of-age movies on this list include thrillers, screwball comedies, adventure stories, Disney films, and more. (These are the best comedy movies available to stream right now.)

Click here to see the 25 best coming-of-age films