12 Movies Like Dazed And Confused: Coming-Of-Age Films For The Watchlist

Dazed and Confused

Teen comedies these days don’t compare to classic 90s movies with extravagant shenanigans, timeless fashion, and a new approach to the story of finding one’s true self in the prime days. So, if you want to indulge in the trials and tribulations of adolescents again, we have 12 movies like Dazed and Confused for you to experience. 

Richard Linklater’s 1993 coming-of-age film, Dazed and Confused, is a simplistic view of the experience of high school without any glitz or glamour to sugar-coat the reality. Now a cult classic, this American film is a narrative of the rebellion, growth, confusion, and love that teens often face in their youth.

Relevant even thirty years after its release, this movie, named after the famous Led Zeppelin song, follows a group of teens as they celebrate the last day of their high school life. As Floyd (played by Jason London) and the others join a poolside keg party, we see the incoming freshman trying their best to avoid being hazed by the sadistic senior Fred (played by Ben Affleck).

Dazed and Confused
Mathew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused in 1993 (Credit: InsideHook)

The night they all want to remember forever takes many ups and down, eventually ending with them on a highway, listening to music on their way to purchase tickets for a concert. The film boasts an ensemble cast of Michelle Burke, Mathew McConaughey, Renee Zellweger, and more in this delightful story about many characters of Texas high school.

The film does a great job is letting the audience feel the importance of living in the moment without making it too obvious. It’s a feel-good movie that you don’t want to end, but when it does, it leaves with you a great appreciation of the days that have been and, of course, its great soundtrack.

Dazed and Confused
The ladies of the cast of Dazed and Confused, including Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams, and Milla Jovovich (Credits: Rio Theatre)

The director artfully makes the mundane life of a handful of young adults seem interesting with his inexplicable attention to detail and the overall overtone of the film. A delve into life in the seventies, Dazed and Confused promises to be a great ‘hang-out’ film that will take you back to the memories of your youth.

Also Read: Dazed And Confused Cast Then And Now

12 More Movies Like Dazed and Confused for a Nostalgic Night-in

After finishing the wholesome story that is Dazed and Confused, it is no doubt that the need to experience something like it again will consume the viewers. To satisfy that craving, here is a list of more coming-of-age high-school movies that you can definitely watch next!

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

No high school experience is complete without an impromptu day of skipping classes to have some fun, and John Hughes’ masterpiece Ferries Bueller’s Day Off is exactly about that. Ferris, the titular slacker, takes a day off from school to goof off, all the while trying to outsmart his Principal and manage his angry parents.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Alan Ruck, Mathew Broderick, and Mia Sara as Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Credits: WGN)

Joined by him in his adventures are his best friend and girlfriend, making it a hilarious trio with charming chemistry. With its incredibly funny moments, this movie also manages to bank on some deeper themes, such as being underestimated and truly enjoying yourself amidst everything else.

A superhit 80s classic that will leave you with a satisfied smile on your face, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off stars Mathew Broderick as Bueller, Alan Ruck, and Mia Sara, amongst others. Watch the teen comedy now on amazon Prime Video or Apple TV.

Also Read: Where is Ferris Bueller Filmed? Filming Locations

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl (2015)

A cynical senior nearing the end of his high school life reaches out upon being forced by his mother to his estranged friend, who’s slowly dying of leukemia. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a story about Greg, his best friend, Earl and Rachel, and the friendship between them.

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl
Earl (RJ Cyler) and Rachel (Olivia Cooke) in Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (Credits: NPR)

Based on Jesse Andrews’s debut novel of the same name, the movie explores the changes a positive companionship can bring to a person’s life, whether it be prospects about the future or doubting one’s self.

Starring Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, and RJ Cycler in the titular roles, the film is well-balanced between its serious themes and poignant deftness and pace.

A quirky take on the ‘sick kid’ movie, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl are about more than just a coming-of-age film; it is a rampant and colorful emotional narration about the fear of losing someone close to you at a young age. 

Also Read: Olivia Cooke’s Partner: The HBO Series Star’s Personal Life

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Another American teen comedy-drama from the eighties, The Breakfast Club, has amassed a large gathering of fan following over the years solely for its feel-good portrait of adolescence.

In a story that starts in a detention holdup, five students with seemingly nothing in common begin to realize, after they had shed their egos aside, that they, in fact, do share some common struggles and woes.

The Breakfast Club
Judd Nelson (John Bender), Molly Ringwald (Claire), Ally Sheedy (Allison), Emilio Estevez (Andrew), and Anthony Michael Hall (Brian) in The Breakfast Club (Credits: CineVille)

Another John Hughes number on this list, the film became a common reference in pop culture after its nomination for the Academy Award.

The rebel, the loner, the jock, the awkward nerd, and the snobbish pretty girl come together to pass the time in the library, leaving us with the message of friendships that breaks barriers.

A coming-of-age landmark of the genre, The Breakfast Club stars Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, and Anthony Michael Hall in the lead roles.

Also Read: The Breakfast Club Ending Explained: What Happens After Detention?

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)

The third installment of this musical teen drama, High School Musical 3: Senior Year stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, returning for their roles as Troy and Gabriela one last time.

With the senior year comes some struggles for these East High students as some of them grapple with the idea of separation while others worry about the impending arrival of adulthood.

A musical about love, friendship, and dreaming big, High School Musical 3 was indeed a worthy end to the journey of these teenagers together.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Zac Efron as Troy Bolton and Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella Montez in High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Credits: Seventeen Magazine)

Supported by a talented side cast of Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Monique Coleman, and more, the film, like its predecessors, boasts an ensemble list of groovy musical numbers. With a couple of spin-offs also ready on the go, watch High School Musical 3 now on Disney+ to relive your own blissful school and theatre days. 

Also Read: Is High School Musical 4 Coming Soon? TikTok confusion

Everybody Wants Some (2016)

Another one of Richard Linklater’s teen comedies starring quite a few of the Hollywood standouts like Zoey Deutch, Tyler Hoechlin, Glen Powell, and Ryan Guzman is Everybody Wants Some.

Set in 1980s Texas, the movie follows the life of baseball players living together in a communal house and the ups and downs of their day-to-day shenanigans.

Everybody Wants Some
Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Blake Jenner, and Tyler Hoechlin with Glen Powell in Everybody Wants Some (Credits: Motion Picture Blog)

A film about a group of youth a little older than that in Dazed and Confused brings to the audience a very realistic picture of the average life of American youth, especially in their college days.

Freshman Jake meets his rowdy housemates and his eventual girlfriend Beverly and the shenanigans they go through while finding their footing in the real world.

The entire movie takes place after Jake moves into his new communal house for their first-ever class at college, and it can now be watched on amazon Prime Video.

Also Read: Everybody Wants Some Filming Locations: Where Was The Teen Comedy Shot?

Booksmart (2019)

In this 2019 American comedy by Olivia Wilde, Beanie Feldstein’s Molly, and Kaitlyn Dever’s Amy sacrifice their social lives in pursuit of their successful nomination to great universities.

But when these two brainiacs discover that even the popular, partying kids got into great schools, they are hit with the impending reality that they have missed out on a lot.

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as Molly and Amy in 2019’s Booksmart (Credits: YouTube)

So they set out to make the best out of their time left, have a wild graduation, and not miss out on the opportunity of having a great high school experience. A modern teen narrative with two independent women as the leads, Booksmart reinforces the power of reassuring friendships.

A homage to the classic coming-of-age self-discovery stories, this film is also the right movie to curl up with while doing your homework on Friday nights, staying in. 

Also Read: 8 Coming of Age Movies You Should Look Forward to Watch in 2021

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High launched the careers of many popular names in the industry, such as Sean Penn and Phoebe Cates. The 1982 film is a depiction of the touching vulnerability of the youth fueled by spiritous freedom and sobered by responsibility.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High
A scene from the film Fast Times At Ridgemont High is starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Robert Romanus. (Credits: MUBI)

Like Dazed and Confused, this high school teen comedy captures the ordinary life of a group of teens as they come face-to-face with the pressures of adulthood.

Chronicling the misfortunes of Stacy and Mark and their older friends Linda and Mike over a year, Fast Times at Ridgemont High is about love, work, drugs, music, and school set as a hilarious southern California high school movie.

A timeless cult classic about the ninety-eighties, the film encompasses many memorable scenes that are still quoted to this date, which you cannot miss.

Also Read: Where Is Fast Times At Ridgemont High Filmed? All the Known Locations

American Graffiti (1973)

George Lucas’ take on the teen culture in the early 60s, American Graffiti stars Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, and Cindy Williams, among others. Set in the town of Modesto, California, the film explores the rock and roll way of life that dominated the youth at the time.

American Graffiti
A scene from the 1973 movie American Graffiti (Credits: CBS News)

About a group of friends on the last day of their summer break, American Graffiti introduces us to the characters of Curt, Steve, Terry, and John and their stories which still remain evergreen even after many years.

Embarking for a long drive on what is a pivotal night in their life, this group of teenagers clings to something or the other that they can’t seem to leave behind just yet. From impending adulthood to separation from their life-long friends, American Graffiti comes out as a journey of self-discovery. 

Also Read: American Graffiti Ending Explained: Did John Survive?

Dead Poets Society (1989)

An ensemble cast of Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, and Robert Sean Leonard star in this 1989 American drama by Peter Weir, Dead Poets Society. The film, set in the late 1950s, is about a progressive English teacher, Keating, who encourages his group of students to go beyond the norm and live their life to the fullest.

Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams as John Keating, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and Gale Hansen (Credits: LPM Arena)

The boys draw inspiration from the works of poets who came before them, granting the film its name. A masterpiece in its own right, Dead Poets Society is a movie that is exceptionally well done; from its non-monotonous flow to the intertwining literacy with humanity, everything is kept raw and real.

The movie is bound to make you cry and laugh and leave you with a bittersweet yet heartwarming parting message that won’t disappoint you at all. Watch Dead Poets Society now on Apple TV or Disney+.

Also Read: Dead Poets Society Ending Explained: What Happens To The Boys After John Keating Resigned?

Stand By Me (1986)

A story about four friends, a little younger than our group of teens, in Dazed and Confused, Stand By Me is a coming-of-age narrative surrounding Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern in the town of Oregon.

When the four decide to hike to find the missing body of another young boy from the town, what is brought to the audience is a heartwarming tale of adventure and self-discovery with a bit of suspense.

Stand By Me
Stand By Me stars River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, and Corey Feldman as Chris, Gordie, Vern, and Teddy (Credits: CinemaBlend)

Adapted from the Stephen King novel ‘The Body,’ it turns a spontaneous lark into a well-defined moment in their youth as they get to know each other and their strikingly different lives at home.

Starring River Pheonix, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, and Corey Feldman in the lead, Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me is now available to watch on netflix.

Also Read: Stand By Me Filming Locations: Where Was The 1986 Movie Filmed?

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Hailee Steinfeld‘s The Edge of Seventeen, about Nadine, an adolescent girl who has just lost her father, is a new-age sensation that takes the genre of teen comedy to a whole new level.

When her relationship with her best friend also becomes complicated, the other things in her life also seem to fall apart one by one.

The Edge of Seventeen
Hailee Steinfeld and Haley Lu Richardson as Nadine and Krista in The Edge of Seventeen (Credits: YTS)

A mature take on the adventures of an isolated teenager, The Edge of Seventeen is a heartfelt venture that makes for a good watch, both for teenagers and adults alike who have been through this distraught phase of life.

With underlying themes of complicated relationships and the ever-changing environment, this movie is a striking look into the average life of a teenager, especially one struggling with mental health.

Watch The Edge of Seventeen now on netflix, starring Haley Lu Richardson, Woody Harrelson, Blake Jenner, and Kyra Sedgwick.

Also Read: Hailee Steinfeld, the famed ‘True Grit’ Star, Calls Florence Pugh’s On-Set Attitude Incredibly Exciting & Inspiring.

Adventureland (2009)

This coming-of-age American film of 2009 is based during the summer after school, where we see high schoolers venture out into the world, trying to find their footing and get jobs. Jesse Eisenberg plays the college graduate with a summer job at the town’s amusement park because of his failed back-packing through Europe plans.

Adventureland (2009) starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart (Credits: TVNZ)

His opinion about his dead-end job changes when he meets Em, whom he instantly forms a connection with and ends up falling in love with. Adventureland, set in the vivid time period of 1987, just like Dazed and Confused, is a dictation of the post-adolescence, pre-adulthood phase of life where one often dabbles into worries of school, career, and of course, love.

Joining Eisenberg in the movie are Kristen Stewart as Em as well as Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and more. From the director of Superbad, Greg Mottola, Adventureland is a heart-warming and funny indie film definitely worth a watch, now available on amazon Prime Video.

Even though this is the end of the list of nostalgic coming-of-age movies to binge, you will find that they will all make you feel just like Dazed and Confused did. And if you are through these as well, do check out some of the modern-day teen angst films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Duff, Superbad, Easy A, and Spectacular Now.

Also Read: Movies Similar To Perks Of Being A Wallflower That You Should Watch


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