Have you ever found yourself flicking through Netflix, or Amazon, listlessly trying to settle on something your entire family will be at least partly willing to watch? Try this list of ten films to watch with teens, and I guarantee at least one or two on here will definitely be a hit. Just think, if you work your way through this list, that’s ten whole evenings where there’s no debate about what to watch!
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1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Try this for some fun; high school student Ferris tries to have a day off school, but his principal is determined to catch him playing truant. Teens will love this, it teaches you to enjoy your youth, and let loose sometimes! It’s also a classic, and the ultimate coming of age story that will make everyone happy! Watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off here.
2. Top Gun (1986)
Not to fixate on the late 80s for films, but this one is perfect if you’ve got one teen into romance films, and one into war; it’s the perfect mix of both! Tom Cruise flying old fashioned planes with his best friend, and falling for Kelly McGillis at the same time. It stands the test of time well, and is perfect prep for seeing the 2022 version, Top Gun Maverick. Watch the original Top Gun here.
3. Holes (2003)
An adaptation of the classic book by Louis Sachar, this is destined to be a hit with teens. A bit of mystery, a bit of humour, and a great story. If you’re trying to recapture the joys of reading books with teens, but not sure how, suggest this as a film to watch! It’s sure to have them wanting to read the book. You can watch Holes here.
4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
For older teenagers who refuse to watch anything unless it’s full of blood and guts, here’s a hilarious mash up of British comedy, and a zombie apocalypse. Simon Pegg is hilarious, and the whole family is sure to enjoy this one. Watch Shaun of the Dead here:
5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This one is best for mid-teens; if your kids refuse to watch anything with you, and instead hide in their bedrooms with their laptops permanently tuned to Netflix, suggest the Shawshank Redemption. It looks like your classic prison film, but the writing is amazing, and it becomes one of the best thrillers ever made, and one that captivated our whole family. Watch the Shawshank Redemption here.
6. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Think of it like a hilariously funny James Bond, if Bond was played by Taron Edgerton and dressed like a roadman you went to school with. It’s great for a fun, family evening with teenagers, and can provide a bit of respite from hard going action films without disappointing action fans. Watch Kingsman here.
7. Avengers Assemble (2012)
If you haven’t already tried it, I’d recommend seeing if your family could become Marvel fans. If only because there are about 30 films and 10 TV shows, and thus provides options for at least a few months. Jokes aside, the Marvel films are funny, action-packed and great for teenagers, so start with the first Avengers film. If you like it, I’d recommend watching the rest in release order. Watch Avengers Assemble here.
7. Knives Out (2019)
This is great for teens, a classic murder mystery filled with twists and turns, and an all-star cast. You realise plot points as the film progresses, and it kept our whole family entertained throughout. One slight negative is Daniel Craig’s Southern American accent, but you can barely notice it by the end! Watch Knives Out here.
21 Jump Street (2012)
This is a film that our family happened to stumble upon whilst flicking through channels, desperately trying to find something to watch one evening. Little did we know that we’d found comedy gold. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill play American cops trying to infiltrate a high school in order to bust a drug ring. This obviously results in lots of comedy, and was a resounding hit with our family, including the teenagers. Watch 21 Jump Street here.
Trust me on this one, I know it seems odd that an animated film features on a list of films to watch with teens. Soul is deeper than it may appear, and deals with themes like death and appreciation of life, and had one of our teenagers in tears by the end. Great if you’re looking for something both lighthearted but emotional at times, and I promise teenagers will love it. It also stars Jamie Foxx, so if that doesn’t sell it, I doubt anything will. You can watch Soul here.
What else have you watched? Please add your recommendations in the comments so we can keep this list up to date with great suggestions for films to watch with teens.