For Movies About Coming Of Age, there is no limit to the creators who explored this feeling. Here are 25 of our favorites.
Kátia Lund, starring Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele, Phellipe Haagensen
City of God is a 2002 Brazilian crime drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund. Set in the impoverished slums of Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s and 70s, the film follows the story of two boys, Rocket and Li'l Zé, as they grow up amidst the violence and poverty of their community. Over the course of their lives, they become caught up in the escalating violence and crime in the area, leading Rocket to ultimately reject the criminal life. Meanwhile, Li'l Zé rises to power within the drug-dealing gangs, becoming a feared drug lord. The film explores themes of poverty, gang violence, and the corrupting influence of crime, as well as the importance of family and friendship in the face of adversity. It was a major critical and commercial success and was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Director and Best Cinematography.
From Roberto Benigni, starring Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano
Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian comedy-drama film written and directed by Roberto Benigni. It tells the story of an Italian Jewish father, Guido Orefice, who attempts to protect his son from the horrors of a World War II concentration camp by pretending their time there is a game. Despite the hardships of camp life, Guido is determined to maintain a sense of humour and hope as he helps his son survive the experience. In the end, his courage and love for his son ultimately provide a glimmer of brightness in a dark time.
From Giuseppe Tornatore, starring Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili, Isa Danieli
Cinema Paradiso is a romantic drama about a filmmaker's journey of self-discovery. The story begins in the small Sicilian village of Giancaldo, where a young boy named Salvatore (Salvatore Cascio) is bewitched by the movies that play at the local cinema, run by the charming, but stern projectionist Alfredo (Philippe Noiret). Salvatore's love of cinema is encouraged by Alfredo, who shows him the secrets of his craft. When Salvatore grows up and moves to Rome, his passion for cinema remains strong, but his memories of Alfredo, and their shared love of the movies, are never far away. As Salvatore looks back on his life, he is forced to confront the mistakes he has made and the opportunities he has missed. In the end, Salvatore finds that Alfredo's wisdom has helped him to understand the value of love and friendship, and the power of cinema to bring people together.
From Sam Mendes, starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley
American Beauty is a 1999 drama film directed by Sam Mendes that tells the story of Lester Burnham, a middle-aged man in a mid-life crisis who begins to reassess his life. After becoming infatuated with his daughter's friend Angela, Burnham makes a series of changes in his life, including quitting his job to become a fast food worker, exercising to boost his self-esteem, and having an affair with Angela. His wife, Carolyn, is a real estate agent who is obsessed with success, and his daughter, Jane, is insecure and dealing with her own issues of self-worth. The film follows the Burnhams as they deal with their own personal issues, as well as the underlying issues of the larger society they live in, including the desire for beauty, materialism, and consumerism. The film was a tremendous critical success, garnering 5 Academy Award nominations and winning Best Picture.
From Robert Mulligan, starring Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy
To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan and based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel. The film stars Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the fictional small-town of Maycomb, Alabama, who defends a black man, Tom Robinson, against an undeserved rape charge. Through the young eyes of Finch's children, Jem and Scout, the film explores themes of morality, racial injustice, prejudice, and courage. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck, and was nominated for eight others. It was also a huge financial success, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year and one of the top grossers of all time. To Kill a Mockingbird has become a beloved classic, frequently cited as one of the greatest films ever made.
From Guillermo del Toro, starring Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú
Pan's Labyrinth tells the story of a young girl named Ofelia, who moves with her pregnant mother to the home of her tyrannical and cruel stepfather, a Spanish army officer in 1944. In the surrounding woods, she discovers a forgotten labyrinth and meets a mythical faun who tells her that she is a long lost princess and must complete three tasks in order to reclaim her throne. Along the way, Ofelia must choose between staying in the cruel world of her stepfather or entering the fantastical world of the labyrinth. The film follows Ofelia's journey and her struggles as she tries to complete the tasks while also protecting her family from the dangers of war.
From Danny Boyle, starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd
Trainspotting is a 1996 British film directed by Danny Boyle and based on the novel by Irvine Welsh. The film follows the lives of a group of heroin addicts living in Edinburgh, Scotland, as they attempt to kick their drug habits and live meaningful lives. It stars Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald. The film follows a group of friends as they struggle with their addictions and the consequences of their actions. The main character, Mark Renton, is torn between his love for heroin and his desire to break free from the lifestyle that it has created. He also finds himself in a love triangle between his longtime friend and a drug dealer's daughter. Together, they must find a way to overcome their addictions and cope with the struggles of everyday life. Trainspotting explores themes of addiction, poverty, and family life in a gritty and darkly humorous way. The film also explores the often-contradictory nature of drug addiction, and its effects on the lives of those who are addicted. It is a powerful, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking film that offers a unique perspective into the lives of drug addicts.
From Peter Weir, starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles
Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set in 1959 at the fictional Welton Academy, it tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry. The film follows the rebellious and non-conformist actions of the students as they learn to think for themselves, challenge their beliefs, and find their own voices. The story is set against the backdrop of a conservative, traditional boarding school environment, and explores ideas of individuality, freedom of expression, and the meaning of friendship. The film won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for several other awards, including Best Picture.
From Peter Bogdanovich, starring Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal, Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman
Paper Moon is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Ryan and Tatum O'Neal. It tells the story of a con artist and his young daughter, who travel through the American Midwest during the Great Depression. The two team up to scam unsuspecting people out of their money, while developing a bond of friendship and trust. Along the way, they meet a variety of characters, including a pre-teen evangelist, an elderly widow, an old flame of the con artist, and a madam who runs a brothel. In the end, the father-daughter duo must make a moral decision about their future. The film is noted for its naturalistic style, with its use of real locations and non-professional actors. It was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for several awards, including three Academy Awards.
King Vidor, starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr
The Wizard of Oz follows the journey of Dorothy Gale, a young girl from Kansas who is swept away to the magical Land of Oz by a tornado. Along the way, she meets a Scarecrow in search of a brain, a Tin Man in need of a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who desires courage. Together, the foursome embarks on a quest to find the Wizard of Oz, so that he may help Dorothy return home. On their journey, they battle the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys, until ultimately they reach the Emerald City. After proving themselves in a series of tests, they are granted an audience with the Wizard of Oz, who grants each of them his own special wish. In the end, Dorothy discovers that she always had the power to return home, and with a little help from her friends, she's soon safely back in Kansas.
From Kim Ki-duk, starring Kim Ki-duk, Oh Yeong-su, Jong-ho Kim, Kim Young-min
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring is a 2003 South Korean film written and directed by Kim Ki-duk. It tells the story of an elderly Buddhist monk and his young apprentice, who live in a lakeside temple in a stunning natural setting. The film follows the two characters through the changing of the seasons and their growth in spiritual understanding. The themes explored in the film are timeless and universal, including human suffering, the cycle of life and death, and the pursuit of enlightenment. At its core, the film is a poignant exploration of the relationship between an experienced master and his young student, and its themes remain relevant today.
From Richard Kelly, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne
Donnie Darko is a psychological thriller about a troubled teenage boy living in a suburban town in 1988. He suffers from hallucinations and sleepwalking and is haunted by a giant rabbit named Frank. Donnie discovers that the world will end in 28 days and begins to follow the instructions of Frank, a figure he believes to be a figment of his imagination. As the days pass, Donnie unravels the mysteries behind Frank and discovers the power of time travel. As events begin to spiral out of control, Donnie must find a way to stop the destruction of the world and undo the damage he has caused.
From Mike Nichols, starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels
The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb. The film follows recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock, who is seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, and then falls in love with her daughter Elaine. Set in Southern California against a backdrop of the growing anti-war and free love movements of the 1960s, it explores the conflict between the generations and social conventions of the era, and stars Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft in the lead roles. The film was a critical and commercial success and spawned an era of "modern comedies". It won the Academy Award for Best Director for Nichols and garnered seven other Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Hoffman. The Graduate was among the first movies to have an older person fall in love with a younger person, and it is also remembered for its numerous pop culture references. The Graduate is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time.
Loveleen Tandan, starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla, Anil Kapoor
Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British drama film directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan. It stars Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor, and Irrfan Khan. The film follows the story of Jamal Malik, a young Muslim man from the slums of Mumbai, India, who participates in the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and wins a cash prize. As he is interrogated by the police, Jamal recounts the story of his life and how he acquired the knowledge to answer each of the quiz show’s questions. Through this narrative, the film examines themes of fate, love, poverty, and social injustice in India. Slumdog Millionaire was widely praised for its visual style, performances, and soundtrack. It won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Boyle.
Marjane Satrapi, starring Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands, Danielle Darrieux
Persepolis is an animated film directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi based on Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel of the same name. The film follows the story of Marjane Satrapi’s coming of age during the Iranian Revolution in 1980. Marjane is a young girl living in Iran with her family. As the country is undergoing a transformation to a fundamentalist Islamic state, Marjane must contend with the changing political climate as well as the expectations of her strict family. The film follows Marjane through her turbulent childhood and adolescence as she deals with the turbulent political climate, her family’s expectations, and her own dreams of freedom.
From Peter Bogdanovich, starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson
The Last Picture Show is a classic 1971 film directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Set in the small, rural town of Anarene, Texas, the film follows the lives of a group of teenagers as they make their way through high school and deal with the harsh realities of life in a small town. It focuses on Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges), two best friends trying to navigate their own paths in life. The film explores themes of loneliness, alienation, and the difficulty of leaving a place one loves. It also examines the complexities of adult relationships, as well as the power dynamics between adults and teenagers. In the end, the characters in the film must come to terms with the fact that life is constantly changing and they must accept that they can never go back to the way things were.
From Stephen Chbosky, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd
The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the story of an introverted freshman, Charlie (Logan Lerman), who is struggling to make his way through high school. He finds solace in writing letters to an anonymous friend, and eventually befriends two seniors, Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson). With them, he experiences new things, from friendships and first love to discovering who he really is. As the trio navigates the rocky terrain of teenage life, Charlie is faced with decisions that will shape the rest of his life. Along the way, he learns how to find his own voice and stand up for himself.
From Cameron Crowe, starring Billy Crudup, Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand
Almost Famous is a 2000 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit. The film follows the life of 15-year-old William Miller, an aspiring rock journalist, as he goes on tour with the fictional band Stillwater and unexpectedly finds himself immersed in the music scene of the early 1970s. Along the way, he learns valuable life lessons about friendship, family, and the various aspects of show business. The film also features performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman, Frances McDormand, Zooey Deschanel, and Jason Lee. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
From John Hughes, starring Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy
The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes. It follows five high school students during the course of an eventful Saturday detention. Its five main characters are portrayed by Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. The film covers the events of one Saturday morning in detention at Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois. Each of the five students is forced to confront their individual issues and social stereotypes in order to make meaningful connections with each other. Through their experiences, the group learns to recognize the value of each other's differences and to accept one another as individuals. At the end of the day, they come to understand the importance of friendship, self-expression, and the value of respecting oneself and others. The Breakfast Club is widely regarded as one of the greatest teen films of all time.
From Lukas Moodysson, starring Oksana Akinshina, Artyom Bogucharskiy, Pavel Ponomaryov, Lyubov Agapova
Lilya 4-Ever is a 2002 Swedish drama film directed by Lukas Moodysson. The film tells the story of Lilya, a 16-year-old girl living in poverty in the former Soviet Union. After her mother leaves her to move to the United States with a new boyfriend, Lilya is left alone with no family or support system to rely on. Desperate to find a better life, she turns to the promises of a shady man who promises to take her to a better life in the West. The film follows Lilya as she faces the harsh realities of human trafficking, poverty and loneliness, as well as the hope of a better future if she can find the courage to fight for it. Through Lilya's journey, the film offers a powerful and emotional exploration of the struggles many young people face in the post-Soviet world, and the dangers of human trafficking.
Valerie Faris, starring Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Abigail Breslin
Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 dramedy directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The film follows the Hoover family, a dysfunctional, yet loving, family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The family embarks on a road trip to California so that the youngest daughter, Olive, can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Along the way, the family must deal with their various issues and conflicts, including an attempted suicide from the suicidal uncle, an impending bankruptcy from the father, and a strained marriage between the mother and father. Through their journey, the family learns to come together and accept one another despite their differences and difficulties.
From Christophe Barratier, starring Gérard Jugnot, François Berléand, Jean-Baptiste Maunier, Kad Merad
The Chorus (Les Choristes) is a 2004 French musical drama film directed by Christophe Barratier. It tells the story of Clément Mathieu, a music teacher who arrives at a disciplinary boarding school for "troubled" boys in 1949. ThoughMathieu is initially met with resistance by the headmaster, the boys gradually benefit from his teachings, which give them a newfound joy in life and purpose. Through music, Mathieu helps the boys become more self-confident and better-behaved, eventually leading them to success in a national choir competition. The film explores themes of redemption, education, and the power of music to inspire and heal.
From Wes Anderson, starring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray
Moonrise Kingdom is a 2012 comedy-drama directed by Wes Anderson. Set in 1965, the film follows the story of two young lovers, Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) who decide to run away together to a remote island off the coast of New England. The film follows the ensuing search for the two as their families and the local police look to re-capture them. Along the way, several colorful characters help the two on their journey, including Suzy's three eccentric scouts, a pair of quirky police officers, and a strict but caring court-appointed lawyer. Through it all, the two star-crossed lovers remain committed to their relationship and each other.
From Joe Wright, starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Brenda Blethyn, Saoirse Ronan
Atonement is an epic romantic drama directed by Joe Wright. Set in England during World War II, the film follows the lives of two lovers, Cecilia Tallis and Robbie Turner, whose lives are tragically separated by the cruel accusation of a crime they did not commit. Cecilia and Robbie are from two different classes, yet they share a forbidden and passionate love. Their lives become even more complicated when Cecilia's younger sister Briony falsely accuses Robbie of a crime he did not commit. Despite Robbie's innocence, he is sent to war and Cecilia is left to mourn the loss of her great love. Through the years, Briony slowly comes to terms with the consequences of her accusation, making amends and learning to forgive herself. In the end, Briony and her sister are reunited, and Robbie and Cecilia find love once again.
From Alfonso Cuarón, starring Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ana López Mercado
Y Tu Mamá También is an award-winning Mexican drama film written by Carlos Cuarón and directed by his brother Alfonso Cuarón. The story follows two teenage boys, Julio and Tenoch, who are best friends living in Mexico City. After being told that a beautiful and mysterious woman named Luisa is going to take a road trip to a secret beach, the boys invite themselves along on the adventure. Along the way, the trio experiences a journey of self-discovery, sexual awakening, and friendship. Through the course of the journey, Julio and Tenoch learn more about each other, their country, and themselves. In the end, their experiences lead them to a better understanding of life, death, and their own mortality.
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