Hi Friends,
Like many of you, I LOVE the 80’s. The music, the freedom, the FUN. What a great and wild era to be young! (And rebellious) And the movies ruled! I decided to pop 10 of my favorite teen rebellion films into a list and see if WDHA listeners agree. Two of my ten were released in 1979, so bear with me, but caught their stride in the 1980s and became cult classics.

Now, let me start by saying these picks are about rebellion and anarchy. I love a ton of comedy and drama films from the 1980s – some great classics.  This list is not just teen flicks, but those that inspire us to go against the norm. Yup- REBELLION baby!

I decided to grab a list of “rebel fun” films, that make a point, some make us laugh, some are super heavy, but all of them encapsulate what the rebellion of the time was all about especially if you were a teen.

Fun Facts!

Did you know that the director of the movie “Fatal Attraction” made his directorial debut in one of the films on my list? And that the mastermind behind “Almost Famous” and “Jerry Maguire” is behind one of the most iconic 80’s teen films of all time? AND that one of these choices is rumored to have inspired Kurt Cobain to make the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video the way it is. The one common thread?

Like most 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s teen films, my choices have awesome soundtracks that have become their classics too. After all, music is such a big part of the movie experience.

So scroll down, check out the list, and tell me what you think. Hit me up at [email protected]
and of course, I hope you are inspired to watch one or more of these again and travel back to a time when we could throw up our middle fingers and be young enough not to care!

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Rock On!
Terrie Carr

  • Foxes- 1980

    Oh My Gravy do I STILL love this movie! A cult classic that chronicles the lives of 4 teenage girls in the San Fernando Valley in Cali in the late 1970’s who are rebelliously doing things THEIR way!
    Jodie Foster is amazing as the “kind of” voice of reason and “Runaway’ vocalist Cherie Curry is perfection as Annie the out of control member of the crew. It’s teenage and female rebellion at its finest.
    One of the coolest parts? When they all head to the “Angel” concert and Jodie Foster gives Robert Romanus (who plays Mike Damone in Fast Times- the ticket stapling high schooler) concert tickets- Scary at times, sad at times, action packed and relatable, Foxes was the debut from gritty director Adrian Lyne who went on to direct Fatal attraction and Flashdance.

  • Over The Edge- 1979- My #1 Pick

    Even though this is technically 1979- This is my favorite teen rebellion movie of all time. For so many reasons. The acting, the cast and the wild takeover of the school when a group of out of control teens hear that their Rec Center is going to be taken over and their clashes with law enforcement fuel much of their off the charts wild (yet at times understandable) behavior. Matt Dillon made his film debut and is perfect as “Richie” the ultimate teenage bad boy who (spoiler alert) dies in the end.

    It is rumored that Kurt Cobain loved this movie and “Over The Edge” was the inspiration for the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video. The soundtrack is PHENOMENAL with Van Halen, Cheap Trick, The Cars, The Ramones and Hendrix perfectly featured throughout the film. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. Not as well known as many others, but a cult classic.

  • Valley Girl- 1983

    “Like totally a favorite”! An 80’s take on a Romeo and Juliet vibe, (I love you, but I can’t love you!) Valley Girl is “truly dazzling” with PERFECT casting with Nicholas Cage and Deborah Foreman defying their backgrounds to be together. The movie was shot on location in California and is a true time stamp for the Valley and Hollywood in the early 1980’s. Valley Girls EPIC new wave soundtrack is legendary with The Psychedelic Furs,  Modern English, Sparks, Men At Work, The Plimsouls and more (I still listen to it) and the movie still holds up. They did a remake a few years back- Sorry- not even CLOSE. Watch the original.

  • Just One Of The Guys - 1985

    A groundbreaking teen comedy, I picked this as “rebellion” because the character “Terry” played masterfully by Joyce Heiser refuses to accept the “Ah you’re just a pretty girl, shut up” mandate and tries and get the job she wants by posing as a dude and enrolling in a different school! (And she is so convincing too!) There is also a great chemistry between Terry and the high school male lead she befriends and tries to make into a cool dude so he can find a date and who she ultimately falls for. “Just One Of The Guys” is funny, clever, pushes boundaries and is a super underrated 80’s flick.

  • Fast Times At Ridgemont High- 1982

    Some may call this the ULTIMATE 80’s teen rebellion film and I agree! The crew at Ridgemont High knows sex, drugs and rock and roll and Cameron Crowe made his film debut after being a noted writer for rock for many years- and Amy Heckerling directed and wanted to make an “American Graffiti” for the 1980’s.
    What a cast-Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold, Robert Romanus, Forest Whitaker , the list goes on – classic lines , “can you honestly tell me you forgot the magnetism of Robin Zander and the charisma of Rick Nielsen?” The movie is an 80’s cultural phenomenon. Fast Times has some of the greatest teen rebellion scenes of all time and is a movie I can watch every time I happen to be channel surfing.
    The ULTIMATE classic!

  • Footloose- 1984

    Why is “Footloose” rebellious? Because of Kevin Bacon’s character “Ren McCormack” of course!
    A Chicago teen who looks pretty hip with his slick haircut and punk clothes who moves to a small town and fights like mad to get the dancing ban overturned! (Oh and make time with the misunderstood high school hottie, played by Lori Singer) Poor Wren. He just keeps fighting and eventually his rebellious, but well intentioned ways win over. And lets’s face it , the dancing part at the end is awesome (but how did they do it so well if they never danced before? lol ) And the soundtrack ruled too- (Foreigner, Quiet Riot, John Mellencamp) Especially the Ann Wilson/Mike Reno duet- “Almost Paradise”

  • The Lost Boys- 1987

    Move to a new town- become a vampire and go crazy! The Lost Boys is a classic, combining a hip fresh take on a Vampire movie. The soundtrack is slamming with Echo and The Bunnymen, (covering The Doors), INXS and Jimmy Barnes, and Lou Gramm all contributing. Teen rebellion to become a vampire. Come on, who doesn’t love that?!

  • Risky Business- 1983

    It doesn’t get more rebellious than turning your parents hime into a brothel!
    Risky Business was such a slick flick when it came out. Tom Cruise plays Joel Goodsen, who isn’t at all rebellious at the beginning of the film, but man do things change. Risky Biz is a brilliant movie, with a great soundtrack featuring Phil Collins, Bob Seger and Prince. And Tom Cruise in his underwear and sunglasses still remain classic.

  • The Outsiders- 1983

    The S.E. Hinton novel was a masterpiece and then came the film. The Outsiders is a teen rebellion and angst film with so many layers. The Greasers and The Soc’s are rival cliques and that drives the movie with gang fights, social inequality, hideouts, and a master cast- Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Leif Garret, Emilio Estevez….it’s beautifully shot and exciting, sad, and one of my favorite 80’s films. “Stay gold Ponyboy, Stay gold”…

    It always gets me!


  • Rock N' Roll High School- 1979-80

    Riff Randell RULES! Rock N’ Roll High School was billed as “the school where the students rule” –
    This campy classic has always been one of my favorite teen rebel flicks. It’s iconic.

    School? Who needs it? Riff wants to meet Joey Ramone! And she disrupts the whole school with this “godforsaken noise”- (according to the new principle)  And there’s a radio contest involved- So she can meet her favorite band! (Maybe that’s why I love it so much) With The Ramones in the house!- It’s just so much fun……


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