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The Best of: Boarding School Movies

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A list of decent and good movies that pertain to boarding schools. Here we go!


#12 Private School (1983)

Private School is a 1983 teen sex comedy. Think of it as a combination of Animal House and American Pie. It stars Matthew Modine and Pheobe Cates as boyfriend and girlfriend attending nearby private schools. Their major relationship stress point is whether it is the right time to have sex. The whole movie centers around that with added time given to their friends and their sexcapades.

If you're doubting this choice, just search Betsy Russell and Private School at Youtube.


#11 Masterminds (1997)

The next two movies are basically the same plot - rich kids at a boarding school taken hostage. One has the goal of trading the children for money, one for a certain foreign national. Both include a rebel lead who knows the school inside and out and saves the day.

This one has Patrick Stewart in one of his bad guy roles (Conspiracy Theory).


#10 Toy Soldiers (1991)

Toy Soldiers is a 1991 drama starring Sean Astin, Will Wheaton, and Louis Gossett Jr. The plot is based around Regis High School, a private boarding school for many of the affluent children of America.

With the children of so many powerful people of the United States in one place, a Colombian drug lord's son and his men take over the place and hope to exchange the hostages for their leader.


#9 Taps (1981)

Taps is a 1981 drama starring Timothy Hutton, George C. Scott, Sean Penn, and Tom Cruise. It revolves around Bunker Hill MIlitary Academy and the decision of the board of trustees to close the school.

When local boys hassle some of the cadets outside the school and force the accidental discharge of one of the weapons, one of the locals is killed. The timeline for closing the school is accelerated and the commanding office suffers a heart attack. With no one in charge, the boys make a stand inside the school.


#8 Fame (1980)

Fame is a 1980 drama that follows a group of high school students at New York High School of Performing Arts. Irene Cara is one of the main characters, but there are so many story lines.

Fame also boasts a great soundtrack with its title track winning the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best song. It peaked at number four on the weekly Top 100.


#7 Cruel Intentions (1999)

Cruel Intentions is a teen drama focusing on a brother-sister relationship at an upscale New York City private school. When Reese Witherspoon comes to stay with the sibling's aunt, Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who play the siblings, make a bet that he can't seduce the virtuous new girl. In his attempt, he ends up falling for her and shedding his devious ways. That doesn't sit well with Gellar's character and she sets in motion a series of events that end in tragedy. But Phillippe gets the last laugh in the end as he destroys Gellar.

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#6 Class (1983)

Class is a 1983 drama starring Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, and Jacqueline Bissett. Lowe and McCarthy play roommates at prep school. Lowe is fairly experienced with the girls while McCarthy is looking to become so. Lowe suggests going into the city and suggests a few spots.

McCarthy takes him up on the suggestion and as fate would have it, he ends up hooking up with Lowe's Mom who he has never met.


#5 Finding Forrester (2000)

Finding Forrester is a 2000 drama starring Sean Connery. Connery plays a reclusive author who mentors a local basketball star who also happens to be a gifted writer.

The story follows their journey of friendship as Connery helps the youngster develop his writing and Connery's character overcomes his fears of society.


#4 School Ties (1992)

School Ties is a 1992 drama starring Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, and a young Matt Damon. Fraser plays a poor high school student from Pittsburgh in the '50's who is a gifted football player. When a prestigious private Catholic school comes calling looking to beat a bitter rival using his talents, he accepts admission in hopes that it will springboard him to Harvard. One concern for Fraser's character - he's Jewish.

He keeps this to himself and gets off to a good start as he's successful and very sociable, and gets in with the right crowd. When the person whose position he took on the field, and with the girl, finds out about his secret, prejudice abounds and Fraser's character shows all the rich affluent students about equality.


#3 Scent of a Woman (1992)

Scent of a Woman is a 1992 drama starring Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Gabrielle Anwar. O'Donnell's character is the lead and befriends Pacino's Lt. Colonel Frank Slade for a part-time job.

As their friendship develops, O'Donnell and Slade each help each other with some serious life issues and form a lasting bond.


#2 Dead Poet's Society (1989)

Dead Poet's Society is a 1989 drama starring Robin Williams, Sean Patrick Leonard, and a very young Ethan Hawke. Williams plays a teacher and mentor to a group of students and assists in helping them learn how to not only be great students, but to live life to the fullest.

In the course of finding their passions, the students overcome some obstacles and have tragedy with others. In the end, you see the maturity and teachings come out in each of the students that Williams' character has influenced.


#1 Harry Potter (2001-2013)

Was there any doubt? Hogwarts is the most famous boarding school in movies thanks to a little wizard named Harry Potter. With eight movies in tow, the franchise assured it would be number one on any list involving boarding schools.

With a cast that includes Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Alan Rickman, they did a marvelous job of keeping all the notable actors in each of the movies.


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JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on June 28, 2020:

Finding Forrester has been on cable this month, watched it a few more times since it's so good.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 27, 2020:

I love movies about schools and this list should keep me busy for a while. I've seen some of the movies on the list already, but don't mind watching them again. Others, I look forward to seeing for the first time.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 10, 2015:

thanks for sharing, i must have missed boarding school

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