There’s a college flick out there that perfectly represents your experience at school or the one you wish to have. College movies can be funny and ironic. But, they can also be dark and depressingly realistic. Either way, each college film you watch gives you a feel-good vibe at the end of it and we’re here to remind you of the 15 greatest masterpieces that you might have forgotten about.
Revenge Of The Nerds
How could anyone not love 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds? This comeback college comedy represented any high school outcast who wanted to start fresh and become a new person college. When The Nerds begin their first semester at the fictional Adams College, they stand up to the jock fraternity, The Alpha Betas, to steal their women and claim their cool status. If there’s any college film that makes you root for the underdog, then this would be it.
National Lampoon’s Van Wilder
Ryan Reynolds may have come a long way since his National Lampoon days, but we’ll always remember him best as the 7th year senior whose main goal in life is to forever mingle with the undergraduates. Tara Reid on the other hand – well, at least she had American Pie for us to remember her by. As the original Van Wilder, Reynolds plays a unmotivated “student” who has to defy the laws of the impossible and pay his tuition so he can graduate. Why is it impossible? Because his rich father cut him off when he found out he was going nowhere in life. If you haven’t seen this National Lampoon installment, we suggest you get on that immediately.
Road Trip was the epic college film that took a strange, cross-country journey. Josh and his friends travel from Ithica to Austin, Texas to try and stop his long distance girlfriend from watching a naughty videotape he made with another girl. The cast ensemble is unstoppable – with Breckin Meyer as Josh, the group leader, Sean William Scott as the raunchy, bad boy (no shocker there), DJ Qualls as the odd misfit, and Paulo Costanzo as the intellectual. If you had a group of friends like this in college, your experience away from home was never boring.
Rudy isn’t just one of the greatest college movies all time, it’s one of the top 25 sports movies ever created. Based on a true story, the inspiring film tells the tale of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a young student who dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame University. Rudy has all the talent one needs to be a successful football player but doesn’t have the financial means to support his dream or the academic achievement to secure his spot at the university. This movie isn’t about the average college student who parties and joins a frat – it’s about working hard and finding a way to make your fantasy become a reality.
You haven’t lived if you’ve never seen the return to college movie Old School. Starring Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrel, and Luke Wilson, the film follows three middle-aged men on their quest to relive their glory days. They open up a frat house just around the corner from a nearby university and break the conventional social norms that usually dictate a fraternity’s standards. If you don’t know who ‘Frank the Tank’ is and don’t get excited when we shout ‘You’re my boy, Blue!’ then go stream this movie immediately and let us know how hard you laughed when your done.
The Rules Of Attraction
The Rules of Attraction is a dark, college comedy based on a novel by the same and was released in 2002. If you want to see a pre-Vampire Diaries Ian Somerhalder and post-Dawson’s Creek James van der Beek, then this college movie is right up your alley. Make no mistake, this movie is not for the easily offended or those looking to laugh hysterically. It’s the raw interpretation of a morbid college experience that every new student could learn an important lesson from, especially if you’re about to enter the dating world for the first time.
St. Elmo’s Fire
This coming-of-age film has some pretty big names listed on the bill. Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Ally Sheedy give the recent college graduate a glimpse into post-grad living. The Brat Pack genre was known for the “coming into adulthood” storylines, but St. Elmo’s Fire addresses a new frame of life that most college students don’t anticipate living in once they’ve left the structure of academia and social conformity. The movie is still jam-packed with love triangles and promiscuous behavior but hey, what good college flick isn’t?
Dead Man On Campus
Dead Man on Campus a college black comedy does dark good and in all the right ways. Two college students, Josh and Cooper, try to find a depressed roommate so they can convince him to commit suicide. We know, it sounds shockingly horrible (and pretty offensive), but just stay with us for a moment. Josh and Cooper want a depressed roommate to commit suicide so they can get straight A’s in school – based on an old college campus urban legend. It’s funny if you see it.
Inarguably one of the greatest films of all time, The Graduate is also an epic college film whether you’d like to debate that or not. Mrs. Robinson, played by Ann Bancroft, seduces a young college graduate named Benjamin Braddock, AKA Dustin Hoffman. The film is based on the novel titled by the same name and was written by Charles Webb in his final year of college. Literary critics have wondered whether or not Webb’s coming-of-age novel is based on a real-life experience, especially since we know Mrs. Robinson was based on an existing woman.
For all of you overachievers out there, With Honors is a fantastic comedy-drama that chronicles the college experience of a workaholic. Starring Brendan Fraser, Joe Pesci, and Patrick Dempsey, Monty (played by Fraser) needs to get his thesis paper back from the homeless man holding it hostage (played by Pesci). It’s not the most realistic college experience anyone was likely to encounter on our list, but we think the impending anxiety and the loss of a whole, well-thought out paper is relatable enough.
Back to School
What do you get when you combine a comedic great like Rodney Dangerfield and a punk-rock version of young Robert Downey Jr? A theatrical masterpiece, that’s what. In this 1986 college comedy, Rodney Dangerfield plays a wealthy father who enrolls in his son’s university to help him succeed in academics. We’re not exactly sure how your parent’s presence at college is supposed to get you on the straight and narrow, but we have a feeling ol’ Rodney is bound to learn a few valuable lessons himself…
PCU, which stands for Port Chester University, gives its viewers the complete set of exaggerated, stereotypical situations and students a freshman is destined to meet in college. The movie is actually based on the writers’ and directors’ (Adam Leff and Zack Penn) personal experiences when they attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut. A young Jeremy Piven accompanied by an even younger David Spade already sets the mood for awkward rowdiness in this epic college flick.
What we love most about Wonder Boys is the conjoined perspective of a college education between both student and teacher. A lot of college movies purely stick to the student’s point of view but in Wonder Boys, we the see combined efforts of Tobey McGuire and Michael Douglas as they both try to succeed in the same profession while years apart in age. Oh, and this college movie also features Robert Downey, Jr. Another obvious reason not to pass it up.
Accepted is a flawless college movie because of one simple reason: We all desperately wish we created or went to the South Harmon Institute of Technology. When Bartleby can’t get into any college (because he spent 4 years of high school slacking off) he makes up his own college to avoid disappointing his parents. Soon enough, everyone who was rejected at real universities is suddenly enrolling in his fake school and it’s a ticking time bomb he can’t disengage. Look at Jonah Hill before his Superbad debut – doesn’t he look so young?
National Lampoon’s Animal House
If you thought we were going to leave National Lampoon’s Animal House off the list then wow, you must think we’re totally clueless. Animal House is by far the most epic college movie of all time. If you want to see a group of misfits, who also happen to run their own fraternity, oppose the dean of their university then this is the college film for you. The boys of Delta Tau Chi are ruthless, wild, loud, and rowdy. An infamous cult-classic, Animal House will not let you down.