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These school-themed movies may not all score high in realism, but they get an A+ in entertainment.


Students and their parents know all too well that this time of year is back-to-school season. But for those whose days of reading, writing, and arithmetic are long behind them, it’s too easy to forget the anticipation -- and sometimes, the agony -- of returning to the classroom after a long and relaxing summer break. Want to relive those trepidation-filled days? Look no further than this list of our favorite school flicks.

1 The Breakfast Club (1985)

All the high school stereotypes are represented in this John Hughes classic: There’s the jock, the geek, the prom queen, the bad boy, and the outcast. Yet despite initially believing they have nothing in common, the five students bond during a Saturday detention session. Romances blossom and friendships are formed and the Brat Pack’s place in film is forever cemented.

2 Back to School (1986)

Rodney Dangerfield is at his goofball best in this college comedy, in which he plays the father of an academically struggling son (Keith Gordon). Dangerfield’s character is able to enroll in Grand Lakes University -- thanks to a large monetary donation -- where he joins the swim team, wins over the student body, and earns the affections of an attractive professor.

3 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

What starts off as a pretty standard tale boy fakes a cold to play hooky from school with his best friend and girlfriend -- turns into an all-day fun fest of epic proportions. The trio borrows a hot set of wheels, catches a Chicago Cubs game, and commandeers a parade, all while the school principal works to catch ringleader Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) in his lie.

4 Dead Poets Society (1989)

Using the power of poetry and a carpe diem zest for life, unconventional all-boys-prep-school professor John Keating (Robin Williams) inspires his students to be true to themselves. Though his tenure at the school is short-lived, Keating leaves an indelible mark on his students, who adoringly refer to him as “Captain! My Captain!” -- a moniker derived from a Walt Whitman poem.

5 Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

The students and faculty of Wellesley College are shaken up when a new teacher (Julia Roberts) bucks the traditionally accepted roles of women in the 1950s and encourages her female students to pursue postgraduate ambitions. Her pupils eventually come around to her progressive views, including Betty (Kirsten Dunst), the daughter of a powerful Wellesley alum and who was initially the most outspokenly opposed.

6 Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

The socially awkward title teenager (Jon Heder) has few allies at school aside from key-chain-crafting Deb (Tina Majorino). But he makes fast friends with exchange student Pedro (Efren Ramirez), who runs for student-body president. By the time Napoleon performs an impromptu dance sequence at a school assembly, outfitted in a Vote for Pedro T-shirt, the audience has succumbed to his oddball charm.