college movie

12 Best College Movies of All Time

Time flows with the ease of change. The change which time bears, may yield a fruitful delicacy or make you voyage through an eccentric Pandora’s box. A kid, who has passed out from school, joins college with the ambition to succeed in life. For this article purposes, I have assumed that a college student is not only the one who is studying in an actual college, but also the one who has entered into a new phase in his/her life, regardless of the age. The beauty of confusion which life offers, especially in that young adult age, can never be understood completely, but it can always be embraced with a sympathetic touch. The touch, which the visual art of cinema offers.

Following is the list of top college movies ever. Bear in mind that since each individual’s psyche is unique, his/her movie choices and experience may vary. You can watch some of these best college movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

12.  Trainspotting (1996)

Hit play, and the opening voice-over will rattle your tameable mind. The fabricated reality in which we live, the ammunition of materialistic pleasures and the baseless whim for societal standards are all exposed in this Danny Boyle masterpiece. Addiction of drugs with centralized theme of loneliness, the causality of life’s choices and our mindset, the failures which took the protagonists to that path, the hidden anecdotes of laughter and the eventual consequences of their journey, is what makes Trainspotting an eye-opener movie. Since, college life is a very strong emotional phase that a person goes through, it is for sure that each and every one of its viewer will find a resemblance of his/her life with the movie. Life is not sugar-coated and that’s what Trainspotting portrays.

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11. Slacker (1991)

Like a cosmic chain of events, divergent people and their eccentric thoughts follow the spine of the story. Slacker was Richard Linklater’s first film feature, where his presence in the movie (both in enactment and direction) can be deciphered as a tub-thumper of the philosophies of bohemians and anarchists. Rapid changes of actors and their follow-up to the next, with ideologies ranging from freedom and political conspiracies to the innocence of childhood theft; you will feel that you are watching the mundane world visualized in such a satirical fashion, that you had never thought of. Slacker will show you that each person you see on the street has a tale, full of life, which does not need money to be heard.

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10. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Love is a questionable factor in our existence. The harmony of love life is never one pitched. There are phases which are esoteric to explain when the need for another being gets brazenly high. Mind paralyzing sensations take hold of our sanity and the aftermath bears strange acts. Darren Aronofsky, the maestro of psychological drama, has crafted this movie with such tender precision that each scene stabs your conscious, while singing a serenade to your hysteria thirsty heart. The discerning line between need and greed is presented with a dream-like poetic film and the emotional care, which ties two individuals together, is shown as a catalyst of jeopardizing wants, down the wire.

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9. Dazed and Confused (1993)

“Slow ride, take it easy.” This line of one of the feature soundtrack – ‘Slow Ride’ by ‘Foghat’, depicts exactly what the writer and director of this film, Richard Linklater, wants the audience to know. You face peer pressures, expectations levied on you, crushes which make you shiver and those fear jolting events which makes your life, difficult. Now that these circumstances are unavoidable, you’ve got to take it easy and simply LIVE! ‘Dazed and Confused’ shows us those everyday guys we hang out with, the girl next door who suddenly seems very pretty, bunch of guys who are stoned immaculate and just those instances which we go through this young adult age. With subtle comedic punches, Linklater shows us the confusion which each one of us bear, no matter our tribe and the vibe and the dazzling enchantment, this confusion offers.

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8.  Boyhood (2014)

Christopher Nolan hailed ‘Boyhood’, “extraordinary” and acclaimed it as his favorite film of 2014. That should be suffice enough to entice you to watch this masterpiece. Boyhood traces the life of a simple boy for a span of 12 years. Yes, it took 12 years to shoot this artwork! Another enticing factor to enjoy the movie which made director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, thank the creator of this film, Richard Linklater, for such an incredible gift to us, the viewers. Boyhood will make you revisit your own childhood and teenage years. It will bring you to the ground reality of what you are from within and where your choices and decisions are leading you to.

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7. Whiplash (2014)

Just when you think you are above ordinary, someone can either say the two most damaging words to you – “Good job” or they can grab hold onto your inner genius until your outer façade of mediocrity is withered and that genius is what you truly become. ‘Whiplash’ is Damien Chazelle’s satire on the bubble of mediocrity that we live in and the pokers of that bubble, the true masters, who unleashes our raw self. A former high school Jazz drummer, Chazelle wrote this story taking inspiration from his moments as a drummer and his strict teacher; here, the college teacher, who would ultimately be performed by JK Simmons, giving one of the best anti-hero portrayals of all time!

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6. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

An Oscar winning movie for Best Picture, about an introverted (or “anti-social”, as the world calls it) genius, who meets his ill-fate as he develops an agonizing disease of schizophrenia, which hinders his mathematical computations and the sweet love life. The story is not really such poignant, as our protagonist, John Nash, fights through his troubling college and post-marital life along with the support of his partner to conquer all the odds and ultimately not escaping, but embracing his natural state. The ending scene of the Nobel Prize ceremony will surely inspire you to lead a life of passion and not lethargy fuelled by negativity. As a  montage of will, happiness and objectivity, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ will surely become one of your greatest motivators.

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5. Dead Poets Society (1989)

The theme of this movie is not grim, as what the title may suggest. In truth, Dead Poets Society celebrates art, romance, literature or any other facet of our imagination which makes our short time in this world, worth surviving for. It shows us the teacher, whose values and morale are liberating. Who pushes his students to reckon true poetry and break free of mind-numbing conjectures, which the authority has imbibed on their mind. It shows us that the society can become radically tolerant and liberating, if we learn to live life through art. This society won’t just respire, but would actually ‘Breathe’.

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4. Into the Wild (2007)

A story about a young lover of literature and an intelligent rebel, who breaks on through to the other side of human formalities and standards. A ‘Supertramp’, as what he begins to call himself, he leaves his college, home and begins a wild tour across the length and breadth of America. His experiences with people of different visions, leaves him (and the viewers) subliminally aghast of the experiences that had been denied in his life, till then. His final destination becomes rooted for Alaska and once, he reaches his wishful wilderness, the savage elixir of nature sweeps him off his feet. Throughout his journey of two years, the importance of liberty, compassion and brotherhood is portrayed in a blissful cinematic manner by director Sean Penn.

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3. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting is a cure to a torpid mind. When a genius with a superiority complex, who works as a college janitor, is met with a therapist, he begins to evaluate his relationship with his friends and girlfriend. Not only the psyche of this genius is revealed, but we also understand the tormenting and cathartic reality of the therapist. Written by the then fledglings, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, this indie movie received a far wide critical and financial success, for its simple yet powerful anecdotes on personal and professional relationships and great film technicalities. For those, who are facing an emotional upsurge or an existential crisis, Good Will Hunting will not cure your state but will certainly provide you with a healing path to self-discovery.

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2. 8 Mile  (2002)

EMINEM! The name brings you in mind, the charts topping, heart stealing rap god. If you have ever faced dejection in your life, cruel oppression by fortunate ones, bullying or if you are hungry for some morale boosting source, then Eminem is your boy. It’s undeniable, that this white rapper spits fiery rhymes. 8 Mile is the story of a downtrodden, homeless pariah, who fights against his odds and believes in the power of his music even after facing sever failures. His girlfriend cheats on him, mom never gave him a house to call home, nobody to call dad but all that he has is his rhymes and a desire to be heard. Friendship, betrayal and ultimately the upliftment of an underdog, is what 8 mile all about. The moment, the piano chord of the soundtrack ‘Lose Yourself’ starts, sudden burst of sensational goosebumps and motivation follow, which you have been longing for.

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1. The Social Network (2010)

This is THE movie! The one movie which will inspire every aspect of you. Higher chances are, you are reading this article on Facebook, and the movie is entirely based on the creation of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg, during his college days. David Fincher subtly brings you the dark undertones of what actually goes inside the world of rookie billionaires. The master of screenwriting, Aaron Sorkin has given the entire movie a fast-paced, intense, and nail-biting mood. The juxtaposition of non-linear scenes by the combined efforts of Fincher and Sorkin, gives you an unforgettable movie watching experience. Jesse Eisenberg, who has enacted Mark Zuckerberg, is brilliant in rhetoric. Combine the noir-ish melodic background score, and you have a movie enjoyable to both critics and viewers.

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