17 ’90s Movies That Totally Defined Teenage Girl Life

Mitch
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Who can forget the heartthrob leads, the high school drama, and the iconic fashion moments that made us all want to raid Cher Horowitz’s closet? These 17 movies didn’t just entertain us; they defined the teenage girl life in the ’90s.

House Party

Christopher Reid in House Party (1990)

This 1990 comedy-drama not only threw the raddest on-screen party any ’90s teen wished to crash but also unapologetically celebrated black culture and music. Featuring the iconic duo Kid ‘n Play, House Party is chock-full of high-top fades, killer dance-offs, and infectious rap performances. 

Clueless

Alicia Silverstone in Clueless (1995)

Through Cher Horowitz, cluelessly portrayed by Alicia Silverstone, we saw a young woman learning about love, friendship, and the value of a good shopping spree. The film was a pop culture phenomenon, with fashion and quotable lines (“As if!”) that still resonate with audiences today.

American Pie

Jason Biggs, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Eddie Kaye Thomas in American Pie (1999)

American Pie is an unabashed teen comedy that digs into every cringe-worthy yet relatable moment of high school adolescence. From the infamous pie scene (enough said) to the quest to lose their v!rg!n!ty by prom night, this movie resonated with teenagers across America and beyond. 

Never Been Kissed

James Franco, Jeremy Jordan, and Branden Williams in Never Been Kissed (1999)

It’s the tale of Josie “Grossie” Geller, a late-blooming, undercover reporter portrayed by Drew Barrymore. She’s tasked with infiltrating a high school, reliving the nightmares of awkward adolescence, and in the process, serendipitously gets her first real kiss.

This film serves up an amusing blend of ’90s nostalgia, the trials of teenagehood, and the timeless theme of seeking acceptance.

Scream

Neve Campbell in Scream (1996)

It introduced us to the Ghostface Killer, a pop culture icon, and redefined the horror genre with its blend of bone-chilling suspense and sharp, self-aware humor. Remember Sidney Prescott, the girl next door with nerves of steel? Her battles with Ghostface became the stuff of legend.

Cruel Intentions

Reese Witherspoon in Cruel Intentions (1999)

Its seductive narrative takes the teenage drama to an entirely new level, diving deep into themes of manipulation, betrayal, and forbidden love.

It’s the ultimate ’90s movie for those of us who loved to live vicariously through the wild, wealthy teens of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Let’s be honest: who didn’t swoon over Sebastian and Annette’s rollercoaster romance?

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We’re talking about a movie that took “The Taming of the Shrew” and repackaged it for the teen crowd with a kick-butt soundtrack, witty punchlines, and a roller-coaster of teen emotions. We see the teen queen Julia Stiles in all her angsty glory and a smoldering Heath Ledger singing Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” from the school bleachers.

Now and Then

Christina Ricci, Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffmann, and Ashleigh Aston Moore in Now and Then (1995)

This iconic ’90s film artfully navigates the journey of four best friends who reunite as adults, prompting a nostalgia-fueled summer of their youth. With its fair share of laughter, tears, and life lessons, “Now and Then” brilliantly encapsulates the raw essence of growing up.

The movie reminds us of our treasure trove of memories, where secrets were currency, and the bonds forged in treehouses were unbreakable.

Pleasantville

Tobey Maguire in Pleasantville (1998)

When the two modern teens get zapped into the black-and-white universe of “Pleasantville,” a sitcom set in the simpler times, they bring a whole lot of 90s teen angst and a color-filled rebellion along. The movie is iconic for its clever commentary on the complexities of adolescence, societal norms, and the transformative power of change.

Jawbreaker

Rose McGowan and Julie Benz in Jawbreaker (1999)

It’s a classic tale of high school hierarchies and the disastrous consequences of trying to maintain popularity. The film revolves around a clique of popular girls who accidentally kill one of their own and cover up the incident, only for their perfect façade to crumble.

While maybe not a model for moral guidance, it’s a deliciously dark comedy that certainly served up memorable style moments and sharp-tongued dialogue that resonated with the teenage girls of the ’90s.

The Craft

© Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The film portrays four high school outcasts who find solace and power in witchcraft, a narrative that speaks to any young woman who feels misunderstood or marginalized. The film’s central theme — harnessing your unique, individual magic to stand up against societal norms — is as timeless as the era itself.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Sarah Michelle Gellar in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

A tale of friendship, secrets, and scary consequences, this movie was a rite of passage for every ’90s teen. With a star-studded cast featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Freddie Prinze Jr., how could it not be?

It was the ultimate blend of horror and drama, with a sprinkle of teen romance that taught us the essential life lesson – never, ever, make a pact to take a secret to your grave.

Edge of Seventeen

Andersen Gabrych and Chris Stafford in Edge of Seventeen (1998)

This cringe-inducing, laugh-out-loud comedy is the story of our protagonist, Terry, navigating the tricky corridors of adolescence and sexual identity, all set against the backdrop of the colorful ’80s. “Edge of Seventeen” defined teenage girl life and shed light on the LGBTQ+ experience, making it a standout in ’90s cinema.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Photo Courtesy 20th Century Fox

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” broke the mold of the typical ’90s damsel in distress. Instead of a dainty protagonist, we got Buffy – a sassy, no-nonsense teenager with a knack for stake-driving and a double life involving as much vampire slaying as it did cramming for exams. This was the perfect blend of teen drama and supernatural thriller with a hefty side serving of female empowerment.

Varsity Blues

Jon Voight and James Van Der Beek in Varsity Blues (1999)

Oh, no! “Varsity Blues” takes the gridiron, the cheerleading squad, and the adolescent angst of high school and mixes them into a Texas-sized cocktail of teen-life-realness. There’s plenty of football, but this movie dives deeper, capturing the tension, aspirations, and heartbreaking realities of growing up in small-town America. Let’s not forget the unforgettable whip cream bikini scene that left an indelible mark on pop culture!

The Faculty

Elijah Wood and Jordana Brewster in The Faculty (1998)

We were there cheering on the unlikely band of students as they navigated through homework, crushes, and, you know, their teachers turning into creepy extraterrestrial creatures. The Faculty merged teenage angst with sci-fi horror in a way only the 90s could pull off. It was weird, it was wild, it was downright freaky – and it definitely defined our not-your-average high school experience!

The Virgin Suicides

A.J. Cook, Leslie Hayman, and Robert Schwartzman in The Virgin Suicides (1999)

The Lisbon sisters, with their ethereal beauty and tragic mystique, were the girls next door that every boy fantasized about and every girl couldn’t help but empathize with. Director Sofia Coppola crafts a haunting tableau of adolescent isolation and the oppressive expectations of femininity.

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  • Mitch

    A computer science enthusiast with a keen interest in technology and games, Mitchelle (Mitch) contributes a cutting-edge perspective to the Frenz Hub writing team, integrating her academic knowledge with her personal passions

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