23 of the Greatest College Movies of All Time

Screenshot: Good Will Hunting

It’s an emotional time of year. Many young adults are headed off to college for the first time, eliciting the mix of tremendous excitement and apprehension that comes with crossing any of life’s major thresholds. Some parents are despondent at the thought of seeing their kids off, while just as many can’t wait to get their homes and lives to themselves for a bit. And then there’s the pressure of knowing that, for many of us, college bills will become a nearly lifelong albatross.)

It’s a lot, and over the decades, the movies have tackled the college years in a lot of different ways. Animal House is an iconic example of the form, and an uncountable number of films since have tried to recreate its drunken, anything-goes frat house vibe, creating a skewed view of what college life is like and what a college movie can be.

Of course, that’s hardly the only valid mode for movies about collegiate life. There are plenty of comedies, sure, but also genuinely moving dramas and thoughtful explorations of the more intellectual side of higher education. These are some of the best and most beloved college movies ever made.

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