A Little Vintage Nerd: Reflections on Classic Teen Movies

A Vintage Nerd, Vintage Blog, A Little Vintage Nerd, Vintage Teen, Old Teen Movies, Classic Teen Movies

I love to watch old movies with my family. The first time my mother showed me a classic movie was when I was seven years old. She took me to the Film Forum in Manhattan to see To Sir, with Love (1967) on the big screen. Since then I have watched a lot of old movies. 

For my first post I wanted to share my reflections of classic teen movies. I wanted to see what teens were like before and I think that I picked some good movies.  I also wanted to know if there were some  things that I could learn from watching these classic teen movies. Have you seen these movies? What are your favorite teen movies?

Here are some classic teen movies and my reflections after I watched them:

Rebel without a Cause (1955)

A Vintage Nerd, Classic Movie Blog, A Little Vintage Nerd, Vintage Teen, Retro Lifestyle Blog, Teen Movies Reviewed, Rebel without a Cause

Rebel with a Cause (1955) is the kind of teen movie that shows that kids can be misunderstood especially if they do not get enough guidance or attention from their parents. This movie tells the story of three different teens who have their own individual issues. The one thing they all seem to have in common is that their parents don't seem to understand them or acknowledge their struggles. Somehow they all come together and eventually hangout and bond. Tragedy strikes when one of them dies and leaves the other two devastated since they were like a family to each other. 

This movie shows on how the kids feel misunderstood by their parents and adults. It also shows how even though they feel disconnected from their own families, they were able to find a family with each other. This movie can remind teens today that it is normal to feel lonely, normal to not feel like you fit in with your family, or to be frustrated by your parents not understanding you. It reminded me how important it is to share how to feel to a trusting adult and how grateful I am that I can talk to my parents when I am feeling wonky inside.

Splendor in the Grass (1961)

A Vintage Nerd, Classic Movie Blog, A Little Vintage Nerd, Vintage Teen, Retro Lifestyle Blog, Teen Movies Reviewed, Splendor in the Grass

Splendor in the Grass (1961) is about two deeply in love teenagers and how like and other people get in the way of their relationship. It wasn't just another lover who got in the way of their love, but it was their parent's expectations and their unfulfilled dreams that they pushed on their children (Deanie and Bud). As more and more pressure weighs on their love for one another, Deanie eventually starts to break down. Out of desperation her parents put her in a mental hospital. It ends up being the best place for Deanie and it helped her health. When she finally gets out she is healthier and has found someone she can settle with. Deanie feels like she has to face her past and see Bud only to find that he also settles with someone else. They split ways and go back with their lives far away from each other even though they both know that they still feel the love that they had before everything came crashing down. It was a very bittersweet ending.

This movie shows that without the help of adults and good advice things can become a confused mess. The movie also shows teen depression, both of Deanie and Bud but they show it in different ways. They both try to get some help but nobody wants to listen to them so it gets bottled up inside. Deanie's character can show teens today that it is okay to get help when you need it. For example, when Deanie is in the mental hospital, she says to her mother when she visits that she wasn't ashamed of being in the hospital. Bud finds his peace with a simple life and a family away from everything he grew up with. It taught me that sometimes life doesn't always go the way you plan it and sometimes you have to make the best of it.

Over the Edge (1979)

A Vintage Nerd, Classic Movie Blog, A Little Vintage Nerd, Vintage Teen, Retro Lifestyle Blog, Over the Edge, Teen Movies Reviewed

Over The Edge (1979) is about young teens living in the suburbs at a new town development. Even though the town is great, the teens are beyond bored because they only have one place to really hang out in. The clashing between the adults, the laws, and the children gets worse and worse especially after Richie White (Matt Dillion) is killed by Sgt. Doberman. When that happens the rest of the teen acted on revenge against all of the adults in town who are in the school for a meeting. They lock up the building, trash the school, and burn cars as an act of rebellion. Carl (Michael Kramer) whose story we follow through the movie ends up realizing that none of those acts of revenge and rebellion will make a difference. He eventually gives himself in end and leaves with a bunch of the other teens who destroyed the town on a bus to a juvenile detention center.

This movie shows that there can be problems even in the nicest, newest towns. It also showed that when teens are bored or angry that they can rebel in destructive ways.  I also think this movie shows the differences between teens and adults and how their opinions that can clash together possibly cause chaos. I was reminded that it is important not to stay bored and always do things to keep busy and creative. That teen rebellion isn't always the best way to act out and violence never solves anything.

Heathers (1988)

A Vintage Nerd, Classic Movie Blog, A Little Vintage Nerd, Vintage Teen, Retro Lifestyle Blog, Heathers

Heathers (1989) is a popular and classic teen movie with some dark twists but happens to have a better ending then in most teen movies today. It stars Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer, Christian Slater as Jason "J.D." Dean, and Shannen Doherty as Heather Duke. The movie starts with Veronica having a normal teenage life but with terrible best friends. For a teen movie, I expected the cheesy bullying and having a 'happy ending' with a teen jock so to my happy surprise this movie revealed a lot of fun, dark humor with unexpected twists. The movie has also some great vintage like clothing and a great cast as well. 

To me, I think this movie shows all the terrible things that can happen in a teenager's life. For example, peer pressure, cliques, suicide, date rape, eating disorders, and underage drinking to name a few. This movie also shows how easily someone as smart as Veronica can get involved with a guy who has shady behavior and almost lose herself. I think teens today could learn a lot from this movie. They can learn not to follow others but to be a leader of their own life, to build their confidence, and to be aware of intentions that others might have that could affect their lives.

Share this:


  1. A great first post from A Little Vintage Nerd! I enjoyed reading your insights on each of the movies you chose and can't wait to see what you come up with for your next post!


Copyright © A Vintage Nerd || Exploring Old Hollywood Through Fashion, Film, & Books. Designed by OddThemes