The 25 Best Coming-of-Age Movies Ever Made

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood continues its seemingly inevitable move towards world domination, expanding to more theaters over the weekend and capturing the imaginations and hearts of even the most jaded moviegoers. Meanwhile, Naomi Foner’s evocative Very Good Girls also opened last weekend (on fewer screens), with a welcome female take on that whole “becoming a grown-up” thing. In other words, it’s a very good time for the coming-of-age movie, where maturity is gained and lessons are learned and lifelong memories are made, so with that in mind, we’ve rounded up a few of our all-time favorites.

Still image from "The Squid and the Whale"
25. The Squid and the Whale

Ah, to be a young, smarmy know-it-all. Noah Baumbach’s loosely autobiographical 2005 comedy/drama follows a high schooler (Jesse Eisenberg, in one of his first roles) through his parents’ difficult divorce — a family shake-up that he copes with by stealing songs, being horrible to girls, and parroting the views and behavior of his bitter father (a perfect Jeff Daniels). With wit and pathos, Baumbach elegantly captures the moment when a young man stops wanting to be like his dad, and starts to realize the value of being himself.