10 Films about Teen Love… and the V Card

When it comes to movies about teens falling in love, or first love in general, it’s hard to pinpoint the ones that really capture the true essence of not only the unfamiliar emotions and learning to deal with them, but also the poignancy and importance of giving one’s virginity to another.

Most big budget Hollywood films coat their message in comedy – from raunchy Porky’s to American Pie and The To-Do List. Others don’t really address teens – The Sessions and The 40-Year-Old Virgin come to mind. Then there are an awful lot about May/December relationships, such as An Education, which is about a young woman falling in love with an older man, or the 70’s classic, Harold and Maude, about a young man falling in love with an older—okay—old woman. Then there are the ones that could be potentially terrifying, fraught with abuse, STDs, abortion… you name it (we won’t be talking about those today).

We managed to find ten later-teen friendly flicks that address this mature rite of passage with grace, respect, and realism (yes, even in the vampire fantasy film). Please use your own discretion (spoiler alert! There is s-e-x in some of these movies) before allowing your kids to watch these worthwhile stories.

Romeo and Juliet

1968, PG

When Romeo (Leonard Whiting), a handsome young Montague, disregards treaty by crashing a party thrown by his family’s enemies, he falls in love with their beautiful 13-year-old daughter, Juliet Capulet (Olivia Hussey). After a brief, passionate courtship, the two elope, creating even greater tension between their kin.

While this timeless tale was more recently remade a few times – the Baz Luhrmann musical version being the most notable – it’s this one that most faithfully tells the tale of young love in all its pain, pleasure, delight, and depth.

Brief nudity; implied sex.

Little Darlings

1980, R

Two 15-year old girls from different sides of the tracks, tough-talking Angel (Kristy McNichol) and posh Ferris (Tatum O’Neal) compete to see who will be first to lose their virginity while at camp.

Little Darlings is a situation comedy at first blush, but as the story progresses, it draws you in and shows you its heart – one of the girls does “win” but it turns out to be a hollow victory, proving that without love, first-time sex is meaningless.

No nudity; implied sex.

Say Anything

1989, PG-13

A romantic underachiever (John Cusack) and a gorgeous valedictorian (Ione Skye) fall in love the summer before she goes off to college, but this is no post-high school fling. It’s love. And not just any – it’s boom-box blaring Peter Gabriel undying love.

Say Anything is Cameron Crowe’s directorial debut, and he knocked it out of the park in showing just how sacred and indelible first love can be.

No nudity; implied sex.


1997, PG-13

A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) who is betrothed to a rich man (Billy Zane) falls in love with a kind, but poor artist (Leonardo Di Caprio) aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

James Cameron’s legendary epic is not only action-packed and presented in an interesting juxtaposition of modern day and period dramas, it’s incredibly lush and romantic, and one of the most female-empowering films of the 90’s.

Artistic nudity (“Draw me… like one of your French girls.”), and implied sex.

Show Me Love

1999, NR

This coming-of-age, falling-in-love comedy is set in a sleepy little Swedish town, which is “the most boring place on Earth” according to adolescent loner, Agnes (Rebecca Liljeberg). But things get much more exciting when she meets Elin (Alexandra Dahlström), who is beautiful, popular, and very lovable.

Although Agnes struggles with her feelings for Elin, Show Me Love portrays young lesbian romance in a positive and genuinely respectful manner.

No nudity, but there is kissing and implied masturbation.

Love and Basketball

2000, PG-13

Set in 1981 in Los Angeles, Love and Basketball is about just that: Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are childhood friends who both aspire to be professional players. Over time, the two begin to fall for each other, but their separate paths to sports stardom threaten to pull them apart.

Love and Basketball follows a friendship, love affair, and rivalry from pre-pubescence into adulthood. It’s not strictly a romance, but it takes a good look at relationships, family ties, and breaking away.

No nudity. There’s slang-based profanity, and implied sex.

Norwegian Wood

2010, PG

“I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.” – Those lyrics from the 1965 Beatles song off their album Rubber Soul album mirrors the hearts of the friends and lovers in this beautiful, deeply poignant Japanese film which is set in 1969. The story kicks off when Toru’s (Ken’ichi Matsuyama) best friend Kizuki kills himself, and Toru grows close to his grieving girlfriend Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), and another girl, the outgoing, lively Midori (Kiko Mizuhara).

No nudity, implied sex. Heavy themes. 

Like Crazy

2011, PG-13

When young American design student Jacob (Anton Yelchin) falls in love with British writer Anna (Felicity Jones), their connection is magnetic and it feels like they will be together forever. But her visa expires, she’s deported and is denied entry back into the U.S. Thus begins an agonizing long-distance relationship, leaving them both to ponder what “forever” really means. Yet, no matter how often life tries to pull them apart, they always find ways to be together again.

No nudity, but there are sexual situations.

The Spectacular Now

2013, R

Sutter (Miles Teller) is a hearty-partying high school senior whose freewheeling philosophy on life changes when he meets “nice girl” Aimee (Shailene Woodley), and falls for her. The Spectacular Now is a funny and lively, but sensitive and thought-provoking film that avoids the usual coming-of-age tropes.

Sex and partial nudity.


2008, PG-13

And saving the best* for last... 

Bella Swan has moved from sunny Arizona to rainy Washington to live with her father. She’s quiet, and a great observer: she wonders about a group of five stunningly beautiful teens who sit together in the cafeteria, but never eat. There’s one in particular who catches her eye; unusually pale, slightly sparkly Edward Cullen. Before long, she learns he and his brethren are actually vampires. But lucky for Bella, they’ve all taken a vow to renounce human prey. Whew!

Unfortunately, Bella’s beauty gets Edward’s blood boiling as never before and the intensity of his passion could actually drive him to kill her. As he agonizes over the danger, he falls deeper in love. So does Bella, and while chaste… the story burns with erotic angst.

Sexual situations; partial nudity. 

*or worst... 

What are some of your favorite films about teenage love? Share with us!

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