15 Best Coming-Of-Age Summer Movies

There is something about summer that brings us back to our childhood days. Here are some coming-of-age movies that will stick with us for a lifetime.

In their own ways, each story features characters who grow up, fall in love, find lifelong friends, face unexpected adventures, and ultimately learn some of life's most important lessons.

When the summer sun goes down, grab your popcorn and take a seat. Here are 15 coming-of-age movies that will be sure to brighten up your night and transport you back to your summer camp days.

1. Stand By Me

This classic coming-of-age story is told in retrospect by the main character who embarks on a journey with his three best friends searching for the body of a missing boy. It is a story about friendship, the loss of innocence, and the adventure of growing up. 

2. Little Manhattan

Little Manhattan is a romantic comedy about two Upper West Side New York City kids falling in love for the first time. Rosemary helps Gabe work through his parents' divorce and together, they get a premature look at the harsh realities of adult life. It is a mini-sized film about finding love and experiencing heartache. 

3. The Sandlot

The story of Scotty Smalls, the new kid in town, who moves in and wants to join the neighborhood baseball team, The Sandlot is far more than a backyard sports story. Scotty faces trials that test his courage as he makes new friends and tries to fit in. Ultimately he proves himself and becomes a neighborhood legend. 

4. Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused, staring Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochrane, Ben Affleck, Jason London  and Milla Jovovich follows groups of students — the geeks, the jocks, the young wannabees and the older popular kids the  on their last day of school in 1978. It is a story of growing up, trying new things, and finding your place with lots of hazing, partying, and romance to fill the space between. 

5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

When Ferris Bueller, played by Matthew Broderick, decides to fake sick and skip out of school to explore downtown Chicago with his girlfriend and best friend, the trio have no idea what adventures await them. Bueller tricks his high school principle and parents in a quest to play an epic game of hooky. 

6. The Breakfast Club

Five students — a Brain, an Athlete, a Basket Case, a Princess, and a Criminal — enter detention on a Saturday morning with nothing in common. By the end of the day, however, they realize they have more in common than they originally thought, including a bond they'll never forget. 

7. Good Will Hunting

When an MIT professor finds Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon, solving impossible math problems outside his classroom, he takes the boy under his wing. He arranges for Damon to see a therapist — Robin Williams — rather than go to jail after he is convicted of assaulting an officer. While Damon enters therapy angry and closed-minded, but he and Williams end up teaching one another valuable lessons that neither expected. 

8. Life Of Pi

When Pi loses his family after a shipwreck on the Pacific Ocean, he survives 227 days on a raft with a Bengali tiger. Pi, determined to live, must use his wit and creativity in order to provide for himself while surviving in the reach of the hungry animal. 

9. The Perks Of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, staring Emma Watson, is the tale of three kids who don't fit in until they find each other. Through their friendship, the trio finds unexpected happiness and meaning in the mundane. They experience falling in love, being cast out, and finding both themselves and happiness despite the odds. 

10. Big

When the young protagonist, Tom Hanks, makes a wish to be big, he has no idea that he will be catapulted into adulthood over night. At first impressed with adulthood, Hanks realizes he has not had enough time to experience his childhood and embarks on a journey to revert back to his old self. 

11. Almost Famous

Almost Famous is the coming-of-age story of a teenage aspiring journalist, Kate Hudson, who follows a band while writing for Rolling Stone magazineThrough the adventure, Hudson learns about life, love, and everything in between. 

12. My Girl

My Girl is the story of a young girl, Vada, who struggles with hypochondria, her parents' relationships, adolescence and being bullied by her peers for her tomboyish tendencies. The movie traces her unexpected friendship with an unpopular boy named Thomas, played by Macaulay Culkin, and the happiness they are able to find in the company of one another. 

13. Now And Then

Now and Then recounts the story of four twelve-year-old best friends growing up in a small town in Indiana. The girls, now all grown up and reunited in their old stomping yard, recall the summer of 1970, when their friendship is both challenged and strengthened over their journey to grow up. 

14. E.T

This Steven Spielberg classic is the story of a young, timid boy named Elliot who finds an extraterrestrial. E.T is able to communicate with Elliott and his two siblings, who must hide their discovery and muster the courage to help their unexpected friend return home. This tale of a friendship that lasts against all odds will make you laugh, cry and everything in between. 

15. The Goonies

In this Spielberg film, two young brothers are told that they must move from the house they grew up in because developers are establishing a golf course on their land. But, when the brothers stumble upon treasure map, they set out with the help of their friends to locate the hidden treasure and save their home. To make it to the treasure, however, the gang must face some crooks, monsters, magic and skeletons — certainly unexpected obstacles — along the way. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Hannah Loewentheil

I am a Senior at Brown University where I am studying international relations and non-fiction writing. Follow me on twitter @hrl792.

MORE FROM

'Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later' trailer teases a '90s love fest — without Bradley Cooper

It's 1991, and the Camp Firewood gang is back on Netflix for more absurd antics.

These are the most scathing and hilarious reviews for 'Transformers: The Last Knight'

'Transformers: The Last Knight' might be the worst 'Transformers' movie of them all.

Chance apologies for "disrespecting" Dr. Dre and Aftermath on his Be Encouraged tour

The two artists are not as different as Chance once assumed.

Find out what time 'GLOW' hits Netflix

The wild new Netflix comedy is coming to small screens on Friday.

'Transformers: The Last Knight' Box Office: Looks like US fans are finally over this franchise

The film is set to post the franchise's lowest domestic opening to date.

'Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later' trailer teases a '90s love fest — without Bradley Cooper

It's 1991, and the Camp Firewood gang is back on Netflix for more absurd antics.

These are the most scathing and hilarious reviews for 'Transformers: The Last Knight'

'Transformers: The Last Knight' might be the worst 'Transformers' movie of them all.

Chance apologies for "disrespecting" Dr. Dre and Aftermath on his Be Encouraged tour

The two artists are not as different as Chance once assumed.

Find out what time 'GLOW' hits Netflix

The wild new Netflix comedy is coming to small screens on Friday.

'Transformers: The Last Knight' Box Office: Looks like US fans are finally over this franchise

The film is set to post the franchise's lowest domestic opening to date.