The only thing as great as graduating from high school is attending prom — or at least that’s what Hollywood has conditioned the public to believe. In fact, many of the biggest and best celebrities haven’t even attended their own proms. Perhaps that’s why prom scenes have become a staple in the majority of teen movies.
And while it’s true that not every high school student will attend their prom, the good news is that they’ll have tons of movie examples to fill the prom-sized void in their hearts, if not. they have one. The best part is that no two prom movie scenes are ever the same, which is pretty impressive because not a lot can happen at a prom. in high school.
ten Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the future is arguably one of the best films of the 1980s and certainly one of Robert Zemeckis’ most popular films of all time. The film not only launched a successful franchise, but it also gave the world one of the best high school prom scenes of all time.
After finally reuniting his parents on the night of their high school prom, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) takes the stage to shake up the mediocre music playing at that 1950s prom. Not only does he get everyone dancing, but he also accidentally invents rock and roll in this new timeline he created.
9 Footloose (1984)
Free from all ties follows Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon), a city boy who moves to a small town where the local minister has banned dancing. Not only does Ren fall in love with the minister’s daughter, but he also becomes determined to overturn the ban and bring dancing back to town.
Free from all ties may not have achieved classic status like so many other 1980s films, but it’s worth watching just the prom scene. After all, who doesn’t love an illegal ball?
8 High School Musical 3: Secondary Year (2008)
When the first musical high school premiered as a Disney Channel Original Movie, no one knew how great it was going to be. Fast forward a few years and the epic movie trilogy has come to an end on the big screen with the release of High School Musical 3: secondary year.
Unlike other prom scenes, this one was purely fictional, having been staged for East High’s spring musical. Being a staged musical number has its perks though since the entire cast was involved and the choreography was impeccable. Surely it was a “One Night to Remember” and prom scene that never gets old.
seven Lady Bird (2017)
lady bird is a coming-of-age movie that no one was ready for, but somehow came through. The film became one of the best coming-of-age films of recent years and was subsequently nominated for five Oscar nominations.
While most prom scenes focus on romantic love, lady bird did something different and instead focused on the platonic love shared between two best friends. After dumping her boyfriend, Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) decides to attend prom with her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein). The scene is not only touching, but also somewhat hilarious because of how the nuns refuse to let anyone dance or touch inappropriately.
6 Never Been Kissed (1999)
never been kissed is one of those movies whose plot hasn’t really stood the test of time. After all, making a teacher fall in love with a journalist (Drew Barrymore) who he thinks is a teenager just shouldn’t have happened. But other than that, the movie had an epic prom scene.
Not only does Josie (Barrymore) save the school from throwing a lame prom by suggesting the theme be “historical couples,” but she also gives an epic monologue where she reveals her true identity and laments how whose bullying is wrong.
5 Pretty in Pink (1986)
When it comes to high school movies in the 1980s, nobody did it quite like John Hughes. This is why it might surprise many to learn that Pretty in pink is his only teen movie that actually features a prom scene. It might also surprise people to learn that the prom scene’s ending was controversial, even for its creator.
As Andie (Molly Ringwald) shows up to prom with her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) after realizing that Blane (Andrew McCarthy) is no better than his wealthy friends, Blane eventually catches up and the two share a memorable kiss in the parking lot. This scene also gave us one of the best movie prom outfits of all time.
4 Prom (2011)
When talking about prom scenes, it would be silly to omit the Disney ones Prom, which revolves entirely around the high school dance. With an ensemble cast, it’s sure that audiences can relate to a character’s prom experience.
After weeks of planning, invitations and rejections, everything goes wrong as the seniors enter their prom under the stars. The highlight of the ball comes when Jesse (Thomas McDonell) saves the day by fixing the centerpiece of Ali’s (Janelle Ortiz) fountain that had stopped working.
3 To All the Boys: Always and Forever (2021)
It might surprise fans to know that there was almost no prom scene included in the epic conclusion of the To all the boys franchise. However, the creators realized that Lara Jean’s (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky’s (Noah Centineo) high school love story couldn’t end without an epic prom scene.
What makes this prom scene so great is that it really showcases the ups and downs of a high school prom. At first, everyone has a blast and an epic circle dance breaks out where everyone can show off their best moves. But then Peter wins Prom King and all of a sudden he’s taken away to take pictures while Lara Jean watches from the sidelines. It’s a bittersweet moment that perfectly encapsulates how many teenagers feel about graduating from high school. Of course, the scene ends on a high note with Peter agreeing to a slow-motion dance with Lara Jean.
2 Dusk (2008)
dusk is loved or hated by audiences, but there’s no denying that the 2008 film adaptation had a huge effect on teen culture at the time. For Bella Swan, the only thing worse than nearly losing her life at the hands of a bloodthirsty vampire is having to attend her prom.
Part of what makes this prom scene so iconic is the fact that Bella is so opposed to attending. It’s one of the few films that reminds audiences that prom doesn’t have to be a big deal. And yet, Bella goes and has a swoon-worthy moment where she swings with Edward under the twinkling lights.
1 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
10 things i hate about you is the pinnacle of teen romantic comedy and arguably the best teen movie of the 1990s. It also happens to have one of the most iconic prom scenes of all time.
Not only does Patrick (Heath Ledger) and Kat (Julia Stiles) show off their dance moves while Kat’s favorite band plays, but there’s also an epic fight where Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) gives Joey (Andre Keegan) what he deserves: a punch in the face.
NEXT: 5 Best & 5 Worst High School Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes
10 Movie Sequels That Look Nothing Like The Originals
About the Author