The Middle School Years: Films About Early Adolescence

These aren't high school movies. There's no Ferris Bueller or Breakfast Club or Mean Girls or a Rebel Without a Cause. These are films about those awkward middle school / junior high years, the ones we rarely want to remember, yet are often the years of significance in our identity formation. These are excellent, well-crafted films focused on the experiences of young people about ages 10-14, listed in alphabetical order.

  • The 400 Blows
  • 7 Plus Seven
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • About a Boy
  • Aparajito
  • Au Revoir les Enfants
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Boyhood
  • The Breadwinner
  • A Brighter Summer Day
  • Chop Shop
  • City of God
  • The Class
  • Coco
  • Coraline
  • Cuties
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  • Eighth Grade
  • Empire of the Sun
  • The Fits
  • Germany Year Zero
  • Good Morning
  • The Goonies
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Half Nelson
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich
  • Holes
  • Hugo
  • Inside Out
  • It
  • It
  • Ivan's Childhood
  • Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Kes
  • The Kid with a Bike
  • Kiki's Delivery Service
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Let the Right One In
  • Little Women
  • Little Women
  • Little Women
  • Little Women
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Léon: The Professional
  • Mean Creek
  • Monsieur Lazhar
  • A Monster Calls
  • Moonlight
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Morris from America
  • Mouchette
  • Moving
  • Mud
  • Mustang
  • My Ain Folk
  • My Childhood
  • My Life as a Dog
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • My Way Home
  • Naked Childhood
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • Nobody Knows
  • Now and Then
  • Oliver!
  • Padre Padrone
  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • Pather Panchali
  • Queen of Katwe
  • Ratcatcher
  • The Secret of Kells
  • The Selfish Giant
  • A Separation
  • The Silence
  • Son of Rambow
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Spirited Away
  • The Squid and the Whale
  • Stand by Me
  • Stations of the Cross
  • Super 8
  • Thirteen
  • Tomboy
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • The Tree of Life
  • True Grit
  • Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
  • Wadjda
  • Walkabout
  • The Way Way Back
  • We Are the Best!
  • Welcome to the Dollhouse
  • Whale Rider
  • Where Is My Friend's House?
  • White Boy Rick
  • The White Ribbon
  • The Wild Child
  • Win Win
  • Wolfwalkers