Being a teen is one of the most confusing times in one’s life. You’re constantly being bombarded with different messages and views of the world as you try to figure out what YOU believe.
Below are my top 5 films I watched as a teenager that helped shape my view of the world today.
*Fair warning, there are a couple of R-rated films here.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003): Rated PG-13
“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy delivers a ton of relevant messages about life from the power of friendship, heroes that are both flawed and human, and how flawed our prejudices can blind the reality of the people we know.
The battle scenes are epic and the story will genuinely make you a better person from watching it. (Ages 14 and up.)
“Man on Fire” can be dark for a teenage audience with its themes of kidnapping and torture but is also a redemption and sacrifice piece. The two main characters are an African-American bodyguard and a female protagonist which are revolutionary main characters even today in an industry that usually casts white males as the hero. (Ages 16 and up.)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991): Rated R
“Terminator 2: Judgement Day” tackles cultural assimilation and promotes a badass female character.
While this film is rated R, it’s mostly for language, as the violence is more of a PG-13 level by today’s standards. (Ages 14 and up.)
The Usual Suspects (1995): Rated R
“The Usual Suspects” is a fast-paced story with constant surprises and two main themes: the ability of mistakes to snowball out of control and the consequence of being blinded by your own perceptions of other people’s flaws.
While I wouldn’t consider the movie overly violent, it does have extremely strong language to show the depravity these men sink to when they go on their quest for revenge. (Ages 16 and up.)
The Original Star Wars Trilogy (1977-1983): Rated PG
The themes of the original “Star Wars” trilogy are to learn from your mistakes, help others, and anyone is capable of doing great things.
The “Star Wars” original trilogy is the tamest on this list. There is fighting, but very little to no gore. (Ages 13 and up.)
Movies can have a big impact on how we perceive the world and I picked these examples because they formed my own world view.