25 Movies to Watch with your High Schooler

There are so many wonderful movies to use when teaching my boys.  But there have been some that I have found that would be wonderful to use with my boys when they are just a bit older.

I've started compiling a list of movies that I'd like to watch with my kids when they are in high school.

Most of these movies either had content that I thought of as being more adult or else I thought might be a bit boring for them to follow along with then they were younger.  Please use your own discretion.

1.  Schindler's List- (Rated R)  I watched this movie in high school and find that so much of what I continue to learn about the Nazi concentration camps still show up in my mind as scenes from this movie.  It's just perfect for teaching about history.

2.  Erin Brockovich-- (Rated R) When a lowly law clerk takes on a huge corporation for contaminating the ground water and making local townsfolk sick she's definitely in over her head but her passion and determination make this a must see.  A great film for sociology!

3.  The Big Short-- (Rated R) I just loved this movie about the housing bubble and it's collapse.  It can spark a lot of great discussions about big banks, corporate greed, and financial planning.

4.  Saving Private Ryan-- (Rated R) Based on a World War II story about trying to save a fellow soldier who is stuck behind enemy lines.  War stories are always a wonderful jumping off point for a history lesson.

5.  Patriot's Day-- (Rated R) Based on the true story (and with actual footage) from the day of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Another wonderful history lesson; and one that is still quite fresh in the minds of most people in our geographical area.

Patriots Day

6.  Snowden-- (Rated R) Based on the real- life story of Edward Snowden and his decision to expose the NSA surveillance activities.  I think this would make a wonderful jumping off point about real- life discussions about internet safety and government politics.


7.  G. I Jane-- (Rated R) A movie about the first woman to try out for the Navy SEALS.  A great movie to jump start a discussion about equality, determination, and women's rights.

8.  Courage Under Fire-- (Rated R) I love this movie that looks into the possibility of awarding the first woman to receive the Medal of Honor and the inquiry into the events that led to her death and nomination.

9.  Philadelphia-- (Rated PG-13)  The story of two lawyers who take on a prestigious law firm for AIDS discrimination.   I have yet to really talk with my boys about sex, STD's, protection, etc and this movie could be a great jumping off point for some discussions as well as discrimination in general and what that means.

10. Mississippi Burning-- (Rated R) I'll have to admit that this is one movie I never watched myself but I really think it would help build a much greater understanding of racial tension, the role of the KKK, and what life was like during the civil rights movement.

11. A Time to Kill-- (Rated R)  When Samuel L Jackson's daughter is brutally raped he shoots the men responsible and finds himself on trial for murder.  He turns to Matthew McCohaughey's character to defend him.  Another great movie about race, morality, and justice.

A Time to Kill (1996)

12.  Supersize Me-- (Rated PG-13) I have never seen this movie either but I can not wait to watch it with my boys.  I think it will be great to talk about health, nutrition, and corporate responsibility.

13.  Pay It Forward-- (Rated PG-13) A heartfelt story about one young boy who thinks he can make a difference in the lives of everyone by doing a few kind deeds and asking those people to pay it forward.

14. Fury-- (Rated R) I'm honest enough to admit that I hate this movie and will allow my husband to watch with my boys when they're ready.  I have, however, watched this movie about the Sherman tank men carrying out a deadly mission behind enemy lines of Nazi Germany.

Fury [Blu-ray]

15. Spotlight-- (Rated R) I love this movie about the real life investigation that uncovered a huge scandal concerning the Catholic church.  While controversial I do think it's important to talk with my boys about the cover up of these crimes.

16.  American Sniper-- (Rated R) With four tours in Iraq and a reputation as the best sniper in US history, Chris Kyle's story of life in a war zone and trying to acclimate to civilian life after.

17. Double Jeopardy-- (Rated R)  Convicted and imprisoned for husband's death, Libby discovers that he is in fact alive and that she can not be convicted of the same crime twice.

 Double Jeopardy

18.  The Pelican Brief --(Rated PG-13) When a young law student unintentionally stumbles upon a conspiracy involving the assassination of two supreme court justices she turns to a journalist to help her.

The Pelican Brief (Double Sided DIsc)

19.  The Monuments Men-- (Rated PG-13)  Based on the true story of a world war II platoon that go into Germany, rescue paintings and works of art from the Nazi's and try to return them to their rightful owners.

The Monuments Men (Blu-Ray +DVD +Digital HD)

20.  Gladiator-- (Rated R) Set in Roman times, a general is forced to become a gladiator after upsetting the emperor's son.

21.  Braveheart-- (Rated R) The story of a Scottish patriot revolting against English rule after his his love has been slaughtered.

22. The Patriot-- (Rated R) When his oldest son signs up to fight in the revolutionary war, one man who had chosen not to fight decides he needs to go and rescue his son.  I just love movies like this that bring history to life.

23.  A Few Good Men-- (Rated R) A movie that looks at the difference between following orders and following your conscious.  When two marines are charged with killing a fellow their lawyers keep bumping up against military issues.

24.  Steve Jobs-- (Rated R) A biography of Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs [Blu-ray]

25.  The Aviator-- (Rated PG-13) Autobiography of Howard Hughes.

The Aviator (2004)

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  1. This is a great list. I loved Pay It Forward. We actually watched some of Braveheart in history class in high school!

    1. I have honestly never watched Braveheart from beginning to end; I tend to get a bit squeamish with war movies.

  2. Wow, intense!
    I'm squeamish about R-rated movies, but I do see the merit in taking the risk of watching them when the R rating is because of war violence. I don't like watching it, but it's a real thing, and a good jumping off point for discussions and historical context.

    1. I don't much like it either but I know my husband would gladly (thankfully!) watch most of these with my oldest son; whom I know can handle it... my middle son would not be able to though he's a lot like me.

  3. Excellent list. Good reference for summer movie nights!

    1. Thanks! They would make some great summer movie nights.

  4. There are loads here I've never seen! Absolutely love Pay it Forward though - it was one of the first DVDs we ever owned when I was growing up so we watched it a lot! #BlogCrush

  5. Can you believe, I have not watched any of these movies. I can imagine my husband has watched them all as he used to love watching movies. Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Welcome To The Weekend Blog Hop. Have a great weekend and we hope to see you soon! #Weekendbloghop

    1. I really can't believe that! I haven't watched them all but I have watched many of them. I do love to watch movies though.

  6. Thank you for this wonderful list. I for sure, will be watching if not all, most of them with my son.

  7. Some classic films here. I remember watching Supersize me and it made me want to eat burgers everyday, well for the first bit of the film anyway :) Thanks for sharing at The Wednesday Blog Hop. Have a lovely weekend :)

    1. LOL! I think that is pretty much the opposite of what they were trying to teach.


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