College is an experience like no other. Whether you enjoy making new friends or partying all weekend, we take pleasure in living vicariously through the big screen’s characters. In seeing the highs and the lows of living on your own with a group of vastly different people, we are not only entertained, but we also get to relive some of our own personal experiences.
With that said, here are the best movies and shows that showcase the real-life college experience while simultaneously creating worlds we wish we could visit (especially the parties).
- Animal House (Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Apple TV)
Although dating back to 1978, Animal House still stands the test of time. This movie has us realize that college students in the ‘70s aren’t all that different from students today. It spotlights the humorous, frat boy lifestyle through Delta Tau Chi Fraternity members as they navigate their time through college, authority, girls, and (mostly) partying. The sentiment you are left with upon watching this movie: If life gives you lemons, throw a party!
- Legally Blonde (Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Apple TV)
In a world where one is never too blonde, Legally Blonde follows Elle Woods as she transfers to Harvard University’s Law School in order to prove to her ex-boyfriend, Warner, that she is indeed smart enough to marry him. While there, however, she not only discovers her potential, but proves to herself that she deserves better than Warner.
Although as college students we know it is not that easy to get into Harvard, it is so fun to watch Elle take on her pretentious counterparts and hear her say some of the most iconic lines in cinema history. “What, like it’s hard?”
- Normal People (Hulu)
Although a show largely about relationships, protagonist Connell’s experience in college is quite different from his time in high school. As he immerses himself in a new environment, all while coping with the loss of one of his close high school friends, Connell begins to spiral into a serious depression.
This representation of college may appear unnecessary dark, but it shows the highs and lows of being on your own for the first time. When he eventually reunites with his best friend Marianne, he develops a support system and finds a home in her, helping him recover.
- Shithouse (Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Apple TV)
Perhaps the most vulnerable and realistic movie about the college experience, Shithouse comments on the loneliness most of us feel when we first start our college careers. Alex is a freshman and has problems with being on his own, finding friends, and getting along with his roommate. He finds all his support from his family back home whom he constantly calls. This is until he meets his RA Maggie. As a result, he begins to form relationships outside of his family. We watch Alex adjust to the harsh realities of young adulthood while also beginning to enjoy his college experience.
- Everybody Wants Some!! (Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Apple TV)
The spiritual sequel to Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! follows college freshman Jake in 1980 as he enters the baseball house on campus. We watch Jake create new bonds, go through different cliques, meet girls, and play baseball while going back in time with an incredible soundtrack, wardrobe, and time period. Although sometimes an unrealistic view of college, this movie makes you feel good about being young and stupid.
So, whether you’re looking for something lighthearted or a little more serious, these five watches hopefully cover all your relatable college needs!