Classics recast into high school settings, revisited

Back in 2010, I posted about classic works of literature reworked as movies set in a modern high school. Comments on that post led me to expand my definitions a bit, and I’ve seen a couple more such movies since then. So I thought I would post the updated list:

Movie Year Original What I thought
West Side Story 1961 Romeo and Juliet Didn’t love it.
My Own Private Idaho 1991 Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V Loved it when I first watched it, liked it less on rewatching years later.
Clueless 1995 Emma Loved it.
10 Things I Hate About You 1999 Taming of the Shrew Liked it quite a bit.
Cruel Intentions 1999 Les Liaisons Dangereuses Didn’t like it. Perhaps that was inevitable, given that I love the Malkovich/Close/Pfeiffer Dangerous Liaisons.
O 2001 Othello Thought it was okay.
Brick 2005 Assorted Hammett stories. Found it really interesting, but flawed.
She’s the Man 2006 Twelfth Night Loved it.
Beastly 2011 Beauty and the Beast Don’t think I’ve seen it yet.
The Half of It 2020 Cyrano de Bergerac Loved it.

3 Responses to “Classics recast into high school settings, revisited”

  1. Jed

    Another possible item for the list: the TV series American Born Chinese. It’s an adaptation of a comic, and I think the comic is more like partly-inspired-by elements of Journey to the West than a retelling as such; still, I might be willing to count this.

    (Posted this comment on the other entry on June 27, 2023; moved it here in September.)

  2. Jed

    Notes about some other movies in or adjacent to this category:

    * Just One of the Guys (1985) is another Twelfth Night-in-high-school, though it’s a looser adaptation than She’s the Man.

    * Never Been Kissed (1999): I’m seeing articles that say this is an adaptation of As You Like It, but I don’t think I would call it that (from what I‘ve read about it); I think it’s more like some aspects of the movie were loosely inspired by As You Like It. So I wouldn’t put this on the list, but may as well mention it here for my own future reference.

    * Similarly, I’ve seen people say that Easy A is an adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, but there again I would say more inspired-by than adaptation-of, so I again wouldn’t put this on the list. (I did like it quite a bit, though.)

    * I just saw an article that claimed that She’s All That was an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. I think whoever wrote that was just confused. More plausibly, I’ve seen She’s All That described as a loose adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion.

    * Get Over It (2001) is apparently a loose adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I haven’t watched it yet. (I never heard of it until just now.)

  3. Jed

    I’ve now created a Google Sheets spreadsheet listing all the titles that I think fit or are adjacent to the category. Further additions welcome.


Join the Conversation