What’s better than a great house party? Full of friends, great music, and usually more than a little drama, house parties are basically a way of life from high school through your 20s. Getting a bunch of people you know and love (and probably lots you don’t know) together for a night of debauchery is pretty much one of the best things in life. But for those nights when you can’t throw that raging house party you want to, you can always live vicariously through the many movies full of roaring, crazy house parties.
House party movies may not be exactly like what happens in real life — most movies don’t show your friend crying about her ex in the corner or the inevitable post-party Taco Bell visit. But the idealized version of the house party scene sure is fun to watch. Some movies center on a rockin’ party and some are in pursuit of one. Either way, they keep the fantasy of the ~perfect house party~ alive and well. We’re still searching for that mythical beast, but in the meantime, here are some of the most iconic movie house parties that’ll make you wish you got an invite!
18. 10 Things I Hate About You
As with all things in teen movies (and, really, in teen life), all major events and milestones happen at the Friday night house party. The party in this movie has plenty of romantic pairings stopping, starting, and frustrating the hell out of each other. It has everything a great house party should: first kisses, a self-absorbed jerk hosting the party, and people getting way too drunk and making fools of themselves. The party in this film is the centerpiece connecting everything that comes before and after. The party is one of the most true-to-life depictions on screen, showing how one fateful night can make or break so many things when you’re in high school!
17. The Great Gatsby
The idea of a “house party” isn’t some new concept — case in point, Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the titular character as the ultimate purveyor of a good party. He has the ultimate house with the ultimate parties, and Baz Luhrman‘s adaptation on film creates some of the most visually stunning house parties ever on film. Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) throws parties constantly in the hope that his true love Daisy (Carey Mulligan) will eventually attend one. While his lifestyle isn’t fully authentic, or healthy, it was a way for Gatsby to appease his loneliness. Even if just for the night.
16. Old School
Ain’t no party like a Greek house party! Especially when that “Greek house” is run by a bunch of adult men trying to relive their party days. When Mitch (Luke Wilson) finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him, he moves into a new house right near a college campus. His friends catch wind and the house becomes a total party pad. They hold the inaugural “Mitch-A-Palooza” — complete with insane stereo speakers and Snoop Dogg! They eventually decide to start a fraternity in order for Mitch to stay in his campus-proximity housing, and from there, the parties get even crazier. But that first party will always reign supreme as the great example of how loud, great music can make your party just that much better!
15. This Is The End
You know the expression “party like it’s the end of the world”? Well, in this movie, it actually is. This meta-comedy starts as a house party at James Franco’s house, full of every single funny person you know and love playing themselves. When a giant chasm opens up in Franco’s yard, the world starts spiraling into apocalyptic doom and everything devolves from there. The party film turns into a survival film as the likes of Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson try to stay alive in Franco’s barricaded house. But that beginning party is one of the most iconic ever. The idea of so many funny people together in one sitting is pretty much a dream come true. Plus, there are few things funnier than the idea of Michael Cera high on cocaine hitting on Rihanna!
14. 21 Jump Street
Anyone who misses the distinct feel of a high school house party will have major jealousy for the main characters in this movie. Cops Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are dispatched on the “Jump Street” division, where they’ll go undercover in a high school to find drugs. The two get to relive their high school years — this time with Schmidt gaining a bit more popularity than the first time around — and that means reliving throwing the ultimate house party. Despite being full-grown adults with the ability to fully buy their own booze, they still act like fumbling high school kids trying to pull the whole thing off. It’s hilarious and totally reminiscent of trying to throw the perfect house party when your parents were out of town for the weekend. There’s even a big fight scene because no party is complete without someone throwing down!
Clueless tells the story of the rich and popular in Beverly Hills. The richest and most popular of the high school girls there is Cher (Alicia Silverstone), a teen with a superficial streak and a penchant for “fixing” people. Her biggest project: new girl Tai (Brittany Murphy), who’s a bit of a mess by Beverly Hills standards. The moment Tai is truly indoctrinated into the group is at a raging party in the Valley where these posh teens get crazy. Tai gets hit in the head and ends up singing a Coolio song (“Rollin’ With the Homies,” in case anyone forgot), Murray (Donald Faison) shaves his head to “keep it real,” and the iconic advice of doing a lap before you commit to where you want to hang at a party is given. This party has it all, and it almost makes us want to hang in the Valley.
Raging house parties are always a good time — well, except for your unsuspecting neighbors who just want to go to sleep. Frat boy Teddy (Zac Efron) tries to keep the parties bumping much to ire of his new neighbors and their small child. After tons of back and forth between the two, the end of the year party is upon them and Teddy will do anything to pull it off and not get the cops called, which could effectively end his fraternity chapter for good. The party is wild, full of pranks between the two neighbors and more than a few knock-down, drag-out fights. There’s even a fireworks show at the end of it all! Sure, the cops eventually catch on and shut the whole thing down, but we’re guessing it was totally worth it for the party of a lifetime.
11. House Party
This movie is literally named House Party, so you know it’s going to be good. Two friends, Kid and Play (of the ’90s hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play), plan for a wild night when Play announces he’s having a party at his house since his parents are on vacation. The sure-to-be party of the year takes a little effort to pull off — with Kid having to sneak out of his house and away from his dad to attend. Eventually, things get going and the night is full of dance parties, running from parents, sexcapades, and even a stint in jail. Just a normal night for a high schooler, right?! This was one night that those boys will definitely not be forgetting anytime soon!
10. House Party 2
The boys are back and this time they’re in college! When Kid gets played by a scam artist, he has to come up with enough money to pay his tuition in stay in school, so he does what anyone would do: steal the key to the cafeteria and throw a raging party. But not just any party — a pajama party. Because who doesn’t want to get down in their comfiest clothes? Obviously, everything goes wrong and Kid ends up having to use the money he charged for admission to his party to fix the destroyed cafeteria. But it all works out in the end and the boys go on to party another day!
9. Mean Girls
Nothing like a good party to tear apart friendships and almost break an African fertility vase! Cady’s (Lindsay Lohan) transition from “homeschooled jungle freak” to normal, popular teen girl was pretty much complete when she decided to host a little get together at her house. Except a “little get together” when your parents are out of town never stays little for long. Soon, the party is bursting at the seams and full of people Cady doesn’t know. She tries to protect her house from wild partiers, while drinking way too much herself, and trying to seduce the hot guy who couldn’t be less interested in her new party persona. It’s pretty much a giant mess, but aren’t all high school parties? Who hasn’t puked on their crush while they check out your childhood bedroom? It’s basically a rite of passage and exactly why we love this party scene.
8. Weird Science
As far as ’80s fantasy movies go, this one takes the cake. Nerds Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) take a cue from Frankenstein and try to craft their dream girl using just a computer and a doll. And it works! Soon Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) is pulling the guys way out of their comfort zones in their quest for a modicum of popularity. Lisa will do anything to get the boys to loosen up — including throwing a wild party at Wyatt’s house. The out-of-control party does force the guys to man-up a bit, especially when mutant bikers crash the shindig. Their bravery even lands them their crushes from school! The party serves as their true coming-of-age moment and alters the way they see the world and act afterward. So even if it was an epic disaster, it was still pretty awesome!
7. Staten Island Summer
Okay, this isn’t technically a “house party,” but the party in this movie is so insane and reminiscent of one that it bears including. Danny (Graham Phillips) and Frank (Zack Pearlman) are enjoying their last summer together working at the local pool before college. With Danny getting ready to leave in the coming weeks, he decides they should throw one huge end of summer bash at the pool after hours. Word travels fast – naturally. Despite the obstacles along the way, they pull it off and it’s one of the craziest bashes in movie history. Pretty much everyone in Staten Island shows up! It’s the ultimate last hoorah kind of party before you leave the home you’ve always known for new surroundings.
6. Sixteen Candles
Imagine your entire family forgetting your 16th birthday. Yeah, that would suck. So it’s no wonder Sam (Molly Ringwald) has a pretty crappy day, made worse by embarrassing herself in front of her crush Jake (Michael Schoeffling). But one party would change everything and make her birthday wish actually come true. Jake has a post-dance party at his house that soon gets out of control. He’s pretty turned off by the whole thing and, despite it being his house, he hides from his guests to get some peace and quiet. He ends up talking to Ted (Anthony Michael Hall), who reveals Sam’s crush on him and encourages him to seek her out. By the next day, the two are kissing over birthday cake candlelight. That party changed Sam’s life and she wasn’t even there!
5. Animal House
When you’re about to get your fraternity charter revoked because your frat’s combined GPA is so low, what do you do? Throw a toga party, of course! The party is full of awesome live music and tons of hooking up, setting the stage for every toga party you’ve ever been to. Because let’s be real, Animal House basically invented the popular party theme that you cannot escape on college campuses. That makes this a truly iconic party!
4. American Pie
When you’re a high school boy, you’re basically only ever thinking about one thing: losing your virginity. And that’s exactly what five best friends have planned for the senior prom after party. Some are successful, and some are not, but it makes for one hell of an interesting night. Stiffler’s (Sean William Scott) house sets the stage for some truly hilarious and bizarre romantic pairings. The night caps off high school for the boys who have breakfast the next day and talk about the next stages in their lives. One great senior party can truly be remembered for the rest of your life!
3. Can’t Hardly Wait
This movie is entirely set at a graduation party, where the end of school prompts many teens to take the plunge and do the things they’ve been too scared to do during high school. For Preston (Ethan Embry), that means confessing his love to popular Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt). The party takes tons of turns, from old friends reconnecting in bathrooms to alien abductions. Yeah, it’s pretty insane. The film really draws on the coming-of-age feeling that the end of high school brings. You’re going to yearn for high school parties that got way out of hand after seeing this movie!
2. Project X
Three boys try to gain popularity by throwing a house party. Pretty simple, right? Not so much. The party quickly turns into an out-of-control fiasco. A normal crazy party soon turns nuts when partygoers all start taking ecstasy and messing up the house. The party host’s dad’s car is driven into the pool, a flamethrower appears and trees and cars begin going up in flames. The entire thing is capped off by an explosion. So, yeah, not your normal high school party! Their parents even commend them in the end, since they thought the boys were too nerdy to pull anything like this off!
Sometimes the pursuit of the perfect party can be just as fun as the party itself. Seth (Jonah Hill), Evan (Michael Cera), and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are tasked with getting the alcohol for a friends party. But getting it, and getting there, prove to be an adventure in and of itself. The trio encounters cops, weirdos, gross girls, and a whole bunch of drunks dudes as they traverse the town trying to get to Jules’s (Emma Stone) party. By the time they make it, they’re lugging booze in laundry detergent bottles and completely frazzled by everything they’ve been through that night. But that doesn’t stop the party from being awesome! And setting the trio up for a great summer before they separate for college in the fall.