The 8 Best Prom Scenes In Popular Culture, No Corsage Or Limo Required

by Meghan Sara

It’s PROM SEASON! Maybe prom was the greatest night of your life, and you feel wistful for formalwear and awkward photos in the familiy living room every time prom season rolls around. If so, yippee for you! Or, maybe you never went to prom and now you’re a 30-year-old woman who’s still kinda bitter about it! If you’re that second person (ME ME ME I AM THAT’S ME), you can light a vanilla-scented candle and watch these prom-centric movies and TV shows and imagine what it would have been like if the person you had a crush on for like, ALL of senior year hadn’t gotten a girlfriend like FIVE MINUTES before you worked up the nerve to ask them to prom (yeah, definitely still kinda bitter about that).

Let’s count down the most “prominent” proms in pop culture, y’all!


1. Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

Sorry, Duckie fans, I’ll never stop shipping Blandie. Confused? Yeah, I bet you’re about as confused as I am, wondering how did she take two perfectly nice dresses and combine them into something so ugly? Only Molly Ringwald could look pretty in THAT pink.

nobody breaks molly ringwald



2. 10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You

Julia Stiles’ breakout role. The film that launched a thousand crunchy, heavily-pinned curly up do’s (see above). And the most Shakes-prom-iest movie on the list. Not to mention pre-Brokeback, pre-Joker Heath Ledger at his absolute dreamiest:

heath ledger thought about me naked

ACK OMG HOW DOES HE KNOW?? IDKAY (I Don’t Know About You), but watching this film as a Baby Feminist, my heart grew three sizes to see Julia Stiles stuffing it to the patriarchy. She’s the Shrew that cannot be Tamed. My heart. 

julia stiles BOOM SHACKA LACKA


3. “The Prom,” episode 20, season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy prom umbrella class protector

Prom in Hellmouth Central anything can go wrong — but for “The Prom,” Buffy wins a class notable, and her vampire boyfriend shows up!* Vampire boyfriend at Prom is essential. resize 1

“Wild Horses” couldn’t make Angel show emotion in this scene. Angel < Angelus < SPIKE, obviously.

* yes I know technically they were broken up at the prom, but since I refuse to acknowlege Riley’s existence, I prefer to believe Buffy was in a LDR with Angel until the beginning of Season Six. We all have our quirks! 

4. Twilight

twilight prom dance

I said, vampire boyfriend is essential, didn’t I? How could you not swoon at that mood lighting, and I’m sorry, but since when do proms have gazebos for making out with your undead bae?

twilight prom almost kiss

I said, make out.

twilight prom kiss

I could watch this GIF all day. #DontJudgeMe


5. “You Belong With Me” — Taylor Swift

Screen Shot 2016 05 12 at 1.51.49 PM

Nothing encapsulates the teenage angst of seeing your crush take someone else to the prom like Tay-tay’s seminal music video for her hit song, “You Belong With Me.” Now before you say, “Meghan, isn’t this song perpetuating the Madonna-whore dichotomy that has been used to foster girl-hate for centuries?” I would like to point out that Tay portrays both the “Good Girl” and the “Bad Girl” characters in this video, so what is she really saying here? That dichotomous reasoning is a cognitive distortion whereby there ARE no “good girls” or “bad girls,” there are merely GIRLS?

clapping evil cheerleader

I’m going with that, because this song is catchy, and I’m obsessed with whatever her hair is doing at the end of the video: 


6. She’s All That

Shes All That

The promiest of prom movies — the entire plot revolves around two actors with zero chemistry getting themselves elected Prom King & Queen, against all odds. Think it can’t happen? Be silent, be still. Oh, remember that totally awkward and forced rap scene? The pubes on the pizza scene? How did we forget that this movie is totally gross — beyond the fact that the moral of the film is that this poor girl just needs a makeover and a boyfriend to get over her dead mom and be happy wooooo! I mean, this trailer gave me a stomachache:

And WHO HIRED “Disaster Movie Voiceover Guy” to do the trailer for this teen sex comedy? “In a world where Janey wears overalls AND glasses, only one man can save her from not being Prom Queen! Zach Siler IS! THAT! MAN! Holy falafel, dude. At the very least, we were all Sixpence None The Richer for learning the power of the slow-walk-down-the-stairs:

shes all that slow walk

If you were below prom age when this movie came out (I slowly raise my aged, old-lady hand), you probably grew up to think that your prom would be just like this!


7. Mean Girls

mean girls spring fling

By far the most realistic depiction of prom — sorry, Spring Fling — by which I mean, I definitely attended junior prom on the arm of my GBFF (if you’re reading this, A., we should catch up sometime! Let me buy you & your husband a drink next time you’re in town!). I love that nothing goes right: Cady shows up in her Mathletes outfit, Regina George is still recovering from that bus incident, and — *spoiler alert*! — the queen abdicates the throne! I think a good reason why Mean Girls has seen such enduring popularity is because it speaks to the truth at the heart of so many of our high school experiences…


8. Carrie


Speaking of high school experiences, “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” echoing through my brain pretty much defined my high school experience. Oh, Carrie! Granted, I never went on a telekinetic murder spree at my senior prom (because I didn’t go to senior prom, remember? KEEP UP!), but I can totally relate to Carrie being bullied by her classmates.

theyre all gonna laugh at you 

Oh, shit, is that sad? Well, good thing I’m not in high school anymore! Now I’m an ADULT, and I can spend all weekend in my pajamas, watching these prom movies and tell myself, “Ehhh, prom was probably overrated anyway.” 

Never been kissed prom

So, unlike me, did you go to prom? Was it the most magical night of your young life, of your entire life? Were there any classic prom scenes I missed on my prom-enade through pop culture proms? Share!


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