Regardless of whether or not you were a “pledge” in college, fraternity films are a universally popular genre. Perhaps it’s because watching them makes us feel like we’re reuniting with a more carefree, carefree self we once knew. For some reason, these images are so appealing because they portray an era before the burdens of maturity had taken hold. It’s possible that we just like them because of their never-ending stream of raucous, alcohol-induced shenanigans and their plethora of gorgeous young kids. The following are 10 movie fraternities with which you’d enjoy a good time (when you’re not studying hard, that is!).
10. PCU – Balls and Shaft
Here’s a movie fraternity that isn’t quite PC, as its name implies. They are shown as an unruly group of college students who are dealing with the oppressive hippy, radical feminist, and general political correctness that permeates their campus in this 1994 comedy. During a vegetarianism rally, they threw raw meat at their fellow students, and at initiation ceremonies, they used rubber gloves and cricket bats. They aim to be as outrageous as possible. Contrary to popular belief, this was one of the more subversive college films released during that time period. Entourage’s Jeremy Piven made an early appearance. Ari Gold is a hilariously naive moron, just like the character he portrays.
9. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – The Korean Frat
First up in the Harold and Kumar series, the “stoners” make a pit stop at Princeton University in an attempt to get their hands on some more pot. Korean-American Harold is surrounded by a bunch of stereotypically nerdy Asian students on his way to work in investment banking and has to deal with their barrage of inquiries. They also like to go out and have crazy parties and consume massive amounts of booze when they’re not occupied with work. There are others who would argue that the protagonists should have done their homework before dumping them!
8. School Daze – Gamma Phi Gamma
This is Spike Lee’s second feature-length film, a musical about race and identity in the African-American community. Aside from that, it’s a comedy about college promises. While the Gamma Phi Gamma house (headed by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito) is fierce, it also has a slightly campy side to it. But please, do not tell them that out loud! There are several memorable moments, such as the “Straight and Nappy” song that was controversially accused of encouraging racial stereotypes and preventing the director from filming at a number of African-American colleges. An unscripted altercation between the cast members was also included in the final cut of the film. Fraternities in real life certainly don’t see quite as much action as this…
7. Road Trip – Xi Kai
When the white protagonists bluff their way into Xi Kai fraternity home at the University of Tennessee, they realize that it is an all-black fraternity, making it one of the few noteworthy scenes in the 2000 film Road Trip As it turns out, the members are all great dudes, and after an initial scare involving KKK-hood pranks, the fun really gets going, with secret handshakes and a dance party as well as a character losing his virginity to a very huge woman. The actor who portrays Stifler in the American Pie series isn’t involved.) Isn’t it reasonable to assume that he would have had some success wooing women?
6. Revenge of the Nerds – Lambda Lambda Lambda
That great intelligence could be utilized to panty raiding and courting cheerleaders as well as math and science was demonstrated in this classic 1984 teen comedy. To retaliate against their jock competitors, a group of “rejected” students form their own fraternity house. In comparison to the Neanderthal football players, these bunch of outcasts looked downright suave — and at least they know how to operate a video camera (which they rig up in order to spy on sorority girls as they undress). To add to all of this, isn’t the fraternity aptly named “Lamba Lambda Lambda?”
5. Van Wilder – Delta Iota Kappas
Scatological humor is a big part of Van Wilder, which follows the series’ long heritage of college movies with a heavy dose of it. To win the heart of a beautiful female journalist, Ryan Reynolds must wage a war against the venerable Delta Iota Kappas fraternity on his college campus. In this controversial 2002 film, Reynolds plays an overage, undermotivated, and sex-crazed college student. Laxative is supplied to the leader of the fraternity just before taking a medical exam as part of a prank war that ends in terrible fashion. “You shouldn’t take life too seriously,” says the title character, in a quote that may sum up the entire frat ideology. If you try to leave here, you’ll die.
4. American Pie Presents: Beta House – Beta House
The sixth American Pie film switches the action to college and the younger members of the Stifler family. The wildest dorm on campus, “Beta House,” is looking for pledges, and Erik Stifler, a newcomer, must complete a series of near-impossible and downright nasty challenges in order to be considered. In spite of the fact that this film isn’t quite up to the standard of its predecessors, it nevertheless depicts a form of fraternity that you’d like to see in the actual world. Love the Deer Hunter references in the “roulette” sequence (hint: the pistol they use has bullets in it… not bullets…).
3. Old School – Lambda Epsilon Omega
The Frat Pack may have gotten their name from this movie. This 2003 film follows three thirty-somethings who are trying to recapture their youth by forming a fraternity that anyone may join, even those who are 90 years old or older. As far as weird house rules go, these gentlemen have one that will make men and vertigo sufferers alike cower behind the sofas (without putting to fine a point on it, it involves cinder blocks, tall buildings, rope and the male genitalia). Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, and Will Ferrell were all cast in the starring parts in Old School, making it the first picture to showcase the comic talents of all three actors. It’s amazing that they didn’t have heart attacks after drinking all those beer-bongs, given their age.
2. W. – Delta Kappa Epsilon
The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale was depicted in the George Bush memoir W. in an unexpected way. They may appear to be taking things to an extreme in the clip, with pledges being dunked into tubs of water and alcohol being poured down their throats while they are made to recite every member’s name. And even if you do succeed, the head of the society argues, you will be acknowledged as someone of “respect, decency and god-given character.” Why not follow Dubya’s lead and use the same strategy?
1. Animal House – Delta Tau Chi
Animal House, which was released in 1978 and is widely regarded as the father of all college movie chants, still reigns supreme. There are several archetypal fraternities in this classic National Lampoon comedy, including the crusty Dean, the snobbish upper-class rival house, and of course the wild and crazy Delta Tau Chi. This is the movie for you if you’ve ever wanted to see an adult man down an entire bottle of whisky. On our list of movie fraternities, John Belushi and his gang of drunks and scoundrels get the top grades.