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The Most Iconic Prom Dresses in Movies and TV

Sandy from Grease is our prom queen, forever and always.

prom dresses in movies and tv
Fotos International

Prom dresses are a sign of the times: There were exaggerated puffy sleeves in the '70s, neon hues in the '80s, two-piece sets in the '90s, and so on. Go back in time to get a closer look at the most memorable prom dresses—some bold, some beautiful, some questionable—in your favorite classic movies, starting with Stephen King's Carrie in 1976. And while you're at it, make some popcorn, pour yourself a glass of wine, and stream these classics to relive your glory days.

carrie   prom dresses in movies
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Carrie in 'Carrie'

Though her dress was eventually (spoiler alert) drenched in blood, Carrie's pink gown was lovely before the night of horror began. Now, if only they could've kept it that way...

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10 things i hate about you   prom dresses in movies
Archive PhotosGetty Images
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Bianca in '10 Things I Hate About You'

Much to her father's chagrin, Bianca wore a pink satin crop top paired with a tulle skirt that showed off a hint of her belly button. Note the incredibly '90s hairstyle.

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glee   prom dresses in movies and tv
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Rachel in 'Glee'

Rachel Berry's peach prom dress was fit for a queen, which is fitting since she was named Prom Queen at William McKinley High.

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grease   prom dresses in movies
Paramount PicturesGetty Images
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Sandy in 'Grease'

Danny may have looked sharp, but he was no match for Sandy, who looked as sweet as can be in this short dress. The couple's dance moves, however, were the real winner that night.

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gossip girl   prom dresses in movies and tv
Philip Ramey Photography, LLCGetty Images
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Blair and Serena in 'Gossip Girl'

These two friends dress like it's prom on the daily with sky-high heels, luxe dresses, and accessories galore. Come prom night, Blair and Serena pulled out all the stops with elegant gowns and curled tresses.

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prom night   prom dresses in movies
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Kim in 'Prom Night'

Prom should be all fun and games—unless there's a relentless killer on the loose. Before students started fearing their lives, Kim, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, looked serene in a sweet pink dress.

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pretty in pink   prom dresses in movies and tv
Paramount/ Netflix
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Andie in 'Pretty in Pink'

Andie Walsh set the bar high for wannabe DIYers when she stunned in her own pretty in pink (pun intended) creation.

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pretty little liars  prom dresses in movies and tv
Eric McCandlessGetty Images
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Alison in 'Pretty Little Liars'

While the entire crew at Rosewood High School looked amazing on prom night, Alison was the belle of the ball in this cream gown, complete with loose curls and a red lip.

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romy and michele prom dresses in movies
Hulton ArchiveGetty Images
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Romy and Michele in 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion'

After graduating, a high school reunion is basically prom for adults. These short and shiny dresses that Romy and Michele wore prove that the best outfits you wear are the ones you have the most fun in.

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she's all that prom dresses in movies
Ronald SiemoneitGetty Images
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Laney in 'She's All That'

Laney Briggs's prom night didn't exactly turn out as planned, but she still looked gorgeous in this sparkly LBD.

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high school musical prom dress
Disney
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Gabriella in 'High School Musical 3: Senior Year'

Not only did Gabriella get to dance with her boyfriend Troy Bolton at prom, but she also got to wear a super sweet chiffon dress with appliqué flowers that looked best mid-twirl.

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footloose prom dress
Paramount
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Ariel in 'Footloose'

The only thing better than Ariel's bubblegum pink column dress and her envy-inducing curled updo is the dancing that took place at her prom.

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summer roberts the oc prom dress
Warner Bros.
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Summer in 'The O.C.'

Summer rarely strayed from her California-cool wardrobe and prom was no exception. She wowed in a fuchsia printed strapless maxi dress that surely inspired many prom goers in the early aughts.

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buffy the vampire slayer prom dresses in television and movies
Warner Bros.
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Buffy in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Buffy Summers never got a day off—not even for prom. The teen slayer had to wrestle a pack of hell hounds, but still managed to look impeccable in a strapless mauve taffeta gown.

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bridgerton prom dresses in movies
Netflix
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Penelope in 'Bridgerton'

Being presented to the Queen at the start of London's social season is essentially the same thing as high school prom, just during the Regency era. Penelope Featherington stunned in an empire waist evening gown with gold embroidery for her debut.

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back to the future prom dress
Universal
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Lorraine in 'Back to the Future'

Not many people can say they actually saw their mom's prom dress in person, but Marty McFly can. His mother, Lorraine, wore a very '50s design, featuring an A-line silhouette and polka dot print.

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abc's "all my children" prom dresses in television and movies
Ann LimongelloGetty Images
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An Li in 'All My Children'

Of course a major event like prom was bound to result in tons of drama on a soap opera like All My Children. But An Li Chen still looked great in a strapless purple princess gown.

mean girls prom dresses in television and movies
CBS Photo ArchiveGetty Images
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Regina in 'Mean Girls'

Not even getting hit by a school bus could keep Regina George from the school dance. Some pink flowers on her back brace and an attention-grabbing strapless satin pink mini dress did the trick.

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boy meets world prom dresses in television and movies
ABC Photo ArchivesGetty Images
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Topanga in 'Boy Meets World'

Cory and Topanga were crowned prom king and queen at prom, naturally. The only thing sweeter? How Cory's pocket square perfectly matched Topanga's red column dress.

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abc's "modern family" prom dresses in television and movies
Peter "Hopper" StoneGetty Images
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Alex in 'Modern Family'

Alex Dunphy was a few years out of high school when she went with her brother's friend, Reuben, to prom, but she deserves extra credit for the grey sweetheart gown she wore.

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never been kissed prom dresses in movies
20th Century Fox
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Josie in 'Never Been Kissed'

Josie's high school prom didn't go as planned, but her redo as a 25-year-old undercover reporter was much better. The second time around, she was crowned prom queen in a medieval dress inspired by Rosalind from Shakespeare's As You Like It.

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how i met your mother pro dresses in television and movies
CBS Photo ArchiveGetty Images
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Lily in 'How I Met Your Mother'

So they were technically crashing a high school prom, not attending it together, but Lily's cheetah print wrap dress was perfect for the adventurous evening.

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the big bang theory prom dresses in television and movies
CBS Photo ArchiveGetty Images
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Penny in 'The Big Bang Theory'

Penny + Leonard = an uber cheesy prom picture that we're obsessed with. When the cast recreated a school dance in season eight, Penny wore a sleeveless fuchsia chiffon gown with a thin gold headband.

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american pie prom dresses in television and movies
Getty ImagesGetty Images
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Stifler's Mom in 'American Pie'

In American Pie, it was the prom after-party that caught our attention. Specifically, the scene where Stifler's mom "chaperones" in a grey sleeveless sheath dress that is oh-so-very-'90s.

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full house prom dresses in television and movies
ABC Photo ArchivesGetty Images
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D.J. in 'Full House'

You better believe D.J.'s prom included one or two heart-to-hearts. But the eldest Tanner daughter also looked all grown up in a black off-the-shoulder mini dress and statement earrings.

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abc family's "pretty little liars" prom dresses in television and movies
Eric McCandlessGetty Images
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Hanna and Emily in 'Pretty Little Liars'

Hanna and Emily have very different styles, but both looked like queens on prom night. Hanna stunned in a v-neck illusion sleeve gown with a high-low tulle skirt, while Emily channeled an edgier look with a long sleeve black patterned gown.

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abc family's "pretty little liars" prom dresses in television and movies
Eric McCandlessGetty Images
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Spencer and Aria in 'Pretty Little Liars'

What, you thought we forgot about the other two liars? Spencer Hastings looked sophisticated in a high neck silk mermaid gown, while Aria mixed color and pattern together in a bold two-piece dress.

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a wonderful night prom dresses in television and movies
Hulton ArchiveGetty Images
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Mary in 'It's a Wonderful Life'

At the beginning of the holiday movie, we see a young Mary in a one-of-a-kind prom dress. The chiffon ruffled tea length dress was enough to top all her other outfits in the film.

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jackie that '70s show prom dress
Fox
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Jackie in 'That '70s Show'

From the lace illusion neckline to the chiffon ruffles, it's impossible not to be transported back to the '70s with Jackie's perfectly pink prom dress.

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parks and recreation prom dresses in television and movies
NBCGetty Images
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April in 'Parks and Recreation'

Prom was certainly not April Ludgate's scene. But after dressing against the grain in a black long sleeve lace gown, she deserved to be awarded prom queen that evening.

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