Both the young and the young-at-heart love to enjoy movies. And there are plenty of movies to choose from, no matter how old you are. Many seniors enjoy old flicks like the classics, such as Gone With The Wind with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable; or Singing In The Rain with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Whether you are looking for something funny, romantic, heartwarming, or something with excitement, there’s plenty of movies that older adults can choose from these days.
Below are the top 20 movies that most seniors will say are the movies to watch. Some are funny Rom-coms, while others are filled with drama, suspense, or based on historical events. Some movies will leave you with hope and joy, while others will make you laugh to you drop. So sit back and enjoy our list of the top movies for seniors.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
One of the best movies of all time is the Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. It’s about a man named George(Stewart) who gives up his personal endeavers in order to help others in the community, while having thoughts of suicide on Christmas Eve. However, a guardian angel named Clarence (Henry Travers), intervenes by giving him hope. Clarence shows George how his life has touched so many people and what the world could have looked like without his existence. You don’t have to be an older adult to enjoy this classic movie, but many seniors will admit that it has changed the way they look at life.
Singing in the Rain (1952)
Singin’ in the Rain is a 1952 American musical romantic comedy film. It was directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, and stars Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. It also features Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell and Cyd Charisse. Although not a huge hit when it was first released, it is considered classic film and one of the Greatest Movie Musicals to date.
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
This classic drama was released in 1962, and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee. Set in the 1930’s, it is a story about a young girl, Scout Finch, which witnesses both racism and prejudice within her community. Scout sees racial injustice being played throughout the town. Her father, played by Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, defends a black man who is falsely accused of rape. To Kill a Mockingbird earned three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck. It is considered an American cimema classic with exceptional performances of its actors.
Harold and Maude (1971)
Harold and Maude is about an 18 year old young man, obsessed with death, who falls for an eccentric older woman who is 79 years of age, it is a film filled with some dark humor, quirky attitudes, and a morbid outlook on life. Harold (played by Bud zcort) develops a friendship that eventually blooms into a romantic relationship with 79-year-old Maude (Ruth Gordon). She goes on to teach Harold the importance of living life to the fullest.
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather, a 1972 crime drama, is based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this film takes a look into the powerful New York crime family, the Corleones. The movie follows actors Marlon Brando(the Head of the family) and Al Pacino, as his youngest son, Michael, and how Michael’s transformation from war hero to gangster evolves. Many seniors and older adults enjoy this film and consider it one of the greatest films ever made. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Brando. It has also been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. With iconic characters, memorable dialogue, and powerful performances, it is widely admired and thought of an American classic to many.
On Golden Pond (1981)
On Golden Pond is a 1981 American drama, directed by Mark Rydell. The cast includes Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Jane Fonda. Based on the 1979 play of the same name by Ernest Thompson, it depicts a story of an elderly couple, Ethel and Norman Thayer, which spends the summers at their cottage on Golden Pond. However, one year they receive a visit by their estranged daughter, Chelsea, and her fiancé, Bill, and their young son, Billy. The story deals with aging, family, and forgiveness, and learning to come together to build good relationships. The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Henry Fonda and Best Actress for Katharine Hepburn.
This film follows a group of older adults that after spending time in a swimming pool become exposed to alien cocoons. As a result, receive aliens’ powers, which affects the group and the older adults suddenly transform into their younger selves. The movie brings together comedy, drama, and a little science fiction, all in one. Top cast includes Actors Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, and Hume Cronyn. The movie won 7 academy awards, including Best Actor and Best Director.
The Untouchables (1987)
The Untouchables is a 1987 American crime drama film, starring Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert De Niro. Set in the 1930s in Chicago, it tells the story of federal agent Elliot Ness, who is hired to bring down the ruthless gangster Al Capone. Ness comaderates a small team of law enforcement officers to help with his mission. The film touches on the corruption of both the city and the corruption within the Chicago police department. It is jam packed with action, suburb performances, and great directing; a classic of modern cinema.
Moonstruck is a 1987 American romantic comedy film, starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, and Olympia Dukakis. It is st around a middle-aged Italian-American woman named Loretta(Cher), who becomes engaged to a man she is not in love with. However, when her fiancé’s younger brother, Ronny (Cage) meets her, Loretta finds herself in a whirlwind romance and affair. Loretta now must confront her feelings about love and commitment, while dealing with her expectations of the traditional Italian-American family. The film was a huge success among the older generation and won three Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Cher and Best Supporting Actress for Olympia Dukakis.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Driving Miss Daisy is another classic movie for seniors to enjoy. It is about a story about an elderly woman and her driver Hoke, who was hired by her son to drive her around town. At first, they get off on the wrong feet, but as time passes, they eventually form a strong relationship of friendship and respect.
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Grumpy Old Men is definitely a comedy classic for all ages to watch. It stars Jack Lemmon as Max and Walter Matthau as John, two seniors who seem to can’t stand each other, yet find themselves in a friendly rivalry by playing pranks on each other and fighting over the affection of the same woman(Ann-Margret). The film won the BMI Film Music Award and was nominated for an American Comedy Award.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Schindler’s List is a historical drama, released in 1993 and directed by Steven Spielberg. It is based on the novel “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally. It tells the true story of Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson), which is a German businessman who saved the lives of over 1,000 Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. He did this by giving them jobs in his factory. The film also includes Ralph Fiennes as Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern as Schindler’s Jewish accountant. It won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg. The film is considered a classic of Holocaust cinema.
Forrest Gump (1994)
This Classic drama film from 1994 stars Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump and was directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is about a young man’s experiences of historical events. The film offers many interesting characters and a heartwarming story that all will enjoy. The movie made over $677 million worldwide and won six Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Hanks and Best Picture.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption, a 1994 American drama film, was written and directed by Frank Darabont. It stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman and is based on the novel “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King. The movie is about a young man named Andy Dufresne who is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and her lover, although he claims to be innocent. Andy befriends a fellow inmate Ellis Boyette and decide to make a plan to escape. It is filled with hope and the ability to face adversity in tough times.
The Bucket List (2007)
Now this next one is sure to make anyone laugh, especially older adults. The Bucket List is a comedy/drama film that was released in 2007 and directed by Rob Reiner. It stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and its about two men, Edward Cole (Nicholson) and Carter Chambers ( Freeman), who both are terminally ill and meet while sharing a hospital room. They decide to join forces by creating a “bucket list”, and finish it before they both die. As they go on, they build a strong friendship. The film is heartwarming and loved by many seniors.
Gran Torino (2008)
Gran Torino is about a Korean War vet named Walt(played by Clint Eastwood), that struggles with connecting to his family, along with neighborhood changes in his city of Detroit. However things get very interesting when a young Hmong boy named Thao (played by Bee Vang) attempts to steal his 1972 Gran Torino, and walt confronts him. Over time, Walt and Thao develop a relationship built on trust and Walt starts to truly get to know Thao and his family. The movie first focuses on conflictions and some tensions, but then mentorship starts to develop. Eastwood not only acts in the movie, he directed it as well and often considered one of Eastwood’s best movies.
Up is a 2009 computer-generated animated comedy about an elderly widower named Carl, who is determined to explore South America after losing his wife Ellie. He does this by taking thousands of helium balloons and attaching them to his house, which actually lifts his house into the air and takes him on a fun filled journey. A young boy named Russel joins him, and together they fly toward their destination. The voices in the film are played by Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger, and Christopher Plummer.
The Intern (2015)
The Intern is a 2015 comedy-drama film, directed by Nancy Meyers. The movie stars Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway and tells the story of Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower, who works as a senior intern at an online fashion website, run by Jules Ostin. The two become close over time, as Ben helps her manage the challenges of running a successful business. The film expresses themes of mentorship, friendship, and personal growth.
Going in Style (2017)
This is definitely one of the best movies of 2017! The film stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin, as three retirees, who after losing their pensions, decide to rob a bank to get back the money that’s owed them. In the process of planning and executing their “heist”, they gain an appreciation for life, friendship, and adventure. This movie will have you laughing until the end.
The Laundromat (2019)
The Laundromat is a comedy-drama film, directed by Steven Soderbergh. It is about a widow who discovers corruption and fraud within an insurance company. While exploring this, She finds unexpected allies that help her uncover the truth, including a pair of journalists looking for the same thing. Although filled with some humor, the movie is also considered a thriller, and explores taking down powerful people and fighting injustice. The film provides a slew of stars, which includes Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Robert Patrick, Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Cromwell, and Sharon Stone.