Some of the finest films of our lifetime include movies about seniors. Often they include our mortality as a central theme, older adults finding true love at last, living out their final wishes, rekindling youth, or – preparing to say goodbye.
In making this list of movies, it became hard to decipher what is a movie about seniors versus a movie that includes seniors. There are many gray (no pun intended) areas here. We’ve covered caregiver movies before, even Alzheimer’s movies. Those are easier to identify.
What I wanted to achieve here is a list of movies that are unique to the subject of aging. This is in contrast to a movie that just might include an older actor/actress who represents an older generation. The movies I wanted to collect here involve aging itself – reflection and mortality.
Some of these movies may leave you reaching for the Kleenex and leave you feeling… existentially depressed. Others will make you laugh.
Most importantly – I need your help! This will never be a “complete” list, because 1) I’m sure I’ve missed some movies, and 2) they’re making new movies every year.
Help me keep this list current and complete. If there is a movie you know of that should be included but that I’ve left out – please leave a comment on the article with the movie’s title. So long as it fits the “aging” genre, I’ll add it to the list.
All Movies About Seniors
4 Lander (2013) 7min – Connor Macleod was born in Scotland. He is immortal and banished from his home. A friend teaches the outcast the ways of the immortals.
5 Flights Up (2014) 1hr 33min – An elderly couple is trying to sell their longtime apartment. But each showing brings back decades of memories. Can they let go of so much of their past?
A Man Called Ove (2015) 1hr 56min – Ove is almost 60 and the neighborhood grump, whose sole pleasure in life is enforcing condo association rules with an iron fist. Then a young pregnant mother moves in next door, and they develop an unexpected friendship.
A Song for Martin (2001) 1hr 53min – Composer Martin and concertmaster Barbara fall in love. They divorce their respective spouses and enjoy a happily married life. Five years later, Martin develops Alzheimer’s disease. Is their love strong enough to hold on to what they have?
About Schmidt (2002) 2hr 5min – Upon facing retirement from a stable career, aging Schmidt is on a journey to his daughter’s wedding to a less than perfect mate.
Aftermath: The Remnants of War (2001) 1hr 14min – I felt this pre 9/11 piece belonged here, as a relic of sorts. War is ever present, and seniors still have lots of stories to tell still.
The Age of Adeline (2015) 1hr 52min – She was born in 1908. After 2 serious accidents, a woman remains 29 years old. Complications arise as she falls in love in the modern era.
Age of Old Friends (1989) 1hr 30min – Although John Cooper lives in a retirement home with firm rules, he refuses to give in. He acts outrageously as a flirt and is friends with Michael, who is going senile. All John wants is to be treated with dignity as he ages.
The Ages of Love (2011) 2hr 5min – This movie is about three men at different stages of their life pursuing love, including Adrian, an aging divorcee who moves to Rome to retire in peace. Here is meets a girl young enough to be his daughter. Will she rekindle his flame?
Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory (2014) 1hr 17min – This is a documentary chronicling the problems with a health-care system as it relates to memory loss for seniors and how music can help seniors retain and regain their memory.
Amour (2012) 2hr 7min – A happy retired couples’ lives changes after she has a stroke. The husband is trying to keep their lives together, but he is weary of the future. What will it hold?
An Unfinished Life (2005) 1hr 47min – Wyoming rancher Einar is taking care of his wounded friend Mitch when his estranged daughter and granddaughter show up. Einar has blamed her for the death of his son. Will he understand that it was an accident and finally forgive before it is too late?
Andrew Jenks Room 335 (2006) 1hr 27min – In this documentary, 19-year-old Jenks attempts to come to terms with his confused feelings by moving into a retirement home and being among the elderly.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) 1hr 58min – In this comedy, Cary Grant plays Mortimer Brewster, a writer known for his diatribes against marriage. When Mortimer does get married, he learns that his two old aunts just happen to be serial killers of old men. Not the best beginning for a marriage.
As Good as It Gets (1997) 2hr 18min – Melvin Udall is a cranky and obsessive-compulsive older man whose day is about to get worse. He is stuck with his neighbor’s dog and the only waitress in his coffee shop who will wait on him isn’t there to serve him his breakfast. It’s as good as his day will get.
Aurora Borealis (2005) 1hr 50min – Duncan is an unhappy young man who begins a job as caretaker in his grandfather’s building. The grandfather has Parkinson’s Disease, with a very upbeat caretaker with whom Duncan begins a romantic relationship. As he spends more time with his grandparents, he needs to confront his feelings about the loss of his father.
Away from Her (2006) 1hr 49min – Grant and Fiona have been reasonably happily married for over forty years. When Fiona’s memory begins to fade, Grant is forced to place Fiona in an assisted living home, where he cannot see her for the first month.
Backing Out of Time (2015) 59min – This story follows five families whose loved ones suffer from Alzheimer’s.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) 2hr 3min – 7 elderly retirees follow an online ad about traveling to India. Upon arrival, we meet them with culture shock, and the hotel is less than expected.
Big Fish (2003) 2hr 5min – A successful son revisits tall tales from his childhood, as told by his aged and dying father.
Book Club (2018) 1hr 43min – Four elderly friends and book club members read Fifty Shades of Grey to rekindle their mundane love lives. They learn that romance is still possible, even at their age.
Bridges of Madison County (1995) 2hr 14min – Francesca and Robert had a four-day heated fling. It was all-consuming for Francesca, who filled three journals writing about the affair. Following her death, her children find the journals and must decide whether to honor her request to have her ashes scattered over the Bridges with Rober or bury her next to their father.
The Bucket List (2007) 1hr 37min – Two elderly men gain a new appreciation for life after terminal diagnosis. They make a list of “things to do before they kick the bucket”.
Calendar Girls (2003) 1hr 48min – Senior women take an unusual approach to fundraising with a nude calendar.
Cocoon (1985) 1hr 57min – A retirement community goes swimming and feels some supernatural energy afterward. Aliens proved responsible.
Cloudburst (2011) 1hr 33min – A elderly lesbian couple run away from their nursing home to get married.
Children of Nature (1991) 1hr 22min – A retired farmer goes to move in with this daughter in Iceland. When it doesn’t work out, he moves to a retirement home and meets an old friend, Stella. He and Stella steal a jeep and drive off to spend time together.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) 2hr 46min – Born as an elderly man, Benjamin Button ages backwards. His life was colorful, yet complicated in the matter of love.
Cyber Seniors (2014) 1hr 14min – Seniors connect with teenagers when the teens teach them about computers.
Dad (1989) 1hr 58min – Estranged from his own son, John, a busy executive, becomes his father’s caretaker. While the three slowly bond, everything changes when his father has surgery.
Do You Remember Love (1985) 1hr 40min – Barbara is an English professor suffering the first stages of Alzheimer’s. This movie shows the effect of this disorder on her entire family.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989) 1hr 38min – An unlikely friendship forms between an elderly Jewish lady and her hired driver, in the 1950s.
Everybody’s Fine (2009) 1hr 39min – Following his wife’s death, Frank Goode attempts to reconnect with his four estranged children. As he visits each one, each has turned out differently than expected. Can he accept what they have become?
The Farewell (2019) 1hr 39min – When a Chinese grandmother is diagnosed with a fatal illness, the entire family plans a wedding in an effort to bring everyone together one last time.
The Father (2020) 1hr 36min – An ailing man with dementia loses his grip on reality as his caretaker, his daughter, moves to Paris.
Finding Your Feet (2017) 1hr 51min – Just prior to her retirement, a judgmental middle-class woman learns of her husband’s affair and seeks refuge with her poorer, inner city sister.
Firefly Dreams (2001) 1hr 45min – Naomi is an unruly teen whose parents arrange for her to work at a family inn during the summer. Here, she meets Mrs. Koide, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Young Naomi learns some valuable life lessons from the aging Mrs. Koide.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004) 2hr 13min – An elderly man lands in purgatory. To escape, he must face five people from the past. This is when dark secrets come to light.
Freezers Geezers (2009) 57min – A team led by 83-year-old coach Ray challenges other them in the Senior World Hockey Tournament.
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) 2hr 10min – An unlikely close friendship from nurse aide and patient inspires self advocacy.
Get Low (2009) 1hr 43min – A hermit with no friends decides to host his own funeral to find out what people think of him. But, will anyone show up?
Gloria Bell (2018) 1hr 41min – A 50-year-old woman seeks love in flashy nightclubs.
Going in Style (1979) 1hr 38min – Three seniors who have had their meager pension funds stolen by a bank plan on retaliating by robbing the banks.
Gran Torino (2008) 1hr 56min – An angry Korean Conflict veteran held onto misinformation in his multicultural neighborhood. He aims to help a Korean youth out of gang life.
Grey Gardens (2009) 1hr 43min – This is a documentary about two aging relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who spend decades living in squalor inside a large mansion. As their mind – and their money – dwindles, they agree to the documentary hoping for a bit of glory they never had.
Grumpier Old Men (1995) 1hr 40min – In the sequel to Grumpy Old Men, only one friend is single. An Italian restaurant owner catches his heart, and the friends’ children marry.
Grumpy Old Men (1993) 1hr 43min – Two elderly men trade hilarious insults and compete for the love of an attractive lady. Their hearts soften when a debt is brought to light and children fall in love.
Harold And Maude (1971) 1hr 31min – Young Harold is obsessed with death and attends the funerals of people he doesn’t know. At one burial, he meets Maude, an 80-year-old woman obsessed with living.
Hello, My Name is Doris (2015) 1hr 30min – A 60-year-old woman attends a self-help seminar and develops the courage to romantically go after a younger co-worker.
Hope Springs (2012) 1hr 39min – Kay and Arnold have been married for 30 years and have nothing in common anymore, not even a bedroom. A week-long marriage counseling seminar forces them to examine what torn them apart.
How to Live Forever (2009) 1hr 34min – An elderly man travels the world searching for the secret of growing old. Who hold the secret? A chain-smoking centenarian, old porn star, or others? What provides real meaning to life?
The Hundred Foot Journey (2014) 2hr 2min – A family of Indian cooks leave India and set up a restaurant across the street from an haute cuisine restaurant owned by snobbish Helen Mirren, thus inspiring a bitter rivalry.
I Care A Lot (2020) 1hr 58min – A legal guardian for several elderly people swindles them out of their money. Then she meets one elderly woman with serious mob connections.
I’ll See You In My Dreams (2015) 1hr 36min – A songwriter is aging and declining, but his wife remains faithfully at his side.
The Intern (2015) 2hr 1min – A busy millennial executive takes on training a retiree who becomes a voice of reason for many in the office and balance in work/life.
Is Anybody There? (2008) 1hr 34min – A lonely boy lives in a home for the elderly with his parents and becomes obsessed with death and afterlife.
It’s Complicated (2009) 2hr – A divorced couple meet at their son’s graduation. The fire in their relationship is relit, but he has remarried.
In her Shoes (2005) 2hr 10min – Party girl Maggie gets involved with her sister’s boyfriend. The situation between the sisters gets worse when their grandmother arrives.
Invictus (2009) 2hr 13min – Nelson Mandela want to unite his torn South Africa and sets his hopes on the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Iris (2001) 1hr 30min – True story of the relationship between author Iris Murdoch and her husband, from their youth to her fight with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Irishman (2019) 3hr 29min – Hitman Frank Sheeran has kept a lifetime of secrets for his Bufalino crime family.
The Iron Lady (2011) 1hr 44min – An aging Margaret Thatcher holds an imaginary conversation with her dead husband as she mentally relives her life from childhood to Britain’s prime minister.
Jackie (2016) 1hr 40min – An elder surrogate mother without family contacts the two surrogate daughters she has never met. The three of them travel around the country in an RV as they get to know each other
Just Getting Started (2017) 1hr 30min – An ex-F.B.I. Agent and a former mob lawyer need to get along long enough to stop a mob hit.
Kotch (1971) 1hr 54min – In order to avoid being put in a nursing home, a retired salesman takes a road trip. He meets a pregnant teenager and learns what life is all about.
Ladies In Lavender (2004) 1hr 43min – In a few short years before WWII, A group of senior women find a mysterious Polish refugee, who in turn becomes their friend.
Land Ho! (2014) 1hr 35min – Two former brothers-in-law live it up in Iceland’s nightclubs to feel young again. This movie looks at aging and friendship.
Last Vegas (2013) 1hr 44min – In this comedy, a group of senior men try to tackle a wild night in Sin City.
Local Color (2006) 1hr 47min – When a troubled young aspiring artist befriends an elderly, alcoholic artist, their friendship changes both.
The Lover (2017) 1hr 37min – In 1929 Indochina, a teenage girl and a older Chinese man begin a secret affair, knowing full well that their relationship will have serious consequences.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006) 1hr 42min – An entire family of dysfunctional relatives travel to California to enter the 7-year-old daughter in a beauty contest.
Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) 1hr 32min – An elderly couple is forced to live hundreds of miles apart when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents in.
Minari (2020) 1hr 55min – An ambitious Korean-American family pulls up stakes to build a farm in California. When things don’t go as planned, can their grandma help them find the way?
Mr. Holms (2015) 1hr 44min – An aging Sherlock Holmes fights dementia while trying to make sense of his last case.
The Mule (2018) 1hr 56min – Clint Eastwood directed this gritty true crime tale of an octogenarian in financial crisis, turning to a Mexican cartel for cash.
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2008) 1hr 47min – An elderly woman estranged from her family and living alone in a retirement hotel befriends a young writer.
Nebraska (2013) 1hr 54min – Dry humor drives this black and white drama about a road trip, with a father suffering from dementia.
The Notebook (2004) 2hr 3min – In another retelling perspective from the American south, a man reads 365 love letters to his loved one, now with dementia.
The Old Man and the Gun (2018) 1hr 33min – Seventy-year-old Forrest Tucket escapes from San Quentin and begins a series of heists.
On Golden Pond (1981) 1hr 49min – Norman is an old grump with a difficult history with his daughter, Chelsea. As Norman and his wife visit Golden Pond, they are joined by newly-married Chelsea and her stepson. The stepson develops the kind of close relationship with Norman that Chelsea always longed for.
Old Cats (2010) 1hr 30min – Elderly Isidora finds her mind is weakening. She has to hide this from her daughter, who wants to grab her mother’s belongings.
Our Souls at Night (2017) 1hr 43min – Fonda and Redford star as Addie Moore and Louis Waters, a widow and widower who’ve lived next to each other for years. The pair have almost no relationship, but that all changes when Addie tries to make a connection with her neighbor.
Out to Sea (1997) 1hr 46min – A gambler and his brother-in-law take a cruise to enable to enable the gambler to meet a wealthy widow.
Philomena (2013) 1hr 38min – While the title character was living in an Irish convent, her baby was adopted and she goes in search of him, with a British writer in tow.
Play The Game (2009) 1hr 45min – A widowed grandfather learns some dating tricks in order to catch his dream woman.
Promise Me (2015) 8min – A teenager remains with her ailing mother through the end.
Quartet (2012) 1hr 38min – Every Autumn, seniors take part in a celebratory concert. An ex wife arrives to stir the pot in the performance.
Red (2010) 1hr 51min – The acronym stands for “Retired Extremely Dangerous”. Aged spies and assassins reunite to fight a plot to destroy them.
Redwood Highway (2013) 1hr 30min – A senior woman walks 80 miles away from her community to the beach of her childhood.
Reveille (2004) 11min – A Navy Veteran and an Army Veteran living in a retirement home compete with each other.
Roam Sweet Home (1996) 57min – This documentary is about aging nomadic roamers who spend their time on the road as they explain their reasons for living on the open road.
Robot and Frank (2012) 1hr 28min – A son gives his aging father a robot caretaker. The father, an ex-thief, teams up with the robot to create a successful heist duo.
The Sandwich Generation (2008) 30min – A documentary about a couple who uproot their lives and their children’s lives to take care of his father who suffers from dementia. The couple is caught between two needy generations.
The Savages (2007) 1hr 54min – Siblings learn about responsibility when they are forced to take care of their sick and aging father.
Secondhand Lions (2003) 1hr 49min – A young nephew spends a summer with his colorful uncles and they inspire each other in fresh ways.
The Second Time Around (2015) 1hr 47min – In 1911, a widow moves to Arizona and becomes first a ranch hand and then a sheriff while several men vie for her affection.
Senior Moment (2021) 1hr 32min – A retired test pilot loses his driver’s license and has to take public transportation. There is meets a woman and has to learn about how to handle life and love.
Something’s Gotta Give (2003) 2hr 8min – A swinger on the cusp of being a senior citizen with a taste for young women falls in love with an accomplished woman closer to his age.
Space Cowboys (2000) 2hr 10min – An interspace recovery mission enlists a retiree and his aged friends.
St. Vincent (2014) 1hr 42min – A misanthropic veteran befriends a boy whose parents have divorced.
Steel Magnolias (1989) 1hr 58min – a circle of aging ladies celebrate a wedding. A surprising funeral confirms their tenacity and lady-like demeanors.
Still Alice (2014) 1hr 41min – A linguistics professor and her family needs to handle the onset of her Alzheimer’s disease.
Still Mine (2012) 1hr 43min – An octogenarian couple has lived on the same property for years. While she is battling the onset of dementia, he is designing a new house but continues to get blocked by the local zoning authorities. His final years have not turned out the way he imagined.
The Straight Story (1999) 1hr 51min – Alvin is 73 years old and in failing health. When he learns his estranged brother had a heart attack, he is determined to see his brother before the end. Without a driver’s license, he makes the long trip on a lawn mower. Will he, his brother, or the lawn mower be the first to give out?
Strangers in Good Company (1990) 1hr 40min – A busload of elderly women await rescue from their broken-down vehicle. While they wait, they discuss the twists and turns of their lives.
The Sunshine Boys (1975) 1hr 50min – A once-famous vaudeville duo hasn’t spoken in twenty years. When they are asked to do a television reunion, will they be able to put aside their differences and appear on the show?
The Theory of Everything (2014) 2hr 4min – This movie examines the lives of famed physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife, Jane Wilde. It was she who encouraged him to become “Einstein’s successor.” As Hawking’s body deteriorated, can their marriage survive?
Titanic (1997) 3hr 14min – From an epic retelling perspective, an elderly woman tells the story of being in love on the Titanic. It’s a story of lost love through the eyes of an old woman.
Tokyo Story (1953) 2hr 16min – In post WWII Japan, an elderly couple’s visit to their adult children is filled with resentment.
The Trip to Bountiful (1985) 1hr 47min – In 1940 Houston, Carrie Watts longs to see her hometown, Bountiful, one last time. But her son and daughter-in-law are opposed to the trip. Finally, Carrie escapes on her own and heads for Bountiful.
Trouble with the Curve (2012) 1hr 51min – Gus Lobel is a baseball scout facing retirement. He makes one final recruiting trip, accompanied by his estranged daughter, Mickey. While they travel, they discuss their faltering relationship.
Tuesdays with Morrie (1999) 1hr 29min – A successful journalist who has been a failure at everything else finds himself questioning his own life when his dying friend offers some advice.
Up (2009) 1hr 36min – A 78-year-old reflects on life and goes on a haphazard adventure around the world, with balloons attached to his home.
Venus (2006) 1hr 34min – Maurice is an aging actor living in the past. When he invites his great niece to stay with him and help him, the visit doesn’t go as planned.
Victoria & Abdul (2017) 1hr 51min – An unusual friendship between Queen Victoria and a middle eastern man sparks rumors, and softens her somewhat hardened humanity.
The Whales of August (1987) 1hr 30min – Two elderly sisters near the ends of their lives are spending their annual summer along the coast of Maine. The area causes them to recall memories from their younger years. They reflect on time, life, and what kept them from establishing the friendship they should have.
What They Had (2018) 1hr 40min – This movie tells the story I’ve seen play out many times during my time as a social worker in a nursing home. The family struggles with placing their Alzheimer’s-suffering loved one in a facility. The biggest hurdle is the husband who insists he can take care of her at home.
The Wife (2018) 1hr 40min – Based on a novel of the same name, The Wife tells the story of a woman who questions her life choices as she travels to Stockhold with her husband, who is about to earn the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Wild Strawberries (1957) 1hr 32min – This is a Swedish drama film that tells the story of Professor Isak Borg, a widowed 78-year-old physician. During a trip to receive the degree of Doctor Jubilaris, his is begins to evaluate how he has spend his life and faces his impending death.
What did we miss? What are your favorite movies about seniors? Let us know in the comments section.