There’s nothing quite like identifying with the protagonist or recognizing yourself in the antagonist. The fact that the majority of movies are geared toward an audience under the age of 40 is a topic that keeps coming up. As a result, as an older adult, it becomes more difficult to identify with characters and stories. The search for good movies for seniors can be time-consuming so we’ve collected a list of films featuring intriguing elder characters and ideas in which we can lose ourselves. So, grab a seat, make some popcorn, and prepare to be amused! Here are 30 movies to binge watch for seniors:
30. Army of Shadows (1969)
War / Drama
This adaptation of the book by Joseph Kessel paints an understated, unglamorous portrait of the French Resistance during World World II. Betrayed by an informant, Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura) finds himself trapped in a torturous Nazi prison camp. Though Gerbier escapes to rejoin the Resistance in occupied Marseilles, France, and exacts his revenge on the informant, he must continue a quiet, seemingly endless battle against the Nazis in an atmosphere of tension, paranoia and distrust. This is a one of those good movies to binge watch for seniors who enjoy war films.
29. Mean Streets (1973)
Crime / Drama
A slice of street life in Little Italy among lower echelon Mafiosos, unbalanced punks, and petty criminals. A small-time hood gets in over his head with a vicious loan shark. In an attempt to free himself from the dangers of his debt, he gets help from a friend who is also involved in criminal activities.
28. A Touch of a Zen (1971)
Ku Shen Chai (Chun Shih), an unmotivated artist in his early 30s, still lives with his mother, but he is shaken from his comfortable rut by the arrival of beautiful and mysterious Yang Hui-ching (Feng Hsu), a princess on the run from Gen. Ou-Yang Nin (Tien Peng), who murdered her entire family. Yang brings Ku into her circle of protectors, including Nin’s rival, Gen. Shih Wen-Chiao (Pai Ying), and the nameless monk (Roy Chiao) whose spiritual guidance transforms Ku into a valiant fighter.
27. Blue Velvet (1986)
College student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) returns home after his father has a stroke. When he discovers a severed ear in an abandoned field, Beaumont teams up with detective’s daughter Sandy Williams (Laura Dern) to solve the mystery. They believe beautiful lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) may be connected with the case, and Beaumont finds himself becoming drawn into her dark, twisted world, where he encounters sexually depraved psychopath Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).
26. Dirty Harry (1971)
Action / Thriller
Cop Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) attempts to track down a psychopathic rooftop killer before a kidnapped girl dies. When he is found Harry abuses the murderer’s civil rights putting him back on the streets. Once he is released he hijacks a school bus and Harry must go after him again. The only way to stop this vicious killer is in cold blood.
25. Ghostbusters (1984)
Comedy / Fantasy
After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a university in New York City, they decide to become “ghostbusters” to wage a high-tech battle with the supernatural for money. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, a doorway that will release evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters must now save New York from complete destruction.
24. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Sci-fi / Adventure
After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas). Bringing the extraterrestrial into his suburban California house, Elliott introduces E.T., as the alien is dubbed, to his brother and his little sister, Gertie (Drew Barrymore), and the children decide to keep its existence a secret. Soon, however, E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention and a dire situation for both Elliott and the alien.
23. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Adventure / Action
Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling, this adventure film follows the exploits of Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) and Danny Dravot (Sean Connery), English military officers stationed in India. Tired of life as soldiers, the two travel to the isolated land of Kafiristan, where they are ultimately embraced by the people and revered as rulers. After a series of misunderstandings, the natives come to believe that Dravot is a god, but he and Carnehan can’t keep up their deception forever.
22. The Wild Bunch (1969)
Western / Drama
In this gritty Western classic, aging outlaw Pike Bishop (William Holden) prepares to retire after one final robbery. Joined by his gang, which includes Dutch Engstrom (Ernest Borgnine) and brother’s Lyle (Warren Oates) and Tector Gorch (Ben Johnson), Bishop discovers the heist is a setup orchestrated in part by his old partner, Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan). As the remaining gang takes refuge in Mexican territory, Thornton trails them, resulting in fierce gunfights with plenty of casualties.
21. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Comedy / Drama
A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together. A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together.
20. Do the Right Thing (1989)
Drama / Comedy
Salvatore “Sal” Fragione (Danny Aiello) is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn. A neighborhood local, Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito), becomes upset when he sees that the pizzeria’s Wall of Fame exhibits only Italian actors. Buggin’ Out believes a pizzeria in a black neighborhood should showcase black actors, but Sal disagrees. The wall becomes a symbol of racism and hate to Buggin’ Out and to other people in the neighborhood, and tensions rise.
19. Jaws (1975)
Adventure / Thriller
When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.
18. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Crime / Drama
When inexperienced criminal Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) leads a bank robbery in Brooklyn, things quickly go wrong, and a hostage situation develops. As Sonny and his accomplice, Sal Naturile (John Cazale), try desperately to remain in control, a media circus develops and the FBI arrives, creating even more tension. Gradually, Sonny’s surprising motivations behind the robbery are revealed, and his standoff with law enforcement moves toward its inevitable end.
17. All The President’s Men (1976)
Drama / Mystery
Two green reporters and rivals working for the Washington Post, Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), research the botched 1972 burglary of the Democratic Party Headquarters at the Watergate apartment complex. With the help of a mysterious source, code-named Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook), the two reporters make a connection between the burglars and a White House staffer. Despite dire warnings about their safety, the duo follows the money all the way to the top.
16. The Thing (1982)
Sci-fi / Horror
In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.
15. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
War / Drama
Paratrooper commander Colonel Mathieu (Jean Martin), a former French Resistance fighter during World War II, is sent to 1950s Algeria to reinforce efforts to squelch the uprisings of the Algerian War. There he faces Ali la Pointe (Brahim Haggiag), a former petty criminal who, as the leader of the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale, directs terror strategies against the colonial French government occupation. As each side resorts to ever-increasing brutality, no violent act is too unthinkable.
14. Blade Runner (1982)
Sci-fi / Action
Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced by the police Boss (M. Emmet Walsh) to continue his old job as Replicant Hunter. His assignment: eliminate four escaped Replicants from the colonies who have returned to Earth. Before starting the job, Deckard goes to the Tyrell Corporation and he meets Rachel (Sean Young), a Replicant girl he falls in love with.
13. Raging Bull (1980)
Drama / Sport
The story of a middleweight boxer as he rises through ranks to earn his first shot at the middleweight crown. He falls in love with a gorgeous girl from the Bronx. The inability to express his feelings enters into the ring and eventually takes over his life. He eventually is sent into a downward spiral that costs him everything.
12. Die Hard (1988)
Action / Thriller
New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas Eve. He joins her at a holiday party in the headquarters of the Japanese-owned business she works for. But the festivities are interrupted by a group of terrorists who take over the exclusive high-rise, and everyone in it. Very soon McClane realizes that there’s no one to save the hostages but him.
11. The Apartment (1960)
Romance / Comedy
Insurance worker C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs. When his manager Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) begins using Baxter’s apartment in exchange for promoting him, Baxter is disappointed to learn that Sheldrake’s mistress is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the elevator girl at work whom Baxter is interested in himself. Soon Baxter must decide between the girl he loves and the advancement of his career. This is a good movie to watch for seniors who love romance movies.
10. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
War / Drama
Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness) and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif), Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port.
9. Aliens (1986)
Action / Sci-fi
After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds of aliens that have invaded the colony.
8. The Shining (1980)
Horror / Mystery
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.
7. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
War / Comedy
A film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button — and it played the situation for laughs. U.S. Air Force General Jack Ripper goes completely insane, and sends his bomber wing to destroy the U.S.S.R. He thinks that the communists are conspiring to pollute the “precious bodily fluids” of the American people.
6. Back to the Future (1985)
Sci-fi / Comedy
In this 1980s sci-fi classic, small-town California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown back into the ’50s when an experiment by his eccentric scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) goes awry. Traveling through time in a modified DeLorean car, Marty encounters young versions of his parents (Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson), and must make sure that they fall in love or he’ll cease to exist. Even more dauntingly, Marty has to return to his own time and save the life of Doc Brown.
5. Psycho (1960)
Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm. Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets the polite but highly strung proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother.
4. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Adventure / Sci-fi
The Imperial Forces — under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), captain of the Millennium Falcon, work together with the companionable droid duo R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance, and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy.
3. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The adventure continues in this “Star Wars” sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) face attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers on the ice planet Hoth. While Han and Leia escape in the Millennium Falcon, Luke travels to Dagobah in search of Yoda. Only with the Jedi master’s help will Luke survive when the dark side of the Force beckons him into the ultimate duel with Darth Vader (David Prowse).
2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
In the Southwest during the Civil War, a mysterious stranger, Joe (Clint Eastwood), and a Mexican outlaw, Tuco (Eli Wallach), form an uneasy partnership — Joe turns in the bandit for the reward money, then rescues him just as he is being hanged. When Joe’s shot at the noose goes awry during one escapade, a furious Tuco tries to have him murdered. The men re-team abruptly, however, to beat out a sadistic criminal and the Union army and find $20,000 that a soldier has buried in the desert.
1. The Godfather (1972)
Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama, based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name, focuses on the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). When the don’s youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), reluctantly joins the Mafia, he becomes involved in the inevitable cycle of violence and betrayal. Although Michael tries to maintain a normal relationship with his wife, Kay (Diane Keaton), he is drawn deeper into the family business.