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Elder Friendly Guide to Movies

We all have our favorite movies. Some remind us of the good old times, while others show us what it’s like to be someone else, somewhere else. We know it would be impossible for us to create a guide that tells seniors how to enjoy movies or even which movies to like. Instead, ElderGadget would like to offer some thoughts on why Boomers and seniors tend to like the movies they like.



Movies that are set in the past are like our own personal time machines mentally transporting us back to a place where we used to be. Whether that’s a drive-in movie, football field or even the neighborhood alley, these plots and settings can bring back certain thoughts and feelings that we’d forgotten were there.

Stand By Me (Special Edition)

Stand By me

Examples: American Graffiti, The Parent Trap (1961) and The Parent Trap II (1986): 2-Movie Collection, Peggy Sue Got Married, The Outsiders, The Sandlot, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors

Cultural Relevancy

Like nostalgic films, movies that remind us of a familiar time, but not necessarily a familiar experience or situation, are culturally relevant to us. Some events that many Boomers and seniors have lived through – uniting them in their cultural relevancy – include World War II, Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, the moon landing, JFK’s assassination and the hippie movement.

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now

Examples: Saving Private Ryan, To Kill a Mockingbird, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Forrest Gump, Butterflies Are Free, Apollo 13

Ethnic Relevancy

Those who weren’t born in this country or who grew up with strong ethnic traditions may be drawn to immigration stories or movies that feature a certain ethnic group because these niches are also part of their cultural relevancy.

The Godfather, Part II (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)


Examples: In America, The Godfather DVD Collection, The Departed, Crash, Fiddler on the Roof, Chariots of Fire, The Joy Luck Club, West Side Story

Instant Classics

The Internet may not have existed in eras like the ‘50s and ‘60s, but word of mouth traveled just the same. People paid for an hour or so of escapism from the real world via the big screen, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they were just as opinionated about the films back then as they are today. Thus, some movies became instant classics while others linger in Hollywood purgatory.

Midnight Cowboy (Two Disc Collector’s Edition)

Midnight Cowboy

Examples: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, South Pacific, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, Psycho, Bonnie and Clyde, Cool Hand Luke, Ben-Hur, 2001 – A Space Odyssey, The Sound of Music, Rosemary’s Baby, 12 Angry Men

Famous Faces

Every generation has box office champions who seem to turn everything they touch into gold. The current champs and most bankable stars include Johnny Depp, Sandra Bullock, Will Smith and Angelina Jolie. Past generations have such legendary names as Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Grace Kelly and James Dean, among others, who could easily lure moviegoers into the theatres.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Paramount Centennial Collection (Mastered in High Definition)


Examples: Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Some Like It Hot, Singin’ in the Rain, Rear Window, Rebel Without a Cause

Comedy Genius

Humor is subjective, with every person having a different sense of it. However, there is a set of values and cultural norms that help shape what one finds humorous and what another may find boring, unfunny or even rude. With this context in mind, there are certain comedic bits and punch lines that generally go over well with Boomers and seniors. While younger generations may not necessarily find these movies funny because they can’t relate to the plots or characters, chances are their elders can explain with great detail and precision why the film’s a hoot.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Mad World

Examples: Odd Couple, The Pink Panther, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Apartment, Dr. Strangelove, The Producers, The Graduate, The Seven Year Itch


There are plenty of movies that try to portray what life is like as an older adult. Plots that mirror life stages, capturing that group’s feelings, thoughts, worries, problems and activities, can attract those demographics because they can relate to the characters. When these movies and portrayals are tasteful, entertaining and moderately successful at capturing the essence of today’s seniors (even if that involves some satire) they tend to receive a warm reception.

About Schmidt

About Schmidt

Examples: Grumpy Old Men/Grumpier Old Men, The Bucket List, Calendar Girls, UP, Waking Ned Devine, The Notebook, Cocoon / Cocoon – The Return

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One Response to Elder Friendly Guide to Movies

  1. Angel Manor January 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Can you make some suggestions on movies that would be popular for elderly people that have familiar black actors?

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