Hollywood is entering a new golden age of storytelling, with big-name movie stars playing incomparable roles during their own golden years. In these films about growing older, well-established actors bring a lifetime of experience to the screen. These films about seniors are dynamic and showcase the vibrancy and excitement that comes with the retirement season of life.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite movies about retirement and senior living. Best of all, you don’t have to be a senior to enjoy them, as these are chosen from a variety of genres offering a little something for everyone.
1. Queen Bees (2021)
Cheekily described as “Mean Girls with Medic-Alert bracelets,” this gentle romantic comedy stars Ellen Burstyn as Helen, a widow who grudgingly moves temporarily into a retirement community while her home undergoes repairs. The all-star cast includes James Caan, Ann-Margaret, Christopher Lloyd, and Loretta Devine and is a joyful romp filled with cutthroat bridge tournaments, mean girls and a zest for life.
2. Poms (2019)
You’re never too old to bring it. Terminally ill Martha (Diane Keaton) moves to a retirement community to quietly live out her remaining years. But once the introverted Martha meets Sheryl (Jacki Weaver), her fun-loving neighbor who immediately helps bring Martha out of her shell, she embraces life. This dynamic duo then decide to form a competitive cheerleading squad with fellow residents. Heartwarming, heart-tugging and full of wonderful female relationships, this film celebrates chasing your dreams, no matter if the odds are stacked against you.
3. Quartet (2012)
This directorial debut from Dustin Hoffman is based on a play of the same name by Ronald Harwood. This delightful gem of a film takes place at Beecham House, a home for retired performers in the English countryside. When Jean Horton, a former opera chanteuse (played by the divine Dame Maggie Smith), arrives, she causes quite a stir among the residents, including her ex-husband Reginald. While the plot of this well-crafted drama is simple and familiar (the residents put together a show to raise funds to help the struggling house), the interpersonal relationships of the divas and divos of the house are what make this film truly sing.
4. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
Winners of multiple awards and international acclaim, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is the story of seven senior Britons who travel to Jaipur, India, to spend their retirement years. They’re met by a run-down hotel owned by a young, enthusiastic host, Sonny (played by Dev Patal of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame). This all-star cast features Dame Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Dame Penelope Wilton, Dame Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, and Ronald Pickup. In the sequel, the cast reunites to help Sonny as his wedding day draws near and a second retirement home opens.
5. RED (2010)
Step aside, Avengers – this film, stars Bruce Willis, Hellen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman. After a squad of hit men try to take him out (and fail), retired black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles the old crew to strike back. In doing so, they uncover a massive conspiracy that will require them to use all their expert training to tackle a heart-racing, exhilarating mission to save themselves (and possibly the world).
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman pair up for a classic buddy comedy that will have you laughing, crying and everything in between. Billionaire Edward Cole (Nicholson) and car mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman) are strangers who end up in the same hospital room and launch a plan to come to terms with their lives and complete a “bucket list” before they “kick the bucket.” It’s an adventure of a lifetime.
7. Young@Heart (2006)
This heartwarming documentary follows a chorus of senior adults who perform cover songs by rock legends like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Coldplay, and more. The documentary follows the group as they work towards a large-scale performance and highlights the vibrant personalities of the senior singers.
8. Calendar Girls (2003)
Dame Helen Mirren spearheads this all-star cast as a Yorkshire housewife bound and determined to raise money for a memorial to her best friend’s husband. She encourages her friends to create a pinup calendar using middle-aged women of their village as nude models. Based on a real-life story, this movie shows that maturity can be very sexy indeed.
9. Cocoon (1985)
In this Oscar-winning sci-fi/fantasy mashup, residents of a retirement home in Florida stumble across a literal “fountain of youth” in an abandoned swimming pool. Unbeknownst to them, the pool is a haven for aliens who have been using the waters to preserve their cocooned shipmates. This causes the waters to have a magical, rejuvenating quality – and as you can imagine, hijinks and drama ensues.
10. On Golden Pond (1981)
No list of movies about retirement or seniors would be complete without the classic “On Golden Pond.” Cantankerous senior Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda in his final film role) and his wife, Ethel (Katharine Hepburn), spend summers on the bank of Golden Pond in New England. During this visit, their adult daughter (Jane Fonda) comes to visit with her new fiance and his son, and the trip turns into an emotionally fraught visit where family members attempt to mend bridges and build a path forward before it’s too late.
Find your happily ever after at Eastcastle Place
Whatever retirement lifestyle you’re looking for – romantic comedy, action-adventure, fantasy, drama – Eastcastle Place is the perfect backdrop for your filmworthy ambitions. With a variety of services and amenities, delicious dining, and a lifestyle that combines maintenance-free living with worry-free opportunities, our Milwaukee retirement community is the perfect place for you to explore everything that brings you joy and fulfillment.