Great Movies About Old People

Posted on 3 Oct 00:00



1)  The Bucket List (2007)

The Bucket List is an American buddy comedy-drama cast in 2007. The movie is about two terminally ill men who are on a road trip with a wish list of things they will do before they kick the bucket.

Movie Plot

The movie centers upon two elderly men, a blue-collar mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and a billionaire health care mogul Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson). The two meet for the first time in a hospital that Cole has just bought after they are both diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Cole wants a private room, but all the rooms are double-occupancy for cost-efficiency.

Carter is a family man, a gifted amateur historian who during his youth wanted to become a history professor but ended up being a mechanic. Cole has been divorced four times and is a cultured loner who enjoys drinking kopi luwak (one of the most expensive coffees in the world), in addition, he enjoys tormenting his personal servant, Thomas (Sean Hayes). Thomas later reveals he is actually called Matthew.

Both Cole and Carter find common ground while in the ward. Carter begins writing a “bucket list” (a list of activities to do before he dies, “kicks the bucket”, since the doctors relayed that he has less than a year to live, but he later discards his list. Cole finds the list and urges Carter to do everything on the list and he will finance the travel expenses for both of them. Carter agrees although his wife Virginia (Beverly Todd) disagrees. Despite that, Cole and Carter begin their globetrotting last vacation.

On one of their trips, atop the Great Pyramid, Carter and Cole confide in each other about their faith and family. Carter says that he has been feeling less in love with his wife, while Cole discloses that he is deeply hurt by his only daughter’s (Jennifer DeFrancisco) disaffection. His daughter disowned him after he drove away her abusive husband. Later, in Hong Kong, Cole hires a prostitute to approach Carter, but, Carter declines. Carter has never been with any woman besides his wife. After realizing Cole was behind the attempted set up, Carter insists they stop the bucket project and return home.

At home, Carter tries to reunite Cole with his estranged daughter but Cole angrily storms off. Carter returns to his family for a festive holiday dinner while Cole, despite being in the company of attractive escorts, feels lonely and breaks down weeping. Carter`s family reunion is short-lived, he collapses and is rushed to the hospital as cancer has spread to his brain. Cole visits him and they share a few moments, later, Carter dies on the operating table while undergoing a surgery.

Carter`s wife and family receive the news of his death, Cole reconciles with his only daughter and she introduces him to his granddaughter (Taylor Ann Thompson) he had never met. Cole greets his granddaughter with a kiss on the cheek and Edward crosses the “kiss the most beautiful girl in the world” from the bucket list. Cole delivers a speech during Carter’s funeral where he said that the last three months of his life were the best.

Cole later dies at the age of 81 and his ashes taken to the Himalayas by Matthew. Matthew places a coffee can alongside another can that contains Cole and Carter`s ashes and crosses out the last item on the bucket list “witness something truly majestic”.

Director: Rob Reiner

Awards and Nominations

The movie was named as one of the top ten films of the year by the National Board of Review

2)  Cocoon (1985)

Cocoon is an American science-fiction comedy-drama movie cast in 1985. It is a movie about a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens.

Movie Plot

10,000 years ago, a ship, the Atlantis, with peaceful aliens from planet Antarea set up an outpost on Earth. The Atlantis sank and twenty aliens are left behind and are kept alive in large rock-like cocoons at the bottom of the ocean. However, a group of Antareans return to collect them disguising themselves as humans. They rent a house with a swimming pool and charge the water with “life force” to give the Antareans in the cocoons energy to survive the trip home. They charter a boat from Jack (Steve Guttenberg), a local captain, to retrieve the cocoons. They reveal to Jack that they are aliens and he decides to help them.

They rent a retirement home. Ben (Wilford Brimley), Arthur, and Joe (Hume Cronyn) stride pass to swim in the pool. As a result, they absorb the life force making them feel younger and stronger. They get permission from the Antarean leader to use the pool on condition that they do not touch the cocoon or tell anybody about them.

Kitty (Tahnee Welch) and Jack grow closer and they make love in the pool. Kitty cannot do it in a human manner, so she introduces Jack to the Antarean equivalent where she shares her life-force energy with him. Other residents in the retirement home become suspicious after they see Mary (Maureen Stapleton), Ben`s wife climb a tree. Bernie reveals the secret of the pool to other residents who run into the pool to swim, however, Walter ejects them after he finds them destroying one of the cocoons. Bernie finds his wife Rose (Herta Ware) has stopped breathing, he takes her to the pool to try and revive her, however, Walter tells him the pool is not working because the other residents have drained the force by overuse to make them young.

Walter explains that the cocoons cannot survive the trip back to Antarea, but can survive on Earth, therefore, the Antareans return the cocoons to the sea with the help of Jack, Ben, Arthur, and Joe and they take the other residents with them to Antarea where they will never grow old or die, only Bernie remains on Earth.

Ben tells his grandson David (Barret Oliver), that they are leaving with Mary for good. David`s mother Susan learns of their destination, she drives quickly to the retirement home where she finds most rooms vacant, she contacts the authorities. The police begin to chase the boat, David jumps onto the side of the boat and says a tearful goodbye to Ben and Mary. He jumps off into the waters and the coast guard boat stops to pick him up giving the others a chance to getaway. A thick fog appears from nowhere that strands the coast guard and they call off the chase.

Walter pays Jack for his services and the boat. Jack and Kitty embrace for the last time and they share a kiss. He bids everyone farewell and jumps into an inflatable raft and the boat his hoisted onto the Antarean vessel. Back on earth, a funeral is held for the missing residents, and David looks toward the sky and smiles.

Director:  Ron Howard

Awards and Nominations

The movie won two Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actor (Don Ameche) and Best Visual Effects (David Berry, Scott Farrar, Ralph McQuarrie, and Ken Ralston)

3)  Away From Her (2006)

This is a Canadian drama film. The movie is about a couple whose marriage is tested when the wife develops Alzheimer’s and moves into a nursing home. She loses all memory about her husband and starts to develop a close relationship with another resident in the nursing home.

Movie Plot

Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona (Julie Christie) are a retired married couple. Fiona develops Alzheimer`s disease and she starts to lose her memory. She checks into a nursing home where she is not allowed any visitors for the first 30 days. Fiona laments Grant’s infidelity in the past when he was a university professor, despite that, they make love one last time before they separate.

Grant goes to visit his wife after 30 days and he finds that she has forgotten about him. As a result, she has turned her affections to Aubrey (Michael Murphy), a fellow resident who is mute and in a wheelchair. On the other hand, a caregiver at the facility befriends Grant and offers him support and advice.

Grant is unhappy seeing his wife closer to Aubrey and still Fiona does not remember him. He thinks that Fiona`s` dementia is an act to punish him for his past indiscretions. Later, Aubrey’s wife Marian (Olympia Dukakis) removes him from the nursing home due to financial constraints, as a consequence, Fiona sinks into depression and she begins to physically deteriorate. Grant visits Marian and asks her to allow Fiona to see Aubrey again since he would rather see his wife happy with another man than see her miserable. Grant continue to visit Fiona and Marian and eventually succeeds in taking Aubrey back to visit his wife. Meanwhile, before he brings Aubrey into Fiona’s room, Fiona remembers Grant temporarily and the love she has for him and they embrace.

Director: Sarah Polley

Awards and Nominations

The movie had two nominations at the 80th Academy Awards, Best Actress (Christie) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Polley). In addition, seven Genie Awards including Best Motion Picture


4)  Iris (2001)

Iris is a biographical drama film. The movie is about an Irish-born British novelist Dame Iris Murdoch and her relationship with her husband John Bayley (Hugh Bonneville). In the beginning, Murdoch (Kate Winslet) is an outgoing, dominant individual while her husband is timid and scholarly. Later in life, Murdoch (Judi Dench) suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and tends to frustrate Bayley (Jim Broadbent) in their home in North Oxford, Charlbury Road.

Movie Plot

Young Iris Murdoch meets a fellow student John Bayley a naïve virgin at Somerville College, Oxford. John is perplexed by Murdoch libertine spirit, arch personality, and artistic talent. Years later, the couple still married, keeps the house and John is still doting on his more famous wife. Murdoch develops Alzheimer’s and the devoted John struggles with hopelessness and frustrations while he becomes her caretaker as the disease takes toll on her

Director:  Richard Eyre

Awards and Nominations

The movie received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Jim Broadbent). In addition, nominated for Best Actress (Dench) and Best Supporting Actress (Winslet).

5)  Harold and Maude (1971)

Harold and Maude is an American coming-of-age black comedy-drama movie cast in 1971. The movie is about the exploits of a young man Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) who is intrigued by death. Harold detaches from the life his mother (Vivian) Pickles) prescribes for him and he slowly develops a strong relationship and later a romantic relationship with a 79-year-old woman Maude (Ruth Gordon). Maude teaches Harold about living life to the fullest as the most precious gift of all.

Movie Plot

A young man Harold Chasen is obsessed with death as he stages fake suicides, attends funerals, and drives a hearse to annoy his socialite mother. His mother sets up an appointment with a psychoanalyst, however, the analyst becomes confused and fails to get Harold to talk about his real emotions.

Later, Harold meets Maude, a 79-year-old woman who shares Harold’s hobby of attending funerals. Harold is entranced by her quirky outlook on life, a bright and excessive carefree attitude in contrast with his morbidity. They bond and Maude shows Harold the pleasures of art and music and teaches him how to make the most out of life. On the other hand, Harold’s mother is determined to find him a wife against his wishes.  However, Harold scares the women away by appearing to commit gruesome acts such as self-immolation, self-mutilation, and seppuku. His mother tries enlisting him in the military, but he deters the recruiting officer uncle by staging a scene where Maude poses as a pacifist protester and Harold murders her out of militaristic fanaticism.

While Harold and Maude are talking at home, Harold tells her the motives for his fake suicides. He says that while he was at boarding school, he accidentally caused an explosion in his chemistry lab and the police assumed he was dead. He returns home only to find his mother reacting to the news of his death with a ludicrous dramatized faint (bursting into tears) since then he decided to enjoy being dead.

Soon, Harold and Maude`s friendship blossoms into romance and Harold announces his intentions of marrying Maude. His family, analyst, and priest are disgusted by the news. Harold throws a surprise party during Maude’s 80th birthday, they dance as a couple and Maude tells Harold that she “could not imagine a lovelier farewell.” Harold questions Maude as to what she meant, and she reveals that she has taken an overdose of sleeping pills and will be dead by midnight. She says that 80 is a perfect age to die. Harold rushes Maude to the hospital where she is treated unsuccessfully and dies.

Later, Harold’s car is seen going off a seaside cliff but he is not inside as the car crashes. He stands atop the cliff holding his banjo, gazes at the wreckage, and dances away.

Director: Hal Ashby

Awards and Nominations

The movie was acknowledged as among the best in the romantic comedy genre and it is recognized by the American Film Institute.

6)  The Sunshine Boys (1975)

The sunshine boys is an American comedy movie cast in 1975. The movie is about two legendary comics who are brought together by a reunion and revival of their famous act.

Movie Plot

Two elderly comedians, AI Lewis (George Burns) and Willy Clark (Walter Matthau) were once famous in a popular vaudeville comedy act known as “Lewis and Clark” also called the Sunshine Boys. They parted ways 11 years ago after 47 years together due, in part, to AI’s intent to retire and Willy’s desire to continue performing. Willy’s nephew (Richard Benjamin) tries to find work for Willy which is difficult due to his age and temperament.

A major network intends to air a program on the history of comedy, and wants the Sunshine Boys to reunite for the show. They need Ben to secure the cooperation of the two comedians, who portrays each as anxious to act the “Doctor Sketch” for an ABC special to give an appearance of harmony despite their fallout.

The duo gets re-acquainted and is planning to rehearse the Doctor sketch at Willy’s apartment. When AI enters the office, Willy tries to change the scripted long-established “Come in” to “Enter!” as a result, AI storms out. Ben tries to salvage the situation despite objections of AI’s daughter about her father being bothered, but Ben manages to get them into studio. At first, they do not speak to each other and there is unpleasantness when Willy carelessly dumps a makeup jar on AI in the dressing room.

The Doctor Sketch is about to be performed, Phyllis Diller finishes her scene, Steve Allen gives his introduction, the action flows smoothly until Willy begins shouting about AI’s spitting on him while poking him in the chest. Ben and the staff try to restore order, but, Willy shouts accusations and abuse and storms off the set. AI also leaves. Willy ongoing temper tantrum results in him having a serious heart attack. However, he recovers in the hospital and later at home with a private nurse. Ben advises him to retire. AI is also to move into a retirement home. The duo meet again at Willy’s apartment and they try to reestablish their friendship.

Director:  Herbert Ross

Awards and Nominations

The movie won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Burns) and was nominated for three categories for Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Art Direction.

7)  The Trip to Bountiful (1985)

The Trip to Bountiful is an American Drama film cast in 1985.

Movie Plot

Carrie Watts (Geraldine Page) wants to return to her home, a small, rural, agriculture-based town of Bountiful near the Texas Gulf Coast between Houston and Corpus Christi. However, her daughter-in-law (Carlin Glynn) and her overprotective son (John Heard) frequently stop her from leaving Houston since they know the town has long disappeared due to long-term out-migration.

Nonetheless, the old Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and daughter-in-law and sets out to catch a train only to find out that trains do not go to Bountiful anymore, therefore, she takes a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she meets a girl traveling alone (DeMornay) and they become friends. The girl reminds her of her younger years and grieves her lost relatives. Her son and daughter-in-law track her down with the help of local police force, but, Mrs. Watts is determined to return to her home.

The local Sheriff (Richard Bradford) offers to drive her to her girlhood home, they find the home is deserted with a few remaining structures that are derelict. Mrs. Watts also learns that the last occupant of the town whom she had hoped to live with, had died.

She surveys her father’s farm amidst tears and the remains of her home. She accepts the condition of her home town and that she has reached her goal of returning to her home before dying. Meanwhile, her son and daughter-in-law arrive to drive her back to Houston as they commit to living more peacefully together.

Director:  Peter Masterson

Awards and Nominations

The movie won an Academy Award for Best Actress (Geraldine Page) and was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (Horton Foote)


The great movies about old people portray old people and are a good representation of older people. The movies show that older human beings are no different from the rest and are genuinely funny.  

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