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Movies for Grownups

21 Must-See Classic Movies

These quintessential films are required for ALL adults to watch (no exceptions)

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Pinocchio is one of the 20 essential movies for people over 50+

'Pinocchio,' Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, 1940 — Photo by Everett Collection

Pinocchio, 1940
Animation as Art

Painstakingly animated, lovingly rendered, Walt Disney's tale of the puppet who wants to be a boy may well be animation's supreme accomplishment. Sentimental? Sure. But was there ever a scene more blood-chilling than the transformation of Pinocchio's pal Lampwick into a donkey?

The Searchers is one of the 20 most essential movies for people over 50+

'The Searchers,' from left, John Qualen, John Wayne, 1956 — Photo by Everett Collection

The Searchers, 1956
The Western That Hated Itself

John Ford courageously builds upon the cowboys-and-Indians genre — and strips it down to its racist roots. John Wayne is chilling as a man seeking his grown niece (Natalie Wood), kidnapped as a child by Indians, to kill her in an insanely misguided act of mercy.
 

The Music Box is one of the 20 most essential movies for people over 50+

'The Music Box,' Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy [Laurel & Hardy], 1932 — Photo by Everett Collection

The Music Box, 1932
The Perfect Comedy Short

It's simple: Laurel and Hardy must lug a heavy crate from street level up a seemingly endless stairway. Faced with every imaginable obstacle — primarily their shared imbecility — they tackle the task with grim, relentless determination. The music box itself is, of course, doomed. But Stan and Ollie won an Oscar.

Vertigo is one of the 20 most essential films for people over 50+

'Vertigo,' Director Alfred Hitchcock on set with Kim Novak, 1958 — Photo by Everett Collection

Vertigo, 1958
The Thriller in Your Head

Jimmy Stewart just knows that mysterious blonde Kim Novak couldn't possibly be the woman he loved: She's dead. But his obsession with their similarities nearly drives him mad. In his masterpiece, Alfred Hitchcock proves again that the scariest monsters are the ones that we imagine.

Battleship Potemkin is one of the 20 essential movies for people over 50+

'Battleship Potemkin' (USSR 1925) — Photo by Mary Evans/Goskino/Ronald Grant Archive/Everett Collection

The Battleship Potemkin, 1925
The Language of Film

Film-school junkies revere silent-era director Sergei Eisenstein for his revolution in film editing, but his story of a brutal Czarist attack in the Black Sea port of Odessa is also a flat-out great action film. Turn down the added soundtrack and "feel" the rhythm of his cuts. Your mind will write its own music.

Next: Why all three 'Godfather' movies made our list. »

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Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson seek a new life in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

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