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Movies for Grownups

Must-See Classic Movies List

These 21 quintessential films are required for ALL adults to watch (no exceptions)

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

Left Francis Ford Coppola, middle Marlon Brando, and right, Al Pacino on the set of 'The Godfather,' 1972 — Photo by Everett Collection

The Godfather I-III, 1972; '74; '90
The Family Saga

Part I: Marlon Brando shatters the old street-fighter image of movie mobsters.
Part II: Al Pacino explores the persistence of evil.
Part III: The border between Heaven and Hell turns out to be more porous than you might think.

Last Year at Marienbad is one of the 20 essential movies for people over 50+

'Last Year at Marienbad,' (aka 'L'Annee Derniere A Marienbad'), Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, 1961 — Photo by Everett Collection

Last Year at Marienbad, 1961
Art Film 101

All the oddball conventions of pretentious French art films — the incongruous dialogue, the lingering, hyper-composed shots — get full frontal exposure in Alain Resnais' dreamy drama. You'll never understand what it's about — even Resnais isn't sure — but his images will haunt you.

Rome, Open City is on of the 20 essential movies for people over 50+

'Roma Citta Aperta' aka 'Rome, Open City,' 1945 — Photo by Mary Evans/Excelsa Film/Everett Collection

Rome, Open City, 1945
Real Fiction

Almost as soon as Axis tanks rolled out of occupied Rome, Roberto Rossellini took to the streets to film this stark drama about war in the Eternal City. Heroism, betrayal and despair are palpable characters in a film that is as raw as an open, but slowly healing, wound.

Sunrise, A song of Two Humans is one of the 20 most essential movies for people over 50+

'Sunrise,' (aka 'Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans') from left: George O'Brien, Margaret Livingston, 1927. — Photo by 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, 1927
Silence Perfected

Proof positive that the switch to sound films was utterly unnecessary, this profoundly touching love story won the first best actress Oscar (Janet Gaynor). F. W. Murnau's camera never stops moving, and neither does his story. Words would only get in the way. 

Next: The greatest movie ever made. »

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100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

By Bill Newcott
E-book
January 2015


A treasure trove of delightfully offbeat recommendations for discerning moviegoers, from the beginnings of film right up the present.

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